Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about the company and your duties.
Kate Patay: Creative Coverings is a nationwide specialty linen rental and sales company focused on the special events market. We help decorate events from 10-10,000 in attendance. Executive director of Sales and marketing is really an all-encompassing role. I not only oversee the growth of the company and its sales force, but also play a key role in customer service initiatives and global branding. Studying and staying ahead of the trends is an integral part of our success in the national arena and we do so with the help of an incredible team.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Patay: I’ve always loved food and events. For years I was in catering and special events and I loved it! I started in a kitchen, learning the ropes and progressed through restaurants, wine, hotels and eventually into the casino F&B. I had an incredible time working with conventions and hosting social events — the charities I helped plan events for gave me such a sense of accomplishment. I just knew from there that I wanted to do more nationally. Helping people like Robin Brockelsby and Karen Nichols to start the local NACE chapter (the National Association for Catering and Events) showed me how I could be involved in events and still give back to the community. It also began a great friendship, which led me to take on the role that I currently have. I’m now lucky enough to help run a company that not only plays a role in events all over the world, but has made it part of their mission to give back so much at the same time.
NNBW: What are the main lessons your work life has taught you?
Patay: I’ve learned to surround myself with amazing people. Also, knowing I can go home each day and be proud of what I accomplished gives me the confidence that I have made the right decisions.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Patay: I worked on a dairy farm in upstate New York … Mom really wanted me to learn not only the value of a dollar, but also what I did and didn’t want to do in order to earn a living. I have so much respect for anyone that chooses that lifestyle — it is back-breaking work and is so underappreciated.
NNBW: Tell us about your dream job. Why aren’t you working it?
Patay: I would be a food critic or travel writer in a heartbeat. I’d be the female Anthony Bourdain. I don’t have that job because Mr. Bourdain still currently holds the position.
NNBW: Who has been the most important person in your life? Why?
Patay: That’s a tough one. I have had so many people influence my life in so many ways that I feel like selecting just one person would do a severe injustice to the others. If I have to pick just one person I’d have to say my husband. He makes me a better me. He sees a side to me that even I don’t always see and it makes me strive to be as great of a person as he thinks I am.
NNBW: What¹s the most fun you have had on the job?
Patay: Every day my job is fun. I help people celebrate milestones and special occasions. Plus, I get to travel all over our great country enjoying these events with them! I’ve celebrated birthdays in New Orleans, rang in the New Year in Las Vegas, been whale watching on a chartered yacht with a group of some of my favorite event planners and dined at some of the best restaurants in the world. This is seriously a dream job.
NNBW: What’s new in your industry? How does your firm respond to change?
Patay: Ahhhh, a favorite topic of mine! Right now over-the-top glam events are back in style. Great romantic sequined looks with beautiful golden blush tones are back, thanks in part to movies like “The Great Gatsby.” Blue is the new black! It’s everywhere! And I adore mint with soft yellow, pale grey shades and geometric accents. We respond to these ever-evolving trends by staying in the forefront of the industry as design and style experts. We eat, live and breathe this.
NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend your time away from work?
Patay: In the summer I love boating and biking. In the cooler months I’m big on back-country skiing. Tahoe is great to have in our backyard. I’m also a happy person when I have a book in hand — I prefer reading to TV any day.
NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?
Patay: Not one thing. I believe in the butterfly effect. Had I done one small thing different I may not have wound up where I am today. Even the not-so-great decisions have taught me lessons on being a better person.
NNBW: If you could hold on to just one memory from your life forever, what would that be?
Patay: Standing on the bow of Harrah’s yacht in Emerald Bay having our first photos taken as husband and wife. I remember hearing this incredible laughter from the back, so I look towards it and see both of our mothers dancing together, celebrating, while Jean-Pierre’s father is videotaping the entire scene with the biggest smile on his face. Our two best friends were looking on and I just knew that this was a moment that I’d never forget.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Patay: I had those typical little girl aspirations of being a model, singer or dancer, but then I only grew to 5-foot-6, realized I had zero rhythm and even less musical abilities, so I figured staying in school was the wisest move.
NNBW: What can you do that someone else can’t?
Patay: I can boat surf like no other. Watch for us zipping across Tahoe in our boat, Emma. You’ll see and know exactly what I’m talking about!
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Patay: I think I’d go on hiatus. I’d take some time off to travel the world with my husband, but events and fashion are in my blood … I’d wind up speaking or consulting at some point, I’m sure.
NNBW: What¹s the last concert or sporting event you attended?
Patay: To me shopping is the only sport, so to answer the question, Don Henley. I actually caught an early flight home to get to the Reno Events Center when he was there and I’m so glad I did. The show was outstanding!
NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?
Patay: Anywhere new I’ve never been. Although, Moorea and Bora Bora were not too bad. I’d go back once I cross a few more spots off my bucket list. Next up is Australia and New Zealand!
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Patay: I came here for a job and I found a career and my home. I am so in love with our region that it would take a lot to drag me away. We have so much to do outdoors, all of these great chefs and restaurants and the people are second to none. I continue to meet northern Nevadans and am consistently impressed by not only their genuineness, but their sense of community. I’ve lived a lot of places; Reno is my home.