Monday, October 24, 2016

In Her Shoes: The Whirlwind Life of an Event Planner

By Yelena Sapin

Some people break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of having to plan and throw a party, but for Nachand “Nay” Trabue, it’s all in a day’s work. As special events director of Manhattan on Broadway, a full-service event venue in downtown Louisville that she owns with her husband Carlos, Nay tackles every project with boundless enthusiasm and a vibrant personality that comes through in the ever-changing color of her hair. Her shoes are often colorful as well. How does she manage to keep a spring in her step while running a demanding business?

She Nurtures Her Spirit
Nay begins her day around 5:30am with prayer and meditation. “It helps me keep my balance. In my industry I deal with many people and many different personalities, and I have to be grounded. I can’t take care of my clients if I don’t take care of myself first. For me that means feeding myself spiritually.”

To further “get my mind together,” Nay sometimes listens to recorded sermons on her way to work or to a meeting. While working, she plays music from her iPad or on the venue’s sound system. “I like jazz, and I really love Mary J. Blige. I could listen to her all day.”

Despite a heavy workload, Nay sets aside quite time for herself.
Photos by Sunni Wigginton 

The event business is non-stop — “you’re either consulting with a potential client, or helping an existing client, or decorating for an event, or working an event, or cleaning up after an event” — but Nay always takes time out on Wednesdays to attend a noon Bible study at her church. Sunday mornings are set aside for church as well. “I commit to that. If we have an event, someone else is working it. And if I have to schedule a tour of the facility or a meeting on Sunday, it’s always after church.”

She Nurtures Her Body
Breakfast is Nay’s favorite meal, but she keeps it fast and simple in order to get to work by 8am. “I’ve always tried to eat healthy. In the morning I normally have egg whites and toast, or oatmeal, or a piece of fruit if I have to eat something really quick. I just grab and go.”

The CafĂ© and Toast on Market are two of her go-to spots for lunch meetings — “I’m big on patronizing local businesses” — or she might bring something from home. “I wouldn’t say I like to cook, but I have a husband and two boys, aged 19 and 16, and they like to eat. So when I do cook, I make sure I make enough that I have leftovers.”

It’s not uncommon for Nay to be at work past 11pm, but she’s trying to make it home for dinner with her family more often, especially on weekends. On days her schedule cooperates, she’ll put something in the slow cooker in the morning so dinner’s ready by the time she gets home. One of her favorite meals to prepare is baked spaghetti with salad and garlic bread. “It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s even better the next day.”

Nay is also trying to incorporate more exercise into her routine. She walks wherever she can throughout the day and squeezes in a game of tennis about once a week. “I also like bike riding and want to be able to build that in more. It would be nice to go for a ride after dinner.”

She Nurtures Her Mind
Like many entrepreneurs, Nay finds herself thinking about business most of her waking hours. To wind down after a busy day, she gets creative. “I like piecing out new design plans. I have color palettes at home, and I just take them out and play with them. I put them together on a board and plan my next project. My husband says it’s work, but it’s fun for me.”

Always on the lookout for new decorating ideas, Nay loves popping into local boutiques and consignment shops. On Sunday afternoons she stops by open houses. “I love real estate and houses. I love interior staging. The furniture, the decor — I love everything about putting things together and making it pretty.”

Nay also works on growing both her personal and professional skills. “I like to read books that help with my personal development, and currently I’m taking a small business administration class.”

Everything she’s taken on can sap Nay’s mental energy, but she has a creative solution for that as well: “I put a bed upstairs [at the venue] so I can take a nap. I need the rest, because my whole focal point is taking care of clients and making sure they have a special day. When people come through the door, I want them to see me smiling, vibrant, and full of life.”


  1. May God continue to bless you and your business Nachand!

  2. I'm so happy for you AND proud of you for stepping out on faith and I have enjoying watching your seed grow. Keep on stepping Soror!

  3. Congratulations Nachand... keep making it happen Sis! Impressive !!!


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