SSE-LA produces National Corporate Housing’s 2015 Management Conference at The Grand Floridian


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Superstar Events-LA produced the 2015 National Corporate Housing Management Conference at the beautiful Disney signature hotel, The Grand Floridian at Disneyworld n Orlando, Florida. I was lucky to begin working with Laura Ciabotti, Vice President of Learning & Development in September 2013. We made an excellent team!  I had a wonderful time getting to know Laura and learning about National’s corporate culture.  The conference theme was Empowered for Excellence and was held Monday, March 9th through Friday, March 13th.

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Peggy Sweeney-McDonald and Laura Ciabotti, NCH VP Training & Development discovering The Incredible decor at The Grand Floridian Resort

I recommended they hire, Johnnie Maya of JRM Productions for the meeting audio visual needs. Johnnie and I have a long history of working together on corporate events. We are both highly creative and it is always a pleasure to work with him and his production manager, Richard Quezada. Once we brainstorm on the theme, we are always off to the races with a fun kicked-up opening video idea. Laura thought Johnnie was a great fit and NCH was excited to be working with him!

Johnnie Maya, Peggy Sweeney-McDonald & Richard Quezada

Since the meeting was at Disney, I suggested to Laura, we pick a “Disney” theme for an opening video. She presented a list to the executives and they chose The Incredibles. We cast the executives CEO, Tom Acheson, President/COO, Jon Hile, Chief Talent Officer, Misty Gregarek and Chief Financial Officer, Kregg Anderson as our Super Heros complete with leotards and black masks. In the video, our “Super Heros” give a mission for the NCH Regional Managers to grab their team members with their empowering for excellence game plans and come to the Grand Floridian to join forces to terminate the competition and bring world class corporate housing to the Universe. We see them exiting the NCH Denver office building and jumping into a car and screeching off into the night with “Bam” “Pow” & “Shazam” as graphics on the screen. We cut to pictures of the teams across the country dressed for  “Disney or Bust” and with a couple of  “princesses” and in Mickey ears. The video ended with the Executive Team arriving to the Grand Floridian and marching into the Conference Center arms locked as a united team. (We had to film early Monday morning before the meeting began and Wizard Johnnie edited the closing into the video on the spot.)


The NCH Incredible Super Hero Executive Team – Kregg Anderson, John Hile, Tom Achison and Misty Gregarek

After showing the video at the opening of the General Session, the four executives ran up the  ballroom aisle to a standing ovation and posed on stage in their Super Hero poses complete with red Incredible hoodies. It was an opening to remember and got the attendees pumped up for an inspiring and motivational four day conference of education, planning, networking and team building.

The first night kicked off with a beautiful cocktail party on the Grand Floridian Marina Patio. For an ice breaker, Laura instructed the Regional Managers to grab their team and in fifteen minutes take pictures with an Iphone of every Mickey Mouse character they could find on the resort property. The winning team took 120 pictures. At 9:00 PM, the Disney fireworks over the Magic Castle could be seen across the lake and was a spectacular ending to a beaufitul evening.


Welcome Cocktail Party on the Marina Patio

The Disney Institute provided a full day of traning on Tuesday, complete with a behind the scenes tour to see how Disney manages their team and property. Disney’s concept of  finding the emotional connection with their clients inspired everyone and the attendees walked away with new skills and motivation along with Mickey Ears with a graduation cap!


Disney Institute Training Graduates

On Wednesday night, a festive off-site party was held at the Ice Bar in Orlando. Everyone wore white, blue or silver and were given  NCH blue logo’d scarfs, silver beads, tinsel crowns and light necklaces. A delicious Mexican buffet was served with specialty Vodka cocktails followed by dancing, photo op, a dance contest and raffle for fun prizes including the red Incredible hoodies raffled right off the back of the executives. An amazing ice scupture was created within minutes on the patio of Mr. Incredible from the Disney movie, however, his logo was the “N” for National! Guests enjoyed putting on coats and going into the freezing cold Ice Bar within the club to drink Vodka out of ice glasses sitting on ice bar stools.


The IceBar Orlando

The beautiful Award Gala began on Thursday night with a red carpet cocktail party, followed by a delicious sit-down dinner. Entertainment was provided by the The Three Waiters, a trio of “waiters” who always bring a huge surprise element to the event when they began singing and competing in a sing-off ending stage in a rousing edition of the famous opera song, Nessun Dorma. An after-party followed with more celebrating and dancing until midnight.

Photographer Jennifer Creel, was there to capture the events and took new headshots of all the attendees.

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The Three Waiters

A good-bye breakfast buffet was held  Friday morning complete with Mickey Waffles and a final networking closing excercise led by Laura Ciabotti before everyone headed to the airport.  I was blessed to have a few hours by the pool before heading back to Los Angeles.

