Menu

Hosting with the most

As digital production becomes central in hospitality, event planner Amy Shackelford ’00 says the job is the same — to provide great experiences.

Amy Shackelford '00 is events director of Sedona Productions at Cendera Center in Fort Worth. (Photo by Glen E. Ellman)

Hosting with the most

As digital production becomes central in hospitality, event planner Amy Shackelford ’00 says the job is the same — to provide great experiences.

Event planner Amy Shackelford ’00 has a “servant’s heart,” which she thinks is at the core of the hospitality industry.

“It’s about relationships,” said Shackelford, events director of Sedona Productions at Cendera Center in Fort Worth. “It’s caring to go the extra mile for a person, and that’s a wonderful quality to have in any business, not just hospitality.”

Shackelford and her eight-person team help clients make their technology sizzle. From corporate training to fundraisers and wedding receptions, multimedia presentations are becoming as essential to the party as music and food.

A year ago, Shackelford and Cendera Center rebranded the event planning side of the business to Sedona Productions to reflect the array of services offered. Cendera now is simply the venue.

“Guests expect more today, and we’re tuned in to the technology needs,” said Shackelford, a graduate of the Neeley School of Business. “People attending an event want to hear and see and interact. ”

But it’s more than optics. A smooth operation connotes quality. “Everyone hates it when the microphone fails or the slides don’t advance. It gives a terrible impression,” she said. “But when the technology works well, people engage more. Return on investment becomes greater. It’s good for the brand and can be reputation-defining.”

Sedona’s goal remains the same — to offer great experiences for guests. Shackelford said a big seller is live-streaming of events, even wedding receptions, which allows, for example, grandparents a time zone away to watch their granddaughter’s first dance. Business clients like the option to archive their presentations to give absent or future employees an opportunity to stay informed.

Sedona also is expanding its luxury bartending services with onsite mixologists. “We started it in June,” said Shackelford, who came to Cendera four years ago after working for The Fort Worth Club and The City Club. “No one else in town does it.”

In September, Sedona Productions is throwing its own event. It is hosting the Disney Institute for a symposium on its much-ballyhooed customer service training. Shackelford’s family experienced it first-hand on a trip to Disney World in 2014, and she wanted to bring the symposium to Fort Worth to boost the service quality across the city.

The event could aid her competitors, but Shackelford sees it differently. “This is a service to the community,” she said. “If we all get better at hospitality, Fort Worth wins.”