Believe it or not a year has gone by since my arrival here in the United States. So much has happened on both a personal and professional level in such a short space of time.
Personally, I arrived, lived with my aunt/boss Pauline Parry, saved up and bought a car three months in, moved into a friend’s house, and learned how to live the “American way”
Professionally, I have traveled to Washington DC, Arizona, Kentucky and Las Vegas to name a few, I have worked on events for 1500 people down to 10 people, I have been to some of the most amazing hotels and locations southern California has to offer, and also been to some of the smallest houses. The events industry is massive, and a party can be thrown at any place at any time… it just takes planning.
As for my time in the office, I have seen some changes take place. I was sad to see some people leave, yet excited for the prospects of the new people arriving. I have got to know and relate to all of my new colleagues, even to the point where the majority have their own “endearing” nicknames.
Starting at the top we have Pauline “Big P” Parry, as many people know a larger than life personality which she carries into the work place. She is the big boss of Good Gracious! Events, she is the winner of some of caterings biggest awards (Winner of the I3 award for Inspiration, Innovation, and Instruction, and Inductee into the Event Solutions hall of fame class of 2011 to name just a couple) and is “the” biggest name in catering. The nick name “Big P” is pretty fitting for my wonderful, amazing, low maintenance boss.
We have Vice President Martha “Queen of the Office” Perez, the lady behind the scenes. Martha is the wonderful woman who keeps the Good Gracious! engine ticking over, keeping on top of all admin duties, and knows exactly what is going on in every single event. Martha, as have many people in the office, has been very patient with me, explaining clearly every step of the way any tasks given. Martha not only knows what is going on with the events, she knows what is going on with everyone personally. Martha is someone who I have developed confidence in to express any problems I may have. She is very much a mother figure!
Dan “Lucky” Smith – The luckiest guy on the planet.. I have been on many trips with Mr Smith over the last year, every place he has had some kind of fortune. Las Vegas, First spin of wheel of fortune = $1000. On the way back from Arizona stopping at a casino, $30 turned into one winning of $100 followed by a second winning of $100. Another Las Vegas winning of $500 plus. He is just one of those guys who is in the right place at the right time. Tough taking no credit away from him, Dan has earned his good fortune through hard work and results. He is the guy to go to at GG! he is pulling out parties from everywhere and is an amazing source of knowledge! I particularly enjoy working with Dan on event sites, as he has a great reaction to space. He makes me think out the box and understand layouts. Dan really is a force to be reckoned with in this industry…. Furthermore Dan has a gift of pulling out one liners when you least expect it. We may be having a conversation or a joke in the office, and Dan would find the perfect background music to bring comedy to the conversation. The one thing I will take from Dan is the wonderfully composed piece…. “It’s a cat…”
Margarita “Queen of the Kitchen’ Hernandez. The oil to the finely tuned machine that is the kitchen. Margarita has such control and shows amazing organizational skills to keep the kitchen cranking out the quality of food that it does. She has to work on maintaining certain hours in the kitchen, takes care of pricing, ordering while also having to crack the whip in the office so planners get their menus in to her in plenty of time… if you don’t… well…. You don’t want to ever get on the bad side of the “Queen of the Kitchen”… We are still searching for one of our previous planners….
Joanne “Juanita” Purnell is the Chef de Cusine at Good Gracious! President of the Culinary Council at the ICA, and dear sweet soft spoken cousin of mine. Joanne can also be nicknamed the magician because the food this woman can produce is out of this world. Between Juanita and I we have a fantastic relationship both professionally and personal, and as a result we often bunk together (are roommates) when working outside of Los Angeles… as a result we have many inside jokes… “things that make you go MMMMMM…” you know what I mean Jo…. Joanne is also cracks the whip in the kitchen, Margarita’s right hand woman, she contributes to getting the absolute best out of her team both in house and on event sites.
Dennis “Shorty” Quintanilla – I am sure this guy has a bed in the back of the GG! Van because this guy does not stop working. The reason I call him “Shorty” is because I had an email from Patrick regarding an event, and I saw someone else had been added to the email with the word “Shorty” in the address, of course I thought this was some teenage girl who was going to be working for us… but no, it was chef Dennis Quintanilla, husband and father of two…
“Lord” Randall “Earl of” Mellon is one of our trusty workers. A solid reliable guy who always works to the power of two. Extremely talented bartender with another cracking sense of humor. I just like to make fun of him because he has a fruit for a second name, and with his vocabulary he couldn’t be further from a “Lord” or an “Earl” I won’t tell you what he calls me…
Michelle “M-Bone” Nowak – one of GG!’s newest recruits who has hit the ground running. An individual I have enjoyed getting to know, and I love her sense of humor. Michelle is a very tough cookie and isn’t afraid of any challenge thrown at her. While running our photography company Brilliant Studios Michelle is quickly becoming a recognized name within our local area. It is only a matter of time till she reaches out further. Fantastic sales woman, and knows how to close a deal. “M-Bone” seemed a pretty hardcore name, so I thought it suited her well.
Desiree “Social Guru” Patterson is the newest edition of the GG! team, and has been given the daunting task of dominating the wedding industry. Desiree is my “Social Guru” The goddess to my Facebook, the Lord to my twitter. If I have any problems with my social media, I go to her. Even if it is for some inspiration to post, she will provide. Desiree is quickly finding her feet in the industry, and with Pauline Parry as her mentor, who knows what heights she will reach. The sky is the limit.
Patrick “Paterico” Sullivan, aka, Mr Suave, Inspector Gadget, Party Manager, Chef, Human resources, and recently attained Director of Logistics. Paterico is an individual I have got to know the most over the year, he is my go to guy with questions about events, and if I need anything, no matter what it is, somehow he has it…. To hand. You may recall the Tie incident in Vegas where he just so happened to have the exact tie I wanted in his suitcase. He has vast experience in so many fields within the event industry, and is KEY to the running of every event. Staffing, logistics, its all down to him…. I wouldn’t want that job. There is a lot of banter that goes on between us, especially about him and his way with women. He actually wrote a book called the Art of Seduction; it is available in all major retailers. Between Patrick and I, we have a great level of understanding, he explains things clear and concise in a manner that I understand. We too have our own inside jokes…. But I think its best not to go there. One final thing with Patrick, he is always optimistic and he never EVER panics… There are no problems, only solutions.
The office has a great dynamic, we all get on great, and we all want nothing but to keep making Good Gracious! Events the success that it is.
Over the past year I have made many friends here at my place of work, and I thank everyone in contributing to my experiences so far. I feel part of the family, and I look forward to seeing what other characters I will meet in the years to come…
I am next going to try and crack David "Chomander" Cho and his bizarre dress sense...