by Allen J. Sheinman | August 01, 2010

An acknowledged pioneer in the event-production industry, Andrea Michaels already was a veteran planner when she started Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Extraordinary Events in 1988, for which she still serves as president. She wrote about her colorful career in the recently published Reflections of a Successful Wallflower (

What was the industry like when you began? I entered the business in 1973, when there was no event industry as we know it today -- just a few fundraisers, that was it. Within a few years I had hooked up with others with like thinking, and the whole idea of special events in the corporate world was born.

What was the idea behind starting your own business? I wanted to do innovative, creative and very targeted work. I didn't want to just act like a fulfillment company, but rather to understand the motivation behind and the meaning of the event, and cater to that.

What advice would you give to a would-be independent planner today? I'd say, if you're not sure of what you're doing, please don't do it, or your efforts will be to the detriment of the entire industry. Study the methods of people who do first-rate events. Get the best attorney and accountant you can. Adhere to a personal code of ethics, or it will come to haunt you later on. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? I write, read, go to the theater. I also enjoy my grandchildren -- the way they bring joy to their experiences is so wonderful. 


On the Move

PlannersDavid Weil Promoted at SmithBucklin
Association management company SmithBucklin has promoted David Weil to vice president, event services. Weil, who has more than 20 years of experience in trade show management and special-event planning, previously had been serving as client relationship supervisor for a number of SmithBucklin clients. He will work in the company's Chicago office.

Suppliers Peter J. Bonell has been appointed to serve as director of sales and marketing at the 462-room Paradise Point & Spa in San Diego.

Kevin Busch has been hired as director of marketing for the 372-room Clift San Francisco.

NYC & Company, New York City's destination marketing organization, has named Lina Cantillo regional director, national accounts. Her territory is the Northeast.

Fernando Ching has been named resident manager of the 1,500-room Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.

The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau has appointed Brian Chung to the post of convention sales manager, Washington, D.C., regional sales.

Reggie Dominique has been named director of sales and marketing at the 336-room Ritz Carlton, San Francisco.

Barceló Hotels & Resorts has named Magda Hanna director of meeting and incentive sales for the West Coast.

John Hyland has been hired as managing director, Eastern region, of the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. In addition, Emily Davis was appointed convention services manager of the bureau, and Leslie Santamaria was named protocol and sister-cities manager.

Jason Parsons has been hired as general manager of the 319-room Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.

Jim Tolbert and Wahid Razaqi have been appointed national sales managers at the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

Spencer Yeo has been appointed hotel manager for the 119-room L'Ermitage Beverly Hills (Calif.), which will become the Viceroy L'Ermitage over the next year.