February Newsletter Print

President's Report

February is the month of love and we love our members. The 2016 Board met on February 1st for our retreat. The goal of the retreat was to align all of us on the board with common goals. We had lots of great discussion on what we thought we needed to move our Chapter forward. We ended with three goals to concentrate our efforts: member retention/grow our membership, show value in the membership and have awesome educational programs.

What does member value look like? What is important to our members? We had lots of discussion around why 50% of our attendance at meetings is from non-members. How do we show our members their value in these meetings and turn non-members into members? As you have seen, the Board voted to change our pricing structure, keeping the early bird membership price the same at $40 (effective April). As we know, costs go up year over year and the Chapter has not taken any increases in a long time. We felt it important to recognize our members and kept the early bird pricing the same to show you value. We also appreciate all the non-members who want to pick and choose which educational programs speaks to them and understand that you have different commitments. So, you will notice only a small increase. Again, the early bird registration offers the best value.

Please always feel free to come to me (or any Board member) and give me your feedback on how we can help show value in your membership. We want to make 2016 great for all of us!

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Fundraising & Raffle Recap


Join us on March 21 at the Grand for our annual fundraiser benefitting Moveable Feast. Come meet, mingle and taste dishes provided by Chef Brigitte of Miss Shirley’s, Chef Egg, Chef Pellegrino, Chef Hisley of La Cakerie and many more! The “Four Chefs and A Pairing” event is one you do not want to miss! Early bird ticket prices are available until Wednesday, February 17. Follow the link to purchase tickets…


*If interested in sponsorship for this event, please contact Mary Carballo at [email protected] or Terry Lombardi at[email protected]


-Your Fundraising Co-Chairs

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Community Service

A big thanks to all our members for attending the January NACE meeting at the Four Seasons and helping our cause for the month of January. With your help we were able to collect 488 diapers for the House of Ruth Maryland.  The House of Ruth Maryland is one of the nation's leading intimate partner violence centers, helping thousands of battered women and their children find the safety and security that so many of us take for granted.


If you have any suggestions for other charities in Baltimore we would love to hear from you. Please email April Lichtenberg directly at [email protected]

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Membership Specials & Welcome New Members

Welcome New Members:
Jodi Radebaugh
Rebecca Dongarra, Facility Manager at Historic Oakland, Town Center Community Center
Brian Haysbert, Vice President at Forum Caterers
Scott Reacher, Torrent Lounge Events
Member Benefits:
Did you know that if you are a member of NACE, HoneyBook offers a discount on their technology program designed to help you streamline your business. Go here to check to view more member benefits.
New Member OrientationIf you are a new member, thinking about joining, or just want to learn more about NACE, join us on Monday, February 15th at 5:30pm right before the NACE meeting at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor. We will be going over the benefits of being a member and how you can become more involved to get the most out of your membership. If you have any questions, please contact me at[email protected].
Meeting Price ChangesOne of our goals as chapter leaders of NACE is to improve member benefits so more Baltimore catering and event professionals will join our chapter to move their careers and businesses forward. Because of this goal, our pricing structure for non members has changed slightly. If you decide to become or already are a Baltimore NACE member, you will now save $20 per meeting if you sign up during the early bird special. That is a 33% savings just for being a member! This savings was previously only $10 per meeting. Early bird member pricing remains the same for members, but the differential for non-members has increased. These prices will go into effect for the April meeting.


Early Bird


At Door


(current price)




Member (new price)





(current price)





(new price)





 Because of this change, now is an even better time to join NACE if you are not already a member! If you would like to join our chapter and take advantage of these savings, go here. If you are still not ready to take that next step, we look forward to seeing you at the next meeting as a non member. If you have any questions about this pricing change, please feel free to contact Baltimore NACE Chapter President, Sherri Griffis at [email protected]. If you have any questions about membership and all of the amazing benefits you will gain from joining our chapter, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected].
Day-of Meeting PaymentsIf you are typically a walk in for meetings or pre-register, but pay at the door, please note that we will no longer accept credit cards. You must pay with cash/check. If you must pay with a credit card, you will need to do so online before the deadline. This policy will go into effect at the April meeting.


