Bring Amazing Events to Life in Napa-Sonoma
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Wine country is open for business! Have a conversation these days with Heather Vieira, ILEA Napa-Sonoma President, and that is the message that comes across loud and clear. Her words are emblematic of the perseverance of the region, which despite enduring a series of devastating wildfires earlier this month remains upbeat, vibrant and ready to thrive.
And for Vieira, the narrative around the local event community in the Napa-Sonoma region today should be less about recovery and more about the idea of developing amazing events and keeping local business thriving.
“While you never think you will be the community that suffers such devastation, the fires experienced by Napa and Sonoma counties in October have brought about the very best of our communities,” Vieira. “In the short term, the local industries, including the events industry will be managing the loss of many beautiful event properties.
She points to the fact that even in the past two weeks alone, events have been transitioned to other properties unaffected by smoke and damage or rescheduled completely for 2018. While the region has experienced true loss in many parts of the counties, there are still nearly 1,000 venues between the two counties to host spectacular wine country events.
“Wine country is already such a small community — we do live in an agricultural community after all. One of the best things about Napa and Sonoma is how supportive and close-knit the industry already was prior to the fires,” she adds. “Less than 24 hours following the start of the fires, the events community had set up supply operations, donation centers and food lines for first responders and organized charity events to support those who lost everything. This sense of obligation to our community will continue well into the future as people rebuild both their personal and professional lives. We fully intend to champion these businesses and venues the moment they are rebuilt.
While it isn’t always so apparent to see opportunity emerge from tragedy, Vieira does point to one key lesson that can learned and applied going forward.
“Don’t take your community for granted,” she says. “Cultivate your community every day of the year, not just the event season. You never know when you will need to reach out a helping hand or be the person who is reaching out.
Heather Vieira had worked in the hospitality industry for over 17 years. She started her career doing marketing and events for Cattlemens Steakhouse. After working there for over 10 years, she decided to try her career in hotels. She worked as the Catering Sales Manager at the Sheraton for about 4 years. After having a child, she decided that working events wasn’t the right fit for her. She then joined the Encore Events team about 3 years ago as the Business Development Manager. She has also been a part of ILEA Napa-Sonoma for over 6 years, attending events and in the last two years been a part of he Events Committee and now the VP of programs. She is excited to plan this years events, while meeting and introducing people in the Events Industry.