Kim McCarthy | Professional Storyteller of Events/General Manager
She has always been THE planner in her personal life and in a professional setting. From the beaches of Endicott College to the mountains of Les Roches, she built her foundation and passion for the hospitality industry while receiving a Dual-Degree program with a Bachelor’s degree from Endicott College in Hospitality Management and Concentration in Event Management and also a Diploma in Hotel Management from Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland. Over the past six years Kim has been designing, planning, managing, and executing corporate events for some of the country’s most notable brands and companies. She has worn many hats in the industry and has worked her way up from Intern to Director. Her friendly and can-do attitude around the office is infectious and she leads by example.
Her true passion lies in creativity and design. Kim has an eye for different aesthetics and loves customizing perfect themes for each event. She knows that not only does the event have to look beautiful, but it has to run smoothly. At Portfire, Kim fulfills her true role as “a professional storyteller of events” at Portfire as the Director of Creative Services. She composes and creates proposals driven by stories from her clients. Each client has a different story to tell. Their stories inspire her creativity, allowing the thoughtful detail to come together to truly capture the reason behind the event.
What does your regular day look like?
One things that I love about this industry is that every day is different. This means that my day-to-day work can vary a lot, but it requires me to have good time-management skills. I need to be able to handle the arrangement and organization of events that are happening now, while also simultaneously planning upcoming events and proposals. As Creative Director I also manage our digital and print materials as well as our social media accounts. Once, we get out of the COVID-19 quarantine, you also better believe, that I will be visiting as many networking events as I possibly can! I miss my industry friends!
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
As a native New Englander, I love to be outside! I enjoy taking day trips to little towns all over New England, exploring new restaurants, boutique shopping, hiking through wildlife parks, paddling down rivers and on the ocean, and of course enjoying some cocktails on roof decks with my boyfriend, friends, and family.
What do you enjoy most about your day?
Our morning team meetings always put a smile on my face and really set the tone for the day! I also enjoy reading up on new trends, new local businesses and connecting with the Maine community.
What about the best part of your work?
The best part is that I am working with wonderful, talented people who are experts in their fields. Teamwork and team culture is crucial here. At Portfire we have created a work culture that is fun and educational. We promote asking a lot of questions and to always be true to yourself.
What advice would you give someone who’d like to work at Portfire?
Be who you are and take risks. We always say “you can’t teach personality, but you can teach new skills”. If you are a team player, have a good spirit, and a can-do attitude then you will fit right in at Portfire, and the rest will come! When you are in the office listen in on phone calls, participate in group meetings, and take a hands-on approach and we promise you will love this industry as much as we do!
Lastly, for those who want to know more about you, what are some of your favorite….
New England Foods: Lobster Rolls
Cocktails: Spicy Margarita in the Summer and Espresso Martinis in the Winter
Locations: Any place that has a view of the water, especially the Cliff House
Music: Country, Singer/Songwriter, and Indie/Alternative
Expect the unexpected in events! We have been doing this for years, and even with years of experience there are just sometimes when you need something you didn’t pack. We can’t tell you how many times we have had to rush to the local store, hotel or venue staff, or even back to the office because something was missing! Don’t worry it happens to the best of us. You have been planning this event for months in advance and every tiny detail has been combed over multiple times until it was perfect. That’s just it though, nothing is ever as planner or perfect!
The client adds on an electronic sign to the registration table the day of the event, but you don’t have any outlets left.
The votives you ordered didn’t come with extra batteries.
The entertainment company forgot tape for taping down loose wires.
The list goes on and on, but our mistakes are going to be a lesson for you. We have put together a list of what have in our on-site event kits. Each event has two kits, a personal kit and corporate kit.
Corporate Event Kit
Let’s Get Handy: It’s happened before, there was a nail sticking up from the floor board, and the venue didn’t have anything to put it back in place. Hooray for the event kit. We carry a set of pliers, screwdriver, hammer, tape measure, wrench, zip ties, string, and fishing line. We can’t stress this enough… but scissors will be your best friend on load-in days!
Let’s Get Sticky: Tape! It’s a quick fix and does the job. Gaffers tape. Clear shipping tape, double-sided tape, and fabric tape.
Let’s Power Up: Extra batteries, extension cords, phone chargers, and USB chargers are the most used items in our kits, and there is no surprise why! We also carry a few extra backup phone chargers for those long days where you just can’t sit down and charge your phone!
Let’s Get Creative: The room location has been changed or something has been added to the menu. There are countless things that will change on the day of the event. So it’s time to get creative with some solutions. We have sign holders, easels, pens, paper, and frames all ready to mix and match to solve that problem.
Let’s Get Clean: We also like to carry Pledge and some rags, along with Windex wipes. The mirror top table that you rented will look a lot better without all those pesky fingerprints from set-up!
Let’s Be Extra: A few “just in case” items that we pack are lighters, matches, and votives!
Personal Event Kit
When we are on-site for events, we are often there for 10 or more hours with set-up, execution, and breakdown. It is important for us to keep our focus creating that memorable event for guests, so we don’t have time to be scurrying around asking for Advil! Each event coordinator has a different kit, depending on their personal needs, but we put together the most common items here.