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National Corporate Housing Award Gala

The service and staff at the Grand Floridian was first class and the food was exceptional. The Sales Manager discovered I was a foodie so the Chef made a point to come see me during each meal to see if I approved. He even brought me an extra entree at the Award Gala because he wanted me to try the mouthwatering short rib and I had ordered the excellent grouper! The specialty dessert was a Mickey Mouse chocolate mousse  which was a nice touch and everyone was talking about it the next day!

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The Mickey Mouse Chocolate Mousse for Dessert!

Team Disney surprised me with a tasty souvenier left on my bed, a Cooking with Mickey cookbook signed by the famous mouse himself.  Best amenity ever from the happiest place on earth!  Thanks to Mickey and the Grand Floridian team!  Thank you Laura, Tom, Jon, Misty and Kregg & the National team! It was truly magical!


Cooking With Mickey



Laura Ciabotti, VP of Learning & Development

I had the opportunity to work with Peggy on our Annual Conference. She was able to step into a process that had already started and take control of all the moving pieces. She orchestrated an amazing event for us! She took us to a whole new level of WOW! I enjoyed working with Peggy on all levels. 

Peggy is the consummate professional who is fun loving, responsible and I feel fortunate to have had her on our team!”  – Laura Ciabotti, VP Learning & Development, National Corporate Housing



SSE-LA’s Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde… foodie event is highlighted on Food Network Star by contestant, Jay Ducote

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The latest season of Food Network Star is getting a spicy serving of Louisiana lagniappe in the form of “Big Jay” as Host Giada De Laurentiis called Jay Ducote on the first episode which premiered Sunday, June 7, 2015. Jay Ducote is taking the latest season of Food Network Star by storm with his killer cooking and big love of Louisiana culture! He is filling the screen with his passion for food and larger than life personality.

Jay is one of Louisiana’s finest foodie personalities and is the radio host of the award winning The Bite & Booze Show. He is a former favorite host and storytelller of Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde…, the live food monologue show produced by Superstar Events-LA, and is a contributor to the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde….LIfe Stories About Food Coffee Table/Cookbook by Pelican Publishing. He recently came out with his own tasty Jay D’s Louisiana Barbeque Sauce and a small batch of Blanc du Bois wine from the Louisiana Landry Vineyard. Both fly off the shelves in Lousiana grocery and specialty stores.
If you aren’t familiar with the Food Network Star on The Food Network, the show is hosted by Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis. It begins with 12 contestants who are challenged each week with cooking competitions. One chef is eliminated by the end of each week. The show is unique as the competitors are judged on cooking skills along with their personality and stories.
On the second show of the season titled “Savor Your Baking”, Jay knocked it out of the park in the “What’s for Dinner?” segment. The contestants made a mad dash to choose limited left-over type ingredients from the refrigerator and create a family dinner. Jay chose grilled salmon and created a Barbeque Salmon Hash with potatoes, onions, peppers, jalapenos and Kraft Barbeque sauce. Too bad Jay wasn’t able to bring his own Jay D’s Louisiana Barbeque Sauce, a top seller in stores throughout Louisiana and used by many chefs. Kraft is a Food Network sponsor so I guess that wasn’t going to happen! Each contestant had to present their dish on camera and Jay received amazing comments such as “flawless” by Judge Melissa D’Arabian, former winner of Food Network Star Season 5. He was challenged by the judges to “show us something we really need to know about you in each challenge going forward.”
On the second segment of the show, the contestants were challenged to create something savory but inspired by something traditionally sweet. On Sunday morning, Jay had texted me to “watch the show for several reasons.” My radar went up and I figured he was going to make his mouthwatering Blackberry Bourbon Boston Butt, the best pork dish I have ever eaten which is featured in the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde … cookbook, or possibly make a special beignet inspired by Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, Louisiana. I was intrigued and set my DVR. I was surprised and thrilled when Jay shared how he had been a speaker in a food monologue show back in Louisiana called “Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde…”  and was inspired to make a savory beignet because beignets are “little pillows of decadence,” my favorite term for them! Although Jay was told by the judges that he sometimes seems too rehearsed and needed to show other sides of his personality, the judges were very positive about his beignets. Host Bobby Flay said they had a good flavor and guest judge Chef Alex Guarnaschelli liked his passion for Louisiana culture.
There is no question in my mind that Jay will step up to the plate with the excellent feedback shared by the judges. I feel like they are pulling for him to win and are giving him the tools to get him there. There are many sides of Jay Ducote yet to be revealed and Food Nework needs to buckle their seatbelts as Hurricane Jay has just begun! My fingers are crossed because he deserves to win this competition and shine on his own Food Network show!
As we say in Louisiana, “Yeah You Right…Geaux Jay!”
Jay Ducote in Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde...
Tune in to Food Network Star, an entertaining and mouthwatering show, on The Food Network on Sunday nights or look for it On Demand.
Meanwhile, if you want a little more of Big Jay, check out his website and order his delicious Jay D’s Louisiana Barbeque sauce.
Jay D's Louisiana Barbeque Sauce & Blanc Du Bois wine
Jay’s book hasn’t been published yet, but is in the works with LSU Press. While you wait, check out the Meaanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde… Life Stories About Food coffee table/cookbook to read Jay’s food story, Bite, Booze & Beyond, and try his delicious recipe for Blackberry Bourbon Boston Butt.
Jay Ducote's Blackberry Bourbon Boston Butt
You can watch my interview with Jay on Savoring The Sweetness, Let’s Talk About Food talk show, a Pepper Jay Production filmed last year in HollywoodCalifornia.  Visit SavoringTheSweetness to see Jay’s show and my interviews with other foodies.
Jay Ducote & Peggy Sweeney-McDonald on Savoring The Sweetenss

