The most wonderful time of the year.

Joy, peace and prosperity to clients, colleagues, friends and family in this holiday season and in the year ahead.  Happiest Holidays to you and yours!

With gratitude and thanks from all of us at Spotlight Events.

Monterey Christmas Tree © Paul Enrico Kostadimas for Spotlight Events Consulting, Inc

Photo © Paul Enrico Kostadimas

Taste the joy.

“Taste the joy that springs from labor.”  (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Masque of Pandora, 1875)

We at Spotlight Events taste the joy from this remarkable, record-breaking year (more on that coming soon!) by relaxing and recharging over the Labor Day weekend.  This beautiful view is from the enchanting village of Tiburon in Marin County, a 30-minute ferry ride from San Francisco.  Stroll and shop on historic Main Street and Ark Row, savor a meal at a waterfront eatery, soak up the sun and spectacular views.  Not only is Tiburon one of the team’s favorite day trips, it also ranks high for our clients’ private sightseeing excursions and for private special events at the West Coast’s oldest yacht club.  In short, maximum charm, minimal crowds.


Tiburon Day View © Paul Enrico Kostadimas for Spotlight Events Consulting, Inc

Photo © Paul Enrico Kostadimas











Full text of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Masque of Pandora and Other Poems, Pt. VI, “In the Garden” HERE.

Let freedom reign.

“We here highly resolve … that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 11.19.1863)

Happy Fourth of July from all of us at Spotlight Events.  Let freedom reign!

San Francisco Engine 35 Fireboat 1 for Spotlight Events Consulting, Inc. © Paul Enrico Kostadimas

Photo © Paul Enrico Kostadimas

Full text of the Gettysburg Address at Project Gutenberg, HERE

The monument’s message.

“But while mighty people are busied with great enterprises, they do not forget — cannot forget— the brave men who purchased peace by their valor and blood.”

(“The Monument’s Message” by Reverend Charles Elmer Allison)

On this Memorial Day and every day, may we remember and honour the fallen men and women who served their country.

Memorial Day © Paul Enrico Kostadimas for Spotlight Events Consulting 05.26.14

Photo © Paul Enrico Kostadimas


Forty Holy-days and Holidays: A Treasury of Historical Material, Sermons in Full and in Brief, Suggestive Thoughts, and Poetry, comp by Edward Mark Deems.  Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1902; page 572.

Hope smiles from the threshold.

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come.”*

As an extraordinary year ends and a new year begins, we at Spotlight Events raise our glass in profound gratitude to you, our clients, colleagues, friends and family. Cheers to a happy, healthy, hopeful 2014!

Spotlight Events Consulting, Inc. © Custom Martini Glasses

Photo © Orange Photography




*Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Foresters: Robin Hood and Maid Marian, 1892.
More on The Foresters including music scores and more, HERE.

Merry & bright.

December at Spotlight Events:  Holiday events galore, the SITE Global Conference 2013 in Orlando (where our founder Marilee Sonneman, the incoming President of SITE Northern California Chapter, was named the top “VIT” -Very Important Tweeters), site inspections from San Diego to Lake Tahoe and everywhere in-between, and let’s not forget, a very VIP evening with Team San Jose and Beyoncé!

Now it’s time for Spotlight’s Dream Team to relax, to celebrate, and to wish YOU the merriest and brightest holidays!

SantaCon San Francisco © Paul Enrico Kostadimas for Spotlight Events Consulting Inc

Photo © Paul Enrico Kostadimas


Thanksgivings for the golden hours.

And let these altars, wreathed with flowers / And piled with fruits, awake again / Thanksgivings for the golden hours (John Greenleaf Whittier, “For an Autumn Festival”)

Happy Thanksgiving to our clients, colleagues, friends and family … may your day be golden!

With hearts full of gratitude from all of us at Spotlight Events.

The Table Is Set © John Munsch

The Table Is Set © John Munsch


CSR: Inspiring incentives, overcoming adversity, enhancing community.

From the moment that the doors to the Calistoga Ranch cave swung open, and General Manager Coni Thornburg welcomed the sold-out audience of incentive professionals, SITE Northern California Chapter’s signature Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event in Napa Valley on July 9, 2013, was a day to remember!

After an engaging and inspiring educational program by the phenomenal planner panel, attendees eagerly embraced the hands-on CSR activity: assembling hygiene kits from Clean the World. “Soap Saves Lives,” and over 400 kits were assembled on-site and delivered that same afternoon to support the local community. Delegates dug deep to raise more than $500 in the raffle, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross.

To complete the inspiring experience, Calistoga Ranch Executive Chef Christian Ojeda designed a multi-course menu of fresh seasonal organic ingredients — some gathered that morning from the Ranch’s garden — served al fresco on the Lakehouse Terrace. Seating at one long harvest table encouraged camaraderie, conviviality and conversation, all enlivened by laughter.