Let’s Stay Health: Thanks to COVID-19 every planner will carry hand sanitizer! Band aids, blister blockers, Advil, and Benadryl are also in the first aid kit.
Let’s Eat: Grab and go snacks are the best for those on the go planners, that just don’t have time to stop!
Let’s Stay Pretty: Often during set-up we are managing multiple vendors, our client, and guests. When it comes to showtime, we like to freshen up a bit. We will pack our makeup, extra deodorant, perfume/cologne, oil blotting papers, and a lint roller!
Of-course every event is different, and that’s what we love about it, so our kits will vary on the event!
What are your must have products for your big day?
Here we are, almost three weeks into the COVID-19 Social Distancing Challenge. As we all know, staying home and distancing ourselves from other people is a great way for everyone to contribute in the fight to end this pandemic. The sooner this is over, the sooner we will all be back to our personal and professional lives. We are staying positive, knowing that in the future hotels will be opening back up soon, the airline industry will be taking off, and the meetings and the convention industry will be re-booking postponed programs. People attending conventions and meetings will be right back in the thick of things, flying in from other countries and crisscrossing back and forth the United States.
And when considering the United States’ East Coast, you should be strongly think about New Hampshire and Maine. These states are rich in both history and natural beauty and they offer the attendees unique opportunities during their stay. When scheduling your programs here, remember a great enticement for people to register and attend is by offering activities outside the hotels and convention venues. These activities can be both rewarding and relaxing. The unproductive consequences resulting from attending mandatory daily meetings and seminars are higher levels stress and anxiety. The importance of scheduling downtime or personal time during these programs goes without saying. Offering activities and tours to be taken are a great outlet to relieve the stress and bring some much appreciated, personal fulfillment to your attendees’ lives.
For instance, Trolley tours from Perkins Cove in Maine, a fishing or lobstering excursion, or perhaps a visit to quaint, local shops provides opportunities to experience the look and feel of New England. Or how about a photo walk along Cape Neddick’s Marginal Way, a hike up one of Mount Agamenticus’ trails? Consider offering a tour and photo opportunity to the Nubble Lighthouse in York Maine the day with a sunset at the Western Promenade in Portland Maine. The fresh air and exercise are welcome treats to someone who has been inside a hotel for hours.
From Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Portland, Maine, making the majestic, natural beauty of these states easily accessible to a weary traveler is a way to garner their appreciation for the opportunity they may not otherwise have had. Fresh minds and positive attitudes from your attendees result in you getting the most positive, productive results and return on investments from these programs.
Writing has always been therapeutic for me. When I sat down to write a blog this week I found myself reflecting on my journey that has brought me to this moment. I have had 30 years of experience in the events and destination management industry. I live for the hustle and bustle of this world, but I tend to treasure the times that are a little more peaceful. A few years ago, my family and I decided to move up to Kezar Lake in Maine. We found our slice of heaven nestled in the beautiful white mountains. I quickly fell in love with Maine! I wanted to share this slice of heaven with the world, so I decided to start Portfire Events and spark exploration for meeting planners and companies to experience Maine. With its breathtaking coastal cliffs, to the sparkling lakes and wild mountains, Maine isn’t just for vacations, but for corporate meetings too! It is uniquely suited year round for meetings, group retreats, and events. I have found my place in Maine, and I can’t wait to show you why.
The more time I spend here, the more I learn and discover how each town has a close connection to nature. What better inspiration for an important meeting and special gathering than a spectacular destination to wow your attendees? The coast offers unlimited possibilities, from York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Kennebunk, Portland to Bar Harbor. Maine is the area’s outdoor playground with something for everyone including, lighthouse tours, sea kayaking, schooner adventures, outdoor clambakes, hiking, fat tire biking, and so much more.
Inland, you will find stunning sunsets, ski and lakeside resorts that are ideal while offering golfing, hiking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing as an added opportunity for team building in the great outdoors.
Maine’s hotel and resort meeting facilities also provide all the amenities you need to get right to business. Facilities have state-of-the-art AV, flexible meeting space, and food and beverage offerings that are uniquely Maine. We suggest adding a culinary experience to your meeting, so guests can indulge in delicious Maine blueberry muffins in the morning and a traditional Downeast Clambake serving mouthwatering Maine lobster, clams, mussels, and all the fixings!
Which leads me to one of my favorite things about Maine… the food! Foodies unite in Maine! Finding and enjoying great cuisine is easy in Portland. Compared to San Francisco for boasting the most restaurants per capita, Portland was dubbed America’s “foodiest “small town, by Bon Appétit, and the New York Times mentioned Portland to be “one of the best places to eat in the Northeast”. Where else can you get fresh oysters, haddock, lobsters and shrimp pulled from the Atlantic Ocean and placed on your table that same day? Meals are complimented with locally grown and sourced produce, dairy and meats. Not to mention Portland’s many exceptional bakeries sprinkled around the city that offer the most amazing bagels, donuts, croissants, cookies, and cupcakes.
I love Maine- It truly is the perfect pairing for productive meetings and special events. It’s time to regroup and explore Maine with your attendees, colleagues, and friends.