International learning

Australia’s Koroneos experiences Party Reflections


Nicole Koroneos of Excel Events in Melbourne, Australia, recently spent four weeks job shadowing and learning at Party Reflections in Charlotte, N. C., as one of the latest participants in the Global Rental Alliance’s International Rental Business Leadership Program administered by the ARA Foundation.

“The HRIA [Hire and Rental Industry Association] in Australia sent a nomination form for the program by email and I put my name in. You never believe you will be the one selected, but then you get the call. I chose to go to America and it was a great experience,” Koroneos says.

She also attended the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Leadership Conference in Rosemont, Ill., Oct. 19-21.

Koroneos says she will benefit from the opportunity to have seen how an American company runs events. “Party Reflections has been in business for 55 years, much longer than Excel Events. It is a huge, fast-paced company, yet everyone there is a like a family, very much like we are at home,” she says.

Her mother, Patricia Koroneos, is a part-owner of Excel Events, which was founded about five years ago, and Koroneos has worked there since the company was started.

As for what she learned in North Carolina, Koroneos chronicled her experience in an online blog available at by clicking on “2012 – Nicole Koroneos – United States” in the drop-down menu under “International Rental Business Leadership Program.”

During her stay, she was hosted by Jonas and Heather Hutchison, who both work for Party Reflections, and their two children, Julia and Andrew.

“They welcomed me into their family and I will miss them terribly,” she says. As part of her experience, she says she carved her first pumpkin and was surprised by the many home decorations on display for Halloween.

During her stay, she learned about the sales side of the business at Party Reflections as well as operations, the dish room and the linen department.

“It was interesting to see how they operate. I participated at the office, at an event site, in the warehouse and went through every department to see how things are run. They do a fantastic job running the business and everyone in each department is so passionate. They had linen coming in that day and then back out. The turnover was huge and they have the demand. I participated in the linen press area for a few days. They fold them so quickly,” she says.

The International Rental Business Leadership Program was launched in 2008 as a partnership between the member associations of the Global Rental Alliance to advance leadership opportunities and increase worldwide awareness of the equipment rental industry.

It allows young rental professionals the opportunity to live in another country for a few weeks to learn more about the rental industry internationally. The ARA Foundation facilitates the leadership program on behalf of the Global Rental Alliance.

For more information, visit or contact Jenni Venema, ARA Foundation director of development, at  800-334-2177, ext. 236, or email