A Conversation with the Partners: 23 Years of Corinthian Events
March 1, 2023
In March of 2000, Jill Tate, Mary Douglas, and Courtney Church combined their already established working relationship with years of experience in the hospitality industry to start Corinthian Events. The company came to fruition quite quickly with Jill, Mary, and Courtney jumping feet first into leading the business as co-partners. Now, 23 years later, Corinthian Events is the strongest it’s ever been with Jill and Courtney at the helm. The company completed its most successful year to date in 2022 with incredible teams in both Boston and Newport. The partners sat down for a conversation reflecting on how far they’ve come, where Corinthian Events is headed, and why they still love the job, 23 years later.
Q: Did you have a vision for Corinthian Events or any long-term goals for the company when you started?
Courtney Church: I don’t think we ever looked beyond two, if not three years. If you told me 23 years ago that we would still be working at 109 Kingston Street this many years later, I would’ve laughed in your face. But no, there was no vision of what the company would look like over the years.
Jill Tate: We were much more “in the moment” thinking, let’s get this going and fire ahead as quick as we can. We were there to answer the phones and just hoped somebody would call us.
Courtney: And we used to have an amazing business coach who for the first three years would say “alright girls what are the goals, we need to set goals,” and we would say, we are a lifestyle business, and we believe in just being a happy place to work. Yes, we want to bring in profit and we want to be able to treat our employees well, but our growth has always been much more organic, which is the way we like it.
Q: Have you started setting goals in the recent years or are you still in that same mindset?
Jill: We are more goal-oriented now primarily because we have such a big team. With that many people, you want to make sure you can give yearly raises, bonuses, offer good benefits, and all those things mean we must be more goal-oriented financially. But above all else, the goal is to maintain our company culture.
Courtney: Coming out of the pandemic, the goal was to just survive. But now that we’re on the other side, we need to make sure we can retain the team. There must be goals, so we ensure that we maintain this momentum and team.
Q: Coming out of 2022, which was one of the busiest years for Corinthian Events and the events industry at large, is there one thing each of you are most proud of or happiest to see within the company?
Jill: I am most proud of the team. I think that this is one of the best teams we’ve ever had. Everybody is so genuine and good to each other. The whole team is working hard and doing a great job.
Courtney: I enjoy seeing the collaboration that has returned as people have migrated back into the office. Everybody checks in on one another and if people need help, everyone is well versed enough in what we do that they will drop everything to help in any way shape or form. It’s awesome.
I am also so happy to see the growth and development of Newport Hospitality and the Newport Team. It’s a perfect little team and it’s lovely to see them thrive from afar. Sam [Samantha Peters, Director of Operations] runs an amazing ship down there. (Laughs) We like to call it the Luxury Liner!
Q: It is sometimes rare to see a company find success with Co-CEOs or two partners at the helm of everything. What about your partnership do you think has worked for so many years?
Jill: We are really different. I think that is a big part of it. We are just so different.
Courtney: In complimentary ways, which works well. And the love and respect we have for each other has not wavered in 23 years. That’s the most important thing.
Q: March is Women’s History Month, and it is important to acknowledge that Corinthian Events is a Massachusetts Certified Women and Minority Owned Business. Is there something business-related that you each are most proud to have accomplished with the company?
Jill: We are getting things much more succinct and we are dialing in our business practices. As our revenue grows and as the team grows, we must make the mechanics of the company work in line with the rest of the business world. We’ve strengthened our HR, we are changing our accounting model, and those are all things that make me proud of where we’re headed.
Courtney: I would also say that our templates and tariff are making us much more efficient. I am proud of the company resources we have built. And from a business perspective, I am in awe of the team members who were here last year and helped us get through May and June, and September and October 2022. We were very short handed, and they worked harder than we ever wanted them to work; it was inspiring what our team at that time was able to pull off.
Q: What are your hopes for Corinthian Events going forward, looking at the current team and business momentum?
Jill: (Laughs) Not let anyone upset the applecart!
Courtney: I hope we can hire a few more strong employees that are a great fit for our team.
Jill: With new clients, it is important that we continue getting the “right business,” and Tamara [Tamara O’Malley, Director of Client Services] has been paramount in this effort. I also hope we continue dividing our jobs well and maintaining our business mix. What’s fascinating is that right now it’s almost an even split between Special Events, Meetings & Conferences, and Destination Management, which is a sweet, versatile, and nimble spot to be in.
Q: After over 23 years, what keeps you doing this job every day? What do you still love about it?
Courtney: It’s fun, the team is great, my events are great, and I have great clients. I love crossing things off my To-Do list! This job is just so rewarding on so many levels.
Jill: It’s different every day. One day I can dig into a spreadsheet for a long time and be quite happy doing that, and then another day I can go work an event in Vermont with a client and be very happy doing that. It also helps to have a good support team so you’re not lifting tables by yourself!
Q: Is there anything else you want to say about 23 years of Corinthian Events?
Jill: It’s awesome and nobody believed we could do it! And coming back from the pandemic and having the best year we’ve ever had is amazing. It’s hard to process how incredible it really is, and we are both super proud.
To learn more about the Partners and how they started Corinthian Events, check out last year’s Spotlight Interview here!