Meet Kevin Benson - Marketing Director at Chicago Loft Venues
Much like most people from the great state of Texas from which he hails, Kevin Benson likes Britney Spears and has a personality that can fill a room. A seasoned and accomplished marketing and events pro with 10+ years in the business, he began his career in Dallas, TX, managing event venues, planning music festivals and running a production company called KeepTexasLive. Most recently, Benson did time as a Senior Manager of Global Events at Chicago tech startup G2 where he ran 140+ global events in the last year and managed a team of more than 50 people. His keen know-how and proven successes across all aspects of event coordination, sales and marketing are what make him so great at implementing strategic and long-term planning for both marketing and branding at Chicago Loft Venues. When we do allow him to leave the office, Benson enjoys playing rugby and flag football, and globetrotting to warmer climes to escape the Chicago winter. True story: Once, while hosting a charity event, Kevin broke a heel and fell in front of the entire crowd while performing Spears’ “I’m A Slave 4 You.” Nevertheless, $3,500 was collected that night for The Trevor Project, a charity dear to Kevin’s heart that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth. Because when it comes to Benson, committed is an understatement.
What is your favorite word?
My favorite word is “embrace.” It conjures memories of loved ones, and the warmth and security you can feel when embracing others.
What is your least favorite word?
Definitely “moist.” I just hate the sound of it.
What turns you on?
My turns ons are intelligence and wit. A person who is confident in making jokes and sharing their knowledge is a true luxury in this world!
What turns you off?
One of my biggest turn offs is indecisiveness. My personal time is precious to me. So when someone wastes it hemming and hawing, that really erks me.
What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of thunderstorms rolling across an open, dry desert. I’m from west Texas, so I grew up with, and subsequently fell in love with, that eerie silence followed by a deafening crash of lightening.
What sound or noise do you hate?
I don’t like the noise of beeping hospital machines. Too many bad memories.
What is one life experience, professional or personal, that you would say defines you?
When I came out to my family. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, but it taught me to be fiercely independent and to embrace life on my own. It has been lonely at times, but I would never give up being LGBTQ+ for anything. It has taught me to love others without judgement. And that you never know someone’s circumstances or the things they’ve been through.
What is your favorite curse word?
“Piss off.” I just love the way the English say it.
What makes you really good at your job?
I’m totally manic, but in a good way. I have these crazy spurts of boundless energy to power through work, and that’s when all my best creative ideas bubble to the surface. It’s a blessing and a curse, though. I can work long hours and talk to countless people, but then I crash for a couple of days before it happens all over again. It’s a really useful work style for an events marketer!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I’d like to try my hand at being a yoga instructor and a physical therapist at some point in life. I believe that helping people reduce pain is a wonderful way to facilitate happiness and a positive outlook on life.
What profession would you not like to do?
Sales. Although I’m probably the closest to sales that you could be in a marketing position, I don’t want to do the actual selling to people. No matter how confident I am in the product or service, the act of selling makes me uncomfortable.
What is it about weddings that give you all the feels?
Weddings are a defining moment in people’s lives. Taking that step and fully committing one’s love to another person… There’s nothing more special than that. I wasn’t kidding when I said my favorite word is “embrace.” During the ceremony, when our couples are embracing each other’s lives and becoming one, I’ve been known to shed a tear or two.
Name an organization within your community whose work inspires you.
The Night Ministry in Chicago. It’s a group that works tirelessly to provide housing, healthcare and human connection to members of our community struggling with poverty or homelessness. They also focus on working with LGBTQ+ youth in Chicago who are homeless or have been kicked out of their homes for who they are. My mother currently works with them, and it is the single biggest thing she has ever done for me. It defines our relationship now. She is my hero for helping those kids out.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“You did all that you could, kid.”