Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: Phone: 440.725.8861...

Corporate Event Planner of the Year — Jeannie Vassanelli, Director of Sales and Event Operations, Executive Caterers

Jeannie Vassanelli spent much of 2015 inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the site of several corporate events assigned to her company, Executive Caterers. Instead of treating her recurring event-planning role like a broken record, she made each function unique. During just one month alone Vassanelli organized celebrity-themed events, book signings, green rooms, acoustic concert support, chef’s competitions, a kosher wedding, board member events of gratitude, a rapper’s delight, and four corporate events that went on simultaneously for different groups. Outside the walls of the Rock Hall, Vassanelli managed an “event planner’s dream,” she said — the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony in April at Cleveland Public Hall. “The greatest challenge was all of the moving pieces,” she said. “For example, when load–in times changed, congesting the dock, or when a staff member became unavailable or when the guest count fluctuated a few hours before the event, these challenges allowed me, as the planner, to utilize my organizational, delegation, and communication skills to ensure success. Without proper pre-planning leadership and real-time organization, the guest experience would not have been successful.” Some of the tools she used were Zone and Area packing modules, color-coded floorplans, social media tools for clear and swift communication, and an “all hands on deck” approach to create a team atmosphere. “Overall the response was fantastic, but, with all events, some obstacles did arise,” Vassanelli said. “Last-minute green room changes and special requests, seating assignment changes, and event staging location changes were among the potential trouble spots, but with the help of 74 front-of-the-house staff, 18 managers, and no fewer than 40 back-of-house teams of chefs, prep cooks, HR coordinators, volunteers and logistics and personnel, success was possible.”

Runners-up: Adina Magda, Event Manager, Council of Smaller Enterprises; Amber Muslusky, Event Planning Manager, Corporate College; Matthew Swiger, Events Director/Sales Manager, Quail Hollow Country Club; Anne Thompson, Manager of Facility Rentals and Events, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.


2015 — Jeannie Vassanelli, Executive Caterers
2014 —  Anne H. Doyle, Lake Health
2013 — Amanda Lockhart, MCPc
2012 — Deborah Smythe Hermann, GhostLight Productions
2011 — Deborah Smythe Hermann, GhostLight Productions
2010 — Deborah Smythe Hermann, GhostLight Productions
2009 — Durga Chigurupati, Adhya Productions
2008 — Durga Chigurupati, Adhya Productions
2007 — (onsite) Kelly Dowling, YWCA of Greater Cleveland
2007 — (offsite) Mark Cheplowitz, Wizard of Ahs

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