MELISSA MINTO, DIRECTOR OF CATERING & EVENTS: WESTOOD COUNTRY CLUB

ASSOCIATION AND LEADERSHIP ROLE: President: International Live Events Association | Austin Chapter

HIGHLIGHTS started out as a server in a private country club before working her way up the ladder and overseeing a flawless VIP “unicorn” event. Believes it’s important to be compassionate and patient and to learn compromise. Works with clients through an entire lifecycle of events.

How long have you been in the meetings and events industry, and what was your first job? I’ve been in the industry for 13 years. My first job was as a server at a private country club in Atlanta, Georgia.

What do you love most about your job? I get to create lifelong memories for our members and their guests. Working in a private club, we have a built-up membership in which I see a lot of the same people over and over again. I get to plan graduations that turn into weddings, that turn into baby showers, that turn into children’s birthday parties. It’s basically a circle of life through special events. I love when a couple comes in to plan a 40-year anniversary party in the same room of the clubhouse where they were married. It’s so wonderful to hear them recap memories of previous events that have affected their lives in which I was able to be a part of.

What has been the biggest challenge in your work? Besides COVID of course, my biggest challenge is also what I love so much about my job. As mentioned, I get to see a lot of the same people repeatedly to plan their different life events. This can be challenging because I’m expected to raise the bar every single time. The next event is always expected to be better than the last. It can be a lot of pressure, and if something does go unexpectedly, they still return to the club. Nothing is worse than seeing someone with whom you’ve had an experience that was not up to their expectations. (Yes, it has happened!)

What is your favorite career memory? My favorite memory goes back to when I was a banquet captain over 10 years ago. We were executing a dinner for our current and previous board members at a club that I got my start at in Atlanta. The dinner was nine courses with a wine pairing for each course, and it required synchronized service. The evening went flawlessly from start to finish. Every single team member was at their absolute best, and we held to the timeline by the exact minute. It was, as I like to call, a “unicorn” event.

What is your favorite quote? “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This quote is from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually practiced this saying. Too often in a conflict we want the other party to understand us, without first understanding them. It has opened my eyes to being more compassionate and patient, as well as to learn how to compromise, especially in holding the current position as president of ILEA Austin Chapter.

Any favorite business book recommendations? “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. I read this book probably about 15 years ago, and I still go back to reference it from time to time. He explains the art of networking in an organic way as well as the power of relationships, and most importantly, in my opinion, dinner parties.

Planners looking for a destination with an array of venue types, all catering to small-scaled meetings, and fun after-hours entertainment need look no further than McKinney, located just 30 miles north of Dallas. Whether historic, nature-based, modern, or situated in a Croatian village, McKinney’s venues are designed to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

 

Engage with peers and leaders in Plano, Texas, during this learning and networking event.

The Texas Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus has announced the location of its 2023 Winter Conference. Attendees will gather in Plano, Texas, from January 17-20, 2023. The yearly event gives destination marketing organization staff and leadership the opportunity to learn from expert presenters, meet industry mentors, and find camaraderie in an atmosphere of learning and innovation.

 

Event hosts can choose whether the view rotates or stays put.

The iconic Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas will soon welcome a new restaurant, Crown Block steakhouse. Reunion Tower restaurants have been renown over the years for their slowly rotating view of the city. However, owners and husband-wife business partners Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau have chosen to keep the dining area stationary. The previous restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty, spun 360 degrees, but it closed in 2020 during the pandemic.