A Celebration of Tablers: The 2015 Chiavari Awards

This post was written by Social Tables’ Customer Advocate and Chiavari’s Committee Member, Whitney Drazovich

First Of All…Just What Are The Chiavaris?

Commitment to employee development and appreciation has always been one of the most important objectives to the leadership at Social Tables. We consider ourselves first and foremost a family, going so far as to include, “Teams are Families” in our core values. We work at an incredible pace and with incredible focus each and every day, but we carve out a celebration once a year to recognize our success and personal achievements.

We call this day, “The Chiavaris”.

What is a chiavari, and why do we dedicate our employee appreciation day to it? A chiavari is the crème de la crème of seating – an elegant, detailed structure that is found only at the finest events. As a company that works very closely with the hospitality industry, we knew that using this as the visual for our employee appreciation showed that we put our coworkers on the highest pedestal, where we believe they should be recognized.

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How We Planned the Perfect Event

As the clock strikes 4:00 PM on Wednesday, June 10, five Social Tables employees begin to assemble. While the rest of the office is abuzz with conversation, keyboard typing and laughs, these five employees secretly take over the conference room.
What makes this Wednesday afternoon different from any other? Today is the last meeting of the Chiavaris planning committee.

In only two days, the 85 employees of Social Tables will gather together to celebrate one another’s accomplishments, triumphs and victories of the year. This celebration will take form as the Third Annual Chiavari Awards, Social Tables’ employee appreciation extravaganza.

As Social Tables has grown as a company each year, so have the Chiavari awards. This year is no exception. For 2015, the award show takes place across two days, at 3 venues, with 55 award nominees and 13 awards presented.

To provide an unforgettable experience for all nominees, Social Tables team members and guests, the Chiavari planning committee, consisting of Tablers Ray Miller, Sabba Nazhand, Rohit Kalkur, Laura Fields, and yours truly, met every Wednesday at 4:00 PM to prepare for the annual event. During these hour-long meetings, the committee of five (which I am lucky enough to be a member) strategically created, planned and executed every detail imaginable for the Chiavari awards.

I have personally loved every one of these meetings. Not only have I had an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of my amazing team members, but I have also had the opportunity to plan an event with Social Tables employees from 4 different teams!

On Wednesday, June 10, the planning committee is reviewing the final details of the grand event, eager to finally see our months of planning take shape! I am in awe of the amazing work we have accomplished over the past four months and how each member of the planning committee has been able to bring different skills to the event.

Ray, the chair of the committee, stands in front of a whiteboard scribblings down the final necessities for the event:

  • Event Venue = Policy ✓
  • After-party Venue = Masa 14 ✓
  • Open Bar? ✓
  • Awards? ✓
  • Decor = Costa Rica Theme ✓
  • Event Twitter Hashtag = #STChiavaris ✓

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After we go through every detail, we all look at the whiteboard in amazement of what we have accomplished – both in planning this event and in the awards we are presenting to team members. The planning experience was priceless – now for execution!

Chiavari’s Kick Off: The Superlative Awards 

On Friday, we spent the latter half of the day standing atop the roof of our building in the heart of Chinatown dolling out superlative awards to every. single. Tabler. This hilarious happy hour has served as the official kickoff of the Chiavari’s since 2014, where the committee hands out certificates that have almost nothing to do with a Tabler’s work, and everything to do with what makes them weird/lovable.

A sampling of awards distributed include:

  • The Only Millennial Crockpot Owner (DJ Bruggemann)
  • Most Likely To Get Kicked Out of a Frat Party Tonight (Tristan Cotter)
  • Best Beard (Tom Saunders)

Christmas at Social Tables: The Chiavari’s 

The Chiavari’s is a day-long celebration, which started with many Tablers gathering in groups for brunch, lunch (or, for those who were brave), a drink or two prior to walking into Policy, our venue for this year’s event.

Upon arrival, guest were greeted with a Costa-Rican-Hip-Hop sensory overload that included a massive balloon display spelling out “Chiavari”, the golden chair sitting atop the awards stage, leis, monkeys, and an assortment of colorful straw hats, which perfectly matched last year’s Chiavaris award-winner Trevor Lynn’s outfit.

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Additional highlights of the event included:

  • The roast of Trevor Lynn
  • The annual extension of a full-time job to Natale Clark
  • A CSR Raffle that was in desperate need of a better mixing up of tickets
  • An impromptu fashion show led by resident fashionista Conor Hastings
  • A Chiavari Balloon parade down 14th street that ended in casualty
  • The Chiavari Awards themselves

The Third Annual Chiavari Award Winners

The 13 awards and winners that we honored during this year’s Chiavari awards were:

Hospitality Award: Mary Mejia

To the person who goes above and beyond for their fellow tablers and fosters a culture of inclusion.

Professional Development Award: Will Henry

To the person who has grown the most on the job.

The Four Seasons: Laura Lopez

A person who provided a game changing deliverable that rocked the house or someone who has taken the extra step towards making ST what it is today.

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Rookie of the Year: Julian Haddad

A “Rising Star” at Social Tables who just thinks the “sky’s the limit” … and has been here less than 1 year.

GSD: Alex McGlynn

This award goes to the person who consistently gets things done on-time and without b.s.

The Steve-Gates Award: Whitney Drazovich, Kelly Burke, Rachel Karitis, Logosou Kudayah, Darryl Hall, Ricky Vetter, Nate Rentmeester, Erica Geiser

A team that worked together to deliver something extraordinary for the business.

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The Watson: PVLP – Ian Reis, Judy Jow, Conor Hastings, Nate Rentmeester, Julian Haddad

A team of engineers / designers / product managers who collaborated to build a valuable feature or product

The Professor: Scott Sehon

A Tabler who hosted the best Lunch & Learn or Coffee Chat to teach Social Tables employees about one of their areas of expertise.

Glenngary Glen Ross (Sales Team Award):  Sabba Nazhand

The Salesperson who embodies the mission of the team by being a pioneer responsible for equipping leaders with the confidence to exceed the demands of an ever-changing events landscape.

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The Farmer (Account Manager Award): Cerys Spadaro

The Account Manager who has been the most successful in cultivating lifelong partnerships by empowering clients to craft exceptional experiences.

STEP (Social Tables Event Planner): Culture Club for Family Weekend – Sophie Johnson, Ray Miller, Jeremy Frisch, Claire Repass, Sarah Ghessie, Sam Cicotello, Judy Jow, Angelina Cho

The team or individual behind the “Best Event” thrown throughout the past year!

Atlas Award (Operations): Sarah Ghessie

The Ops team member who has contributed the most to advance the mission and culture by providing the resources essential for success.

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Messaging Machine (Marketing/Communications): Claire Repass

The marketing team member who either raises awareness of Social Tables or who has been the most successful in empowering meeting and event professionals to excel by providing educational resources.

Customers First (Customer Success Award): Laura Fields

The CS team member who has contributed the most to creating a loyal network of happy customers through support, onboarding, thought leadership and education.

The Chiavari: Sophie Johnson

A Social Tables employee who embodies all of our core values and continually inspires team members!

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Congratulations to all winners and nominees!

Want to relive the event? Take a look at these fantastic photos here, and check out the #STChiavari Twitter hashtag to see how the day played out minute-by-minute!

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