Whitman College Event Coordinator

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It has been six months since I began my first big kid job as the Event Coordinator at Whitman College. Whitman College is a small, liberal arts college nestled between the Blue Mountains and Walla Walla wine country in Southeast Washington. As the Event Coordinator, I work on a plethora of student, staff, faculty alumni and community focused events.

Whitman College is a unique community and I feel very fortunate to work in an environment that fosters education. As part of my work benefits, I am encouraged to take a class each semester (tuition free!). I also have numerous opportunities to attend fascinating lectures and performances around campus – and even plan some of them!

In these past six months, I have worked on 20+ events. That averages to about one a week. There are slow periods when students are off campus and we don’t have much going on. At times, I feel like I am in over my head, and at others, as though I’m searching for something else to do. I think that is all part of being in your first job. At the end of the day, I always feel lucky. And at the beginning of the day, I always look forward to going to work!

Skills I have been able to improve: communication, being a team player, time management, graphic design, creative thinking, taking initiative, hospitality, wine pairing

What I’ve Learned

I haven’t officially been in the event business for very long, but I’m always taking notes. Below, I’ve compiled a short list of what I learned at my last internship. Through working under one of the Twin Cities premier event planners as well as attending networking events and weekly team meetings, I was always adding bullets to my notebook. Here are some of the most important and/or unexpected event tips I learned from my internship with LeadingAge Minnesota:

  • Only sign clean contracts
  • Beware of copyright trolls!
  • Always send email confirmations
  • Use 1 hashtag # per event
  • The trend is going towards informal & intimate
  • Always record what time vendors say they will show up

Currently, I am in the process of applying to and interviewing for fulltime work. If there is anything I have learned from that, it is to stay positive! It is so easy to get bogged down by rejection- or worse- never hearing back. I look to others I know who love their jobs and trust that I too will get there. My college advisor left me with the words that give me faith in my job hunt- “There are good jobs for good people”. With this in mind, I continue to forge the path of endless cover letters, thank you notes, reference building, resume editing and, of course, endless smiles ūüôā



Mood Boards for Event Communication

Strong communication is an important part of the planning process. In order for others to understand what you are hoping to achieve with your event, a mood board can be very useful. A mood board can be physical or digital and showcases a compilation of images and words which describe what your event is all about. By creating a comprehensive mood board, you can communicate your event goals aesthetically to those on your planning team. Here are some examples of comprehensive mood boards and what ideals they are trying to communicate:


This mood board is for a bespoke wedding and you can easily find the color scheme and quirky, custom-made theme that the bride and groom wish to use. There are examples of stationary, attire and décor.


This is a physical mood board that has notes on it as well as pictures for inspiration. This mood board could be for a yoga event that wants to embrace healthy eating, subdued colors and the ideals of connection to nature. The perks of having a physical mood board include being able to tangibly interact with the items of inspiration.


This mood board for a Chinese New Year festival shows an organized layout with clear examples of food, color, and overall aesthetic.

It can be helpful to follow the basic elements of design when creating mood boards. These elements are Line, Color, Texture, Shape, Form, Value and Space. Try to include one example of each of these in your mood board to fully represent your event ideals.

Other tips for creating a mood board include splitting it up into 6ths like a grid. It is recommended to put the most important parts of your mood board where the grid lines cross. Then you can place other images and inspiration around these focal points. With these basic guidelines in mind, remember to have fun with your mood board. A mood board is supposed to be a creative expression that represents your event in a visual way. If some of the above guidelines seem to take away from your mood board experience, don’t feel like you have to follow them.



By creating an event mood board (or several) you can more clearly communicate the ideals and themes of your event. Some digital programs to create mood boards include Moodboard, Photoshop, Publisher, Pinterest and Sample Board.







Mother-Daughter Tea Party

For the past three years, my favorite event of the summer has been my family’s annual mother-daughter tea party. Once the start of school reaches the horizon, my mother, sister and I gather¬†a guest list of our closest lady friends. The first year, we gave the party an Irish theme to commemorate my semester and my family’s visit to the Emerald Isle. The food consisted of goodies my host mom would bake for special occasions and, of course, a Guinness-chocolate Bundt cake! The second year, we hosted a more laid-back evening tea party with hors-d’oeuvres and a game of croquet. This year was perhaps our most traditional tea party with¬†¬†almond meringue, lemon-berry cake, quaint candies,¬†mimosas and an abundance of flowers.

Sometimes private events have an uncomfortable aura about them when the guests feel disengaged. This year’s¬†tea party was perhaps one of the¬†best family parties I have ever hosted. Somehow there was a connection to be¬†made for everyone in the room. ¬†Time flew as guests mingled, ate, drank and participated in our terrarium-building craft. For those awkward party moments, I like putting an activity in place for people to participate in if they cannot find a conversation they feel at home with.


