Tag Archives: California

Foodie Loving on Catalina Island

All of the yummy foods featured on our tour.

All of the yummy foods featured on our tour.

Long time, no write! But I promise I was off doing something phenomenal that I am dying to share with you. Last week, after working an event in California, I spent the weekend relaxing and touring Catalina Island. When we ventured to the island early Saturday morning, we had no idea what was in store for us until we stumbled upon the Catalina Food Tours. I am so grateful we did!

Catalina Food Tours runs all over the island for three hours while participants sample different dishes from six local restaurants. The food was amazing but the atmosphere was even better. For a smaller tourist destination with a limited target audience, Catalina Food Tours knows how to serve its population and build its brand. I believe their keys to success included the following:

  • They instantly built credibility by having a local run the tour. Our knowledgeable and hysterical guide Jordan has lived on the island for some time and has eaten at all of the restaurants on the tour. He was passionate about sharing his wisdom on Catalina and its culture. Because of that, you knew he was giving you the best.
  • Every stop on the tour was intentional and had meaning. While we did stop at each restaurant, we also stopped at different spots on the island that had historical significance. We didn’t just walk around but rather learned about Catalina’s rich history. The conscious decision to plan out each step of the tour made it easy to follow and allowed us to learn so much more than the best places to eat on the island. By learning more, it made me personally want to return to Catalina and explore the island further.
  • For a small island with limited access to technology, the tour’s use of social media was great.
    Beautiful Catalina

    Beautiful Catalina

    They gave participants a brochure with foodie fun facts as well as all their social media information. Jordan also was actively posting while on the tour. They update regularly and happily repost or retweet their followers. The beauty of Catalina coupled with its rich history makes it easy to want to follow and learn more.

While each of these ideas is simple, I found them to be executed flawlessly by Catalina Food Tours. For a small island off the coast of California, they really know how to build their reputation and attract people to their tours. I had an amazing time on the tour and hope to return one day soon!

Motivation Mondays: Being Blessed

My apologies for being M.I.A for over a week AND for posting a little too late tonight. I was in California for work this week, so in my head, it’s only around 8pm. Much like the first time I worked this event, I came home with more insight about myself, how I work and who I work well with. I also built new relationships, some I’d even consider friendships with amazingly talented individuals. While I have a list of blog post ideas generated from my week away, today’s post is probably the most important lesson I learned in California.20130428-130305.jpg

One of the many amazing views in California

When I hear the word blessed, I immediately think religion. The priest blessed you, Jesus gave his blessing to the disciples, you get the picture. After a week of reflection on the current condition of my life, I felt overwhelming blessed. I have an amazing job with allows me to travel and work with the best of the best. My family is usually super supportive and I have the best friends anyone could ask for. I am truly blessed.

I could use the words fortunate or lucky but to me, those are feelings. Blessed is a state of being. Blessed is a mindset, a way to think about all the wonderful pieces that are part of your journey. As I headed out this morning to an overcrowded train on a rainy Monday, I tried very (and I mean very) hard to bring back the blessed state of mind I was in while away. At least I have a job to commute to.

I am not saying don’t complain. Everyone needs to vent; it is part of our human nature and is healthy. But, try to remember how blessed you are for the life you have. Even on the worst days, there is something to be thankful for. I know I am going to try harder to be humble and remember how blessed I am. I hope you will too and please keep me in check!

The Devil’s in the Details

Four days. 400 participants. Over 40 facilitators. A dozen different locations on one giant property. Countless amounts of materials. Chaos could easily ensue.

All of the statements above were true aspects of the event I worked in California last week. It was a mega event with lots of components. Now, I’ve worked events before but nothing like this. It was unreal how my team operated like a fine-oiled machine. Literally, everyone knew where they were supposed to be, what was going on and what was happening next. How does such a large-scale event go off without any real catastrophes? Here’s my take on that answer.

  • Prep Work: Before anyone stepped foot on the beautiful grounds in California, we reviewed a lifesaving document that broke down the week day by day. Each day listed the sessions occurring, who was in charge, who was helping, the materials needed, the location and the time frame. This thing was the Bible for the week. If you had a question, you just checked the spreadsheet to find the answer. No need to bother anyone else. It was the main reason why our team functioned so well.
  • Plans on Plans on Plans: There was a contingency plan for technology issues, weather issues and anything else you can think of. We even had ponchos for every participant ready to go in case the skies opened up. Every ‘what if’ situation was considered and possible solutions were evaluated all before the event took place. A detailed crisis communications plan was sent to the entire team the week before as well. Everyone was familiar with protocol and knew what steps to take in specific situations.
  • Devil’s in the Details: The attention to detail was evident in every aspect of the program. From the type of seating at open session, to the layout of each dinner, everything was intentional and was thought about beforehand. It was also clear who the target audience was throughout the program. You knew you were dealing with millennials based off of songs played, topics discussed and games selected. In my opinion, this was the most crucial part of why the program was/is successful. Conscious decisions were made in order to deliver the best possible program for attendees. Without every detail, small or large, the experience would not be the same.
  • Common Purpose: Our entire team, internal and external members, believed in the goals of the event. Each member was passionate about executing a meaningful program that would impact participants. That passionate was contagious and kept everyone motivated and energized.

I am so fortunate to have worked on such a giant event this early in my career. There were so many things I learned; the above list is just the most important. What do you think makes large-scale events successful? Add to my list!

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