Welcome Event Producer Melanie Elliott to the Superstar Events – LA Team


We are excited to annouce our new Event Producer, Melanie Elliott. Melanie has worked as a freelance event producer with us on past events and has joined the Superstar Events L.A. team. It’s going to be a great 2015 with her on board!

Peggy and Melanie at House of Blues Kidsave Event

Peggy and Melanie at House of Blues Kidsave Event



A Bay Area native, Melanie was an event producer at Venice Interactive Community producing many of their networking events including some of their high end events with budgets over 100K.  As a member of Circle X Theatre Company, Melanie was the Associate Producer of the play, Sperm and also served as one of the producers of the Circle X Annual Reading Series.  She has worked with Peggy on numerous events including Kidsave’s annual fundraiser at the House of Blues Sunset, Professional Convention Management Association’s evening event at The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, and was a headliner in Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde… at Tom Bergin’s.  Recently she produced a sizzle reel for a daytime talk show idea.  She holds a B.A. in History from UC Berkeley and a M.F.A. in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University.  With her attention-to-detail, outstanding customer relations, and creativity, Melanie will be an asset to SuperstarEvents LA.



Peggy & Melanie at Perch, Downtown Los Angeles

Peggy & Melanie at Perch, Downtown Los Angeles







Creative Meeting & Event Themes

Superstar Events - LA

GalleryWe focus on giving your guests a glorious experience, a true moment of recognition and acknowledgement for their own unique contributions to your company.  The program will be remembered years after the excitement of the events fade.   If we had to describe our programs in one sentence, we would say, “Motivating, touching, inspiring and rejuvenating”. Simply put, we don’t do boring meetings, and our programs are a true celebration of achievement. Some of the meeting themes we have created include the following:

“Taking the Lead for Sales Success” – a triumphant strategy for a sales
meeting theme which plays in the pop culture dance craze that has taken over
America, this ballroom themed program is sexy, elegant and inspiring.

“Step Up to the Plate” – a fun, approachable and educational baseball themed program designed to maximize results based on team effort.

“All That Jazz” – a funny, sexy custom program, designed to acknowledge
superior market segment sales skills …think “killin’ the competition”, “give them the ole Razzle Dazzle”.

“Shake It Up” – a racy program with a Latin flair, designed to incorporate
new vision in a sales strategy; also appropriate to help your sales team
embrace changing structure within a corporation.

“Defying Gravity” – a high tech program designed to impress; this program
acknowledges past success while encouraging aggressive future goals.

“Mission: Possible” – a fast paced custom program designed to entertain,
motivate and excite your sales team.

Site Selection

Site Selection
A great way to begin working with SSE-LA, at no cost to your company, is to let us partner with you for site selection. As budgets are being cut, planners today are under pressure to get the most for the money.  SSE-LA will work with you to find the best rates, upgrades, discounts and more. Whether you are booking a large scale association meeting or a smaller corporate function, SSE-LA can locate, evaluate and contract the ideal hotel for your meeting needs.
After discussing your program needs and reviewing the specs of the program, we will create a request for proposals (RFP) to source potential venues. As a result of our hotel database and global relationships, we will find the best venues for you, follow up with the hotels, negotiate the rates, concessions and manage the process on your behalf.
If you have a last minute meeting or you are beginning to think about your next incentive program, sales meeting, management meeting or executive retreat, please call us so that we can assist you with your site selection.

