Forget about your parachute, What Color Is Your Event? Dianne Devitt, owner of DND Group, can tell you that and much, much more. DND Group is the natural outgrowth of her philosophy and desire to help companies engage their people and maximize their organizationâ€™s potential. Dianne is an esteemed event planner, speaker, educator, and author of What Color Is Your Event: Mastering the Art of Bringing People Together.Â Her journey began in theater and evolved into event planning with a natural progression to teaching.Â Along the way, sheâ€™s also become an advocate for wellness and balance in the workplace and home, which she expresses in her own life through teaching prana yoga. Quite the Renaissance woman, and not bad for a girl from Queens! Dianne shares some life lessons and secrets for success.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
After working in destination management, I chose to focus on my passion for design and event production.Â Not ever being able to do one thing, I began teaching and speaking, which continues through today.
Describe a typical event working day.
Every day includes making time or myself to practice yoga or walk, eat good meals, and keep balanced.Â For an event working day, I always make sure to arrive way in advance, be organized, bring the team together and start on a positive note, come prepared with paperwork for all involved, and I donâ€™t make myself responsible for anything operational.
In the office, it always starts the same way: I typically clean out the inbox, allow for calls, follow up on appointments, and try to reach out to something or someone new to learn whatâ€™s next.
Whatâ€™s your â€śsecret sauceâ€ť for success as an entrepreneur?
Never give up and always find a solution by talking to other people and discovering alternatives.Â Keep relationships healthy and challenge your comfort zone to the next level by reaching and connecting with people from disparate businesses.
If you were to start again, what one thing would you do differently?
Hire people better and smarter than me to challenge all of us to work at maximum capacity while teaching and training up-and-coming employees.
If you werenâ€™t doing this, what would you be doing?
Acting or Tea Sommelier.
When you arenâ€™t doing this, what are you doing?
I love physical recreation â€“ tennis, golf (same level in both, which is recreational!). I am a yogi and respect the physical practice. I enjoy writing (as demonstrated in my book What Color Is Your Event) and anything creative â€“ painting, gardening, cooking.
Biz Tools: email or phone or text?
All of the above. I will soon launch a new website and blog, and Iâ€™m even tweeting @coloryourevent.
What advice would you give your 25-year-old self, based on where you are now?
Get out and MEET people face to face: join associations, be on committees, realize that true relationships are formed with energy and emotion that last throughout your career.Â Volunteer â€“ do anything and be patient; we all took time to grow into our careers and there is a certain nobility that comes from supporting someone or a company to make it great.
All other conditions being equal, do you prefer outdoor or indoor events?
Hmmm.Â I like both as they have different challenges and use of all production elements, but if I have to choose, I suppose indoor â€“ less risk!
What do start-ups need today to find success?
A balanced team and a great salesperson with a true understanding of what they are selling, which is live communication through branded engagement or cause-related marketing.
What social cause do you hold near and dear?
Women and childrenâ€™s rights anywhere in the world. I have always supported Starlight Starbright Childrenâ€™s Foundation and most recently found Dr. Wanerâ€™s Vascular Anamoly Foundation, in which I am involved.
Personal vacation destination: city, country or beach?
Love the Hamptons and Cape Cod all year round and Italy.
Name 3 inspirations: 1 person, 1 thing, 1 place
Hillary Clinton, Smartphone, Berkshires in Massachusetts.
Sports Fan: Yankees or Mets?
Iâ€™m a Queens girl â€“ Mets (although I live in Riverdale, so donâ€™t tell).
Whatâ€™s your â€śPower Song,â€ť and when do you play it?
â€śTodayâ€™s Gonna Be a Good Dayâ€ť or any version (tonight, tomorrow, morning and evening)!
How has the economy affected your industry?
Made me think of alternatives and how to focus on future needs.
Whatâ€™s your â€śdream jobâ€ť?
When a client says â€śJust do itâ€ť and doesnâ€™t question how, so I can do my best work.
Name 3 mentors or milestones that shaped your career.
My theater professor at Hunter College, Patricia Sternberg, who trusted me with a $300 budget for 30 costumes to design; my first boss, Richard Butler, who asked me to raise funds for the Boy Scoutsâ€”we surpassed goals and he taught me sponsorship;Â and my parents, whose common sense and outlook keep my priorities straight to this day.
Biz Tools: Mac or PC?
Iâ€™m a Mac in a PC body currently.
When it comes to themes, whatâ€™s your favorite decade and why?
Love the 70s because the music is great and â€śfeel goodâ€ť; also love the 40s/50s because people danced together.
Share a secretâ€¦
On the professional front, I am currently working with a wonderful coach.Â On the personal,â€¦ I love dark chocolate.
Caffeine Culture: coffee or tea? â€“ I am an ardent tea drinker but enjoy a good cup of Joe now and then.
DND Group provides consulting, creative keynotes, and wellness programs to clients that include numerous Fortune 500 companies, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, BASF Catalysts, and the Clinton Global Initiative. Dianne Devitt is also an Assistant Professor at New York University, where she teaches in the Preston Robert Tisch Center of Hospitality, Tourism and Sports.