WHO'S MONICA

A few years have gone by, since 2003, an amazing year in which my wonderful daughter Giada was born, and I started being a Planner, after the year 2000 when I sold my textile company Balli S and started working  until 2003 as landscape designer at my family’s plant nursery. Creating gardens, terraces and restoring historical parks was indeed beautiful. In 2003, I stopped working to be able to just concentrate on my beautiful Giada, who is today 17 yrs old, and that's when I started  this beautiful passion of wedding and events planner  I still have today. Giada was born on March 26th,2003  and on October 14th of that same year I was celebrating  my Wedding anniversary (married in 2000) to husband Max and started to explore this new profession…..which I just saw in the movie JLO: The Wedding Planner. Yup, believe it or not, that was all there was in those times. JLO, The father of the Bride and nothing much more than this…. No PC, NO smartphones, no Instagram or Pinterest funny eh thinking of it today. So, I buy a PC and put it in my living room, and  when Giada is napping or asleep, I start creating my first ever CV, lists of Local & regional  potential event planners . At first my idea was Italy, I was not thinking of destination weddings. I was looking into designing events, producing events just like I was doing when designing and creating gardens, except that I did not have to be careful that all would attach and live forever.

This means: so much easier !

So, here we are back to my list of Tuscan Event planners ….. I created my email with gmail and here I am ready with my brand new fabulous CV ready for the events world and a new adventure. In Fact it was true but it's funny how faith, destiny, your guardian angel, whomever you believe helps you and look over you put his hand in.  How? Listen to this: I sent my CV to over 50 regional email addresses. I carefully selected them and checked them. One, and I mean 1, by mistake went to an American company operating destination weddings in Tuscany. Well guess what! This one “mistake” was the ONLY ONE who ever replied to me giving me an opportunity  to be their destination planner in Tuscany, as on site planner and coordinator. That’s how I started out ,following this US based company, their USA and UK couples  who chose Tuscany as a destination for their celebrations. This is how my adventure started.

One of the most beautiful things I remember of my initiating times is the time with my husband Max, the empathy, the excitement when working together on our first ever website  during the nights when he was home and off the job  (he was CEO is a sustainable company) and Giada was asleep (luckily).

From these times, lots of time went by and I had quite a lot of training in Italy and mostly abroad. I saw the world of wedding planning & events change, evolve and increase. My education continues in these years, the traveling to know, meet, network has brought me to today, in 2022. Today, with over 800 events created, one published industry book by Giunti Editore with over 18k copies sold, 2 ebooks in the launch and various amazing international acknowledgements  and awards. A Catering born for celebrity home dinners in Hollywood and a catering in Italy today to entertain with food and do all the other caterers do not do tuscanbites.com  and the launch on feb 15th or IEC - International Event Certification of which we are Examination partners for Italy and Global coordinators for the 23 countries, 17 country partners and 80 and growing apprenticeship partners. InternationalEventCertification.com. And the born in the Business Family going out March 2022 Vrplanr.com - technology innovation for the hospitality and destination events industry -where distance barriers fall, 7 original products in AR and VR to plan and then execute your in person event anywhere. 

I must say that I am very  happy with my personal and professional life, which I have always shared with my husband Max. 

In life I have 3 fundamentals: 

  1. Walk everywhere I go with my head up high
  2. Sleep on 2 pillows 
  3. Be happy & enjoy life each day.

This is today. What the future has for us, we cannot know, but I can tell you which direction I am looking towards. As all or most women I am multitasking, therefore what may seem as multiple businesses, they are for me very connected and this is what makes is stimulating and interesting and fun to pursue, plus I know I am quite good at doing my job and I'm able  to make a difference, as each of the segments is a part of what I d since 20 years now. It’s true, when you say you're good may seem a bit spoiled or haughty, but my job is my sport, my passion  which I grow each day. Now it’s 19 yrs, over 6900 days ,over 166.400 hours  that I breathe, live and enjoy this passion and work. Yup, I never stop because for me it's a passion. Exactly, I never stop, and here is what is part of my daily routine and my target I wish to achieve. I am simply this, maybe will know me , or maybe not , but never judge from the outside without knowledge Ignorance, meant as “No Knowledge” is no more admitted  in my opinion. If, on the other hand, you just like chatting…… Then it’s marketing for me. I treasure my private life, that is why you will not find it on social media. I can say that in time , whom is near me personally and professionally must have special talents, as for some reason there is always a real natural selection: 

  • Ethics 
  • Honesty
  • Professionalism
  • Creativity & Vision  
  • Heart

Today in 2022 my projects:

