Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson and welcome to another edition of Women Mean Business where we’re going to take you up close and personal with extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. My guest today is Constance McDerby, the founder and co-producer of Food & Vine Time Productions. Constance, welcome to Women Mean Business.
Constance: Thank you, Leisa.
Leisa: I want you to tell us about how you got to be the Producer of Food & Vine Time Productions. I’m not sure if that’s a goal that someone would have growing up to be in this extraordinary event business. What did you do first and how’d you get there?
Constance: You know it’s funny because when I first moved to Houston, I moved here in the media business. And I moved from inner-city New Orleans, in a historical home, to the suburbs of Houston. It was just a drastic difference. So I couldn’t quite find my way here so I mentioned to my husband that we needed to follow and do something that we loved. And at the time, we were on a journey of discovery of wine. So I just told him, let’s go do a wine event, because in the fourth largest city in America, there was not a multi-day, multi-faceted culinary wine event. We didn’t know that we didn’t know how to do it, so we just decided to go give it a shot. So I got the cursory, yes dear, and at the time I was still working in media. So I got the media support for the radio station group that I worked with; one of my clients wanted to be the host venue and I just showed up at the distributors and said, can you just teach me how to get to the backside of the wine.
And they took me under their wings and gave me a little bit of knowledge and sent me on my merry way. And we started with the Galveston Food and Vine Time event, and that was in 2002.
Leisa: Wow. There you are.
Constance: And 400 people showed up and we made a little bit of money and raised a lot of awareness and raised some funds for charity. It was just a hobby out of control; learned a lot about wine. And then after doing that event for a couple of years I approached, at the time, H-E-B, to see if they would sponsor that event and they said, not really interested in doing that, because we didn’t have any stores in that area, but have you looked around here lately? And here meant the Woodlands; which Market Street was under development, the waterway was a big gulley, and they said if you do it here we will be your underwriting sponsor and get you off the ground and go. You know we were both, my husband and I were still working full time jobs at the time and did for years into production until it grew organically and had such success that we started offshoots for other events in other areas. That was it.
Leisa: Fantastic. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that.
Constance: So we get to eat and drink well
Leisa: Ok, great. There you have it; another extraordinary woman doing extraordinary things. I’m Leisa-Holland-Nelson, President and Co-Founder of ContentActive, Houston’s leading web and mobile technology company. You can find me at ContentActive.com or follow me on Twitter @LHNelson. We’ll be back again next week with another edition of Women Mean Business.
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