Denver native Keisha Makonese’s passion for planning events dates way back. Her latest gig as director of sales and corporate events at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum began nine years ago. In this role, Makonese helps oversee an average of 150 private events at Wings Over the Rockies each year, from making meetings for 20 people to annual dinners for 2,000 fun and interactive experiences.

“I love seeing all of these events transform,” she says. “My role is to network, bring in new groups and destination management companies (DMCs), develop and bring in unique clients and manage the whole event scheme.”

Wings Over the Rockies is housed in an old airplane hangar built in 1938, located on what used to be Lowry Air Force Base in east Denver. With 55 different aircraft on-site and roughly 40,000 square feet of event space, the sky is truly the limit in terms of making a clients’ vision come to life. “Wings is unique as one of the largest venues in Denver and definitely the coolest,” Makonese says.

Clients vary from military and corporate to most notably the American Idol Denver auditions with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. However, Wings Over the Rockies is more than just a venue, it is a nonprofit that relies on education, youth, community outreach and volunteers, too.

“I’m meeting all kinds of people from around the world. I like coming to work, and not many people can say that,” she notes. Before Wings Over the Rockies, Makonese held a similar position at The Wildlife Experience, an art gallery and natural history museum that hosted galas and other various functions, and coordinated weddings and corporate events for Denver Botanic Gardens. She says, “I went from flowers to animals to aerospace.”

Many of Colorado’s wineries are located on Colorado’s Western Slope, but Sweet Heart Winery & Event Center in Loveland is one of the exceptions. Located on 8 acres, the winery has indoor and outdoor venue options to host gatherings ranging from meetings, expos, and fundraising galas to holiday parties and networking events. The barrel room can hold up to 200, or book the entire facility for a larger affair. 

 

Sun Outdoors, with more than 175 resorts and campgrounds across the United States and Canada, is collaborating with Outdoor Afro to provide the organization with a variety of year-round experiential activities, events and opportunities, including leadership conferences and fundraising events.

 

Being environmentally friendly is more important than ever with 83% of organizations taking sustainability into account when planning gatherings according to the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast produced by American Express Meetings & Events.