Gratitude and thanks to:

  • CSR speakers David Kliman, CMP, CMM, President, The Kliman Group; Jennifer Romo, Meeting Partner, Genentech; David T. Stevens, Manager, Meetings & Events, 24 Hour Fitness USA; and Suzanne Shiff, MA, Executive Director, Napa Valley Coalition of Non-Profit Agencies, for their complete commitment and expert insight.
  • Venue sponsor Calistoga Ranch for the spectacular setting and superb hospitality.
  • Raffle sponsors Solage Calistoga, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Diamond Creek Winery, and Castello di Amorosa for the generous gifts.
  • A/V sponsor AVMS for the quality sound service.
  • SITENCC Co-VP Education Laura McLean, Senior Sales Manager at Calistoga Ranch, for serving as the Mistress of Ceremonies.
  • Green Meetings Industry Council Northern California Chapter Board of Directors who supported their Board panelists David Stevens and Jen Romo, and encouraged GMIC-NCC attendance.

Special appreciation to the SITE International Foundation for supporting SiteNCC’s educational initiatives with a grant.

And to each and every attendee of this program who came together to “elevate the experience,” give back and make a difference – thank you!

– Marilee Sonneman, CMP, DMCP, SITENCC President-Elect 2013-2014, published by SITENCC July 14, 2013, reprinted with permission.

SiteNCC CSR 07.09.13 - Planner Panel with Suzanne Shiff, David Kliman, David Stevens, Jen Romo

Photo © Marilee Sonneman

SiteNCC CSR Program 07.09.13 - Clean the World Activity

Photo © Marilee Sonneman

Engage with SITENCC on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Join SITE Global, HERE.
Learn more about SITE International Foundation, HERE.
Learn more about Clean the World, HERE.
Visit Calistoga Ranch, HERE.

Explore, play, connect.

Sold out for the third straight year, the Meeting Professionals International Northern California Chapter (MPINCC) Annual Gala & Silent Auction put the “F” in “fabulous!”  On 06.03.13, industry professionals came together to “Explore, Play, Connect” at the brand-new Exploratorium.  This stunning state-of-the-art science museum links science, arts, and human perception through 650 interactive exhibits in 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space on prime San Francisco waterfront.

MPINCC 2012-2013 President Liz Keyser, CMP, DMCP, reviewed a record-setting program year that opened with legendary co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, and recognized the dedication of chapter volunteers.  Acclaim and applause to all the award winners, including:
•  Tomorrow’s Leader:  Jerry Diaz
•  Committee Chair of the Year:  Gary Murakami, CTC, GTP, GLP, CMP
•  Board Member of the Year:  Dana Marshall, CMP, CMM
•  Meeting Professional of the Year:  Samantha Smith Shaw, CMP
•  President’s Award:  Carlee Duncan, CMP; Sabrina Ritchie, CMP, CAE; Owen Rundall

Congratulations also to student leader Lyisha Johnson, CMP, winner of the MPINCC Social Program Scholarship sponsored by Spotlight Events for emerging professionals.

MPINCC 2013-2014 Board of Directors

Photo © Orange Photography

MPINCC Hall of Famer Stephen Revetria administered the oath of office to the 2013-2014 Board of Directors (including our founder Marilee as VP, Communications).  2013-2014 President James Gregg stepped out from the podium to connect with the audience.  Special thanks to Gala Chair Andrea Frenkel, Co-Chair Samah Menoufy, the Gala Committee, Master of Ceremonies Joel Costa, CMP, MBA, and to all the sponsors and auction donors for their invaluable support.  What an incredible end to an amazing year!

Back Row (L-R):  Carlee Duncan, CMP; Marilee Sonneman, CMP, DMCP; Stewart Hall; James Gregg; Owen Rundall; Dawn Klippel; Susan Piel, CMP; Joey Nevin.
Front Row (L-R):  Diane Schneiderman, CMP, CAE; Gary Murakami, CTC, GTP, GLP, CMP; Jody Brandes, CMP; Liz Keyser, CMP, DMCP; Lucinda Mendoza, CMP; Leticia Lucero.
Not Pictured:  Kumiko Shafer.

Learn all about MPINCC HERE.
Get involved with MPINCC, volunteer HERE.

When Irish eyes are smiling.

San Francisco celebrates her rich and vibrant Irish heritage at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a time-honored tradition in the City since 1852 and one of the oldest parades in the nation.

As San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto pronounced in 1973, “It’s not just a great day for the Irish; it’s a great day for every San Franciscan.”  His proclamation pertained to the groundbreaking of the United Irish Cultural Centre in 1973, yet remains apropos to St. Patrick’s Day as well.   Éire go Brách!

Paul Enrico Kostadimas © St Patrick's Day Parade San Francisco

Photo © Paul Enrico Kostadimas



“History.” United Irish Cultural Centre of San Francisco, 2010.  Web. 17 April 2013. More on the Irish Cultural Centre of California, the Irish Literary & Historical Society, and other Irish organizations, HERE
Learn about the Crossroads Irish-American Festival and Oral History Project, HERE
Read about the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the San Francisco Chronicle, HERE