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Ebony Magazine Feature

Deanna Roberts Featured in July 2005, Issue of Ebony Magazine, pages 56-60.


Article in the East Bay Business Times

East Bay Business Times Profile

Deanna Roberts

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  History of success: Her skill dates back to her college days.
EXTRA: More Entrepreneur Profiles » Succession success
David Goll

Early last fall, Regina Jackson found herself in an event-planning crisis.

Just a few weeks away from a major fund-raising event, the planner, brought in by a sponsor of her nonprofit organization, was stuck in a sand trap.

"It was a golf tournament and, up to that point, not a single golfer had even been signed up to participate," said Jackson, executive director of the East Oakland Youth Development Center, which has offered a wide array of classes and activities for children, teens and adults for the past 27 years. "I was getting a bit nervous, to say the least. So I turned to the person I knew would be able to get things back on track."

That would be Deanna Roberts, an Oakland events planner who had organized several high-profile events for the center, including a benefit concert featuring singer Regina Belle, and a celebration feting some of the center's most famous alumni and supporters, among them actor and comedian Mark Curry and Gary Payton, the veteran National Basketball Association star now playing for the Boston Celtics.

Jackson welcomed Roberts' cool, unruffled demeanor, as well as her organizational skills.

"She calmly asked me what I needed her to do," Jackson said. "That's the thing about Deanna. She's the calm center in the midst of chaos. She gets the job done, but she always makes you feel like you are the one in charge."

Unlimited calm

To make sure that everything from parking to ticketing and cake decorations to publicity stay on track - not to mention steadying the frazzled nerves of hosts and hostesses - Roberts has to be as meticulously organized as she is calm and professional.

She established her business 11 years ago under the name of Events Unlimited. But the Southern California native who grew up in Pomona and Sacramento has been organizing things since her college days at UC-Berkeley, starting with sorority events and her friends' weddings. High school prepared her well; she was student body president, a track athlete, cheerleader and homecoming princess at Valley High School in Sacramento.

Roberts credits a firm but loving upbringing by her parents - mother Vernell Roberts and late father Herman Roberts, a Pentecostal church pastor - for the focus on success that both she and her sister, entrepreneur Valinda Roberts-Debbs, developed.

"My parents really stressed education while we were growing up," she said. "They were incredibly supportive of both of us."

Despite early entrepreneurial leanings, after graduating from Berkeley, Roberts did the sensible thing by entering into the management training program at United Parcel Service. She handled marketing, sales and accounting chores for UPS.

"I stayed for four years, but I began to realize it wasn't what I wanted to do," she said. "I started taking (event planning) jobs on the side, like working as a nighttime 'ambassador' for the (Golden State) Warriors, where I handled things like the fan 'shootout' events during half-time."

Through that job she met Robert Brown, whose company, Sports Visions, coordinates corporate-sponsored athletic events. Roberts did an internship with Brown, getting her feet wet planning basketball-oriented events, then using contacts within the NBA and National Football League to stage fund-raising fashion shows for players' wives.

"Robert has been a great mentor for me," she said. "There still aren't many women doing event planning on the sports side, so his help familiarizing me with this end of the business has been invaluable."

The Urban Radio Interview was June 20-21, 2005
( coming soon)
Simple Steps to Organize a Successful Family Reunion

By Deanna Roberts

All across America, the summer months are a perfect time to reconnect with the extended family. A reunion offers parents, grandparents, kids, uncles, aunts and cousins a chance to celebrate the past and create a future together.

According to a recent report from the National Convention & Visitors Bureaus, there has been a national rise in the urgency for families to reconnect with each other. Reunions range from 50 to upwards of 350 attendees, folks who gather to share their common heritage, warm memories, good times and of course, great food.

Living in today’s world is hectic. Making time for family sometimes becomes a chore given all our other responsibilities. Technology can prohibit our daily interaction with family and friends. Hence, a family reunion is the ideal way to link multiple generations.


Planning such an event is a major task, but it doesn’t have to be tackled alone. With so many resources to choose from, if you need assistance to facilitate your event plans, contact the host city Convention & Visitors Bureau or hire an event planner. The Convention & Visitors Bureaus and event planners have resources at their disposal.
Even if it is your first time, don’t be nervous. Just jump right in and begin!

· Step 1
Contact Convention & Visitors Bureaus in the host city of your reunion. They can put you in touch with all the local hotels, dining facilities, caterers, entertainment, parks for family outings, attractions etc. It is important to gather as much information as possible up front, in order to make educated decisions.

· Step 2
Budget permitting, hire an event planner. Planners have numerous resources an able to negotiate with local businesses. If you hire an event planner outside of the host city, make sure they have contacts in that city. They can help you with contract negotiations, deadlines, timelines, invitations and reports on your progress, alleviating yourself of a lot of stress and time.

· Step 3
Form a reunion committee within your family. If possible, make sure to have a representative from each generation present. Your committee can help create the theme for your reunion. It is important to designate one person as the chair of the committee. The chair will work with the event planner (or alone), to meet with local venues and businesses. The committee should schedule activities for children as well as adults Getting the younger generation involved in family activities will ensure a successful and memorable reunion.

· Step 4
Determining your budget is crucial. Once your committee and/or event planner, has come up with a wish list, it is time to plug it into a budget. It is a great idea to identify a local sponsor to help subsidize a portion of your event.

Your budget should be broken down the following ways:

* Hotel
* Airline (look into group discounts)
* Entertainment (DJ, Band)
* Food
* Communication
* Invitations
* Stamps
* Venue rental fees (hotel or park activities)
* Photographer/Video
* Reunion T-shirts
* Gift Bags

Be sure to offer various ways of payment such as individual (Adult and Child prices) and/or a Daily Rate – some family members may not be able to participate the entire weekend and can pay accordingly.

· Step 5
Communication is key! Use regular mail and the Internet to get the word out about the reunion. In some cases, registration for your reunion can be completed online through online services. Get you family involved. Ask a younger family member can create a website to keep your family informed of the weekend itinerary. Do not assume that everyone is online. Be sure to send out a reunion newsletter for those family members without internet access.

Tips on communication:
*Send a "Save the Date" reminder with event location, hotel, airline and rental car information.
*Send a formal invitation & email blast.
*Send out confirmation newsletter with your reunion itinerary.
*Encourage the entire family to help promote the event to each other!

· Step 6
Honor the elders. Create proclamations or plaques to the longest surviving family members. Create a family tree and encourage family members to fill in what they can. Appoint a responsible family member to act as historian for this memorable event.

Sample Itinerary for a 3 Day Family Reunion:

o Welcome Celebration
o Registration & T-shirt distribution
o Family Recognition Day
o Family History
o Special Honors
o In memoriam
o Dinner Dance
o Kids dance and activities
o Family Breakfast
o Family service
o Closing luncheon
o Awards
o Completion of family tree
Now that the reunion is over, don’t forget the real reason you’re having the event—to keep the family together. Make a tradition to hold reunions regularly—whether it is yearly, every other year or every five years. The benefits of a close knit family will outweigh all the preparation needed!
The Event Doctor, Deanna Roberts, is president of D. R. Roberts Event Management. In her spare time, Roberts can be found training for triathlons and teaching courses in event planning at UC Berkeley Extension and San Francisco State University. Check out her website at www.RobertsEvents.com .

Contact D.R. Roberts Event Management today:
Phone: (510) 654-5335
FAX: (510) 654-5561
E-Mail: Info@RobertsEvents.com
© 2010 D.R. Roberts Event Management, Inc. All rights reserved. Website designed by Inteligit, Inc.