Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The 24th Annual Charles Dickens Dinner

December 10, 2010 -- The culmination of six months of hard work has finally come to completion and I could not be happier about the event.  The Charles Dickens Dinner has been on my radar ever since I stepped foot into the USC Thornton School of Music as a work-study student as a freshmen in the fall of 2006.  Little did I know that 4 years later I would be in charge of making this event a success.

I don't think I've ever worked so hard on any event. Ever.  And in the week leading up to the event, I think it's safe to say my mind was thinking about Dickens 24/7 (and maybe still is -- hello 2011).  Literally.  I had an ongoing to-do list in my head, a desk that was covered with brightly colored post-it notes (If you don't know already, I love bright colors so the bright colors definitely help make the to-do lists less daunting. And putting a huge red sharpie check mark once they're done -- best feeling ever.)

I think one of the measures of a successful event planner is that way in which they react to problems once an event has begun.  There are two options -- freak out and stress everyone else out in the process, or react in a calm, positive demeanor.  One of my goals as an event planner is to treat people with respect and manage others with a positive attitude because I've found that people respond to direction better when it's not coming from a power-driven and demanding place -- and hopefully my team felt that throughout the planning process.

The best thing someone can say to me on the event day is that they felt at peace, and relaxed. My job is to ensure that everyone else involved doesn't feel stressed out. So hearing how relaxed everyone was, how relaxed the Dean was, that it was "the smoothest Dickens" from a banquet captain that's done the event for 3-4 years and my boss, that I looked so calm -- it was all extremely humbling and overwhelming.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine to have planned an event of such capacity at the age of 22. I think I'm still in shock at all that I've accomplished since graduating -- its been 6 months and I've planned two weddings and a major fundraising gala.

The Dickens Dinner was not only a success for the Thornton School of Music, but also a huge milestone in my career, and for that I'm extremely grateful.

Needless to say, this event would not have been possible without the help of an amazing team. I couldn't even begin to take credit for all the work because the reality is it was a team effort. Thank you to everyone who helped -- I could not have done it without you!

For additional coverage of the event, read this article by Alice Dubin of Biz Bash -- Crowd of U.S.C. Musicians Enlivens Annual Fund-Raising Dinner

Merry Christmas everyone!

Catering, Valet, Venue: Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Valerie Lehman -- a great wedding venue too!
Costuming: K-Gals, Jacqueline St. Anne
Graphic Design: Leslie Baker Graphic Design, Leslie Baker
Flowers: Dellarobia Design Studio, Jolene Reynolds
Lighting Equipment: Angstrom Lighting Inc.
Linens: Elegant Design Specialty Linens, Jannette Galindo
Print: Greens Printing, Janet Green
Production: Thinkwell
Sound: PRG Audio

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