Like many stories, it all began with a boy. “I had a teenage crush on this boy and he worked for a catering company,” says Vicki Pohl, director of catering sales at the Garces Group. “I decided that to get to know him, I’d get a job there, too.”

The love—for catering—stuck, and Pohl continued to work through high school and college for the mom-and-pop caterer in suburban Philadelphia. “I started as the girl passing hors d’ouevres and worked my way up,” she says.

After college, Pohl joined her family’s gourmet condiment business and discovered she enjoyed sales and marketing combined with food. When the business was sold, Pohl looked to Philadelphia caterers, eventually landing at the Art Museum. She made the move to the Kimmel Center three years ago and Pohl now serves as director of catering at the Garces Group, which has the exclusive contract at the prestigious Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Pohl thrives in the creative environment, citing her love of the arts. “My mother was a singer, my grandfather was an opera singer who performed at the Academy of Music … it’s in my blood,” she says. It’s just one of the reasons she enjoys working at the Kimmel Center. “If I can walk from point A to point B during the day and hear the orchestra practicing— that’s amazing,” she says.

The Kimmel Center’s unique venue comprises 11 distinctive spaces that can host everything from social events and cocktail receptions to conferences, meetings and galas. “We have a great location and this building is just amazing,” Pohl says. “We’ve done galas that utilize the entire facility at once and it’s always exciting to see it come together. I really love events that encourage us to think outside the box.” 

With over 1,000 events annually at the Kimmel Center alone, Pohl doesn’t have a typical day, or schedule. “Luckily, my family embraces it,” she says. “My 19-year-old son is in the business now, too.”

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?

 

From Baltimore to Boston to brainstorming, Ralph Weaver has never been one to say “no” to trying something new. After studying communications and marketing at Boston University, the Baltimore native made his way to New York City where he worked with a public relations agency, allowing him to dip his toes in the world of event planning.  

And he hasn’t looked back since.