Holiday Party Special

How to Stand Out as an Event Planner in 2023

1. Plan environmentally friendly events 

Whether you’re planning a wedding, a corporate retreat or your kid’s end-of-school party, making environmentally friendly choices can create an inspiring atmosphere that everyone can feel good about. 

Here’s the key: make it easy for guests to be green! Things like clearly labeling recycling, compost and trash bins and providing examples for each take the guesswork out of where people’s scraps go. Opting for plastic-free and compostable tableware is another great option! There are endless ways to make green swaps, it just takes a little time to research and implement! 

Offering environmentally friendly options to clients elevates your look and offerings and allows clients to make choices they feel good about. With one simple suggestion of green alternatives, you’ve made the event a force for good and something even more meaningful for guests. 

2. Create mini-events throughout the entire larger event

This little trick keeps the night moving and keeps guests comfortably entertained during setups and potentially long transitions. 

Cocktail hour? Consider adding live music to liven it up! Set up photo-ops and games at doors open before the event officially begins. Setting up “memorable moments” throughout the event creates a sense of movement and energy and allows guests to connect and make personal memories beyond the larger event. 

Creating these mini-moments can take the pressure off of the larger event and can set your clients at ease. It can also make the planning portion more digestible and fun for the client. Thinking about one large event can be overwhelming, but breaking down the evening into bite-sized bits makes the client feel more in control, empowered and helped by you! 

3. Niche-down and do it well 

Doing what you do loud and proud puts your clients at ease and gives you an edge as an event planner. Whenever businesses, brides, schools or tired parents are planning their first event, they rely on their event planner to think of everything they’ve missed and take care of elusive details. 

One of the best things you can do for your clients is to clearly communicate everything that’s in your brain so they can feel at ease that you’ve truly thought of everything. If you’re working with a new bride, getting her preferences and ideas and then adding what you’ve seen work best can create a beautiful partnership that can give her peace of mind on her big day. 

Anyone you work with doesn’t know what they don’t know. When you fill in the gaps, trust is built and you’ll stand out! 

Following these three simple tips can help make 2023 your best year yet! Let us know how implementing these strategies works for you!  

Stitch-Con 2022

Stitch Convention

Don’t miss a chance to visit your one-stop-shop for all things cross stitching this month! Stitch-Con is the premiere ‘FlossTubers & Fans’ cross stitch retreat that highlights the FlossTube Community, both video creators & viewers alike. We’re proudly co-hosting this event with Keepsakes, a needlework shop in Cincinnati, owned by Barbara Hils. We’re just a few weeks away from Stitch-Con 2022 and we’re beyond excited to see all of our wonderful attendees back here in Cincinnati! Each weekend hosts 300 stitchers from all corners of the stitching community!

Once again, we’re having TWO back-to-back weekends of Stitch-Con:

Stitch-Con A will be June 9th – June 12th, 2022

Stitch-Con B will be June 16th – 19th, 2022

Preparing People

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means many of you are preparing to host a meaningful gathering with family and friends. The holiday season is always stuffed full of planning and logistics. There are grocery lists to make, invites to send, decorations to buy, and crudites to fuss over. In all the hustle and bustle around the “things” that make a great party, don’t forget about the human beings that will fill the party. They deserve preparation too! As Priya Parker notes in her book, The Art of Gathering, “Your gathering begins the moment your guests first learn of it.” Here are some tips on how to prime your guests before they show up around your table:

Include Your Expectations

When you send out your invitations, be sure to include an essence of the evening you imagine. If you imagine a house full of raucous activity with lots of people and kids laughing, maybe host a buffet-style football kind of Thanksgiving and send a text message invite with notes like “bring your favorite beer” and “kids are welcome.” Your friends will know exactly what to expect with an invite like that. They won’t bring a bottle of wine, get a babysitter, or wear a nice blouse. What if you envision an intimate gathering that is cozy with a touch of formality? Send out paper invites with the aesthetic you imagine, like plum and antique gold. Include details about “carefully selected guests” and “a moment to honor those you’re grateful for.” These details give your guests a sense of what you expect out of the evening and what kind of expectations they are allowed to have too.

