We had the good fortune of connecting with Shellie Neuman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shellie, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
What an applicable topic for the times right now! Professionally, my business partner and I have been challenged more than ever during this season. After starting our business almost 6 years ago, we were slated to have our best year yet financially and opportunity-wise. That is, until March approached us and the entire live events world shut down, immediately. Every flight canceled, all hotel contracts postponed or voided, every one of our beloved vendor/partner contracts halted, all registration sites shut down and both our reality and dreams put to the test. Being a small business, we had a choice to do the same (shut down) or keep doing what we’ve been doing all along: adapting, being optimistic, getting creative, learning, going to Plan B, advising and consoling our clientele, being a friend/confidant and most importantly – continue dreaming. We took inventory on our past work, our advancements, our current standing with our clients, our coveted industry relationships, our drive, our confidence, past testimonials and our belief that the world has to gather again, especially sales teams and executives. As human beings, we have to. So onward we forge. Trying to stay relevant to our clients and vendors, thinking of creative ways to conduct engaging virtual events in the meantime and all the while, growing individually and as a team. Giving up isn’t in our dictionary, but we are also mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, tax-paying citizens and smart women. Therefore, we aren’t illusive to not understand that there may be a time where financially we can’t withstand without sacrificing the above. But until that approaches us, fear will not lead us. But rather, faith, passion and determination. Giving up, never. Adapting, always.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am so incredibly blessed to have landed in the hospitality industry. I believe every career move is a step closer to finding a place where passion and opportunity meet. I have definitely found my passion: blending my gift of serving, my love of people, my craving of creativity, my interest in the business/corporate world and my dream of executing fabulous events for our clients. Starting out my career in New York City working for a publicity firm that represented Broadway shows, I quickly knew I loved the intensity and lights around the show openings, parties, interviews and all the events surrounding the on-stage production. I learned a lot about PR, promotions, VIPs, press, marketing, timeliness and multiple collaborators working together for one cause. After moving on to both corporate and other promotional/event agencies, I felt a yearning to do something on my own. My past experience taught me both what I wanted to be and what I didn’t want to become – and how to handle stressful situations. Events are already stressful by nature, so learning to control reaction and find solutions is major part of what we do. I have found that our clients appreciate our honestly, work ethic, creativity, love for their people and flawless execution. We are a small business but know how to handle big tasks and big obstacles. We have had our internal struggles as every company does, but with open communication, realistic expectations, encouragement, space (when needed) and the same end game, we continue to grow as a team and produce amazing events. People are flawed, but people are people – and we work very hard to personally be at peace and positive so we can pass on our gifts to others. Since the pandemic hit (and really smashed our industry), it’s been more important than ever to serve, love on, communicate with our clients, our partners and our team. We will gather again and until then, we must continue to love and serve.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
OMG – so many options! But, right now, we are loving the Virgin Hotel and everything around that area. So, here you go: Monday: Arrivals R&D Kitchen for lunch (such consistent food and service) Walk that shopping area to window shop Check into Virgin Hotel and enjoy the rooftop and a few cocktails Dinner at Town Hearth Tuesday: Breakfast Workout Spa Appointment & Lunch at The Joule Hotel Spa Get ready and explore the downtown area/shop Dinner at Shinsei Wednesday: Coffee, workout Head to Grapevine (that’s wear I live) and walk Main Street Late lunch & margs at Mi Dia Scratch Kitchen Take train to Fort Worth Stockyards and walk the area Uber to Thompson’s to get a few cocktails and do their speakeasy Dinner on the rooftop of the Reata Uber back to Virgin Hotel for rooftop drinks Thursday: Sleep in, breakfast, workout Head north to Legacy West Lunch at North Italia or True Food Kitchen Mani/Pedi Shop Legacy West Apps and Drinks for Happy Hour at Kai Enjoy a night in before the weekend Friday: Coffee & brunch at Accession near Virgin Walk the Design District then visit the JFK memorial/area Enjoy the Virgin Pool Drinks and live music at the Commons Club Late dinner at The Charles After dinner drinks at The Charles Bar Saturday: Brunch at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts Walk those shops and streets Flower workshop at DIRT Head to Trinity Groves to get chocolates and have an afternoon snack Catch a yoga class Dinner at Drake’s Sunday: Brunch at Meddlesome Moth Departure
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutouts – I could go on and on! First and foremost, God above. Secondarily, my daughter for being my reason. Next, my business partner, Kimberly Willis, in believing in me and us. And, can’t fail to mention our amazing clients that I learn something from daily. And, finally my family and friend circle who constantly encourage, challenge and support me.
Peter Jordan Photography B Photography (Braden Schovanec) Betsy Barron Photography