When the "I've done it all" aphorism crops up in a conversation, most people roll their eyes—unless they’re talking to Danny Findley.
With more than 25 years of experience, Findley has worked in all areas of the hospitality industry, from catering and restaurants to décor and special event venues. In 2009, he started as a sales manager at Arrangers, a destination management company. When the company merged with Starkey Productions last year to create AXS Group, which specializes in experiential events, Findley became business development manager and a member of the creative team. Now he is on his own as an events and meeting consultant.
Findley is a natural collaborator and pursues new partnerships, even out- side work. He is past president of International Special Events Society Denver and immediate past president of Meeting Professionals International Rocky Mountain Chapter, where he also served as director of leadership develop- ment and vice president of finance.
It’s this drive to network that brought him into the industry originally. “Opportunity knocked, and I opened the door,” he says. In college Findley took a part-time catering job, quickly found he enjoyed the work and looked to break into the field. “There are so many talented people in the industry, I love connecting with them and learning from them,” he says.
Findley brings the same attitude to working with clients and helping them implement ideas. Why is he the go-to guy in the events planning industry? “Because I’m fabulous,” he says with a laugh. “I’m all about the wow factor.”
For this industry veteran, the most important part of the process is having a very clear vision of what an event should be. Having an idea is just the first step, he says, the hard part is actualizing it—and that’s where creativity becomes key. Event planning shouldn’t be hard, Findley says, but it should be fun for the client.
“You learn to adapt and learn to bring the creative side into meetings and events,” he says. “I just love people and talking to them, getting to know them and making the process fun.”