Send Special Instructions

Along with your invites, ask your guests to bring something special. It could be a stack of thank you cards to trade with other guests or a poem about something they are particularly grateful for this season. They could bring a song that helped define their year or a unique dish that tastes like home. Sending special instructions gives your guests the opportunity to co-create the evening with you and sparks deep conversation. In this way, your guests will already feel welcomed, included, and even inspired before they arrive at your warm, glowing house. 

Send Texts and Build Trust

Reinforce your connection with each guest by sending personal text messages, emails or making individual calls. Give your guests a sense of what the evening will be like and who they will meet. If you haven’t been in touch in a while, ask them about their personal lives and share with them what you hope they can take away from the gathering–rest, connection, new energy, or new ideas! Also emphasize why you are excited to have their presence and energy in the space. 

We hope these tips make your Thanksgiving extra meaningful this year. No matter who is around your table or what kind of food you serve, a primed guest is a doorway to the gathering of your dreams.

In Case you Missed It…

During the month of September, Sharonville Convention Center welcomed the Ohio Grand Chapter for their Order of the Eastern Star event from September 23rd to September 25th. The Ohio Grand Chapter is “a fraternal organization of men and women that welcomes adults of all ages trying to better themselves and the community around them!” Their mission is to “provide a means by which fraternal and community relationships can be encouraged and improved!” We loved having them here to connect with everyone!

We also hosted the annual Grand Lodge of Ohio, Free and Accepted Masons event from October 14th through October 16th. This event serves to rotate around the state to transition the Grand Master out of their position. The transitioning Grand Master this year was Rich Dickerscheid. Rich was the 165th Grand Master and he held his final dinner with an attendance of 600 people. The Ohio Grand Chapter honored new Grand Master, Tim Wheeland, who is now the 166th Grand Master. His induction dinner included 500 attendees. This is the second time we’ve had the privilege of hosting this large event at the Convention Center. This is an event that not only uses our facility but also utilizes the surrounding hotels for lodging and hospitality rooms. We really enjoy having their events here at the Convention Center and look forward to next time!

In Community We’re Stronger

The COVID-19 crisis stole many aspects of our lives that are important to our health. Of course, the obvious loss has been our sense of physical health and safety, but what about our mental health? For many of us, COVID stole the things we gather around. It stole our concerts, our wine nights, our dinner parties, our exercise classes and our church services. It stole our community and our connections. As a result, many of us desperately grasped opportunities to meet outside at backyard dinners and outdoor potlucks. But, it turns out establishing and maintaining community no matter where we have to plop down is always going to be a good choice for our health.  

An article last fall from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Health), discussed the importance of community on mental health. We’re social beings, states the article, and we are not meant to live in isolation. Our nervous systems are hardwired to depend on each other, according to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. Even species with a primitive brain, such as ants, show this tendency. The journal also stated that given the importance of social interactions for humans, it is not surprising that most psychiatric disorders involve some disruption of normal social behavior, and that in several disorders abnormal social functioning is one of the central symptoms. Community plays a crucial role in our ability to thrive as human beings, especially for those who already struggle with mental health. NAMI identifies three main reasons why this is true…

Community is beneficial because it provides a sense of belonging. When you feel like you are a part of a community that understands you; you can relax, unwind and be your true self. Community also provides support. This idea goes back to our nervous systems; in order to feel stable, we need people we know we could count on if we found ourselves in danger. Lastly, community provides purpose. When we are a part of a community we are given a significant role to play. According to neuroscientist Dr. Jordan Grafman from the National Institutes of Health, humans are actually biologically “wired” for generosity. Generous behavior activates the same neuropathways triggered by sex and food—a correlation that may help to explain why helping and giving to others feels good. 

