Career Connections

Shannon Hallisey

Major: Event Management

Minor/option/emphasis: Hospitality Management

Year: Senior
Hometown/State: Durand, IL

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: Prairie Moon Winery
Company/Organization website:
Title: Events Intern
Destination: Ames, IA
Timeframe: March 2017 - December 2017

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
Event Interns are responsible for providing the best possible experience to all of our winery guests by developing relationships that promote future events and bookings. Day/evening and weekend hours. Hours will vary seasonally and according to number of events at the winery. • Welcome all Prairie Moon guests and provide exceptional customer service • Sit in on tours/meetings of potential renters and existing renters -- when comfortable, conduct tours/meetings alone • Assist Event Coordinator with prepping and running events -- when comfortable, prep and run events alone • Fill various positions during our Live Summer Music events (Sundays: June-September) • Assist with development of new winery events, promotions, and marketing ideas • Basic bartending skills and wine/beer knowledge • Handle purchases using POS system and provide retail-related guidance to customers • Assist with tastings for scheduled large groups or walk-in customers when necessary • Must be able to complete physical work (repeated lifting 40+ lbs) • Provide supervisor with monthly feedback on items of interest to cover and general feedback on experience to that point

I accomplished...

My most valuable effort...
Too soon to answer this to its fullest potential :)

I learned...
From the start, the most valuable learning experience that I have encountered is to listen. When working with clients, you need to listen to what they want and try to execute their idea to the best of your ability. Even if you think the idea is stupid or useless, still do it. Your client is the primary person that you want to be the happiest at the event!

I will never forget...
My most memorable experience, so far, is working with Janet and getting the opportunity to learn about events from someone who did not get a degree in the Events/Hospitality Industry. Janet is an amazing supervisor and really wants me to learn the best ways to handle all situations of events from beginning to end. With that, Janet is very hardworking and since Prairie Moon is a family business, she does WAY more than just the events. Because she does so much more, I received the opportunity to learn more than just events. Because I am learning so much from Janet, it allows me to take some of her responsibilities. It takes a burden off of her shoulders, and allows her to focus on other aspects of the company. I have the primary focus of prepping/running events, managing schedules, managing social media, and giving facility tours. This allows Janet to focus more on the events themselves & the client-company relationships, payroll, event billing, the Sunday music series, and other various task (as well as supervising me).

A surprising discovery...
I did not expect how the weddings are SO DIFFERENT. Each weekend the wedding is different, either in a big way or a small way. This changes the way I will approach being the events industry because it shows how the same type of event (i.e. weddings) are all different and need to be prepped/ran/handled in a different way each time. You cannot treat all weddings or other events the same because each one is different/unique in its own way.

Advice for others...
Work as hard as you possibly can and show your clients, co-workers, supervisors, etc. how dedicated you are to your position and the industry itself. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for clarification. Ask all questions, even if you think they are "dumb". Ask for clarification, especially from clients, if you are unsure. It is better to ask and be 100% certain about something then to guess and be wrong. Go out of your way to make the client's event the best it can be. They are the primary person that you want leaving your establishment/place of work happy and wanting to return in the future for more events with you.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
I went out on a whim and contacted the Event Coordinator, Janet Nissen. I have always been interested in working at a winery and I just emailed her to see if they offered an internship/part-time employment. There was nothing on their website about jobs and/or internships.

I landed this assignment by...

I wanted this experience because...
I have always been interested in working at a winery because my family and I tend to visit a lot of wineries when on vacation or visiting family. I think wineries are interesting places because a lot offer an event space for weddings, galas, dinners, etc. but at the same time they host their own events.

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