  1. Since 2016 I have created Lifestyle Fam-trips for op international Planners with off beaten track experiences and authenticity. Networking unique opportunities  which reflect who is around me. Today real calendar appointments for the industry game players , perfect to market destinations and create synergies. 
  2. Events growth formula for Locations who wish to become game changers in the events industry both private and corporate, Mice. This just means we teach you and train you to win your target . We bring you to whom you wish to be ready for it. Creating Success.Events growth formula and coaching for destinations who wish to emerge in the events industry and become a trendy go to spot.
  3. Luxury Leisure experience: Today the word Luxury ,in my opinion, is overused and inappropriately used. What is Luxury? Exactly...my starting point is always the same: What is it for me? What would I like, want or look for? I am my first client ...not easy trust me ..with the passing of time I have become quite picky. Trust me. So for me luxury is  what I dream of or maybe what I still do not know I will wish for, has no price tag or has an inaccessible price tag for my pockets. From the experience I create and live I can speak out feeling proud  and create a happy fulfilling memory with a sense of nostalgia when thinking back. To my clients, I ask them: Tell me what you see when closing your eyes what is  the sensation you have, and then I work on this to amplify it as much as possible through the stay,  the event, wow effects, connections, and any detail needed. This is the reason for which I believe in the extra mile, The reason for which I am so proud of being a Virtuoso travel agent affiliated to Deluxe Targets, DLC honorary member  & YPO Member.
  1. In 2016 Tuscan Bites came to life. A new experience, many think I changed job, while for me it is complimentary as in every event you have food. Today I own a catering company based in Tuscany working on destinations globally and naturally throughout Italy specialized in Tuscan and Italian foods and wines.  A restaurant in Florence as well.
  1. Yachts for events is  in my opinion a new niche in the future. A real world to discover for every pocket and trust me it’s magical.
  1. Education & Certification: Education is so essential and ongoing . Fun and engaging. I enjoy doing networking events and small masterclasses online interviews with professionals . Destination Wedding Peanuts & Concept to Creation. On top, see the certification (link) interrnationaleventcertification.com 

Just like I did with entertainment when working with international vip celebrity artists and DJ, just like I did when bringing in designers from Hollywood and containers with full productions when no one had an idea of what a sofa was. Today, I believe there are still so many aspects of events that I still wish to explore, knowing more  and learning and I'm happy to say so, I don't feel at all ashamed of this. I believe we shall always look out to the top of the peak of the mountain with no fear. We shall have the  modesty to understand who is best for you and what you wish to learn from them. This is why my teams are incredible and much better and skilled than myself as this way they teach me and make me shine brighter. The result I will reach as an Orchestra director is much bigger than just that of an instrument player or a quartet. For this reason, every event and experience is a lesson which makes you grow with the ongoing aim to do better. That meaning: Any event, either corporate or private, is just like a wonderful symphony  where you are the composer and the orchestra director at the same time. Therefore, it’s your  job to design, create, propose and pursue your project. My traveling around the world  and my  continuous education made me notice more and more often that here in our wonderful Italy  many of the services rotating around the events industry are missing things or not that fab as they should be. Let me make you an example:  F&B- catering.

That's why I created TuscanBites for celebrity home dinners in Los Angeles at first and now here in Italy too. It was born there to have an excuse to go to LA more often as I just love it there, plus a good excuse to bring in something different, exotic, authentic and my Tuscan foods and chefs.

Today, TuscanBites is both a catering company (with kitchens elsewhere) and a pilot for QSR  for franchise as well as a catering company and restaurant based in the heart of the city of  Florence. The peculiarity of TuscanBites catering is : its owned by a planner.  Many of my italian  “colleagues” find it  challenging working with us , but i believe just because they are not sure enough of their job and their quality in the work. If they were smart, they would understand that having a planner whose Ethics is impeccable (just ask anyone in the world) and who knows your challenges and how to create food and display to make a difference and be above the target line. Quality is a must with us, as well a s service, creativity and authenticity. TuscanBites also offers cooking classes and experiences and we know our clientele in private one of a kind villas and any place may seem just impossible, we manage. 

We are first event planners, so NO is not an answer for us. So, putting all of this info together, you see….I do lots…… But if you look at it in my perspective: it's all part of the events world, I just decided to give a bit more on specific aspects I believe to be important. With us, you will not find anything chip. Not the lowest wedding planning fee, not the lowest menu price as this is a field I am not competing with the multitude of newcomers on the market.

Because I know my teams and my  value: 

  • I give a real value to my education and my life
  • I know where I can reach and what I can achieve 
  • I know my profession and my professionalism 
  • I know how to make you shine  in each of my events 
  • I know how to make you feel alive , entertained , wooed and think outside th ebox
  • I am pure ethics and demand the same from those besides me 

Where I see myself in 5 yrs from now: I gave my husband  a meeting for 31.12.2022... and now with this worldwide situation the date is NOW! meaning my life is changed -and no way I am getting back on the hamster wheel. What  I learned in this quarantine is the value of time, of quality people in personal and business, Family first. So my business plans  for the immediate future are:

  • Put on stand by my restaurant ,keeping the catering open and open to solutions to open TB abroad 
  • Fam-trips to promote my destinations
  • Industry coaching to reach higher education targets both nationally and internationally
  • IEC certification growth 
  • Set the bases for the next years 

In 5 yrs:

  • Giada in college 
  • Open Tuscan Bites QSR internationally 
  • Less events, bigger events in b2b and b2c
  • Education 
  • technologyVrplanr.com is on and active 
  • traveling the world 
  • enjoying life with Max and my friends and family for both leisure and work

In 10 yrs:

On the island of Antigua, house on the beach and boat, Family and traveling when needed for work both events and QSR.

Follow the Sun!

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