Continuing Education as a Guest
Happy Minnesota spring in February! Whether you did something special for Valentine’s Day, had President’s Day off of work, or have been out on foot or bike enjoying this unseasonably warm weather, I hope this month has been filled with memorable experiences.
While I am most in my element planning events, making time to be a guest provides new ideas and reinforces what Ann Plans embraces as best practices. I attended two events this month which provided an exceptional guest experience.
At the Airlie Winery wine dinner at Wise Acres Eatery on February 7, Steve and I appreciated the flawless service and being seated next to the delightful owner of the Oregon Winery, Mary Olson. The spot-on food and wine pairings included a finale of frozen chocolate truffle cake with citrus preserves and berry whipped cream – served with a glass of Pinot. This was a dining experience we’ll long remember.
My continuing education as a guest this month included the 10th Anniversary Arc Gala. Read on to learn what made this evening memorable.
A Night to Remember
The Arc Greater Twin Cities is one of the organizations I consult with through my work with Fladeboe Auctions. Arc’s mission is to promote and protect the human rights of people with disabilities, actively supporting them and their families in a lifetime of full inclusion and participation in the community.
I was fortunate to attend the 10th Anniversary Arc Gala on Saturday, February 11 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center. Here are highlights from my experience as a guest:
- We appreciated the two hotel personnel who warmly welcomed us at the elevator and made sure we knew the event space was on the fourth floor.
- Every volunteer we encountered was friendly and helpful including the registration team, the young man who took our coats, and the gentleman who invited us to walk the red carpet to have our photo taken.
- I loved this year’s event theme: “With our Voices.” The voices of people with disabilities were heard through the opening video featuring self-advocates sharing what makes a good life, two self-advocates who spoke on stage, and three self-advocates whose voices were heard through short videos sprinkled throughout the program. Self-advocates were also represented on the Gala planning committee.
- Other mission features of the evening included large and engaging photos in the reception space (see photo 1 below), announcements and introductions pre-recorded by Arc self-advocates, and the opportunity for anyone whose event attire included an item purchased at one of The Arc’s Value Village thrift stores to be entered into a drawing.
- My favorite reception activity was the wine toss. The impressive tiered display (see photo 2 below) generated a lot of fun and excitement. For $20, guests tossed four rings to win as many bottles as they could successfully ring. (We came home with one bottle!)
- In honor of the Gala’s 10th anniversary, a champagne toast was made at the VIP reception. The anniversary video shown during the program included photos from the previous galas and specifics of how the dollars raised have made a difference for people with disabilities.
- The live auction packages generated great energy and raised $55,000. A New York City luxury loft weekend stay with tickets to the Broadway sensation Hamilton and an exclusive wine experience at a Sonoma vineyard cottagewere the top selling items raising $8,000 each.
- Well-known storyteller and playwright Kevin Kling added humor and heart to the evening with stories sharing his journey as someone with a disability.
- Steve and I will long remember this fun, mission-filled event which raised a record-breaking $525,000+.
Whether your role at upcoming events is planner, host or guest, I hope we have provided some ideas and inspiration.