• Meet Audrey Fan, Compassion at Work

     
    FROM THE Winter 2019 ISSUE
     

    Logistics pro Audrey Fan never loses sight of the most important detail of a meeting and event: the people. 

When someone outside of the meetings and events industry asks event producer Audrey Fan what she does for a living, she tells them that she’s a butler who works with clients to strategize, orchestrate and complete the task at hand.

The tasks at hand she’s completed over her career are mighty impressive. She’s been part of the teams to open the Meydenbauer Center, The Paramount Hotel Seattle and Elliott Grand Hyatt Seattle. She was the first corporate national account director for the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau (increasing the market segment by more than 4,000 percent). And she has worked logistics for everything from the national Broadway Tour of Mamma Mia in Hawaii (her home state) to two Super Bowl–bound football teams and numerous association and corporate conferences.

One of the things Fan says she loves about the meetings and events industry is the ability to see and learn about the world through the eyes of many different cultures, industries and situations. “I love the satisfaction of providing memorable experiences for people through the meeting, conference or event, as well as providing the platform for humanity to connect with one another through these events,” she says.

That connection to humanity was front and center while Fan was supporting the recent Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. “I was in charge of setting up the media center for basketball. The area was not set up according to the layout: Pipe and draped areas were actually locker rooms for the teams. So after a hectic 45 minutes of scrambling and setting up a proper media center to support the reporters, photographers and networks in this area, I recall seeing a dad with his intellectually disabled young child, who was overwhelmed. I realized this father had been in the same spot, calmly talking to his son, and after 30 minutes, the young child reached out and hugged him. It is a reminder that we all need to have patience and compassion to overcome any obstacle,” she says. 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.

 

Danielle Boyles’ first job in hospitality was at the front desk of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario. “I lived and worked in Asia for four years and learned to speak Japanese while I was there. The Royal York hired me on the spot to work at the front desk and with the Japanese tour groups. I never looked back,” she says.

 

Shelly Tolo’s clients are a loyal bunch, with good reason.