A look at By Dzign and Three of its Talented Team Members
Appropriately dubbed the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is home to its fair share of parties. An estimated 41 million visitors flock to the city annually for everything from coveted concerts to global conventions. But, while visitors wed in ballrooms or tee off at golf tournaments what they might not know is that By Dzign—a Las Vegas-based event-planning, party-design, and decor-rental company—is likely responsible for helping to color those memories they’re currently creating.
Founded in 2008 by CEO Kevin Kraft, a Long Island native with an extensive history of success in the entertainment world (including playing a crucial role in the development of the New York City rave scene), By Dzign was built around the notion that first-class event design should be service oriented. Under Kraft’s leadership, the company has had its hands in over 10,000 events, has donated over $2 million in time and services to local and national charities and proudly offers one of the largest event-rental inventories in the entire state. But, perhaps Kraft’s greatest accomplishment is the team he has tirelessly built—an experienced group of passionate and talented event professionals.
Among those professionals are three dynamic women who represent both the diversity and cohesiveness of the By Dzign team: Kathy Dyke, the team’s event dzigner; Nancy Rodriguez, its director of creative and operations; and Penny Philippou, a By Dzign event coordinator. All are proud graduates of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, all three call Las Vegas home and each represents a different generation—creating an eclectic and effective mix of personalities, experience, and opinions.
As Dyke explained, “With Penny in her 20s, Nancy in her 30s and myself in my 40s, we each bring our own unique perspective to the planning process. At the same time, we’re all tied by this deep love for events and our undying UNLV Rebel pride.”
With Penny in her 20s, Nancy in her 30s and myself in my 40s, we each bring our own unique perspective to the planning process.
Dyke has 25 years of experience in the event and hospitality industry to her name and obtained her Bachelor of Science in hotel management from UNLV—but her affiliation with the university didn’t stop upon graduation. She remains a member of the UNLV Alumni Association, has volunteered her time for the association’s events committee for over five years and is currently fulfilling a three-year term as a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.
Also active in the UNLV community is fellow Rebel, Rodriguez. She brings over a decade of experience in the special events arena to the team and studied hotel administration, with a concentration in special events, during her time at UNLV. In 2013, she acted as a mentor to Philippou via UNLV’s mentor program. Philippou earned her Bachelor of Science in hospitality from UNLV and completed her internship at By Dzign (as a result of being mentored by Rodriguez) before accepting a full-time position with the company earlier this year.
“Penny was willing to put in the hard work,” Rodriquez explained. “Whenever I needed an extra person at an event, she would come. I was also thrilled to be part of the UNLV program by giving back as a mentor, since someone helped me when I was a student.”
Rodriquez’s love for event planning stems from planning her own Quinceañera years ago. While she was initially on track to become an attorney, planning the event as a young woman completely changed her career path. Her family moved to Las Vegas immediately following her Quinceañera, and Rodriguez eventually made her way to By Dzign—where she now uses her seasoned business sense (and knack for creating killer spreadsheets) to ensure the company’s daily operations are running seamlessly. She credits By Dzign for helping shape her career.
“By Dzign gave me my wings,” Rodriguez said. “I have grown so much here.”
Unlike Rodriguez, Dyke knew she wanted to work in the hospitality industry since she was young. Having begun her education at Iowa State University, she eventually left the rolling plains of the Midwest behind for the bright lights of Sin City, in search of a degree program with a heavier focus on hotels and resorts.
“I just picked up and moved in July without knowing anyone,” Dyke explained. “Of course, it was 120 degrees, but I stayed … and I am glad I did.”
Dyke ended up pursuing a career in the catering industry for over a decade, where a constant proximity to weddings and high-end events eventually won her heart.
“Seeing how it all came together with floral, linens, décor and food—I wanted to switch my focus,” she explained.
Also enamored with events, Philippou, who admittedly, “can do anything with a glue gun,” always knew she liked to design things. Through UNLV’s mentee program, then, she had the fateful chance to connect with Rodriguez and, in turn, By Dzign, putting her on the career path she was in search of as a college student.
“I fell in love with the industry and working in By Dzign,” she explained.
All three women, Dyke, Rodriguez, and Philippou, proudly volunteer their time with both the National Association for Catering and Events and UNLV, as they constantly work to enhance the event-planning community for future generations.
“We believe in creating fabulous celebrations and in doing meaningful work in our community,” Rodriguez said. “And we believe those two things can go hand in hand.”