Saturday, April 8, 2017

Wisconsin Business Opportunity Fair - WBOF2017

Sasha J. Events – Planning & Design was contracted by North Central Minority Development Council (NCMSDC) to plan and execute the logistical details of the 3rd Annual Wisconsin Business OpportunityFair (WBOF). The mission of the NCMSDC is to help minority owned businesses secure contracts with major corporations. The theme of this year’s event was “Making the Connection”.

I was excited to secure Gibraltar Jazz Club the location for our opening reception. Our guests enjoyed the break from the traditional hotel or convention center ballroom. The comfortable and stylish atmosphere was the perfect backdrop for mingling and networking. The highlight of evening was a performance Evan Christian himself, owner of the club.

Performance at Gibraltar Jazz Club
Evan Christan, Owner - Gibraltar Jazz Club, Milwaukee, WI

The next day began bright and early with a tasty continental breakfast and informational training sessions. Laura Parrino Byxbe of Right Management presented “Converting Eyeballs to Dollars.” This workshop was a joint session between the Supplier Diversity Sourcing Professionals and Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Ms. Byxbe showed her audience how to leverage the LinkedIn social media platform to build a reputation as a subject matter expert to attract customers and professional connections.

The remaining training sessions were in direct preparation for the afternoon buyer’s forum.  NCMSDC matched the needs of the corporate buyers with the products and services offered by certified MBEs and scheduled one on one meetings throughout the afternoon.  The MBEs split off into a session entitled “Perfecting the Pitch: The 10 Commandments of Connection” presented by Dr. Eric D. Waters, Assistant Professor at Marquette University. This session focused on communication strategies that entrepreneurs should use when communicating to potential investors and clients about their business. Dr. Waters included practical applications of these strategies that the MBEs could use during the meetings with the corporate buyers.  

Meanwhile, The Corporate Members of NCMSDC participated in a session presented by Mike Anguiano of Knnected. Mr. Anguilano’s session, “Silicon Valley Reaches Supplier Diversity,” discussed how to leverage new technology and innovation available for supplier diversity managers. This session included an introduction to Knnected, a new technology platform that enables the corporate buyers to organize the background information about the MBEs and to track the return on investment from the one on one meetings. This is the first time Knnected was used at WBOF, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

Finally, the two audiences came together again for a panel discussion moderated by Denise Thomas, The Effective Communications Coach. The panel featured a variety of Sourcing and Supplier Diversity Professionals and Minority Business Enterprise Owners:
  • Timothy Wright, Supplier Diversity Lead for the Harley Davidson Motor Company
  • Elizabeth Tran, Founder and CEO of TechniSource Services Group
  • Edna R. Abernathy, President and CEO of E. R. Abernathy Industrial, Inc.
  • Charlotte Tisdale, Procurement and Business Development Manager for Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • Shaleta Dunn, the Director of Diverse Talent and Supplier Programs for Manpower Group

The topic, “Real Talk: Bridging the Supplier and Sourcing Professional World,” prompted a lively discussion about how to overcome the communication gap between suppliers and buyers.

After the training sessions, attendees convened for an awards luncheon. Duane Ramseur, NCMSDC President/CEO and Hector Martinez, NCMSDC Board Chair provided warm welcomes and Michelle Bryant of WNOV 860AM served as the emcee. Ossie C. Kendrix, Jr., Deputy State Director representing the office of U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Shelia Payton, Outreach Coordinator representing the office of State Congresswoman Gwen S. Moore (WI-04) offered remarks. Rev. Dextra Hadnot , Director of Government Affairs for AT&T, provided an uplifting invocation. Dr. Anthony Ross, Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, delivered the keynote address, “Positioning for World Class Strategic Sourcing.” 

Following the keynote, the 2017 Wisconsin National Corporation of the Year award was presented to AT&T and the 2017 Local Corporation of the Year award was presented to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

Following the luncheon, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch joined us for the moment everyone was waiting for, the ribbon cutting to the buyer’s forum and trade show. The MBEs and corporate buyers conducted one-on-one meetings to discuss contract opportunities while community partners, business resources providers and MBEs  exhibited.

The excitement of the day was celebrated with a fabulous performance by the Brett Westfahl Quartet at our closing reception. NCMSDC is looking forward to another amazing WBOF in 2018. Special thanks to everyone who helped make this occasion a great event for my clients.

This conference attracted over 200 attendees from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The MBEs and Supplier Diversity professionals were able to make valuable connections. As the event coordinator, I planned the opening and closing reception and worked closely before the event with DigiGrated to create the program book, signage and other marketing collateral. The Wisconsin Center team was amazing in helping me ensure all the audio and visual needs of the conference were met, the Wi-Fi connections needed for the Knnected platform were available, and the menu for the breakfast, luncheon and closing reception were appealing for our guests. I also worked closely with the wonderful team at Wisconsin Expo to design the layout for the buyer’s forum and tradeshow. The MBEs and Corporate buyers appreciated the privacy curtains provided for the one-on-one matchmaking sessions and the tradeshow floor was easy to navigate. I received high praises for the shuttle service and driver I arraigned with Adonis Limousine Service.  My contacts at our host hotels made communicating with our guests about the shuttle stops easy. RCB Awards provided the elegant awards and were a pleasure to work with. I was so impressed by the samples in the showroom and I definitely recommend stopping by for any of your recognition needs. All of the great moments of this two day event were captured by our photographer Gavin Robertson. I appreciate his responsiveness and his quick response with our digital images. Each attendee received a tote bag with a cellphone stand, which were provided by MBEs. Rick from World of Colors-Break the Cycle and Katrina from Ithaca Promotions were very helpful in assisting me with selecting products and I was pleased with the quality from both companies.  It is always surprising the number of people that must be communicated with to execute an event like this. Fortunately for me, each speaker, entertainer, special guest and vendor came together to make and excellent team. I hope to work with everyone listed below again soon.

