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Upon graduation from the Pennsylvania State University, Suzanne began her professional career in the hospitality industry where she honed her organizational and marketing skills. Managing a high performing Marriott property, she garnered several awards including Manager of the Year, General Manager of the Year and Hotel of the Year.

Prior to accepting the position as Executive Director for FFEA, Suzanne spent five years directing events for the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. In her position there, she oversaw the production and execution of over 60 events per year, including the ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival. ArtiGras is one of the largest art festivals in the state of Florida and has been recognized as one of the top 50 art festivals in the U.S. and one of the top 20 events in the Southeastern U.S. During her time at the Chamber, their events earned several awards for advertising and organizational excellence.

As the CEO for FFEA Suzanne is responsible for all operational aspects of the organization, including membership growth, multimedia marketing, and event management. FFEA's 700 members represent the industry's top leaders and the Association serves as a resource to help them perform at their peak through education, networking and the cultivation of the highest standards. In her role with FFEA, Suzanne and her team visit events throughout the state of Florida and United States as they strive to connect, educate and advocate on behalf of FFEA's diverse membership.



We're pleased to introduce you to our newest team member, Amy Overfield. Amy is a student at the University of Florida and will be interning with us for trough the summer. She is majoring in Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Management and plans to graduate this spring.

Amy may be reaching out to you in the future regarding FFEA related projects so please help us welcome her to the FFEA Family. Amy can be reached via email. We're thrilled to have her on our team!

What is your career goal upon graduation? My career goal is to work in the event industry as an Event Coordinator, ideally working with theme parks such as Universal Studios, Walt Disney World and Seaworld. My long term career goal is to own and operate my own travel agency.

Tell us about an experience you had that made you want to learn more about the events industry. I was employed on the catering team at 4Rivers Smokehouse for 2 years, serving individuals at the UF football home games and alumni association events while attending school in Gainesville. During this time, I learned the importance of providing kind and courteous service and how imperative it is to adapt/ adjust your plans to exceed guest satisfaction. I experienced how mentally and physically exhausting these days could potentially become and realized that having the appropriate amount of well-trained staff members was crucial to an event's success. After executing multiple events on the catering team, I understand how vital it is to properly plan for an event and do your best to over-prepare for any situation. This previous experience expanded my values in guest service as well as providing a glimpse into the event industry.

What are you most looking forward to in your FFEA internship? I am most looking forward to becoming a part of the broad environment and gaining first-hand experience in the event industry as well as building long-lasting relationships with other professionals. I have no doubt my confidence as an event coordinator will only expand further and I look forward to utilizing these skills to take on new challenges beyond my internship. In addition to developing a deeper understanding of this career, my goal for this internship is to increase my leadership and communication abilities as I oversee the committees I am responsible for. I am anxious to begin this opportunity and learn under the event specialists at FFEA!

Best Book You Have Read: The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Peale

Best Advice you have ever received: It’s important to see the good and bad in every situation. Be thankful for the good and learn from the bad. Everything else is just behind you.

What is one of your favorite quotes? “Those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who actually do.” - Steve Jobs



Welcome Clara Barrow to our FFEA Team as she works with us to complete her internship. Deanna is a student at the University of Florida and will graduate in August 2023 with a BS in Event Management.

Clara will be working with us on our Convention Planning, specifically with the Awards, Sustainability, and Entertainment Showcase Committees.

What is your Career Goal (upon graduation and long term)?

I feel as though I have a dizzying amount of career goals for after graduation! I have loved my past work in non-profit, community-building events and would not mind revisiting that in the future. I would also definitely be interested in working with more large-scale, entertainment style events like sporting events or concerts. The ultimate goal, though, is just to do what I love and do it to the best of my ability!

Can you share any past event related experience that you have (paid or volunteer)? How has that experience shaped you?

I have always been an organizer and a planner. Some of my earliest memories are of helping my mom put together our local church events! In more recent years, however, I have tried to dip my toes in every stage of the event planning process. My freshman year of college, I worked on program development for a local middle school summer camp. The summer before my junior year, I was in Iowa City working with the Iowa City Downtown District on community-building projects. One of my favorite events was the Annual Block Party, for which I was head of volunteer coordination for over 200 volunteers. This past summer I worked at Confetti Events in Tampa and gained some valuable insight on what day-of wedding coordination entails... including how important a comfy pair of shoes can be for those all-day events! These past few months I have been working with Sweetwater Branch Inn in Gainesville. Here, I learned quite a bit about venue management and catering.

These experiences have taught me what it looks like to work hard in this industry. They have shown me how many moving parts go into planning and hosting an event and I hope they have shaped me into the type of leader that takes into consideration the hard work that goes into making each event a success. I hope to care for every member of my team throughout my career , from event staff to vendors to lead planners, and never forget the hard work I put in throughout my college years and those who went the extra mile to take care of me.

What you are most looking forward to with the internship experience?

The biggest thing I am looking forward to with this internship experience is how much I am going to learn! I am hungry to learn anything and everything I can about this industry from people who know how to do it best. I am excited to observe, to grow as a planner and, most of all, to serve the community of festival and event planners that I hope to be a part of very soon!

Best Book You Have Read: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Best Advice you have ever received: Be afraid and do it anyway.

What is one of your favorite quotes?: “And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” ― John Steinbeck

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