According to NAMI, those who are looking for community can usually find it using one of three aspects of identity: interests, values and beliefs. No matter where you find community one thing is for sure, you must find it! Whether big or small, community is critical to maintaining good mental health and overall well-being. This September the Sharonville Convention Center held, An Evening on the Patio, events every Saturday to help our community experience the benefits of a safe, outdoor gathering. We loved watching people come together, laugh together and make memories. Everyone seemed to forget their worries for one special night and we aren’t giving up on the fun just yet! Beginning October 18th, join us every Sunday afternoon for Big Sunday Brunch in our spacious Northern Lights ballroom. These events are what make Sharonville Convention Center and the events we hold so special. People get to escape the harshness of reality for a while and unwind doing something they love with people they love. At SCC, we are committed to keeping community happening!

SecureWorld Expo | Are you at risk for a cybersecurity attack?

The threat of cybersecurity is closer than you think. Most likely you are currently on your phone, computer, or tablet, and at this moment youare at risk! Cybersecurity attacks are very real and can have huge repercussions in each of our lives. What used to be thought of as a hacker sitting in their dark basement alone has now escalated into organized crime groups that form all over the world and growing in force every day.

What hope do we have in fighting against cyber criminals?

For over 16 years, SecureWorld has successfully fought back against cybercriminals and has made it their mission to inform, equip and encourage communities of IT Professionals. They host conferences all over the United States with some of the top industry experts, thought leaders, practitioners and solution providers.

The 4th Annual SecureWorld Cincinnati Conference was held at the Sharonville Convention Center on October 17, 2018. Every part of the conference’s agenda is developed in collaboration by local security leaders in the tristate area, which provides critical information on the most relevant topics.

Bruce Sussman, SecureWorld Media Development Director commented that “the location of the Sharonville Convention Center is fantastic. It’s right off I-75 highway, in the heart of so many great companies nearby which makes it perfect for a convention. The food is great and faculty are very nice – it’s a win all around!”

Many industries such as financial, aviation and technology are represented at SecureWorld Conferences. “This conference brings the brightest minds in cybersecurity and allows them to fight back against the hackers. You will have companies that compete against each other in every other way, but come together and are united in cybersecurity,” says Bruce Sussman.

Keynote speaker, Deneen DeFiore, SVP, Global Chief Information & Product Security Officer at GE Aviation said “every 2 seconds, somewhere in the world a plane powered by GE engines takes off. They are all connected computers. Protecting the security of that is about saving lives and protecting all of us in so many different ways. Airplanes are flying computer networks in so many ways.”

Another Keynote speaker, Steve Brown, The Bald Futurist, and CEO of Possibility & Purpose , was a former Futurist for Intel. He provided eye-opening, forward-thinking information from his travels around the world having seen the latest technology. He spoke of the future of AI and how it has already impacted us and “there are things that will occur that haven’t been thought, but somewhere someone is using AI to discover it.”

SecureWorld Cincinnati will be back at the Sharonville Convention Center on May 16, 2019! Until then, feel free to visit and follow on Twitter @secureworld

Chester’s Gourmet Blend by Rooted Grounds

But First, Coffee.

We’ve got some Ground-breaking news: Rooted Grounds Coffee Co.’s delicious, custom, and locally roasted Chester’s Gourmet Blend made specially for the SCC has made its way into our coffee roasters this year! If you’re unfamiliar with Rooted Grounds, allow us to give an introduction. About two and a half years ago, Kris Chari seized the opportunity to start a coffee company that could introduce craft coffee to a commercial setting. He wanted convention centers, office buildings, big corporations, and meeting places to be able to buy top quality, locally roasted coffee in bulk that was much more affordable. Rooted Grounds Coffee was born from his idea, and today, Kris and his team introduce expertly crafted (and tasty!) coffee to corporate settings across our region.

The Rooted Grounds coffee beans are grown in Columbia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. “Coffee is like wine,” says Chari, meaning that coffee beans will adapt the properties of the place where they are raised. The custom-made roast for the SCC is crafted directly in the Rooted Grounds state-of-the-art roasting facility in West Chester and is a French roasted Columbian coffee. A cup of this coffee is smooth and bold; a bit darker, stronger and more of a European flavor. So next time you’re at the SCC for a meeting or event and need a pick me up, we’ll have some very satisfying coffee waiting for you.

