Seizing Opportunity: How Believing and Planning Can Change Your Career


In an earlier post, I detailed how I was working extensively with Marriott Company in the nineties to help them create fun themed events for their Marriott Marquis properties. The opportunity to showcase my creative event planning ideas at such a level is one of my fondest memories – not only because of everything I learned along the way, but also because of how the opportunity presented itself and how I was able to seize it. That is what this post is all about.

Be Ready for Opportunity

Back in 1990, I was already doing reasonably well when Mike Triestano – who, at the time, was in charge of Marriott Corporation’s Special Events Division – contacted me to help with an event for the Super Bowl guests that year in New Orleans. Little did I know at the time where this would lead. After the event, everyone was magnificently pleased, and that is because no matter the occasion I make sure my team and myself give it everything we’ve got. Due to the success of the event, I was told by Mike that Mr. Marriott himself wanted to talk to me (which, of course, was a big deal).

Mr. Marriott told me he had loved everything and wanted me to start creating the themes for his new properties. He gave me eight weeks to present the concepts and budget for approval. I feel many would be quite shaken up by this immediate, enormous task, but because I had prepared myself for a moment of that nature all my life, I was ready to seize the opportunity. I provided the directors of the Marriott Marquis properties several creative event planning ideas with budgets, and they were approved swiftly.

Putting in the Work

Once everything had been approved, it was off to work. We worked around the clock alongside Marriott Marquis sales and marketing directors and catering directors as well. For five years we created themes for a few grand openings as well as constant themes for Marriott Marquis properties year-round. After the five years, Marriott decided to go in a different direction – and that was okay. I knew the team and I had put the work in and we were satisfied with the results.

Belief is Everything

None of this would have been possible if I did not believe in my team and myself and if I did not always put my best foot forward. Seizing opportunity is all about preparation: if you are ready to see it, you are prepared to take it. If you have creative event planning ideas or run a similar business (or any business, for that matter), you need to expect the unexpected at all times. Believe in the work that you are doing, and others will, too. I know that I am convinced that the venture with Marriott occurred because of belief and to this day, I still believe. And you should, too.

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