5B | Celebration Central! One Shop's Story of Consolidated Alumni & Donor Event Management

Thursday, Sept 22
10:30 - 11:30 AM


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Seven years ago, when the development officers across Colorado State University's 12 colleges and units were asked, "What prevents you from attaining your goals?" they unanimously responded, "planning events!" And so the dream of a centralized event management team was born. The CSU events team has since grown to a full-time staff of 13 and an ever-increasing portfolio of experiences designed on behalf of the Office of the President, University Advancement, and other University departments. This transformation required a team with vision, creativity, adaptability, and dedication to the goal (not to mention a few circus skills). Join us to hear the story of our journey to sell the vision, create our team, and execute strategic event experiences that have elevated the donor and alumni experience at CSU. 


Matthew Helmer

Matthew S. Helmer is a Colorado-based event and donor relations professional. With more than 20 years of experience in event management, Matthew long ago embraced the insanity that accompanies an adrenaline-fueled career, while acknowledging that playfulness and an insatiable appetite for adventure are keys to success. In 2010, Matthew led an innovative reorganization at Colorado State University, centralizing responsibility for all alumni and donor events under the CSU Events umbrella. In his current role as Executive Director of CSU Events & Community Engagement, Matthew leads a talented team of creative and driven event, communications and donor relations professionals, with oversight of more than 250 events annually and direct responsibility for presidential activities and high-level donor engagement strategies.


Jennifer Welding

As Managing Director of CSU Events at Colorado State University, Jen Welding supervises a team of seven full-time event producers and oversees all aspects of client-partner relationships within the consolidated events model. The CSU events team collaborates with campus colleagues to extend the presidential standard of hospitality throughout the University and provides guidance in the production of more than 250 functions per academic year, including university-wide events, receptions, ceremonies, and gala experiences. Prior to moving into higher education, Jen worked in event venue management, serving in various sales and event positions at the Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome, Palm Beach County Convention Center, and Arlington Park Racecourse outside of Chicago.