For more pictures, please visit:

  • Robert L. Simpson, DigiGrated LLC, 224-321-0702,
  • The Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53203, 414-908-6000, (Lori Napierala, Event Services Manager, Tim Sauer and his Audio Visual Technology Team, Mark J. Dolan, IT Operations Manager, Brandon C. Smith, Director of Catering Sales)
  • Wisconsin Expo, Inc., N113 W18750 Carnegie Drive, Germantown, WI 53022, 262-670-1300,
  • Gibraltar, 538 W National Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53204, 414-306-1502,
  • Photography, Gavin Robertson, Spaz Gordon Productions
  • WBOF tote bags, Rick Rodriguez, World of Colors-Break the Cycle, 319-447-7282,
  • Cell phone stand premium items, Katrina Chang, Ithaca Promotions, 612.669.7833,
  • Our shuttle service provider, Joe Sanchez and driver Howard Fowler, Adonis Limousine Service, 1525 North 4th Street, Milwaukee, WI  53212, 414-264-9999,
  • Brett Westfahl Quartet, closing reception entertainment
  • RCB Awards, 8000 W. Capitol Drive Milwaukee, WI 53222, 414-479-9100,
  • Michelle Bryant, Emcee, WNOV 860AM,
  • Angela Nardelli, Hilton Milwaukee City Center, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI  53203, 414-271-7250,
  • Michelle Cromby, Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, 333 West Kilbourn Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53203, 414 276 1234,

Sasha J. Parsons

Sasha J. Parsons is the Owner and Lead Consultant for Sasha J. Events, an event planning company that plans, manages and produces events for corporations, non-profits and individuals.

We specialize in executing your unique vision!
For more information about my company or the vendors listed, please contact Sasha J. Parsons, 770-695-7526 or schedule a free consultation or visit to schedule an appointment.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Sasha J. Events planned the 2017 Wisconsin Black Arts Festival in less than 3 months!

In honor of Black History Month, the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce approached the owner of Sasha J. Events to plan, promote and manage the event. In the limited amount of time the event was featured on television, radio, online and in newspapers. 2018 will prove to be an even bigger and better event.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: 5 Reasons to Attend Bridal Shows

Photo Credit: Google Search
There are many types of bridal events happening in Atlanta. I recommend that all brides attend at least a few events. Many venues have open houses and invite preferred vendors to create displays.  Some wedding industry professionals have workshops to educate couples on several wedding related topics from planning to decor. Bridal shows and expos are the most popular type of events and they often feature fashion shows as well as a wide variety of vendors.  Occasionally events will have a special theme so you can choose events that are directly related to the information that you will need. I have a listing of Atlanta Bridal events on my facebook page. Among the many reasons to attend, here are the top five:

1.     Saves money. To show appreciation for visiting their display tables most vendors offer special discounts and giveaways. Also, there are typically prize drawings and trust me your odds of winning at a bridal show are much better than playing the lottery! Tips: Before attending a large bridal show or several events, create an email address just for wedding information and sweepstakes entries such as "" to keep everything separate from your regular account. Also, consider creating labels with your name, address, email and estimated wedding date to quickly register on mailing lists without writing your information multiple times.

2.     Saves time. At events you will have a chance to see the work of several vendors at once. You can do comparison shopping that would take hours of Internet search, emails and calls in a matter of minutes.

3.     Inspires. Everyone involved in the bridal events will be showcasing their best work. Of course you can get ideas from bridal websites, Pinterest and magazines but there is nothing like seeing products in person. Please visit my pinterest page for some of my favorite ideas.

4.     Food. Who doesn’t love free food? Seeing pictures of food will not tell you if you will like the taste but bridals shows have catering and cake samples that you can munch on as you browse. Many vendors charge for private tasting but at events you are able to sample for free!

5.     Fun! Looking at all the displays, playing giveaway games and enjoying the entertainment as you bond with your mom, sister or members of your bridal party can make the fact you are about to be a bride seem real and exciting!

Happy Planning!

Sasha J. Parsons

Sasha J. Parsons is the Owner and Lead Consultant for Sasha J. Events, an event planning company that plans, manages and produces events for corporations, non-profits and individuals.

We specialize in executing your unique vision!
Call 770-895-7526 today to schedule a free consultation or visit to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Atlanta Bride shares how Sasha J. Events helped her "Say Yes to Less"

Jacqueline Holness had a wedding for 200 people for less the 12,000.00, considering the average price for weddings is over 25,000.00 you may wonder how did she live up to our motto of having "Twice the Wedding for Half the Price" - find out in her own words. . .Link to blog post

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sasha J. Events is asked to explain why wedding planners are a necessity not a luxury

Sasha J. Parsons, Owner and Lead Consultant of Sasha J. Events, LLC. was contacted by a blogger for Atlanta Wedding News to give insight on a question many people ask, Why hire a Wedding Planner? Link to blog post