2018 40 Under 40: Katherine Stokoe, Paragon Events

Katherine Stokoe

Katherine Stokoe, 26, works in Delray Beach, FL, as manager of meetings and events at Paragon Events. As a 2018 40 Under 40 honoree, Stokoe discusses her passion for the events industry. 

*Connect with Stokoe on Instagram. What I do: As manager of meetings and events of Paragon Events, I work with each event’s project manager in the planning and execution of full-scale conferences, meetings, and programs. In addition, I focus on developing sponsorship strategies and overseeing the registration management for clients around the globe. Currently, I define the objectives and construct budgets for clients ranging from Hawaii to the APAC market that hold events with over 1,200 attendees. My main concentration is to consult clients on their event goals and help them surpass ROI metrics and increase total revenue. How I got here: I began my career as an intern at Paragon Events while majoring in Hospitality Management at Florida State University. Upon graduation, I secured an open position with Paragon Events and started as an assistant event coordinator, working directly with Paragon Events President & CEO Renee Radabaugh, CMP. Four years and countless experiences later, I am beyond proud to say that I have grown a great deal with the company that continues to inspire me and remind me of my passion for this industry. My greatest career accomplishment: In 2017, I led the team, with the support of President and CEO Renee Radabaugh to secure the Request for Proposal for the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Global Tourism Summit contract. I was appointed the project manager for the program that welcomed more than 1,600 attendees to Hawaii. Most recently, I received the Emerging Leadership Award and became inducted into the Inaugural 2017 Association for Women in Events Hall of Fame. This award recognizes women who are fostering growth and development for both themselves and younger professionals beginning their journey in the industry. Impressive stats: In 2016, I was the project manager for a client's sales conference after the client went through a massive merger with another company, which greatly affected their normal attendance rates. With over 4,200 room nights committed in the Nashville region and four hotels blocked to capacity, the client faced a significant attrition value if the hotel room blocks were not properly met. After strategic and hotel sales discussions, Paragon Events was able to save the client over $115,000 in possible attrition dollars from negatively affecting their budget. As an Assistant Event Coordinator in 2014, I began working with a life-science organization to plan their annual industry conference. The following year, we were able to increase the sponsorship commitment amount by 35 percent and concluded the conference with a commitment rate for the following year of 65 percent. Specific improvement I’ve made: Early on in my career at Paragon Events, I teamed up with a colleague to motivate each other into earning our Cvent certification. After studying the preparation materials and learning the extensive registration software, we flew to Las Vegas for the Cvent Connect conference and passed our exam with nearly perfect scores. Using the knowledge I gained, I helped coach six other team members into earning their Cvent certifications by hosting weekly “Lunch and Learns” that covered each facet of the industry-learning online software system. The experience both elevated the credibility of our office and allowed us to better serve our clients and their events. What I am working on now: I am most excited about expanding on my leadership role and participating in classes or programs that would help me improve my approach and strengthen my effectiveness. In addition, I am eager to research new tools on the market that would elevate our clients and help them get ahead of the curve. What I do outside of work: In my free time, I enjoy spending time in my local neighborhood of Delray Beach and participating in their many charitable events that celebrate the town and its surrounding people. I also love to travel and connect with other cultures in an authentic way. Finally, as a proud alumna of Florida State University and the Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity, I strive to support both organizations by donating to our chapter’s international philanthropy, the Arthritis Foundation.