• Meet Dorothy DeBlasio, 2019 Best Special Events Planner

    POSTED May 23, 2019

Dorothy DeBlasio

Catering and Conference Services Manager; Black Star Farms; Sutton’s Bay

First Steps: “I’ve been working in the food and beverage industry since I was 13. I always knew I wanted to be a part of food and beverage and the hospitality industry. The event industry was a good fit for me because of how detail oriented I am. I really like a plan in my work and personal life!”

On Her Role: “I sell, detail and execute events for Black Star Farms. I’m with my clients from the beginning to the end. I also manage the department, which includes overseeing all day-to-day operations for three distinct venues, manage and develop strategy, handling business operations for the events department and leading a team of 15 employees when fully staffed.”

A Learning Moment: “That it is okay if your personality does not always align with your clients. Learning how to read what is important to your client will help you exceed the expectations of the most discerning guests.”

Work Philosophy: “I believe in building a great team and leading by example. When preparing for a big event, I go through all the details with my team and make a plan for the event. I rely on my team to help execute all events. Details, details, details!”

On Personality: “My goal is to provide excellent service to all my clients. I have a bubbly personality and am very detail oriented. I feel that these characteristics are what help to put my clients at ease to know everything is taken care of. My most valuable skills are details and patience.”

Career Path: “After graduating from Appalachian State University, I started my career as a conference services assistant at the Biltmore Estate. While there, I was a part of both the catering sales and conference service departments. I also helped it start the off-site catering division of the catering sales department. I moved with my husband to northern Michigan in 2014 and shortly after started my job at Black Star Farms. My goal now is growing our event business and continuing to be the premier destination for social and corporate events in northern Michigan.

After 36 years as director of the CVB, Peter Fitzsimons is retiring. By Shelley Levitt

In 1985, Peter Fitzsimons, a former hotel general manager, became the executive director of the newly formed Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau. He never left. In June, the 73-year-old Detroit native announced that he’d be stepping down from the role at the end of the year. 

MIM+E: When did you begin your career in hospitality?


League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 


Dorothy Hecht was just 16 years old in 1937 when she waited on her first table at what was then Fischer’s Restaurant in downtown Frankenmuth, and ecstatically earned her first 25-cent tip. When she met and eventually married William “Tiny” Zehnder, whose family owned Zehnder’s Restaurant across the street, her happiness continued, and a legacy began.