PHOTO CREDITS : Collin Pierson Photography, Aullmyn Photography, Carasco Photography
In 2008 McGowan Durpetti & Associates was founded on the principle that event planners must be good sources of creative ideas combined with practical experience, flexibility and know-how to manage an event from beginning to end.
Over the next two years MD&A worked with various corporate, social and non profit clients, producing numerous events, including the top event of BizBash Chicago’s Top 100 Events list – the Green Tie Ball. Exhibit City News, the nation’s only tradeshow industry newspaper, named Michelle as one of their top 40 under 40 of 2009. Michelle was also thrilled to join the Chicago Chapter of Wish Upon A Wedding: the World’s first nonprofit wedding wish granting organization.
In June of 2010 Michelle steered McGowan Durpetti & Associates in a new direction with the re-launch of the company as Michelle Durpetti Events, expanding its list of services to include wedding coordination and destination management in addition to event management and creative development. Michelle comes from a long line of entrepreneurial spirit and is proud of her company’s perpetual commitment to excellence.
Michelle attended college in both the United States and Italy, eventually graduating from Dominican University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Italian Language Studies. She began her career with an internship at Jasculca/Terman & Associates a Chicago based public relations firm specializing in PR and event management. She began her internship on the public relations side of the firm, on the creative and strategic development team where she worked on various projects providing her invaluable hands-on experience with grass roots outreach, media pitching and placement.
During her time at Jasculca/Terman, Michelle worked on many events for both corporate and non-profit clients alike, including: After School matters, AT&T, the Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO) Illinois, Midwest Generation, the Chicago Housing Authority, Washington Mutual, (then) Senator Hilary Clinton’s book singing tour, President Barack Obama’s 2004 IL senate campaign, and the 2004 AFL-CIO democratic primary presidential debates. Michelle was also part of an eight person team that spent much of 2004 travelling to college campuses throughout the country for Declare Yourself – a non-partisan youth voter registration initiative created by famed television producer Norman Lear. Along with an original (though unsigned) Dunlap version of the Declaration of Independence, they journeyed campus to campus with an incredible mulit-media exhibit, spoken word poets, cast members from various years of MTV’s Real World and the declaration of independence – all to inspire young Americans to have a voice in their government.
The journey with Jasculca/Terman & Associates ended with what still is a personal and professional highlight for Michelle: being a member of the 60+ team that produced the William J. Clinton presidential library Grand Opening dedication ceremony. The event was live in 30 countries, with thousands in the audience, including dignitaries, celebrities, politicians, and internationally known figures alike.
After more then 3 years at J/T, Michelle accepted a position at Edelman, a full service global public relations firm, working on various accounts including Unilever and AXE men’s body spray. By the age of 26, Michelle realized that the corporate life was not for her and accepted various positions utilizing her fluency in Italian while working for the Italian Trade Commission, an Italian government office throughout the United States that cultivates trade between Italy and the U.S.
During that time, she began freelancing as an events specialist and produced various private events including birthdays,weddings, the grand opening of the sales office atLincoln Park 2520 and both the 60th and 65th anniversary celebrations of Chicago restaurant Gene & Georgetti. This was a highlight for Michelle as Gene & Georgetti has been a family owned and operated business for close to 70 years, and that family is Michelle’s – Founder Gene Michelotti was her grandfather.
Since the inception of Michelle Durpetti Events in 2008, Michelle has planned and produced over 300 weddings and events including some of Chicago’s most notable, celeb-studded events such as the Chicago Gateway Green’s annual Green Tie Ball, the Fiera Italiana, in conjunction with the annual Columbus Day Parade, for the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, and the Chicago Hunter Derby where she was the recipient of the Marion Maybank Volunteer Award in 2014 in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the Chicago Hunter Derby and the Chicago Equestrians for a Cause.
Michelle has also been responsible for producing events for her family’s business for many years. Other clients include the Tennis Opportunity Program, Chicago Opera Theater, The Tripp Healy Foundation and Ben Mahoney Productions. Through Michelle Durpetti Event’s contributions to their non-profit clients, they helped to raise over $350,000 towards various charities in 2014 alone.
Wish Upon a Wedding, a national non-profit and the world’s first wish granting organization that provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life altering circumstances regardless of sexual orientation, has acknowledged Durpetti as one of three recipients of the 2014 Shining Star Award. This honor was their way to thank and pay tribute to the professionals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.
Michelle was selected as a “Bride’s Choice” winner on Wedding Wire in 2013, and “Best of” wedding planner by The Knot in 2014. She has been a member of Style Me Pretty’s “Little Black Book” and a Grace Ormonde Platinum Wedding vendor. Her work has been featured locally in Chicago Social Brides, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Today’s Chicago Woman, Your Trendy Magazine, and Chicago Style Weddings. It has been seen nationally on Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde, MOD weddings, Wedding Chicks, and Style Unveiled.
She has been featured as an industry expert on Chicago’s WGN TV, Fox 32, WCIU The U, Michigan Avenue Magazine, Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine, CS Magazine, and Illinois Meetings & Events among others. She was also a nominee for Social Event Planner of the Year for the BizBash Readers’ Choice Awards.
At almost the ten year marker with MDE, Michelle still works with couples planning their weddings and events because she loves to do it. She balances her time between MDE and being a managing partner in her family’s business here in Chicago while also being a competitive amateur equestrian and volunteering her time with various charitable organizations. She was named a “woman of style” in 2017 by Chicago Social magazine, and looks forward to hearing from you!