March 4, 2010

Recently, thanks to my colleagues, I was nominated to be considered for the MINNESOTA MEETINGS AND EVENTS 2009 Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award.

Not aware this was in the works, I was surprised when Ann Warner of the magazine shared that Tiger Oaks Publications and the Editorial Advisory Board had selected me as the recipient. Although I hope I was gracious and reflected that I was honored, what was also racing through my mind was “This is an award usually given to old people at the end of their careers – I shouldn’t be getting this – I am not done yet! “

Nevertheless, tonight at the MME Best event at TCF Stadium, I will humbly accept – at least for the years I have invested – the recognition.

As I reflected on exactly what it was that I have achieved over the years, my thoughts took me back to an early passion for theatre – not as an actor, but that person in the background doing make up, painting scenery, designing costumes and student directing productions staged in high school and college… and of course, the one arranging the cast parties! Even then I rejected the celebrity of the performer – let others be the stars, I wanted to build the foundation, create the environment, and celebrate the successes.

When a dear friend, Mr. J, my high school drama and speech teacher sent me off to the “real world” with wishes for “bigger and better parties”, I’m sure he had no idea that indeed, I would do just that and would spend some 40 plus years passionately making meetings and events not only my avocation, but my lifetime vocation.

That interest and passion have led to opportunity after opportunity presented to me to move forward with that next “big event” – as an early player in the incentive world, to one of the first to meld show production with meeting management as a performance improvement tool, to a pioneer in Event Marketing in the early 90s, and certainly as I launched Creative Events in 1992. It was often the “first time” for much of what I tackled – and so, I was blessed to be the one making the rules, rather than having to follow the rules.

Mr. J and others – certainly those who tried to manage me over the years -would have predicted that I would not adhere to the norm but would rebel and question every rule and fully presume I could change things.

That optimism has not abandoned me. I still think I can change things – so I will continue to work in this industry into the foreseeable future. For stimulation and new viewpoints I will continue to tap into the energy of those younger that surround me today in this business, while drawing upon the inspiration of industry icons before me – such as Ruth Code. So I will keep going – still on that quest to deliver that perfect event that involves, engages, embraces and empowers those that attend-and pays dividends back to its sponsor.

Meanwhile, thank you so much, Tiger Oaks- for honoring me with this award. It’s become a new encouragement to keep going – to make it to wherever I think I am headed!


  1. Congratulations Cheryl! You deserve it and your attitude about the industry inspires. Thanks for being a part of our event last night.

  2. Bravo! Bravo!

    Such an inspiration and so generous in sharing your talent and insights.

    Truly an honor to know you and love you,


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