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Changemaker_2018_Courtney_Lohmann_web Creative Focus

Fighting Food Waste

How 2018 Changemaker Courtney Lohmann is bringing her passion for protecting the planet to the events industry, and reducing food waste and saving money in the process.

Courtney Lohmann, CMP
Director of Culture
Koncept Events 

For her work bringing meeting sustainability and food rescue to her clients and the industry at large

Making Change
My passion is sustainability and our partners, Angie Nelson and Hillary Smith, allowed me to drive how we have conversations with our clients. Some are very receptive to it and we have been able to do food rescue programs and CSR activities. Citrus-themed events are very popular here in South Florida and we make sure we donate the food items to a local food bank afterward. Other clients might look at something as simple as sustainable centerpieces. We have an amazing floral department with a succulent garden and office air plant wall.

What’s Next
My next big passion is protecting the ocean environment from plastic waste. Internally, we just introduced a separate garbage container for plastic that we take to Publix for recycling. We have a dishwasher in the office for metal utensils and don’t use plastic. We are beginning to talk to our clients about recycling plastic or going plastic-free.

Asking for Advice
I seek advice constantly. I always ask, “If we wanted to do XYZ, what would it take to make it happen and what would it mean for every department?”  The best advice I can give is to never stop learning. The events industry is vast, find your passion and focus on that.

Your Advice for Change
You really have to go into it with an open mind and understand what the change means for everyone. You can’t look at someone else’s event and think, “I want to do exactly that.”  You have to tailor innovation to your event. For instance, if a client doesn’t want to use metal cutlery, ask them about bamboo or cornstarch cutlery instead.

Best Business Advice
Never stop learning!

Also, learn how to manage your manager. Understand what they need from you. That applies to clients, coworkers, and people you manage. Some people need bullet points about what you want them to do, others need much more information.

Thinking Differently
I don’t follow trends, in clothing or anything else. I traveled alone at a young age and exploring allowed me to see things differently. I’ve resigned positions in order to travel and volunteered from Fiji to New Zealand and Thailand.

Spare Hour
I try to be outside. I ride my beach cruiser with sunflowers all over it and I walk my dog.

Role Models
My first boss, Jody May at Festivals Inc. She joked I was an intellectual sponge but she taught me so much. Mariela McIlwraith with the Events Industry Council taught me so much about sustainability, and the two partners I work with inspire me every day.




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