Why Rooted Grounds? We were looking to improve our coffee, but we wanted something more than just a good tasting cup of joe. Rooted Grounds is rooted in our community, both in that it is a local company, and in that it is very dedicated to giving back to the community where it operates. Proceeds from Rooted Grounds sales are donated to the Marvin Lewis Community Fund to inspire youth education. “We’re for-profit, but we try to do good in the communities we serve so people can feel good about buying our coffee,” says Chari.

At the SCC, we’re always focusing on elements of your experience here that we can make better. This new coffee is just one example of that—but there are many things we’re looking to improve. We believe that improvement should be constant, and we’re working to identify improvements and make them happen. If you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them.

We hope to share a cup of our new craft coffee with you soon.

If you’d like to learn more about Rooted Grounds Coffee Co. or schedule a tour, please visit or call 513.549.5425.

Thank you, Ohio Travel Association

The Ohio Travel Association awarded its 20th annual RUBY Award to Ohio businesses and organizations that “found the most innovative ways to market their destination, experiences, or services.” The 2017 Ohio Conference on Travel, sponsored by Ohio Magazine, lasted for three days and included great breakout sessions, seminars, board meetings, and even yoga to kick off the day. On this 20th anniversary, the awards were distributed on November 1st, 2017 and “recognized and rewarded outstanding artistry in the diverse field of travel and tourism marketing and advertising.”  

Sharonville Convention Center is very honored to have been recognized for our “Get Inspired” campaign we launched this year—but we’d also like to extend a sincere congratulations to the organizations that were recognized across our great state:

 Mohican-Loudonville Visitors Bureau

 Greater Springfield CVB

 Athens County CVB

 The Springfield Museum of Art

 Akron/Summit CVB

 Little Buckeye Children’s Museum 

 National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

 Jet Express

 Explore Licking County

 Warren County CVB

 Moeller Brew Barn

 Lake Erie Shores & Islands

 Visit Gahanna

 Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

 Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

We’re looking forward to competing for the 2018 RUBY Awards. Stay tuned to see what we come up with! I hope to see you around Sharonville.

Best Regards,
Jim Downton

Ohio Valley Goodwill Hosts 16th Annual Homeless Awareness Dinner

Thank you, Ohio Valley Goodwill, for hosting yet another fun, warm, and joyous holiday dinner for families in need. The 16th annual “Homeless Awareness Dinner” was held at the Sharonville Convention Center on Thursday, December 14th and brought together over 300 individuals and families in the Cincinnati area struggling with homelessness. The staff at Sharonville Convention Center and Spectra Food Services were happy to volunteer their time to help organize this special evening.

The event offered a holiday meal, a visit from Santa for the kids, a DJ and dance floor. Queen City Transportation and Goodwill’s Special Projects team also coordinated transportation to help families and their loved ones travel from nine homeless shelters in the area to the event. “A special part of this wonderful evening is always the numerous volunteers who help to serve the dinner and make participants feel welcomed…and join in the festivities,” Ohio Valley Goodwill wrote in its newsletter. “This year, Ohio Valley Goodwill is especially thankful that Santa Pat was able to be part of the event as well as very appreciative of the support provided by True Light Church.” The full story about the event can be viewed at

Ohio Valley Goodwill is very grateful to the Sharonville Convention Center and Spectra Food Services and Hospitality along with the many wonderful volunteers who helped make this important holiday and community outreach event possible each year,” said Sharon Hannon, the Marketing Manager of the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries. The Sharonville Convention Center team and our partners will always be happy to help our local community, regardless of what needs to be done or who needs to be helped. If your organization is interested in hosting a charitable event, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to start a conversation.   

If you are interested in getting involved with helping your local community in 2018, we encourage you to check out Goodwill’s programs and services geared towards helping our homeless community at