Event Planner Spotlight – Ashley Doss, Corporate Events Manager

June 20th, 2016 | hereschicago
Ashley Doss Corporate Events Manager

Ashley Doss

Here’s our interview with Ashley Doss, Corporate Events Manager, RR Donnelley in Chicago, Il. and this month’s Event Planner Spotlight!

How did you get into meeting & event planning?

The first event I planned was a fashion show in my sophomore year of college.  After creating an idea from scratch and experiencing the behind the scenes of producing an event, it clicked that I had found my niche.  During the remainder of my college years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I worked in the Engineering Department planning conferences and seminars.  Post college, I continued working in the education industry and in 2013 changed to working for non-profit associations.  Working for non-profit associations is where I gained experienced in producing events on a larger scale, working with volunteers and committees, and more complex high-profile events.

Do you see any trends in the meeting & event industry?

Now more than ever technology is changing the way we experience and produce events.

What skills do you feel it takes to be a successful meeting and event planner?

Think outside the box, ability to multi-task, work with different personalities, work under pressure and in a fast-paced industry.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My parents.  They taught me to always pursue my passion in life, be fearless, and to remain humble.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

Jamaica – the culture, loving spirit of the people, food, and music is like no other.

Who is your best friend? What do you like about him or her?

My mom is my best friend.  Most people would say she is my twin…that’s just how much we are alike.  She is the epitome of a phenomenal woman and mother.  Her intelligence, strength, love, and selflessness inspires me and has made me the woman I am today.

What is your favorite movie of all time? Why so?

Love and Basketball.  I’m a hopeless romantic. 🙂

What were you like as a kid?

I was a busy body and chatter box!  I was always involved in activities.  As a kid I did gymnastics, ballet, modern dance, and cheer-leading.  Being so social and outgoing became my greatest strength and is why event planning is my passion.

Did you or do you have a nickname?  What’s the story behind it?

My parents nicknamed me Chooky.  As a baby, I always had chubby cheeks and people thought it was so adorable.

Have you received any praise or accolades recently?

I recently received recognition from the former Chairman of POPAI (Point of Purchase Advertising International) at the 2015 Industry Summit for my excellent work in producing the Association’s events.  Also, being recognized as the Event Planner of the month by my peer, Jim Grillo who I hold in high regard as event professional, is by far the best one I have received.  I am truly honored.

What type of events do you plan?

Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to plan a variety of events, including corporate events, special events, galas, tradeshows, social outings, and fundraising events.

What is your favorite restaurant or bar?

I am a huge foodie, so this one is a hard choice!  I tend to gravitate toward Lettuce Entertain You restaurants.  My all-time favorite is Hub 51.  Also, you can never go wrong with a burger and fries from Portillos!

When not working, what do you love to do?

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, exploring the city, traveling, going to festivals and concerts, and experiencing new restaurants.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about creating positive experiences for people through producing events.  It’s the greatest thing to see people enjoying themselves, connecting, and leaving an impact on someone emotionally and creatively.

What tips can you provide to someone new who wants to be an event planning professional?

Get hands-on experience, learn from your peers, make sure to have a mentor, and network with event industry professionals.

Do you have any Associations affiliations?

Meeting Professionals International (MPI)

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

Chicago is the IT city.  There are so many things to do!  My favorite things are the variety of restaurants and retail stores.

What’s on your bucket list?

Travel to Africa

What are your thoughts about Hereschicago.com?

Here’s Chicago is the top meeting and event resource for event and hospitality professionals.  You can find information about vendors and venues, networking events, keep abreast of what is happening in the industry, and job opportunities.  I like to call it the Chicago event resource guru of the industry.


Are you a meeting planner or event planner that would like to be featured in our event planner spotlight? We sould love to hear from you!  Send us an email

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