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Event Planning

Have You Met?

Susan Renneisen is Vice President of Community Affairs and Special Events at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.  She pre-opened the South Florida entertainment destination as an executive committee member and continued her rise within the company. Renneisen and her team are responsible for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s reputation for hosting and producing extravagant events that are both remarkable and memorable. Her position additionally includes responsibility for all community and charity related event sponsorships and event production.

 

As a representative of the Seminole Hard Rock, Renneisen holds board or advisory board seats with Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, The Russell Education Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, The Ann Storck Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival, and Broward Health. She is chair-elect of the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade and current executive committee member. She is a recognized community leader and activist, spending much of her personal time working with charitable organizations.

 

Renneisen’s honors and awards include: Big Brothers Big Sisters Child Advocate Award, Hollywood Art & Culture Center Community Award, Pantry of Broward Fund-Raising Award, Woman of the Year Award, 1000+ Club Pinion, Business Woman of the Year, Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, MarCom Gold Award(s) Best Special Event, Biz Bash Magazine’s Event Planner of the Year, Woman of Style & Substance, Symphony of the Americas Winterfest Captain’s Award, Outstanding Service,One of 100 Outstanding Woman of Broward County, Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Florida Commission of Tourism Flagler Award(s) for Best Special Event and United Way Woman’s Way Volunteer of the Year.

 

Born in Philadelphia she started her career in hotels as a graduate of the ITT Sheraton’s Management Training program. She worked for the Sheraton Hotel Corporation from 1970-1973 and the Philadelphia-based Centennial Hotel Corporation from 1973 - 1979.  She studied at LaSalle College and attended advanced courses at The Philadelphia Institute of Art and Cornell University.

 

From 1979 to 2000, Renneisen established a solid reputation as an innovative event planner, caterer and decorator while working with several casinos in Atlantic City and one in Las Vegas. Her background includes pre-opening three hotel/casinos.  Her areas of expertise include event production, public relations, marketing, catering, convention services and employee training.

 

She formed Renneisen & Associates, Inc. in 1990, specializing in meeting and event production and logistics. The opening events at The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City launched a decade of well recognized and specialized productions in the Atlantic City market prior to her moving to South Florida.

 

Susan resides in Davie with her husband Tony Mason and their (kids) standard poodles Jesse James and Bryson.

What do you enjoy the most about your work   Being employed by the Seminole Hard Rock has been, and continues to be, an incredible journey.  My daily world is filled with creativity, excitement and music.  Designing events, attending parties and making a difference by being involved with a wide variety of charity and community partners is not work. It is joy! How lucky am I?

 

Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you when you needed their input?  I have several mentors each bringing different perspectives to my life. Sharing thoughts and ideas with them is immensely helpful to the creative process.  Anyone who thinks they are too old to learn, or that they know it all, is fooling themselves.  Being a mentor to my young team, helps me as much as it helps them. I learn something fresh every day.  But if I have to pick one person in my life who guided me to where I am today it would be Steve Wynn. He taught me to think BIG which has been invaluable to the rest of my career. 

 

You are out in the public arena quite often; who is the most interesting person you have ever met?  Henry Kissinger.  Brilliant. Powerful. Arrogant.  But definitely interesting.   For those of you under 40, it would be Flo rida. Talented. Humble. Generous. Charitable. Did I say Humble? 

 

How have things changed for you through the years?  When I first started in the casino industry – which is very male dominated - I tried to blend in professionally with the men I worked with.  I wore the power pantsuits, pulled my hair back, and tried to hide my looks so I would be accepted as an equal and not a “skirt” as they used to call us. I hated doing it, I wasn’t being true to myself or my own abilities.  At some point, I said screw it, I’m a woman and proud of it.  Accept my big hair and my false eyelashes. 

 

What is your greatest strength(s) that makes you such an asset to your organization?   I have tremendous respect and admiration for the Seminole Tribe and Jim Allen, what they have already accomplished and what they have planned for the future. I’m invested in the success of this company.

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?  Time with my family.

 

What is the most important thing you have learned through the years?  Forgiveness.

 

How do you relax?  What is this word relax?

 

 Do you have a favorite vacation spot?  Exploring the world is way more fun that going back to one spot. Safari in South Africa is on my bucket list next.

