By Dani Moritz-Long
The recent Poinciana Campus groundbreaking — which attracted more than 200 attendees — is just one of many successful events Steven Kaczmarczyk, coordinator, conferencing and college events, has been behind. From community events for the town of Celebration to Valencia commencements, Steven has been seamlessly planning events for a decade, and his hard work, particularly at Valencia, hasn’t gone unnoticed.
While Valencia leadership like Amy Bosley, vice president, organizational development and human resources, is awe-struck by Steven’s ability to perfectly pull events together and stay calm and collected in the most stressful of situations, for Steven, his line of work is second nature. In fact, he describes his work relatively simple, referring to himself as a background guy — someone to handle the details so people like Kathleen Plinske, president, Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana Campuses, can deliver their messages.
Of course, without Steven and his colleagues — who dedicate hours upon hours (or, in the case of the Poinciana Campus groundbreaking, four months) preparing every minute detail for events — people like Kathleen couldn’t play their roles. Providing the perfect environment for the kinds of inspiring speeches Kathleen and other leaders deliver makes every 4 a.m. wake up call, every crazed attempt to find more silverware and, in the case of the recent groundbreaking, overseeing the digging of actual trenches to avoid flooding, makes it worth every single second.
“It was nice that what I did allowed them [the attendees] to enjoy the moment,” he explained. Because there were no stressful distractions, Steven said, “it was able to really be about why they were there, which was Valencia’s commitment to the community.”
To make that happen, Steven noted, “it’s all about the little things that add up to the experience.” In this case, he was also particularly proud of playing a small, but important, role in bringing Valencia to the Poinciana community. Prior to beginning his role with Valencia, Steven knew he wanted to find himself in a collegiate environment and, now that he’s here, he’s grateful every day to contribute to a culture of lifelong learning where education is attainable for everyone — no matter where they come from.
Steven’s favorite part of this particular event was the conclusion, when he and his colleagues dug their shovels in the ground for a picture-perfect moment to conclude the event they had dedicated so much time to because, as his shovel hit the ground, he knew what his work symbolized. In that moment, it wasn’t the fact that he could add another event to his resume that left him with an ear-to-ear smile. It was the fact that, by doing the work he loves, he was able to impact his community in a meaningful way — by paving the road of educational accessibility that will make college a reality for the residents of Poinciana.
“Valencia signifies opportunity,” he said. “We’re blessed to be part of a college that helps so many achieve their goals and dreams using the pathway of education.”
In return, Valencia is honored to have Steven dedicated to the College.
“When Steven joined our team over two years ago, I knew he had a great skillset in the events area and was service-minded in his approach to the work,” said Steven’s supervisor, Shauna Dillon Anstey, director, conferencing and college events. “Since then, he has developed meaningful relationships with colleagues and established himself as a trusted partner in every project. He’s committed to the progress and enhancement of our conferences and events, and leads even the most complex programs with confidence. Anyone who has had the privilege of working with Steven knows that he has embraced the culture of Valencia and contributes strategic and progressive ideas that add great value to our work and meaning to the events and conferences he coordinates with extreme thoughtfulness and precision.”
In the end, Steven’s work — whether he’s hosting conferences, paving the way for new campuses or creating the perfect stage for graduates to cross — really all comes down to one thing: a bit of advice from Kenneth H. Blanchard, author of “One Minute Manager,” who so clearly summarized Steven’s motivation for everything he does. “The best minute you spend is the one you invest in people.”
Steven earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration, marketing from the University of Central Florida. When he’s not planning events, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Annemarie, and their labradoodle, Penny, as well as gardening and cheering on Orlando City Soccer (Vamos Orlando!) and UCF (Charge On!).
Know of someone doing great work at the College, who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.