WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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You've got to know the fabric of your town, the leadership. An event is a marketing vehicle, so if you're going to do an event that will engage children, you look for potential sponsors that are keen on childhood education or youth health. A successful event starts with vision, then you make the frame, and then you fill in the picture. WWM: What brought you to Weston? DR: When I was about to have our sixth child, my late husband Tom Skenderian and I agreed we needed a big back yard. We both believed in public education, and in Weston we found a wonderful house. Our backyard often had 20 kids hanging around, playing baseball or volley- ball. Our sons T. K., Tucker, and Tyler and daughters Taylor, Turner, and Tanner were high school athletes and class leaders; they all had a great experience in Weston. WWM: You led the planning for the fabulous Weston 300 celebration in 2013. How lucky we were that you were willing to orchestrate a year of seasonal celebrations and community building. DR: I love working with the people of Weston! With the Weston 300 Committee we found skill sets in fresh air painting, music, logistics, and even ice. It felt great to empower so many wonderful volunteers and see the community come together for the Tercentennial Commemoration on January 12 and the parade, concerts, sporting events and parties throughout the year. We are pleased to have endowed the Legacy Trail as a permanent amenity to the Town. WWM: People everywhere love to gather and celebrate. Do you see any disruptors on the horizon? DR: A growing hurdle is the ability to pay for the layers of security that some events are demanding. With town and city budgets squeezed, communities are looking to the private sector to pay for security costs. We're planning the Tall Ships for 2017, and the tradition in New England is that tall ship festivals are free. They will be, but you have to be creative. For 2017 there will be 65 agencies involved in planning and production for that event. WWM: In the special event business, what's the greatest dilemma? DR: Special events are by nature a one-time happening. In any given January, you don't know where 40 percent of your business is coming from. If you're doing a national conference that's coming to Boston but will go to another city the following year, you may do that business very well but it's over once the thank-you notes are written. How do you keep a stable of professionals happy, employed, and tuned? You don't do it with sub-contractors, volunteers, or pick-up people; you need trained staff. Another challenge is the unforeseen third-party impact. Your road race with 14,000 runners has closed some streets, and an ambulance with a critically ill patient has to detour. Or you have 2,000 people in a room for a tribute dinner, and there's a medical emergency. Your staff has to react as quickly and appropriately as possible. WWM: When you're not at the office or an event, where are we likely to find you? DR: I love construction. I have three chainsaws and a small tractor, and when I'm not at work I'm in my backyard, chainsaw in hand. My chil- dren were all trained to take care of the land and take care of a house. They grew up knowing how to use a hammer and how to sheet-rock, weed whack, and plant. And to cook. 66 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 5 an interview with dusty rhodes There's a lot of satisfaction. There's a lot of stress, too. But that's appropriate because you have so much at risk.

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