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Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Karen Buck, Publisher at Wedding411
1) Tell me about Wedding411 and what exactly it is? Can other vendors become involved with Wedding411? 
Wedding411 is a local resource; by Marylanders for Marylanders. Our multi-media business model consists of a 350+ page Magazine – Website – Social Media – Database Marketing & Fulfillment – Monthly Newsletter to our database of engaged couples – Monthly Newsletter to over 5,000 Maryland wedding & special event professionals – Networking Luncheons – Private Consulting on general advertising/marketing & special events - participate in over 80 local wedding shows yearly.
We welcome the opportunity to learn about your business and  to see if there is a fit for us to effectively partner with each other.
3) How did Wedding411 come to creation? What was your background before this? 
In 1972 I started working in my Mom’s flower shop, Flowers By Penny Lane in Reisterstown, as a Bridal Consultant; I went on to manage one of her stores. In 1988 I was on a committee that brought the National Figure Skating Championship to Baltimore; my specific job was to design the souvenir program. I enjoyed doing it so much, I borrowed money and purchased a franchise for a magazine that my Mom’s store advertised in. The name of the magazine was WeddingPages. In 1995, I sold the magazine back to the parent company, who had just been purchased by The Knot. I became a Regional Director for The Knot covering from Philadelphia to the Florida Keys. In 2001, I purchased six franchises for Perfect Wedding Guide (Maryland/Central Pa/Philadelphia/South Jersey/Delaware/Richmond).  I successfully ran that franchise for ten years till 2011 when my husband and I decided to start Wedding411.
The advantage we have is working within the marketplace and being very involved in the community. I believe we understand the pulse of the wedding/special event industry in Maryland, our backyard, and can adapt our business model constantly as it changes.
Change is inevitable; Growth is optional  -  we have always acted on this core principle.
4) You have been a NACE member for quite a long time. How many years is it? What advice can you offer to new members or to guests thinking about joining to get the most out of their membership? 
This will be my 25th year as a NACE member in Baltimore.  I have been on the board and worked on various committees in the early years. Like anything in life; you get out what you put in. To meet the wonderful members and feel like you are truly a part of this worthwhile organization you must get involved. The contacts will be invaluable, the variety of topics brought forward at the monthly meetings will be helpful whether you are an entrepreneur or working for a large company.
5) Tell us something about you that we don't know. Hobbies? Family? A funny story?
Hobbies – Riding my horse, Lake at least 5 evenings a week, I am a Lay Counselor for my church, gardening – and my hidden hobby, playing online poker! 
Family – Jay and I are blessed with 4 beautiful daughters who have given us 4 grandsons and we are expecting 2 more in the next couple of months (OK Jay has his team; where is my cheerleading squad?)
A Funny Story – When I met Jay in 1997 I convinced him to join me in my world of magazine publishing. He eclipsed me and became the National Sales Director for The Knot, which is how everyone thinks we met. Actually, he was a runner and ran up to me as I was washing my car on a Saturday morning. Get a visual here - I had just come back from the gym with a baseball cap on and thought I would wash my car before changing and going about my day. When he ran up to me, I gave him almost no eye contact and as he likes to say; I told him to just keep on running…..he did, but I’m glad he circled back.


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Program Recap

In what is starting to become a Baltimore NACE tradition we were thrilled to celebrate the New Year with our Member Recognition Event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East.

 Hors d’oeuvres included Tuna Tartare in Squid Ink; Pita with Hummus, Pecorino Cheese and Truffle Oil; Duck Spring Rolls  and Mushroom Arancini.

 The program was devoted to recognizing our membership with awards as well as inducting the 2016 Board of Directors. Joe Mahoney, CPCE, NACE National President came into town to help us with the honors. The 2016 Board is:


Sherri Griffis, CPCE
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront


Immediate Past President
Rachel Hoffberger
Plan It Perfect


Christopher Sikora
Harbor Magic Hotels/Pier 5 Hotel


Paula Jean Belletiere
Cruise Planners


Scott Johnson, CMP, CDS


Director of Membership
Ashley M Sullivan
Ashley Michelle Photography


Director of Marketing
John Paul Berry, Jr.
Cruise Planners


Director of Programs
Brian Morse
Washington Talent Agency


Director of Meetings
Petra Compel
The Grand and Embassy Suites


Hospitality Chair
Jay Day
Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore


Community Service Representative
April Lichtenberg
Flowers & Fancies


Co-Directors of Fundraising
Mary Carballo
AFR Event Furnishings


Terry Lombardi

Manor Tavern


Award-winners for the 2015 calendar year …



Rachel Hoffberger, Plan It Perfect

April Lichtenberg, Flowers & Fancies

Vickie  Preston, Entertainment Exchange

Debra May, Millennium Marketing Solutions



Mary Carballo, AFR Event Furnishings



Debra Woodward, Select Event Group



Terry Lombardi, Manor Tavern



Vickie Preston, Entertainment Exchange



October 2015

“The Farm to Table Movement”

?Chef's Expressions

?Daniel McGarrity Photography

?Entertainment Exchange

?Gala Cloths

?Innovative Party Planners

?Maryland Productions

?Nik's Nak Events & Stationery

?Zinnia Films


After the program there were delicious dinner stations provided by the Four Seasons including:


Cheese Selection: Fresh & Dried Fruit, Baguette, Crisps and Crackers; Charcuterie with Cornichons, Mustard and Grilled Baguette; Salt Roasted Heirloom Beets, Maytag Blue Cheese, Spiced Pecans; BBQ'ed Octopus, Grilled Potatoes, Fire Roasted Bell; Peppers, Capers 

Flat bread station 
Veggie Lovers: Grilled Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Fontina Cheese 
Meat: Pepperoni, Bacon, Meatballs, Mozzarella 
The Italian: Melted leeks, Ricotta, Pancetta, Truffle Oil 

Comfort food 
Individual Lobster Mac & Cheese 
Bourbon & Honey Glazed Pork belly, Beer Mustard 
Lamb Meat Balls, Sunday Gravy, Feta and Rosemary Crumbs 


Dessert Station

Chocolate Mousse with Salted Caramel and Hazelnut ; Red Velvet Cheesecake; Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fruit Gelee; Chocolate Dipped French Macaroon Pops 


Many thanks to all of our sponsor vendors:

Four Seasons Hotel (Martha Morningstar)

Classic Collective DJ’s (Carl Brashears and Leni Kern)

Eric Stocklin Photography

Flowers & Fancies (April Lichtenberg)

mlc designs (Madeline Comoglio)

Select Event Group (Debra Woodward and Kelly Andres)


We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on February 15, 2016 at the Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards for the 2016 version of “What’s Hot, What’s Not” featuring Petra Compel and Andrew Zill!


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