While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic certainly resulted in many professional casualties across the event industry, it also produced circumstances that opened new avenues for some and, in the case of the ARA of Connecticut, ended up steering a brand-new member to the chapter’s board of directors.
Toneisha Ramcharran, project manager, Handyboys Event Services, Lakeville, Conn., entered the industry during the pandemic to help her husband’s business, sparking connections that led to her recent appointment as a board member.
“When the pandemic happened, I had the opportunity to work alongside my spouse in his company, Handyboys, an events and production business based in the northwest corner of Connecticut. I received astounding exposure to different talents in the rental industry and decided to join the company in October 2021. My career background was extensive in health care, hospitality and education over the past 25 years,” Ramcharran says.
The ARA of Connecticut’s Vendor Night event was the catalyst for Ramcharran’s ascent to the board of directors. “I attended and had the privilege of meeting board members and many other industry leaders there,” she says. “It was brought to my attention by Brittany Sherwood [owner/lead event coordinator, Tents Unlimited, Torrington, Conn., and ARA of Connecticut president] and Sarah Wilper [director of communications, Mazzotta Rentals, Middletown, Conn., and ARA of Connecticut vice president] that they were seeking a new board member. Their warm and welcoming poise was very convincing in having me further consider and inquire about the role of a board member.”
Ramcharran says she said “yes” to becoming part of the team because, being newer to the industry, she felt “joining the board would be a key way to network with industry leaders and a variety of rental businesses. It was also encouraging seeing women in the rental industry with leadership roles. This fostered my decision to join a team that was diverse, while interconnecting a new career field. The board members are very supportive and fully immersed in making our industry adapt to changes and enhance the sustenance needed for all business members and their employees.”
As she enters her board tenure, Ramcharran is both reflective on the opportunity and enthusiastic about her aspirations.
“I'm first honored and excited to be part of the rental industry and delighted to be accepted to the ARA of Connecticut board,” she says. “As a new board member, I am here to listen and be an extension to the ARA of Connecticut with evolving changes. I hope to increase the visibility of opportunities in the rental market for women and people of other racial and ethnic origins, whether they are business owners or employees. I also hope to expand the type of educational and social events that are held and be sure we are showcasing to different companies and their staffs in all regions of our state who are in this unique industry.”
Away from the day-to-day of the event rental business, Ramcharran is active in many volunteer and family activities.
“I'm very passionate about giving and volunteering at outreaches for children and women, events for local first responders, autism awareness, churches, and our local public and private schools,” she says. “I take an active role in the lives of my three girls and continue to instill in them the belief that they are capable of achieving everything they set their minds to. You are the only one who sets your limitations. Spending as much time as I can with my family is vital to me since you can never get it back.”