• Meet Erin Buday, Garces Group

    FROM THE Summer 2018 ISSUE

     Utilizing her Creative Chops & Going for It 

Erin Buday originally planned to become an interior designer, but a major downturn in the industry took her in a different direction. As she waited for an uptick, Buday decided to find a job to keep her busy while she regrouped. “I took a hosting job and kept my eyes open for a new lead. When an internal event coordinator position opened up, I went for it.”

And she kept going for it. With the award-winning Garces Group since 2008, Buday is now the director of sales and marketing. The skills and interests that drew her to interior design turned out to be assets for her new path. “When I was younger, I always loved design. I took that passion and used those design skills to bring a different approach to the sales and marketing world,” Buday says.

Buday actively works to keep her creative tank full despite a hectic schedule. “It’s my goal to always have my eyes open. When I’m out at meetings, I’m not simply going from one place to the next. I’m out in the community meeting people, observing what’s happening around me and truly being present. When I’m in my office, I’m surrounded by young and fun people. Our open-office setting feels more like a think tank because we feed off one another’s ideas. It’s part of what makes our team so special.” 

The people who inspire Buday make for a long list, and includes a group of women who lift one another up by networking and sharing their insights and experiences. Another major inspiration is Garces Group’s Senior Vice President Judy Moore. “She’s a leading factor in why I love what I do and want to continue with it. I can rely on her to mentor me through roadblocks and to figure out how to be the best I can be. She has so much experience and wisdom that she’s generous with.” 

Speaking of wisdom to share, Buday has come a long way since her first hospitality role. Her advice for people interested in her field: “Listen to your gut. It’s amazing how often we truly know what’s best for a given situation. And keep striving for greatness. Don’t become stagnant. There’s always something new to learn. Keep meeting your goals and setting new ones.” 

Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.


In the wake of COVID-19, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) set out to provide planners with up-to-date intel and sound advice, appointing Dr. David Nash, founding dean emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health, in the process as its chief health advisor. Dr. Nash and Kavin Schieferdecker, senior vice president of the CVB’s convention division, share how the partnership came to be and its potential lasting impact.


A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?