Nancy Schneider O’Hearn is a graduate of the SHA class of 1963 and the owner and executive designer of Events LLC, in Louisville, KY. Events LLC produces a myriad of events – throughout Louisville and beyond – that aim to transport clients and guests to a new place through their creative production.
Nancy and I met up for a conversation at Events LLC’s Story Avenue headquarters, to catch up on her time at SHA, her love of her work (and Derby festivities around town!) and how she defines leadership.
How did your Sacred Heart Academy education prepare you for college and beyond?
SHA did more for me than anything in my life. It taught me Latin, first of all – and I can now speak and understand many words thanks to Latin! I can do crossword puzzles and Words with Friends well thanks to that skill. It brought character to me; I was a wayward, wide-eyed young woman coming to Sacred Heart and we learned manners and etiquette my first year as a student. We had all the basics – history, literature, etc. – but it was the little things like setting a table (thank goodness!) and making friends that helped me the most. The friends I met at SHA are still my friends today. We play cards once a month, go to lunch frequently, go on cruises…I simply do not know where I would be without that group of women. There are 12 of us and we’re as close as we could possibly be.
Was there a teacher at Sacred Heart who you would say had the greatest influence on you while you were at SHA?
There were several. Sister Antonia – our Latin teacher. She was the epitome of what you think of when you think of a Catholic school teacher. And, Sister George, the principal, also left a big impression on me. She took me under her wing, and we liked each other very much.
What is your most cherished memory (or memories) of your time at SHA?
We were able to go to John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration when I was a student at Sacred Heart. We took the train to Washington, D.C. and arrived to waist-deep snow but it was an experience I will never, ever forget.
I also won’t forget the time that some of us snuck up to the 3rd floor of the building to see what was up there. We were so curious, and of course it was not open to students. We ran up and discovered…cubicles! Nothing exciting at all! But we were curious, and we just had to know what was up there. We ran back downstairs before anyone caught us!
What advice would you give to a current SHA student who is looking for guidance about choosing a college or career in this fast-paced world we now live in?
Don’t feel so compelled to have to choose a career right now. You have plenty to explore while you are at SHA and to keep you busy, so work hard to simply be present, learn and stay focused on what is in front of you today. The future is yours and the sky is the limit; if you dream it, you can have it!
Fill in the blank: “If it were not for SHA, I…”
I would not be the woman that I am today. Business owner, proud family member, I would not be any of those things!
When you think about your SHA friends and those connections, tell me a bit more about how you stay connected.
Our reunion last year (celebrating 55 years!) taught me a lot about connections, perhaps more so than any reunion we’d hosted previously. We reached out to many women who had not been to reunions previously and many came back from California, Washington, D.C., etc. That day of the reunion, we were all high school girls again. We all turned 16 again!
Your professional career allows you to transform spaces to create an inviting experience and escape for guests…what do you enjoy most about what you do for a living?
We make people’s dreams come true! Whatever the event – a convention, wedding, etc. – we pull out of the client what that dream looks like and we fulfill that dream and it is so fulfilling to be a part of it. Aside from smaller events like weddings, we do approximately 58 corporate events monthly. We do a lot of events for local distilleries and build every single prop that you see in this space. My favorite event would have to be the Barnstable Brown party because the family is so close and want the event to be just right every year. We start weeks ahead of time and transforming that big expanse into something elegant is really special.
What is your vision for the future is for Events LLC?
We are here to stay. With the distillery business booming here in Louisville, we have been fortunate to be able to partner with those businesses and we continue to see opportunities to grow the business!
How do you live out the Sacred Heart Schools Core Values of Community, Leadership, Reverence and Service in your life today? Is there a core value you hold most dear?
Sacred Heart taught me how to be a leader. I went into Sacred Heart my first year as a shy individual and I was not shy as a senior. I can speak to a public audience and I attribute that to Sacred Heart. As far as reverence and my community…the Catholic community wants you to give. And, we appreciate that they want us to give and so we do. It’s not just me, it’s the whole company that gets involved and they do so from their hearts. (Events LLC has been a proud sponsor of the Sacred Heart Schools Interlude fundraiser and is the driving force behind the transformation of the SHA Gymnasium, where this annual fundraiser is hosted.)
What does the word leadership mean to you?
Having been president of the Fillies for two terms and president of the Junior Circle of the Queen’s Daughters for two terms, I’ve led several organizations and the best thing about leadership is to listen. You can’t lead without participation from your audience; without them, you’d be on your own. You’ve got to listen to their wants and needs and blend it all together to move forward for a cause and if you can’t do that, you’re lost. Taking people with you to move forward is key. Each day we meet to discuss what everyone has going on so that we can pull together and truly work together as a team.
Thank you, Nancy and Events LLC team, for your commitment to Sacred Heart and Catholic education in Louisville. We are fortunate to call you a Valkyrie and we are Valkyrie proud!