The terrarium building was a huge success. Everyone at the party from 8 years old to 60 enjoyed putting together a pretty little living thing to take home. This activity was very easy to accommodate. We purchased small glass containers from goodwill for $1 or less as well as collected our old mason jars. We used rocks and soil from our yard as well as a few plants. We purchased some moss and the remainder of the plants. The total cost came to about $25. That’s $1 per person! And unlike other crafts, this one was completely sustainable. Now that’s something to smile about:

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Overall, the tea party was a huge success. Like every event, there is something to learn. I learned that terrariums were an awesome activity which added edge to the tea party; it gave everyone an opportunity to play in the dirt with their Sunday best on! I felt so thankful to be surrounded by such a loving, happy  crowd. The end of summer is the perfect time for this event, my friends and I are antsy to see each other once more before we head back to school, and my mom and her friends love catching up over sweets and smiles. Sometimes, timing really is everything. Any theme ideas for next year?

Tea-party on!







Chicago, Chicago

I love Chicago. Always¬†the obvious¬†tourist, I can’t help but gaze up the walls of the beautiful architecture¬†in the heart of the city.¬†Chicago¬†is home to¬†some of the greatest art, people and neighborhoods I have ever known. This past week,¬†I made¬†my fifth trip to Chicago.

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I ¬†began my visit by venturing to the Inter-Continental Hotel. Online I read about the renowned architecture and beautiful event spaces which can be toured for free.¬†During my visit, there was a wedding taking place at the hotel and tours were not being given. However I did get to wander around the marble pillars in the lobby and even go upstairs to see the luxurious swimming pool. The hotel was once¬†a men’s athletic club and the swimming space still retains some of it’s original 1920’s design. Famous Olympians have swam at the Inter-Continental and by the looks of it, perhaps kings and queens as well!

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After I was finished gawking at the splendor of the Inter-Continental, I walked purposefully toward one of my favorite places in the world- the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute houses 300,000 works of art and I always leave inspired. With so much to see, I always try to wander into new rooms during my time at the Art Institute. This year’s wandering lead me to the old Chicago stock exchange trading room. Just across the stairs from the mesmerizing¬†Chagall windows is a reconstructed Trading Room. There are tables and chairs set up as well as a baby grand piano suggesting the many events that are held in this corner of the museum. The history etched into the walls and ceiling would surely add priceless value to any event held here.


My long weekend in Chicago was hot and humid but also full of inspiration by way of art, history and people. Like usual, I had an incredible time in the city. I even met a woman who works for an event company that I plan on applying to in the spring! I can’t wait until my next visit¬†ūüôā


Fourth of July


Wishing you all a festive and family-filled fourth! My close family of four opted for a more relaxed holiday this year, signing off from all things stressful. My sister and I spent the morning golfing with family friends while my parents took a walk around the neighborhood. The rest of the day was spent lounging around and slowly preparing food for the evening. My dad did the grilling while I prepared all the sweets!



Our Menu:
Grilled steak
Grilled lemon pepper shrimp

Grilled corn on the cob
Grilled veggies (asparagus, sweet potato, red pepper, vidalia onion)
Fruit salad (watermelon, peaches, grapes, spritzed with lime)

Peach Sangria (muscato+muddled peaches and blueberries+tonic water)

Eaton Mess (layers of homemade whipped cream, berries, and meringue)

And of course, S’mores!



The Davenport Grand

Recently I tagged along on my mother’s work trip to a hidden gem: Spokane, WA! While commonly known for it’s past¬†of red wagon’s and¬†the last¬†world fair, there is still excitement and inspiration to be found in the “Lilac City”.

The logo for the Sokane World Fair is to the right. The fExpo '74 Logoair was titled “The Fair and the Falls: Spokane’s Expo ’74, Transforming an American Environment” and was meant to focus on the need and ambition to take care of our planet. The city of Spokane even released 1,974 trout into the river at the commencement of the fair to show their commitment to a sustainable environment (Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest). I love the green initiative they took for this event and can only dream of what it would be like to plan a world fair.

While this history is exciting in itself, I found myself equally intrigued by the Old Davenport Hotel, a part of the Davenport Hotel Collection. This hotel is the oldest in the collection, having been around for 100 years. The hotel contains renovated event spaces that transport you to a different time (pictures shown above and below). I could only fantasize the splendor of the parties held in this corner of the world and will be anxiously checking for event positions there when I graduate in the fall.


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