SESMA – Special Event Sites Marketing Alliances


February 18, 2019sesmadminNews0

Following up on our Spotlight on Sustainable Events, Suzanne Morrell, Founder of STM enterprises @CreatingEvents and the DC Event Food Waste Coalition, recently launched in response to your request to find a toolkit to end food waste at your events. will be your resource for the latest tips, updates on legislation, and information you need to know to cut food waste in half by 2030 and create sustainable events . We also need your help. If you would like to be a part of the sustainable event evolution, please sign up on the website to be a part of the conversation.

Check out @SaveDCFood for the latest tweets on Event Food Waste.

To get started on taking the first steps to reducing your food waste…read on…

You know what they say…a penny saved is a penny earned. Champions 12.3 released a deep dive study showing that restaurants save $7 for every $1 invested in reducing food waste. Over three years, organizations have found a 600% positive return on their investment. What’s not to love about that!

The study in cooperation with WRAP and WRI showed significant cost savings can be made with changes that stem from measurement data. The savings primarily came from buying less food–which reduces purchase costs, increasing revenue from new menu items developed from leftovers or foods previously considered “scraps,” and lower waste management costs.

“Every part of the food industry has a responsibility to reduce food waste,” said Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive of Tesco and Chair of Champions 12.3. “These findings make it crystal clear that reducing food waste isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart business move.”

So the same reasoning outlined in the restaurant study transfers to the event industry.

It does’t have to be complicated, but you have to start! Let’s go! 

  1. The first step, and least glamorous but most important, is to measure the amount of food being wasted. Measuring food waste determines where it’s coming from. You need to know where to prioritize your efforts. That means separating, weighing, and tallying. What gets measured, gets managed.
  2. Next, engage staff. All the stakeholders in the food supply chain need to be on board–from the revenue manager, sales manager, banquet manager, service staff, planner, client and guest. Each one of these stakeholders may be inspired differently to reduce waste. Having a champion in each stakeholder group who understands and is passionate about the issue is helpful. You need a motivator!
  3. Chefs, this is where you get creative. Re-think inventory and purchasing practices. Envision how you can use an ingredient profile across multiple menu items. We can subtly nudge guests’ behaviors by varying portion size options and removing garnishes. 
  4. At the heart is reducing overproduction while matching the demand. We can use technology to accurately count our F&B guarantees without the planner, kitchen and sales team padding a little extra along the way, just in case. Primarily, this is where our creativity as planners needs to come into play. Try thinking outside the “this is the way we always do it” box. Imagine new set up options, smaller plates and pans, accurate portion size and targeted logistics of your event. How would you design an event buffet without chafing dishes and batch items? How the can you stay on time and still feed all your guests without the dreaded buffet line. I challenge you to find other options to reduce both plate waste and food that doesn’t even make it on a plate.
  5. If you have done your job accurately, you will have nothing remaining at the end of the event. However, knowing how the chain works, overproduction will be likely. We will talk about how to plan ahead to re-purpose excess food later on. The key is to have a plan.

As we see, the dollars and cents add up to a logical business case to invest in reducing food waste. The impact on the world is clear. Changing the way we approach events makes sense. So the heart of the change is changing hearts rather than changing minds. This is the long-term challenge. In doing this however, you want to make informed choices that can spread to our stakeholders without being preachy and staying true to your brand.

A plan to reduce food waste can result in significant financial savings. It can also motivate staff and impress clients. It is both good news for the environment and your bottom line.

EnventU: Cultivating the Next Generation of Event Professionals

February 6, 2019sesmadminNews0

By Latoya Lewis, Founder & Executive Director, EnventU

How did you land your first job in the events industry? If you’re like me and many of my colleagues, you may have “fallen” into the profession. But how different might your career have been if you had access to a purposeful pathway to help you discover, explore and pursue your interests in events earlier — perhaps even in high school? EnventU, a non-profit workforce development initiative that I launched nearly four years ago, serves exactly that purpose.

