HALEY'S STORY {4 MINUTE READ}

After studying Political Science in undergrad, I move to Chicago with the intention of changing the world as we know it. I had recently read Thomas Friedman’s book, “The World Is Flat”, and was determined to address environmental issues as they relate to globalization. I was in the process of finding my perfect “change the world job”, when the The Great Recession hit. As I would learn, in times of economic distress becomes a shortage of “change the world jobs”. So, I landed with a job in the event industry. 

My first job was as an associate planner where I learned from a woman who had done political advance work for the Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center for many years. I have her to thank for the development of my organizational skills (thanks, Laura!).  After nearly three years, I seized the opportunity to become manager of a new private event space. Here, I gained experience running and growing a small business. During my time as a planner and venue manager I discovered that I loved the event industry. I loved building relationships with people, welcomed consistently working on new projects, enjoyed tapping into my creativity to design spaces, and relished in exploring the local food scene.

I also discovered, however, the dark underbelly of the event world. One night, at the end of the largest event production project of my career, I walked out the back door of the venue and as far as my eyes could see were heaps of waste. There was décor, flowers, food (so much food!). My back door discovery of waste led to my revelation that in our desire to come together and celebrate, we are unintentionally causing destruction to our planet. I became consumed with the notion of making events less wasteful.  

I began studying food waste and systems at the Harvard Extension School. I then traveled to several restaurants where I learned about sustainable best practices they’ve incorporated to reduce waste. This led to my development sustainable best practices that when incorporated into each phase of event planning, significantly reduce the waste produced and support the local community and economy.  I now view each event not only as a way of creating an unforgettable experience, but also as an opportunity to make a difference. I aspire to redefine the event industry, one sustainable occasion at a time.  I’d like to change how we’re planning events in Detroit, so we can change how we plan events in the world and become more conscious.