Meeting, Event & Incentive Management

Meeting, Event & Incentive Management

Meeting, Event & Incentive Management

  • Work closely with your team to establish theme, time-lines and agenda.
  • Preparation and management of budgets and reconciliation for conference events
  • Oversee logistics with hotel catering services management team to include set-ups for ballroom, outdoor event space, food and beverage, green rooms, and AV hook-ups.
  • Source and negotiate for keynote speakers, team building, entertainment options, décor, photo ops, etc.
  • Establish contact, rapport and manage all vendors and speakers
  • Finalize details for event with Client, vendors and venue
  • Direct Client to furnish any deposits indicated on contracts and notify client of all invoicing processes and due dates
  • Work with in-house marketing team or sub-contractor to create artwork for meeting collateral
  • Work with video production team to create a unique themed kick-off opening video
  • Attend pre-con with venue and event team
  • Coordinate set up of audio visual and technical arrangements as needed
  • Conduct post-con with venue and event team

Improved Meeting Productivity

Superstar Events LA

SSE-LA’s track record of success in conceiving, planning and managing meetings & events is consistently strong and highly predictable. Plainly put:  “we say what we mean and we mean what we say”  … we do not make commitments that we can not keep and we always have backup plans.

SSE-LA is a fee based management company, with an open pricing policy. We believe that this policy allows us to offer our services and maintain complete trust and integrity when negotiating on behalf of our clients.   We have managed high profile, tight budget and very high caliber events around the globe with executives “peeking under the covers” incessantly all while maintaining composure, attention to detail and the mission at hand.
Site Selection – The SSE-LA Team can help you increase productivity by sourcing hotels and venues for your meeting with no cost to your company.  more…

Meetings, Events & Incentive Management – We can work with your team, assessing your meeting, event and incentive program needs and give your team recommendations to reflect your objectives.  more …

Theme Development – Our team’s theatrical background makes meeting and event program planning especially exciting.  more….

Exhibit and Tradeshow Management – From researching the tradeshows your company should attend, exhibitor registration and booth management, our team can partner with you for all of your tradeshow management needs.  more….

Partner with your team to create and manage your next event

Partner with your team
SSE-LA, based in Los Angeles, California & Baton Rouge/New Orleans, Louisiana can partner with your team to create and manage your programs from “soup to nuts”.  Our team’s Hollywood background brings a creative edge to creating unique themes so your guests enjoy a fabulous experience filled with motivation, inspiration and acknowledgement of their own contribution to your company.  We are available to partner with you on every aspect of your program from site selection, agenda and strategy development, branding, food and beverage management, team building, key note speakers, audio visual, video production, event entertainment, red carpet, VIP celebrity & swag suites, collateral and more….whatever you wish for your event to be a success, we are there to see that it is done on purpose, on time, on budget and with flair and style.

SSE-LA is creative. logical. visionary. valuable. We WOW your guests. We put meeting planners at ease. We work seamlessly with your team, sponsors, hotels and special venues. We maximize your budget. We reach objectives and produce extraordinary results. For a confidential consultation on your next corporate event, non-profit event or incentive program, please contact Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, at 310-709-2851 or

SSE-LA is excited to partner with Ritmopalooza!


SSE-LA is excited to partner with Ritmopalooza!  SSE-LA recently had the privilege to work with Bobby Ramirez ,creator of the fabulous Ritmopalooza show to produce “A Hot Havana Night” Award Gala for the Aquatech Institute Conference at the beautiful Fontainebleau – Miami Beach. Ritmopalooza provided the music entertainment, Havana girls, dancers and decor for an over the top amazing latin themed event.  Attendees, young and old didn’t hesitate to jump up dance and hit the conga drums!  (

Superstar Events-LA Presents “Meanwhile, Back At Cafe Du Monde…”

Meanwhile, Back At Cafe Du Monde…

Superstar Events-LA is proud to present “Meanwhile, Back At Cafe Du Monde…” a unique, festive FOOD Story/Monologue event to premiere at the Myrtles Planatation in St. Francisville, Louisiana on May 16, 2010 and The Lyceum Ballroom in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 19, 2010. Created, Directed and Produced by Superstar Events-LA President, Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, with Jay Basist as Associate Producer, the show’s monologues will be written and performed by Baton Rouge personalities including Lisa Annitti, Paul Arrigo, Chef Don Bergeron, Donna Britt, Daniel Brockhoeft, Sister Judith Brun, Paul Gates, Todd Graves, Jeff Kleinpeter, David Liuzza, Tip Pace, Ruffin Rodrigue, Chris Russo, Michael Scott, Leah Simon, Daron Stiles, Jim Urdiales & Whitney Vann.   Each event will begin with a cocktail party with drinks and cocktail buffet.  A portion of the proceeds will go to the West Feliciana Parish TRIAD Program for the elderly (The Myrtles) and the Baton Rouge Downtown YMCA Strong Kids Program.  For more information go to or call Peggy Sweeney-McDonald at 310-709-2851.