In the Spotlight: 2014 Event Planner of the Year Finalists

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There were quite a few entries for the Event Planner of the Year category at the 2014 Event Solutions Spotlight Awards. Each one showed off their expertise, and we would like to introduce you to the finalists who WOWed us with their events.

This week, we’re looking at the Event Planner of the Year award, which is presented to an event planner that displays an outstanding ability to organize, manage, and execute events for all types of clients. This includes planning an event of high caliber, using creativity, and being innovative while planning within the clients budget.  The finalists for this category were Georgia Watson, Russell Harris, Shelley Johnson and Nahid Farhoud.

GWatsonGeorgia Watson

Founder of The Calendar for a Cause Charity Event that supports the Children’s Cancer Center, Georgia Watson plans weddings and practically any other type of event you can think of. She works with her clients’ budgets and communicates with them around the clock—through email, by phone or even face-to-face—to meet their needs.

She is also highly engaged with social media, which allows her to interact with clients by looking at their Pinterest boards or reading their tweets to see exactly what it is that they’re interested in.

Watson is a master of color coordination, so when a couple from New York wanted to create a theme of orange and pink to be wed in Florida, she made their dreams come true.



RHarrisRussell Harris

Russell Harris has acquired an impressive client base including such notable names as FOX Broadcasting Television, ABC, Intel, Univision and Disney Media Distribution who rely on his edgy style, professional production, and creativity.

He founded the Russell Harris Event Group over 20 years ago and has since hosted events such as the International Sales and Marketing Conference at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, the Fandango Summer Beach Party, ESPN Rose Bowl Hospitality Village and The Simpsons 500th Episode Premiere & After Party to name a few.

At the end of the four-day incentive event for a German Automotive Company, Harris even welcomed Huey Lewis to the stage for a surprise personal performance.

With his connections and the tendency to do whatever it takes to make his clients happy, we’re lucky to have had him as a finalist for our 2014 Spotlight Awards.


SJohnsonShelley Johnson

As the Event Manager for the Heart of Gold Gala, Shelley Johnson is responsible for compiling and disseminating information and updates to all groups to keep the lines of communication open.

She also hosts the annual Symphony Lover’s Ball to augment funding for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in February.

One of the challenges for the Lover’s Ball is to transform a 23,000 square-foot space in a creative way to reflect the elegance of the gala function, and Johnson does it with style.

As the president of ISES Vancouver and the principal & event producer for her company, SLJ Productions Inc., Johnson has her hands full and still manages to pull off wonderfully unique events.


Nahid Farhoud

Nahid Farhoud mixes vintage and rustic themes with more modern party favors to bring her guests a variety of the old and new.

One example of such a display exists in the décor she chose for a couple, Sheena and Edgar, who wanted a truly unique wedding.

The end result featured a hookah bar, Morrocan-themed cocktails, cake pops, a photo booth and flamenco dancers to meet their needs.

Currently, Wedding Elegance by Farhoud is spearheading a one-of-a-kind multicultural bridal showcase, a consultant for lifestyle TV show, and serves as Event Chair for the Wedding Industry Professionals Association.


All in all, the finalists for the 2014 Event Planner of the Year award were very impressive. If you didn’t make the list, enter the awards now for a chance to win this year!

Are you having an amazing year? Now is a great time to begin reviewing your past and upcoming events for entry into the Spotlight Awards. We’ve made big changes to the rules this year to make the awards 100 percent merit based – no more people’s choice voting! Enter the awards now – entries close December 12, 2014.

About the author : Event Solutions

Event Solutions

Since 1996, Event Solutions has been giving corporate, association and independent event and meeting professionals the resources they need to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the industry. From cutting-edge features on trends and technologies to behind-the-scenes profiles of some of the industry’s most prestigious events, we provide professionals with the resources they need to succeed.

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