Maria Dickson has been working with special events since 1997. She got her start in weddings by turning pages for her pianist mother, and then singing at weddings at age 12. She was often found taking notes on the ceremony between songs, making lists of things that she liked or would change. Those years of singing and note-taking paid off, as she began working in the bridal gown business in college, then apprenticed for an event planning firm in 1999. She began to direct and plan weddings on her own and also dabbled in corporate events. Maria joined The Culinary Center of Kansas City™ in 2004 as Event Planning Specialist or “Manager of Merriment.” Between corporate teambuildings, private dining, rehearsal dinners and interactive cooking parties, Maria keeps very busy at The Center. She manages everything from initial client calls to execution of the event by directing the staff and follow up. Creativity, attention to detail and flexibility are all key elements in this position. When she’s not planning and managing events, Maria enjoys singing (yes, she still sings weddings!), salsa dancing, yoga and going out with friends. Though she considers herself a foodie, it’s her dear husband Leo who excels in the kitchen. (He also teaches wine and food classes at the CCKC, by the way!) Maria and daughter Allegra love trying out his latest, creative dish. And yes, they sometimes even help clean up the kitchen!