by Clayon Huggins
Anyone who’s ever pulled off an event knows it’s hard work. Skinny budgets, simultaneous deliveries, technical support, marketing materials and the politics of seating arrangements, are just some of the details that beg attention.
Event planners thrive in this environment, organizing seamless productions for their clients. TAP recently caught up with Peter Stafford and Stacey Bonello, two New York based planners. Whether you’re trying to pin down the services that a professional can offer, or get some pointers on how to get started in the industry, these folks have a lot of wisdom to share.
Peter Stafford, Peter Stafford Events: While completing an undergraduate degree in political science and African American studies at City College, Stafford made his first foray into event planning. He volunteered in the college’s PR Department and was eventually hired on. There, he gained invaluable experience orchestrating events for President Bill Clinton, Governor Mario Cuomo, Cardinal Edward Egan and Congressman Charles Rangel. He went on to study event planning and sports management at NYU; preparation which serves him well as he plans the future of Peter Stafford Events.
Stacey Bonello, S.Bonello Enterprises, Inc.: Bonello studied psychology, fine arts and music at Hofstra University. There are plans to enroll in NYU’s event management program and secure a certification in meeting planning, but for now she devotes her energy to business. She started catering weddings and banquets with her mother at an early age, discovering a passion for cooking and decorating. Today she has 15 years of experience under her belt, having overseen countless weddings, concerts and events for institutions like Hofstra University and Fordham Business School. She’s not afraid to cross national and state borders for work, counting the Dominican Republic, Florida and Georgia within her jurisdiction.
Why did you start this business?
PS: Because I don’t have to deal with the politics, I set my own schedule and I’m doing something that fits my personality.
SB: While planning sales meetings for my former employer and being the events coordinator at my local church, I discovered that I had a passion for it. Friends and family soon encouraged me to try my hand at making a living at it.
What’s your mission statement?
PS: To provide the best management service available in all aspects of your event.
SB: You tell us your vision and we will bring your dreams to fruition. Our services range from the full design and development of your theme to solely providing our expertise for your event. Our creativity, attention to detail, organization skills and ability to multitask will ensure a unique celebration.
What makes your company unique?
PS: I’m a boutique firm that will give you more individualized attention, more personal service. Consider me your “doctor on call for your events”.
SB: I’m something of a “One Stop Shop” for events. I love adding my “signature” to each aspect of the event, making it a unique experience for each client. If I can’t do everything myself, I have the resources to hire more than capable and trusted colleagues and vendors to get the job done right.