Capture1EnventU provides opportunities where traditionally there have been few for both young people and event professionals.

Through EnventU, public high school students from underserved communities get an up close and hands-on look at the events industry. Business leaders and event professionals guide students as they produce a real event. Students learn about and make decisions regarding catering and decor, audio and visual needs, lighting, graphic design and more. Since the inaugural session in 2015, over 125 participating high school students have created and/or staffed corporate holiday events, trade shows and expos, professional conferences, and even a 3,500-attendee rock concert.

It has been said that the best way to cultivate leadership is to expose learners to great leaders. EnventU makes it easy for industry veterans to inspire the next generation of event professionals as guest speakers and mentors or as guides through the inner-workings of their businesses during vendor field trips. Some of the initiative’s partners have even created unique opportunities for learning for some of the most promising participants.

Capture2Last spring, EnventU partnered with audio/visual association, AVIXA ®, (formerly InfoComm) to provide students from Boys & Girls Club in SE, Washington, D.C. with hands-on in-classroom presentations, a virtual audiovisual learning opportunity and the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas, NV to attend the 2018 InfoComm Annual Convention June 5-8, 2018.

Fifteen students received a crash course on the A/V industry, its businesses, career opportunities, and innovative technologies. Two students who participated in the classroom presentations, completed the 10-hour, self-paced virtual course and wrote an essay to demonstrate their understanding of A/V’s critical role in creating a successful event were chosen to receive the all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas.

As we gear up for EnventU’s fourth spring season, we invite more event and meeting professionals, producers, site managers, and industry vendors to Let Your Event Do More™ and join us in providing enriching learning experiences for students who might not otherwise receive such opportunities.

For more information about EnventU, visit or follow us on Twitter @EnventUOrg.

3rd Annual Après Ski Holiday Party – November 29th

October 18, 2018sesmadminNews0

Attention snow bunnies, and snow men!
Join DCNACE, ILEA, MPI Potomac and SESMA
for our 3rd Annual
Après Ski Holiday Party

Thursday, November 29, 2018 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

MGM National Harbor
101 MGM National Avenue
Oxen Hill, Maryland 20745

Dress Code
Your Favorite Winter Attire

Registration Deadline
Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Ask The Experts – Oct. 3rd – 6:00 PM

October 1, 2018sesmadminNews0
Mark your calendars for SESMA’s Annual Ask the Experts event on October 3rd at the American Institute of Architects!
Meet the Speakers:
Fee: $40/Member, $60/Non-Member


Thank You to our Event Sponsors:


Planting Seeds of Opportunity Campaign

May 21, 2018sesmadminNews0
  1. Campaign “Live” Dates May 18-May 24, 2018 (11-days only)
  2. Monthly Donor Levels at $10 – $15 – $20
  3. As a monthly donor your support will fund our recruitment efforts and help us create a pipeline to professions in the event industry.

For more information visit:

Social Media #1-General_Instagram

President’s Message

April 27, 2018sesmadminNews0

Happy finally Spring to everyone! It sure took long enough. ….and just like waiting
for Spring, I am sure you were all waiting on news for what SESMA is up to as well!
We are in full planning mode for all programming coming this summer and
everything is lining up to be a can’t miss.
Please look for your invite for the Event Design Workshop we are hosting at Gensler
on May 24 th from 11:30pm to 1pm. Details and description for this educational
event will be arriving in your email box this week. A note on this event – it is a
brown bag, so if packing something very delicious – bring extra
We will be hosting an event each month through September and can’t wait to see
you all as we explore, create, and socialize!
If you ever have any questions about your SESMA Membership or if you are
interested in becoming a SESMA Member, please always feel free to reach out to me
– I would love to help!
Here is to warm weather and an outdoor cocktail!

SESMA's mission is to develop cooperative marketing programs that bring member special event sites to the attention of meeting and event professionals throughout the DC-metro area who seek unique venues for their functions.
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