A vision board that she created for herself was filled with horses, wide-open spaces and cowboys. When Mary Jo Briguglio, a native of upstate New York and a Florida resident for 30 years, moved to Colorado 10 years ago, it was partly to fulfill that dream. She also had a sister in the area.
One night several years later, she decided to go dancing at the Sundance Steakhouse and Saloon in Fort Collins, “where cowboys and cowgirls feel right at home” and they take their dancing seriously. It was a night that changed her life.
Briguglio was comfortably settled in Fort Collins by then. She’d bought a house and had a job where she was using her long experience in marketing and public relations. She wasn’t looking for romance; she was just out to have a little fun.
That was the night she met Vince Fayad who she describes as a hopeless romantic. “He says he knew as soon as he saw me that I was the one for him.” There was something about the way the light caught her hair.
They dated for several years and married in 2014. Briguglio quit her job and moved into Fayad’s home, a 40-acre ranch west of Wellington. It was there that she had time to reflect on the words she’d written years ago on the vision board. The rural life that she had envisioned for herself was now a reality. But the learning curve was steep.
“I became part of a totally different lifestyle,” she explained. “I had no idea how hard it was to raise cattle, to deal with the weather, with sickness and with coyotes. I love living off the land and I have a whole new awareness of what it takes to do that.”
Fayad, also originally from upstate New York, hasn’t always been a rancher. He spent years in the corporate world, lived in Kenya for more than a decade and raised cattle in Illinois before coming to Colorado. He has found his niche as the owner of Fayad Cattle Company.
While Briguglio has taken to ranch life wholeheartedly and loves being able to ride a horse whenever she wishes, she doesn’t want to abandon the work she has done for so many years. That’s why, two years ago, she started her own company, Excellence in Event Experiences (E3). As a professional event coordinator, she offers a range of services to businesses not large enough to have a full-time person on staff to organize and promote marketing events.
Her services are available on an “as needed” basis and include arranging for promotional events from the planning stages through following up on leads after an event. She plans conferences, corporate events and trade shows and works with non-profits as well as private sector organizations. Her expertise includes seeking out the best venues for events, setting up exhibits and helping to create beneficial relationships with customers and suppliers that develop during an event.
In her spare time, Briguglio tutors students in reading at Cache La Poudre Middle School and makes presentations for the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers organization. She sometimes offers her event-planning services to non-profits free of charge.
She still has moments when she thinks back to her vision board and is a little overwhelmed at the way in which her wishes have come true. “It’s a little piece of heaven,” she says of the ranch she shares with her husband.