“We were young, impulsive, and every idea was doable,” said Vibrant Table Creative Director, Kurt Beadell, when I asked about his and Cindy Thompson’s early collaborations. Kurt first worked with Cindy 25 years ago, and she still approaches each event with an adventurous, can-do spirit. Owner of Cindy Thompson Event Productions, Cindy is a blonde ball of energy in a pint size frame. She’s a rock star in Portland’s vibrant event community (and just happens to play drums) and has been an innovative, driving force since she first stepped onto the stage.
Vibrant Table and Cindy Thompson Event Productions have partnered on scores of projects. Specializing in corporate galas, community functions, and non-profit fundraisers, clients have included Delta Airlines, Girls, Inc, Tektronix, and the Portland Timbers. We are more than honored to feature Cindy Thompson, and Cindy Thompson Even Productions, as this month’s Vibrant Vendor.
* * *
VT: Tell us a little bit about Cindy Thompson Event Productions.
CTE: We are an experienced, creative and nimble team of professionals who have created some of the most innovative and memorable events for corporations, non-profit organizations, communities, and individuals. We understand how to elicit emotion and passion that drives people to give more, sell more and care more, and we tailor each event to the needs and goals of each client to ensure success based on their benchmarks.
VT: What was your first taste of the event industry? How did you get where you are today?
CTE: When I was a junior at Lewis and Clark College, I had an internship in the promotion department of KGW Radio. My first assignment was helping produce a birthday party for Packy the elephant at the Oregon Zoo. It was the biggest birthday party certainly I had EVER seen, with more than 10,000 people showing up to celebrate the birth of the famous pachyderm.
I continued to work at the radio station upon graduation, and by age 24 I was producing the city’s largest one-day event—Neighborfair. It was the first big event of its kind at Waterfront Park. When I left the station 6 years later, I started my own event company called “Celebrations.”
VT: Give us a glimpse of that early Cindy Thompson; what was she like? How has she changed?
CTE: Full of energy and ideas and loved making things happen and bringing people together. Loved being in the middle of all the energy. Moving quickly, doing many things at once, but very grounded at the same time. Laughing a lot and having a lot of fun with friends and business associates.
After nearly 30 years in the industry, I have more experience and knowledge but I still like to push the creative envelope whenever I can so people can experience something new and different. After raising two boys, I have learned a lot about patience. I truly enjoy working with people to create something out of nothing.
VT: What’s different about the way events are done now?
CTE: I marvel at how I used to produce the biggest one-day event in Portland—KGW Neighborfair—that drew 300,000 people to Waterfront Park. This was done WITHOUT computers, cell phones, fax machines or even voice mail! The technology, without a doubt, has changed the way we do business – mostly for the good, but sometimes there is too much information exchange than really necessary.
VT: Who inspires you?
(Writer’s comment: If you go ga-ga for creative websites, David Stark’s is a great way to waste 15 minutes. Be sure to visit each and every one of his pages.)
VT: What ideas and trends do you find exciting right now?
CTE: Incorporating sustainability and getting back to community and more personal touches. Street eats (food carts), flash mobs, farm to table dinners, family style service, urban rustic, personal touches, authenticity, experiential events, celebrity chefs, and culinary interaction.
VT: Why is it important to hire an event planner/producer?
CTE: An experienced planner/producer can help an individual or company take their event to the next level, creating something truly memorable. In addition to the creative vision, they utilize their resources to create a team of professionals that will create the best possible event for the budget. They manage the hundreds of details that happen behind-the-scenes, and their experience allows them to handle those unexpected scenarios that can happen (and potentially ruin) an event.
VT: What types of business, organizations, or individuals would be interested in your services?
CTE: All types and sizes of corporations, non-profit organizations, civic groups, and individuals.
VT: Is there anything you DON’T do?
CTE: We don’t generally do weddings, unless for a previous client or for a very special situation. We don’t do business meetings.
VT: Do you have any professional pet peeves?
CTE: People who “abuse” social media just to keep their names in the forefront but who don’t really have anything interesting to say. Disorganization. People who don’t follow through.
VT: What advice would you give to the budding event planner?
CTE: Start out as an intern with a company to learn the ropes and get experience.
VT: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or Cindy Thompson Event Productions?
CTE: We have a passion for creating unique events, and we believe that events can bring people together in a way unlike anything else. Through our unique blend of creativity and attention to detail, we go above and beyond for clients, exposing them to ideas that they never dreamed of before.
* * *
You might also like
Cindy Thompson says she’s inspired by her long-time friend, Vibrant Table Creative Director and Co-Owner, Kurt Beadell. You can learn more about Kurt by…
- watching this video of ‘Riches of a City’ grand opening gala, produced by Ambient Sky Studios. Kurt shares his inspiration behind the event design.
- exploring our galleries, which showcase many of Kurt Beadell’s event designs.
- Watch other Vibrant Table videos on our You Tube Channel.