Today’s Spotlight – Event Planner, Ellen Ann Smith Suddreth

Today on my blog I have event planner, Ellen Ann Smith Suddreth.  Thanks Ellen for gracing my blog with your craft, time, and energy.


Tell me about you as a person, as an event planner, and another interesting thing about you.

I am a mother of four grown children, two grandsons, I am a wife of 26 plus years with my beloved husband COACH FRANK SUDDS.

I’m a dream pusher not a dream killer, I absolutely love helping folks build their dreams from the ground up. I believe that one must help from the ground.  Support is very vital.

I only like to read my books one time, I love writing plays and it was a dream of mine to help an author write their book into a play and that dream came true.

How has your education prepared you for a career as an event planner?

I didn’t have any education.  My experience was hands on. I really love people and being people related. I love seeing others shine.

Why do you want to work for our event planning organization?

Working as an event planner, I get to really plan ideas in advance. Our main focus is to build a community of readers and families who love to read as a family as well as an individual.

How do you assess the success of each of your events?

Each event differ from one another. I’ve seen where there are many people at a particular event and it wasn’t what I thought it would be, and I’ve had little to nothing and the event was a success!


What type of event planning are you most interested in? Corporate events? Social events? Why?

Social event because you don’t have to go through all of this company budget spill, and I believe that socially folks value and appreciate you the most.

What experience do you have with promoting events?

I prefer social media. Ads are so costly. My experience is that you must know your advertising budget, and you can be as mainstream as you want to be people will attend whatever they want.

What are some of your favorite ways to enhance an event on a budget?

Having a meeting of the minds and weighting out our options and having the desire to make the best of what we have but with a look of eloquence.

Describe one or two theme events that you have orchestrated. What sort of details and activities did you include to complement the theme?

Our theme A Celebration of Authors was a hit the readers and authors. We spent an intimate time together talking about books, and the characters along with doing an adaptation of the author’s books. Seeing the looks on their faces was so rewarding.

What is the largest event (based on budget or number of attendees) you have ever planned or assisted with planning?

80 plus.

Describe a time when you had to deal with an unexpected problem during an event — how did you resolve the issue? 

We talked it out. We spoke in a much calmer tone which allowed the person to calm down. The issues were resolved.

Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client. What was the result?

A long story short the issue was resolved and was more of a personal nature, end result the person left peacefully.



Describe a time when you had difficulty staying within the budget for an event.

Oh my, it was a huge mistake. I went over my budget because I was going with what my heart wanted and trying to please the outlook of things. My husband didn’t want to see me fail and he bailed me out!  I am forever grateful that he was on my team and truly supported me where it hurt the most. Wow Thank you Hubby!!! This is why I always say what I do is affordable because of my husband’s retirement.  I love what I do but passion doesn’t always pay. Lesson learned.

Tell me about a time when you had to manage multiple events at once. How did you multitask to complete both events successfully?

This is a great question and has happened. The event was at different times and I was able to give both events my full attention.

Imagine a company is planning an ad campaign to portray itself as a young, fresh, and cool brand. If you were hired to organize their launch party, what sort of venue would you consider selecting? Why?

I would consider to do a survey poll of all ages, that way the company wouldn’t lose its essence of who they represent along with the people’s choice. I think a company should always be fresh and innovative.

Imagine I am a client asking you to host an event for me; what kinds of questions would you ask me?

Since my line of work is literary, we would first discuss our budget, what do we plan to do in this venue how many people, what genre are we in and to seek out like minded readers? If the author is local, we would plan four months out if the author is out of town we will plan a year in advance. Make sure that we are communicating well and that everyone understands clearly as to what is going on to make our events Successful.

How will you develop relationships with vendors in a new city?

I would get to know the individual first. I would network and ask what I can do to help.

Are you comfortable working long and/or unusual hours?


I work from my home and it is so hard to know when you’re off the clock. My work life easily over turns my home life. I’m still working on finding my balance loll.

Do you think being an independent worker or a team player is more important as an event planner?

Team worker is best if you have one and can afford a team. This is the best way to go than everyone can bring out the best in themselves. We must be honest and truthful with ourselves to know what our best strengths are.


What’s your proudest career achievement to date?

Being a mom, watching and helping to raise my grandchildren, supporting my husband’s Navel career. He retired in 2008 after 22 years. Also for my husband to support me with the book business. I always say had it not been for my husband I could not afford to do what I’m doing and I love it.

What is your least favorite event genre to work on and why?

Erotic. No offense but I just would not feel comfortable talking about sex and my followers are of mixed Christian and non-Christians. But I must admit I’ve had erotica writers and they spoke in great tasteful terms.

What sets you apart from other event planners?

What sets us apart is that we are willing to work with newly published authors.

What criteria do you feel is most important when selecting a venue or event location?

Having your expenses together is a first must! You cannot believe in what your heart would like for you to do.  Also make sure that your venue and the people who have paid are locked into the event.  Make sure that those who are attending the event reach out to their followers so that the host, the participants, and guest keep the event interesting.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

I would hope to have my own home studio room with ESP backdrop to have the feel of my own studio loll. I would also hope that readers and authors alike have understood what ESP Presents is all about. I would hope to be one of the best interviewers on this side of town. And that folks will tell others about ESP Presents.

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