Michelle Cianferri – Chicago Hospitality Professional of the Month (May 2016)May 19th, 2016 | hereschicago
First and foremost, can you tell us your current position, company and describe what you do?
Sales Manager at the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.
What type of events you plan?
For the CVB, I help plan the Annual Fam. Tour and Tourism Reception. The Greater St. Charles CVB produces the annual Scarecrow Fest. This year will be the 31st year of the festival and we attract over 100,000+ people that weekend!
I help plan fundraisers for Jason McKie Foundation. We just finished an fundraising event with the 3 time winner Strongest Man in the World, Brian Shaw, and also plan celebrity golf events.
What aspects of hospitality do you incorporate in your business today?
Great people skills and always be a professional.
Where did your hospitality career begin and when was that “aha” moment when you knew you were supposed to be in hospitality as a career?
In a hotel. I think you just know if this industry is for you. There are so many options for careers in our industry. I really do not remember when my “AhA” moment was.
How many years have you been in the hospitality business?
What qualities to you feel a person needs to excel in as hospitality professional?
Listening skills and definitely enjoying working with people.
What advice can you give to those seeking to be successful in hospitality?
Network and get to know individuals, suppliers, planners, CVB staff, hotel partners, etc. Be active in your local chapters MPI, ISAE, PCMA etc. Ask questions and reach out to others.
How did you get into hospitality field?
I just stumbled into it.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents were married 55 years when my dad passed away in 2009. I saw my dad fight cancer for 5 years.
What kinds of things really make you laugh?
People who do impersonations.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
That is a tough one.
Who is your best friend? What do you like about him/her?
I have a few besties & they know who they are. My lists of likes for my best friends would be too long to list. Of course my husband, though he is much more than a best friend, in my opinion. Husbands and best friends are alike but not the same.
What is your favorite movie of all time? Why so?
When I was a kid my favorite movie was High Noon because my dad and I would watch it together. Today, I am not sure I have a favorite movie. I do enjoy comedies Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller.
What’s your biggest goal in life right now?
I am fulfilling it, giving back and making an impact on people’s lives. I work with individuals who have a platform where their voices are heard. I sit on the Board of Directors for the Jason McKie Foundation and work with several other foundations.
What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
In reality or in my mind? A lazy day catching up on TV but that does not happen, so the next best thing is running around to the kids softball, basketball, baseball games, having a family dinner with good wine.
Do you have any pet peeves?
Oh yes, where shall I start? Inconsiderate/rude individuals are probably my biggest pet peeve and people who think they are better than everyone else.
What was your family like growing up?
Fun! Summers were spent water skiing, swimming and camping!
What type of music do you love?
I like all types of genres, but it depends on my mood. Luke Bryan to Mariah Carey (her early years)
What do you love about planning events in Chicago?
We have it all here with such an array of venues.
What is your favorite restaurant or bar (Personally)?
Seriously? Too many to name.
Besides your professional talent, do you have any personal talents? (Play guitar, etc.)
Not now, but when I was in grade school I had to take organ lessons.
Have you ever sung karaoke? If so, what song?
No, I cannot hold a tune.
Future trends in event planning?
They are constantly evolving. What was here today is gone tomorrow.
What does it take to be a successful event planner?
Think, be creative, and listen to your clients’ needs and vision. Be prepared to work. You never know what hat you might have to wear.
What is your favorite color?
Pink, various shades as long as it has a pink hue I am happy.
What are you passionate about?
My family and helping others
Do you have any Association affiliations?
Are you a Cubs or Sox fan?
I have been a St. Louis Cardinals fan, since I met my husband. He is originally from the Lou and our kids have been raised Cardinals fans.
What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?
I would say we have a beautiful city with breathtaking skyline, amazing museums,
restaurants and architecture.
What’s on your bucket list?
Living in a Tiny House like the Tiny Homes Show on HGTV
What’s the most embarrassing moment you’ve had?
Too many. I have blocked them out.
What was your First concert?
Goodness, I have to think way back. Probably someone at ChicagoFest at Navy Pier prior to it becoming the Navy Pier we know today. I wonder if people remember ChicagoFest?
If you had to go back to school or learn a new skill, what would you want to learn?
I would like to be fluent in various languages.
What are your thoughts about Hereschicago.com?
YOU ROCK! You’re a professional, you do it all and customer service is at the top of