Member Spotlight: Michelle Sutton

Michelle Sutton, Design Works

Michelle Sutton, Design Works

After meeting and talking with Michelle Sutton, two words come to mind: “wanderlust” and “fearlessness”. Michelle readily admits it took her a while to discover her passion. “I’ve lived in many different places since my hometown, attending college in Iowa City, then taking a year to travel across the country. Michelle has spent some time living in some pretty fantastic places including Chicago, and then journeying across the Pacific to Maui, HI where she spent 4 years before coming to Denver to enjoy the surrounding mountains. With each new destination Michelle embraces the opportunity each offers, always finding a way to call it home and more importantly meeting some pretty amazing people along the. Michelle commented “I think your outlook on life is shaped by the people in your life, and I’ve had the best people by my side in my journey.”

When asked how she got involved in the Events Industry, she reflected…”I first dabbled in them while working for a marketing firm in Chicago. The events were small but it gave me my first taste of event planning and I liked what I found. Then, with lady luck at my side, I found an opportunity to work and live in paradise (Hawaii) and wound up getting involved in the Meetings and Special Events Department at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Hawaii. When I discovered the Ritz-Carlton was one of the only hotels in Maui to have their own in-house Destination Management Company, I was ecstatic! I knew I was going to be exposed to a variety of events and group sizes which gave me an opportunity to learn it all. Evening event design has always been my dream job and now I get to do only that all day!”

It might sound simple, but one of Michelle’s proudest professional moments is being right here in Denver and working with clients at DesignWorks. “It took me a while to really figure out what I loved and what I wanted to do, but when I stumbled somewhat accidentally into the events world, I was anxious to learn from amazing people who also helped me find my passion through their mentoring. I remember always being reminded that this is a challenging industry and that if I wasn’t all the way in, then I might as well stop now.” Michelle’s face lit up when she said “working for such a well-known décor company like Design Works, at such a young age and being exposed to so much creativity is so exciting and stimulating!”

Responding to my question, “What do you think you do best as an event professional?” she replied “I focus on 3 words: Listen, Inspire, and Create.” For Michelle, it all starts with listening to what the client likes and wants. “I want to become inspired (and Inspire them) by integrating their vision with ideas from other amazing events going on around the world. I think it’s important to create something that is innovative, beautiful, fun, crazy, sleek, sophisticated, or stunning that will make the client experience phenomenal.”
When it comes to her involvement with ILEA, Michelle’s goals are threefold: Networking, Learning and Contributing. “I love being around people and interacting with others to find new Industry friends with similar passions. I really value the educational part of ILEA as I never had the opportunity to learn about and study events in my formal education.” Michelle shared that her design expertise has been developed through peers, mentoring programs and her hands-on experience. Her statement “I’m so excited to have the ability to hear experts in the industry and meet other people who have been doing this for years” rings true for many of our ILEA members. Finally, Michelle believes in contributing to the organizations she is involved with and at ILEA is part of the Communications Team.

If you would like to contact Michelle, she can be reached by telephone at: 720.941.7440 through email at: or you can probably find her at just about any ILEA Meeting!

Michelle’s 5 Answers:

  1. What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?  The quote: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” “I think we are all scared of following our dreams because society tells us we can’t do that or our paychecks dictate what we can do. If nothing was holding you back and the world really was there for the taking, what would make your heart sing? That is what you should be doing every day. It is hard to put into action because fear is a very real human emotion but I try to work beyond that as much as possible. Even on a small scale, like trying to cook that complicated French dish or going on that long, uphill hike and knowing you will make it to the top.
  2. What did you have for breakfast this morning?   Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cranberries and a little maple syrup with one cup of coffee.
  3. If they were to make a movie of your life, whom would you like to see play you?   I love Rachel McAdams. She is quirky yet beautiful, sophisticated yet fun. And she always seems to get the really, really hot guy. I wouldn’t mind if Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling played my husband.
  4. How do you prepare for the zombie apocalypse?   I’ve been ready for this for years. I watch every Zombie movie out there and keep up with The Walking Dead to prepare. Even though I love my life, there is something magical about having everything erased and not having to live by the rules of society anymore. I can’t wait!
  5. Where would you like to travel?  Italy is number one on my list. Wine, food, history, cities, and countryside. Could that list get any better?





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