The Wendy Porter Magic: From Lemonade Stands to an Event Management Agency

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Wendy Porter has always been a planner: from her childhood days of organizing lemonade stands in her neighborhood, her friend’s birthday parties and neighborhood plays, to her adult years of coordinating office happy hours, the first neighborhood holiday progressive party (now on its 26th year!) and owning her own business planning events for major corporations.

When Wendy attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, she majored in Mathematics and German, with a plan to go into International Business. Event management wasn’t anywhere near her radar, and it certainly wasn’t a program one could choose to pursue as a major back in those days. 

After graduation she landed a role as a Marketing Manager at Fingerhut, the granddaddy of direct mail marketing, which hired a lot of Mathematics majors for their marketing positions. Her first corporate event didn’t come until 13 years later.

Simultaneously, in 1997, Wendy opened her first side business, Wendy’s Whimsies, a floral company, based out of her home. This was her first introduction to owning a business and hosting events. She made and sold flower arrangements, wreaths and other products to local wedding customers and gift boutiques, attended indoor and outdoor art festivals to sell her wares, and hosted two annual artisan boutiques out of her home for almost a decade.

The business card from my first business!

Following a short stint at a publishing company, Wendy was then offered a Marketing Acquisition Manager position at UnitedHealthcare, while also continuing to pursue Wendy’s Whimsies. While working at United, her first event was handed to her in one big file folder, with little guidance on the steps to take to execute the tradeshow. She not only learned how to execute that event, she mastered it, and ended up running the UnitedHealth Group Sponsorship of the AARP Life@50+ Event for 13 years. The booth ended up being 13,000 square feet at its largest, including an 80-foot semi-trailer mobile clinic that looked tiny in the booth, and 130 staff, including C-level executives, to train and wrangle during the three-day conference. 

UnitedHealth Group Platinum Sponsor Booth – One of 17 versions used over the 13 years.

After a promotion to the Director of Marketing Services / Events for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, Wendy’s team took on even more, including: product launches, CEO leadership conferences, national sales conferences and incentive events, VIP client events, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) events and 500 annual customer town hall meetings that took place all over the country. And more trade shows. Life was extremely busy, but exhilarating! 

In 2011, Wendy planned a VIP event for the top UnitedHealth Group and AARP executives at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. After a glorious dinner on the Target Terrace rooftop, catered by Wolfgang Puck, the group headed downstairs to the Clive Davis Theater to hear stories from Ken Ehrlich, the Grammy Producer for the last 30 years. While riding in the elevator with one of the guests, Amy, a Business Development Director at AARP, turned to Wendy, and said, “I would never miss a Wendy Porter Event. You create the most amazing events. Every detail is considered − from when you first arrive to when you leave. It makes me feel energized and inspired. You should start a business – Wendy Porter Events.”

And so, after a corporate downsizing, Wendy took the leap and did just that. Wendy Porter Events, LLC was founded in November 2015.

Who is Wendy now? Wendy has become a nationally award-winning event producer who can start from scratch or seamlessly jump into your corporate culture to help execute a flawless event. Her 22 years of experience include 1700+ events and over $50 million of budgets managed. Over one million people have now experienced a Wendy Porter Event. She brings her creativity, accountability, and passion to each and every event she produces. Wendy is a leader, relationship builder, and strategist. She strives to put on memorable events that leave a lasting “WOW” impression. As she likes to say, “Wendy Porter Events uses our brand of magic to create yours”, which has become the tagline for her successful business.

If you are interested in experiencing the “Wendy Porter Magic”, please contact us at wendy@wendyporterevents.com to learn more.

__________________________________________________________

This article was magically handcrafted by Shelby Neumann

Wendy Porter is the Owner/Chief Events Architect at Wendy Porter Events, LLC, and a national award-winning event strategist. Connect with Wendy on her Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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