Some may know our Stilts Building location as a co-working space. Some know of the illustrious tenants who call our private offices their HQ.
Those who have only stepped foot into Upward Hartford's open workspace might be surprised to learn that nearly 75% of our web and foot traffic derives from meetings and events that happen throughout our 34,000 square foot innovation hub…and that’s all thanks to our dedicated Events team.
Upward’s Events business is spearheaded by Event Sales Manager, Carla Donza: a former Global Events and Trade Show Director for Pratt & Whitney and freelance Event Manager for industry giants and small businesses across the globe. Carla joined Upward in March 2018, six months after our official launch in Hartford’s Stilts Building, and has been an integral player in building our innovative event and meeting experiences ever since.
“My diverse professional experiences have really helped in shaping my approach here at Upward,” said Donza. “Having worked for a large corporation, I can appreciate our corporate clients’ need for structure, abiding by protocol and budgets. On the other hand, working for small businesses has given me a different approach to flexibility and adaptation for creating memorable experiences for a host’s clients, partners, and employees.”
“Everything you do is amazing,” gushes Carla’s partner-in-crime, Marc Anthony Mendes: formerly Upward's Events & Meetings Coordinator, who is celebrating a recent promotion as Upward’s Events Manager.
Marc Anthony, affectionately known as Marc, joined Upward in August 2019, after nearly 4 years coordinating social media and office affairs at Boston-based TripAdvisor.
“Coming from Boston, my perception of Connecticut is a bit different than someone who’s lived here their whole life,” said Marc. “Hartford is impressive! As a musician, I’m finding a home here, as a snowboarder, I’m finding a home here, and as a professional, I have DEFINITELY found a home here.”
When it comes to renting Upward’s unique spaces, Carla and Marc combine their professional backgrounds with one common goal: to provide a seamless, memorable experience for event organizers and their guests.
“We’re really a one-stop-shop for meetings and events,” said Carla. “From my previous work life, I understand the need for flexibility, which isn’t always available to event planners when looking at venues such as hotels.”
“Yeah! A lot of people come to us not understanding that Upward events are an all-inclusive experience...from moving tables, to managing catering, and having high-quality AV equipment ready to go upon their arrival,” added Marc. “We are built to support these businesses…engineered to cater to forward-thinkers - or groups who WANT to become forward-thinkers - that are coming from near and far.”
So, who are the forward-thinkers #movingUpward from our meeting and event spaces?
“I’m always pleasantly surprised by the big names reaching out to us,” said Marc. “From Red Bull, to Amazon, and corporate partners like Cigna, Travelers, Aetna...it’s pretty incredible to see the different styles of meetings they’re hosting, and how inspired they are by the physical space and amenities.”
“I often have a chance to catch up with former colleagues from my Pratt days,” added Carla. “We have aerospace companies in here all the time, as well as legal teams, digital marketing firms…it’s exciting to see returning clients and new industries coming through at such a rapid rate as we continue to grow and evolve.”
“We’d be remiss to not mention executive assistants…they really are the MVPs on their teams when it comes to building a successful event, and we are able to provide them with incredible value when it comes to heavy-lifting logistics that they’d otherwise need to personally take care of. We want all EAs to know we’re here to support them in executing a great event,” added Marc.
What’s next for Upward Meetings and Events?
We are thrilled to announce a fit-out project of 4 new, rentable classroom spaces, launching this Spring on our mezzanine level!
"We have had such an incredible response and high demand since the opening of our 17th floor Launch Pad suite that we are adding four more fabulous rooms to maximize our existing footprint," shared Carla. "These new meeting rooms, located on our mezzanine level, will maintain Upward's hip, modern vibe, featuring high ceilings and polished concrete floors. We're always adapting to meet the needs of our clients and Citizens, so these new spaces are designed to offer a more private setting for groups to brainstorm, train, and strategize, while also catering to groups that want a creative, collaborative space."
Slated to open early Spring 2020, these new classrooms will cater to startups, corporates, and non-profits alike. Stay tuned for details on our grand opening!
Curious about Carla and Marc outside of their professional excellence?
Carla is an avid traveler who loves to learn about Upward Citizens’ unique cultural experiences and favorite recipes from around the world.
Marc is a musician who is always excited to learn more about our Citizens' musical backgrounds and tastes, geek out about different AV equipment, as well as talk anything BOSTON!