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Meet Angie Nelson and Hillary Smith of Koncept Events in Oakland Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angie Nelson and Hillary Smith, CMP, CSEP.

Angie and Hillary, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Chemistry and timing played a key role in aligning our partnership. We knew each other as acquaintances while we both attended the University of Central Missouri. Then, separately and without knowing, we each packed up and moved to South Florida where years later, our lives intersected again. After working together briefly at a boutique meeting and event planning firm, we realized that our strengths complemented one another in a profound way. Angie has an incredible knack for operations and logistics, and Hillary was a born creative. We saw the potential to achieve something truly unique and special, and in 2007, Koncept Events was born.

KE started as a small firm, but we quickly made a name for ourselves with our work ethic and “Plan Fresh” attitude, which we built the company on. The mantra meant we were offering clients creative and innovative programs and soon we became the go-to DMC and meeting planners for some of the biggest industry leaders. We started traveling, growing and expanding quickly, always staying just a bit ahead of what our competitors in the corporate realm were doing.

Today, just a decade after we launched, it’s crazy to think about how far we’ve come. What started as the two of us planning at dining room tables and coffee shops, has grown into the largest Total Event Management company in Florida with nearly 40 full-time employees.

Individually, we have both received numerous awards and accolades within the industry and in 2017, Koncept Events was named a “Top 25 DMC” by Special Events Magazine and the “Best DMC in the Southeast” by Northstar Media.

We are proud of our success and attribute it to finding the right staff, building strategic relationships with industry partners, their loyal clientele and remaining tirelessly committed to bringing our dream and vision to life. As a result, we can confidently say Koncept Events has solidified its reputation as one of the most well-respected and sought after DMC and meeting planning agencies in the events industry.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Coincidentally, Koncept Events opened just a few months before the financial crisis of 2008, which saw the corporate events industry as a whole under attack. We had to show tangible value for every dollar our clients spent with us. That actually helped us early on to become a DMC that companies could trust and pushed us from the beginning to get creative with how we planned.

Having an appetite for growth, no one gives you a manual for starting a company. There isn’t even a checklist. It is not easy to weather every storm and come out swinging. The failures are extra heavy and hard because they’re yours. Its vulnerability and exposure in its ultimate state. We have learned, mostly by error or almost error, how to keep getting better and more efficient but it definitely comes one step at a time.

While we have had some amazing ones along the way, and are very proud of our team now, finding good employees has been tough. This is a hard industry to work in – it takes truly special, hardworking, determined, creative professionals to succeed.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Koncept Events is an award-winning Global Destination Management, Site Selection + Meeting Planning and Brand Marketing Agency which provides corporate planning services to clients in the US, Mexico and Caribbean.

For those not in the industry, that means we work with companies to create memorable experiences for their sales trips, incentive trips, planning meetings and more. Some of our services include hotel selection, transportation, event design, decor, dining experiences, entertainment, tours and team builders just to name a few.

We believe we are more than just a vendor to our clients. We are a partner and oftentimes become an extension of their team. We pride ourselves on our creativity and innovation in the corporate event space. Unlike a lot of other DMCs, we have full time dedicated event designers on staff and an in-house floral department. We also have an 11,000 square foot warehouse in Fort Lauderdale filled with inventory, so we can oftentimes save our clients’ money and more importantly, we know the exact product we are promising is what they are going to get.

As a company, we are also committed to the local community. We are very aware that what we do will impact it either way, so we do our best to make it a positive outcome. We strive to implement sustainable business practices within our own walls, and also work with clients on ways they can have sustainable events like by donating leftover food from their meals or choosing reusable centerpiece options like succulents and airplants. As a female-led business, one of our platforms is helping empower women and children. We have worked with Women in Distress on several occasions, organizing clothing drives and donation efforts. And being based in South Florida, we are very aware that the waterways are one of our biggest draws, so ocean conservation is incredibly important to us.

The honors this year has brought of being named a Top 25 DMC by Special Events Magazine and the Stella Award of Best DMC in the Southeast by Northstar Media has really helped validate not only what we are doing, but why we do it.

What were you like growing up?
Angie – As the youngest by several years in my family, I grew up pretty much on my own. I had a wild and vivid imagination in which I created crazy fantasy worlds where I lived and performed. My family also owned and operated Dairy Queen Restaurants – where I learned firsthand the nature of entrepreneurship and what the service world entailed. I learned to be independent, quick on my feet, and accountable.

Hillary – Oddly enough, I am told that I am very similar now to how I was even as an infant. I am a “go-go-go” type person from the minute I wake up until the second I close my eyes to sleep. I am easily distracted and a visual learner/communicator. Because of this, the classroom was a particularly challenging setting for me. Being a creative person now, I attribute that to my upbringing. We didn’t have a lot of money so I didn’t have a lot of toys or the newest greatest video game, etc. For this reason, I played outside a lot, in nature and used my imagination. We spent vacations either exploring States and Cities richly rooted in US history or on my dad’s farm where there was no running water. My family was lower middle class and from a young age, I knew that I wanted everything but couldn’t have it. I was told that if I wanted something, I would have to work for it. This mentality would come to fuel my work ethic and tireless drive to achieve.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

LAM Photos
Shelby Soblick
Koncept Events

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