 

 What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of?   Time.

 

Are you where you hoped you would be at this point in your life?  Totally, in every way, personally and professionally.  #BLESSED

 

When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?  A Rock Star.  And in my mind, I have achieved that goal LOL

 

What do your want your epitaph to read?  This bitch enjoyed every minute of her life!  And she did it in high heels!!

 

Do you have a motto, or some words of wisdom, that has guided you through your life?  #1.  Ask for what you want.  No one can read your mind.    #2. One person can make a difference.  Try it.   The blessings come back tenfold.

 

What word best describes your life right now?  EXCITED to be part of the future of the Hard Rock.

 

What is your fondest childhood memory?  Spending time with my family at the Jersey Shore.  We would stay late on the beach after the tourists left for the day. We would laugh and joke around just enjoying each other’s company. Feeling my skin tight from the sun and salt water, watching the light change colors on the water, wow that is happy!  When I’m homesick, I try to conjure up the smell of that ocean and remember the love of my family.

 

What is something your parents taught you that you will never forget? Open your heart to the uniqueness of others.

 

Who is your hero?  My Dad. Unequivocally. Forever.

 

When does someone know when it’s time to move on?  When you stop growing and learning or when it feels like a job.

 

Do you feel women have made progress in their quest to be treated fairly and equally in the workplace?  In 1970, we marched, we burned our bras and worshipped at the altar of Gloria Steinem.  In 2017, women hold only 29 CEO positions out of the Forbes top 500 companies.  WHY DID WE MARCH???  Speak up ladies, put yourselves out there, and take what you want.

 

How does the “seasoned” woman compete in a marketplace that is focused on looking and being young? One word.  CONFIDENCE.

 

  

Is there a saying, motto, or “words to live by” that is your favorite? Pay it Forward.

 

What’s the best movie you have ever seen?  Intellectually, for content, acting and overall storyline The Shawshank Redemption is a standout for me.  But the movie of my heart is Love Actually.  Silly romcom.  But there is a voice over in the beginning of the movie stating that if you think there is a lack of love in the world try standing in the international terminal at Heathrow Airport. The closing scene shows families, friends and lovers of every generation, of every race and religion, greeting each other as they leave or arrive, played out to the Beach Boys song “God Only Knows (what I’d be without you)”.   It’s a scene I have personally played out many times. 

 

What three things are always in your refrigerator?  Cheese. Chardonnay. Cheese

 

What is your most treasured possession?  Bryson and Jesse James, our standard poodles.

 

What magazine do you look forward to reading each week/month?  Vanity Fair. Love Graydon Carter.

 

What is your favorite restaurant?  Council Oak Steaks and Seafood and Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock.  They are both incredible restaurants serving nothing but the best.  But if I’m honest, I have to say Martoranos.  Steve and I grew up in the same neighborhood in Philadelphia. His cooking speaks to my soul.

 

What will we find you doing on a Saturday night?  Working, but not in my office kind of working.  I’m usually attending or hosting an event.  So is that really working?

 

What is your favorite room in your house?  Not exactly IN my house, but our backyard is awesome.  My husband puts in a lot of effort into making it special. It is the happy place for us, our family and our friends.  Lots of memories are continually being made out there!!

 

If your house was up for sale, and a potential buyer did a walk through, what would your home say about you?  Too much!!!  But my friends would tell you it is warm, loving and welcoming. 

 

What is your pet peeve?  Bullies.

 

What can make you cry?  Injustice

 

What is your greatest strength?  I’m passionate

 

What is your greatest weakness? I’m passionate

 

What is something you have learned from a pet?  As any pet owner would tell you, unconditional love.

 

 

What is your favorite Ice Cream flavor?  Combination of Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter and Chocolate mint.   YUMMMM

 

What is your biggest fear?   Losing my health.

 

What do you have to say to all the young women/men out there ready to take on the future?  Go for it.  What do you have to lose????  And listen to Boz Luhrmann – wear sunscreen.

What a wonderful article Susan, so happy for you. Sorry I won't be seeing you on thr 26th, hope to speak with while you're home. Congratulations on all you have accomplished, you earned it. Love you!
Barbara Patti
17-May-17


I am honored to feature Susan on my "Have You Met" feature on BTSF!
Ginny Fujino
13-May-17