PAULA BENSON (R) WITH MEGAN WOLFE AT BIZMIX LOS ANGELES
Paula Benson, Productions Manager, has been with The Elliot Group since 2015. Paula has a background in Sales & Marketing, and Special Event Planning. She has 17 years of experience in the private sector and 8 years of non-profit management and volunteer experience. Her private sector marketing experience covers the hospitality, technology, direct marketing and financial industries.
We spoke to Paula about the ever-changing hospitality industry and her favorite Elliot Event.
Prior to joining Elliot, you worked in the marketing and non-profit world. What inspired you to join the hospitality industry?
During college, I worked at a lakeside golf resort and I truly enjoyed the energy of the environment. Once I graduated, my focus was to find a marketing job. I landed at Kings Dominion, a theme park near Richmond, Virginia, where I worked in special events. I loved going to work every single day. To be closer to family, I moved to Boston and landed a marketing position in the financial industry, later moved on to the technology sector, and eventually the non-profit world. While all these positions offered me vital career growth and valuable marketing and advertising experiences, my heart always missed those early years of my career in the hospitality sector. I am glad to be able to utilize those experiences now and work with people who are passionate about having a positive impact on the industry which is so dynamic, creative, and diverse.
You have worked on many events at Elliot. Which event has been the most memorable for you?
They say your first one is always the most memorable, don’t they? It’s true in this case. I joined Elliot to help organize and execute Elliot’s Restaurant Memorabilia Collection event in 2015. I was impressed with the plans for the event, but the notable guest list and the collection curated for the event absolutely WOWED me. It became very clear to me that The Elliot Group garnered deep respect from the industry to be trusted by so many iconic brands who donated some of their most treasured memorabilia. The razzle-dazzle red carpet event will always be one that glows in my memory.
How do you see Elliot Events impacting the industry?
It’s almost as if Elliot Events are think tanks in social settings. Our guest lists are filled with the movers and shakers of the hospitality industry, who often don’t have the opportunity to break bread with someone of their position on a regular basis. At Elliot Events, we lay the groundwork for these powerful leaders to gather and connect in ways that can be valuable for them professionally and personally for years to come.
What do you enjoy most about event production?
Two things: the first is teamwork, to bring it all together. The second is connecting people who may have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise and giving them the chance to build productive relationships.
How has the restaurant/hospitality world evolved since you started working in the industry?
It has become more sophisticated, even at the single unit level. Everyone is aware of their competition and constantly finding creative ways to differentiate themselves as they catch trends early to be on the cutting edge. It’s also amazing that emerging brands are now tending to be the trendsetters for the larger chains. The successful brands know they need to evolve to compete and realize maintaining the same game plans from their opening days will not keep them in the game for the long term.
The collaboration of efforts put into creating each unique Elliot Experience at our events is something I’m very proud to be a part of. I work with smart, creative, generous teammates who each offer unique talents as we build great experiences for our guests. Everyone at Elliot is here to “positively change lives, businesses and industries” and they do it with humility and respect to each other, the client, and the process. A lot is expected from each of us to live up to the standards Alice Elliot has established through her attention to detail and deep respect for each client and assignment. The example set by the legacy makers at The Elliot Group inspires dedication in all of us – and the spirit of teamwork here was one of the first things I noticed when I joined the firm.