Any loyal football fan will tell you that real winners never give up because of a losing season. They keep fighting to defeat whatever stands in the way of victory. That is the same spirit demonstrated by Monique Boyd, the director of special events and catering for Legends Hospitality at AT&T Stadium, the Home of the Dallas Cowboys. “I had a three-year-old who depended on me, and I didn’t have a choice,” says Boyd.
After a life-long battle with thyroid disease, her voice fills with emotion as she explains how she came back from a health crisis. Her condition worsened in August 2000 causing her to go into a coma and leaving her unable to read, talk or work when she woke up five days later. The divorced mom and her daughter depended on close friends to help her recover. “I was a shell of myself. I am very blessed that I had a solid network of girlfriends I grew up with who took amazing care of my daughter and me,” says Boyd.
Not everyone believed the former ad saleswoman would ever have a high-level job again. One social security office counselor suggested the best Boyd could do was become a greeter at a chain discount store. She proved her mantle by recovering all the abilities she needed to resume her career in Texas and take care of her child. “The odds were stacked against me. But all the things I got back came back tenfold,” says Boyd.
Success Through Second Chances
Even though regaining stability meant everything to her, Boyd wanted to become an event planner and took steps to make it happen at the age of 36. She started shadowing people in the business to learn more until she landed a job in sports venue catering for Delaware North at Globe Life Park, the home of major league baseball’s Texas Rangers. “It was the best thing I could have done, even though it was hard.”
Boyd’s career change meant earning a lot less money and doing part-time work as a wedding planner. Eventually, she advanced to planning events for hotels until she landed a position with Sodexo at the Dallas Museum of Art. Her work there on the Art Ball with Todd Events was pivotal. She got to know the owner and creative director Todd Fiscus, and that led to a recommendation for a new job with two of Todd’s most important clients, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene. “It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life,” says Boyd. “There are not a lot of people who look like me that do what I do, and I’ll never forget it.”
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As the person in charge of managing the special events and catering at AT&T Stadium for the past five years, Boyd and her team work long days, most weekends and a lot of holidays. She and her staff must meet the high standards demanded by the Jones family and Legends Hospitality whether they are catering for players and visiting teams, providing meals and snacks for the owner's suite and season ticket holders dining clubs or planning hospitality for special events from superstar concerts to the upcoming NFL Draft this April. “It can be stressful, but I’m not a micromanager. I kind of feel like you have my leadership and direction and you know my expectations. Just make it happen,” says Boyd.
Leading by Example
Meeting and exceeding her bosses’ expectations requires a strong work ethic, daily planning, and flexible strategies. Boyd also cares about earning her staff’s respect by preparing the Legends employees she manages to “excel and grow within their careers.” Some of her former managers have been promoted and are now directing their own event planning teams. “There are some really hardworking people here. It takes everyone to get the job done. I believe everybody’s job is valued,” says Boyd.
The events and hospitality director tells anyone with interest in the profession to spend some time as an intern or volunteer to learn more about the work demands. She loves the versatility of planning menus with chefs, whether they are serving Texas specialties, the Jones' favorite southern dishes, fine dining selections or casual lunches. “You have to be ready for the time and commitment it takes for this,” Boyd adds. “You have to love what you do because I work every Thanksgiving now when the Cowboys have their traditional holiday game.”
Her daughter is in college now, and although Boyd does not know what the future holds, she never stops preparing to do her best. “I never take a day for granted,” says Boyd. “I’m still a student every day. I don’t know what my journey will be after this, but I want to keep learning.”
Be sure to follow Boyd and her team through the season and beyond on Instagram.