BizBash Live
SOUTH FLORIDA, MAY 4, 2017, FORT LAUDERDALE CONVENTION CENTER
BizBash Idea Fest

Speakers

David Adler
David Adler

C.E.O. and founder
BizBash

What was your most memorable event you have ever worked on?

My favorite event ever was the celebration we did at the State Department to recognize the completion of the Patrons of Diplomacy program, raising $21 Million to endow the American History art collection in the Diplomatic Receptions Rooms. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Madeline Albright presided over a room of 200 guests who dined on a famous meal from the days of Benjamin Franklin—who actually showed up to speak about the meal (a reenactor, of course). Each guest took a photo in the private office of the secretary surrounded by all the attending secretaries of state. The room, designed by Bryan Rafanelli, was exquisite, with feelings similar to a state dinner. We also celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Secretaries of State Balcony that featured a granite wall with the Chairs of the Patrons of Diplomacy featured under the secretaries of state and myself. The pomp of the evening and the recognition for chairing the program was one of the best nights of my life.

What was the AHA moment that made you love events?

Back in the 70s, I was at the premier of the first Star Trek movie. I was actually the first person to get into the reception following the premiere at the newly opened Air and Space Museum in Washington. The band played the theme song for Star Trek as I walked into the room, which boasted a model of the Enterprise. It felt like I was being transported into a new world. It was at that moment that I understood how events are magical, how the combination of sights, sounds, and smells have the power to give you that event high, even without any alcohol.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?
  1. Volunteer for any and every type of event
  2. Understand both digital and face-to-face marketing
  3. Learn everything by using our resources—the BizBash Daily, BizBash.com, GatherGeeks Podcast
  4. Practice Managed Serendipity: be at the right place with the right people
  5. Have a positive mental attitude

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Brooke Battle
Brooke Battle

Founder
Swell Fundraising

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

Smart Party (the origin of the Swell Software) launched in 2012 and it was the first live and online crowdfunding event of its kind. The energy was electric and it was early in the use of technology at events.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

I’ve had several aha moments but the one that stands out is the moment I heard a group of young women squeal with delight when they saw their social media pictures show on a screen. and then they took a picture of that screen. I realized the strategic value of a screen at an event for guest engagement, which is why Swell’s software focuses so much on guest engagement through our projection app, Swell Slides.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Always be willing to ask questions and admit when you do not know something. When a “know-it-all” arrives at an event and does not, in fact, know it all, it’s too late.

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Michael Blatter
Michael Blatter

C.E.O.
Mirrorball

What was the most memorable event you've worked on?

The Camel Bartenders Ball at Hammerstein Ballroom in 1999, featuring Lenny Kravitz and Grandmaster Flash as the DJ.

What was the AHA moment that made you love events?

My own bar mitzvah.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Be inspired. Get out from behind your desk. Experience everything and be a master of your craft.

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Bob Caldwell
Bob Caldwell

Founding Partner
Eventbots (by Sciensio)

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

We delivered our technology to a charity fund-raiser where we had more than 80 percent attendee engagement and increased donation volume and velocity by 21 percent. It felt really good to make a difference.

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

Hosting an event in London for the payments industry (credit cards). At that event, private companies, law enforcement, and N.G.O.s all were discussing how to make the world safer and better. Speakers at the event sparked conversations between otherwise strangers, who then collaborated to develop solutions that still keep us all safe today. This only could have happened at a fully immersive experiential event.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Pay attention to details. The entirety of an event can turn on the tiniest detail. Did you spell everyone’s name right? Did you have options for those with dietary needs? Did you make all the information easy to find and understand?

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Cassandra Clark
Cassandra Clark

Client Partner, Global Marketing Solutions
Facebook

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

(speaking from a presenter perspective, not an events coordinator): I would say speaking at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas in 2014 was a very memorable experience as I’ve never met a more eclectic mix of people at one conference. From traditional financial institutions to the gambling mega-giants and beverage distribution companies that run Las Vegas, we all had very different backgrounds, company cultures, and perspectives on the “right” way to do things. However, we all shared one thing in common: Everyone recognized the imperative need to grow our businesses through social media and that’s luckily where I can help the most.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Bill Nye: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't.” This encapsulated what I love about events. Beyond just the content presented, events provide an opportunity to learn from those in your field whom have the same questions or even the answers to what you’ve been pondering.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Do your homework first. We all live in this increasingly big-centric world, and with so much information available, there’s no reason you can’t do your research, base your assumptions on facts, and develop a strategy based on real data.

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Alexandre Eisenchteter
Alexandre Eisenchteter

Co-Founder
Stormz

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Melissa Katz
Melissa Katz

Senior Vice President
Black Flower Agency

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

There have been so many. I think bringing the famous Karaoke Club Paris to the basement of the Shelborne Hotel, an Art Deco gem in Miami Beach, during Art Basel was pretty memorable. The entire hotel was a “take over” for a local celebrity photographer, and the pool, taco bar, and PHs alike were sponsored by brands from Bing to Ciroc. It was a five-day showcase of Art of Night and was attended by over 20,000 art fair goers during the week. There was so much to see and do, from movie screenings to late night parties. It was the most talked about destination of the week, and it was a true Art Basel moment, from fashion to art to parties, it was the perfect mix.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

Working with Ocean Drive Magazine and producing the Jennifer Lopez Super Bowl event on the beach. It was a dream of my publisher’s, and across the street my best friend, Jill Martin, was holding court at the Versace Mansion for a V.I.P. pop-up event with a local sports radio station. It was surreal to be doing things that big during this global event and being in my home town. I was young and I raised a lot of money in sponsorship for the event and essentially allowed it to come to life. It was rewarding.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

The second you think things are under control, they’re not. The second you walk away is the second things go off the rails. No matter how many times you train the hostess, she still doesn’t know which dinner to seat your guests for.

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Beth Kormanik
Beth Kormanik

Executive Editor
BizBash

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

My own wedding. I planned it prior to joining BizBash and often think about how it would be different if I had known then what I know now about events. Still, it was a joyous and lovely day, and I can always go crazy with a vow renewal.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

The Super Bowl belongs to the event industry as much as the sports industry (and perhaps even more). My first time in a Super Bowl host city during the big game was in 2005 in Jacksonville, Florida. The energy transformed the city, and attending events from the then-huge Sports Illustrated party to the game itself was a thrill.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Read BizBash! We aim to serve beginning, mid-career, and veteran event professionals with stories that offer ideas, information, and more. Our collection of checklists are especially targeted for up-and-comers and cover topics from venue contracts, event run-throughs, and Wi-Fi needs at events.

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Gladys Mezrahi
Gladys Mezrahi

Founder and President
Indigo Events

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

When I was 15 years old in high school, I negotiated a whole year’s grade with an event. I had to raise the funds for the basketball and volleyball courts, or I would have been left behind and forced to repeat the year.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

My son's bar mitzvah, when we overcame all the challenges, including hosting 1,500 guests with no kitchen, to pull off a fantastic event.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Passion, dedication, and persistence.

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Bruce Orosz
Bruce Orosz

C.E.O.
ACT Productions

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

It is hard to choose just one:

  • Fashion show in Grand Central Station, which was one of my very first events
  • Miami Beach 100th Birthday Celebration Concert on the Beach with Andrea Bocelli
  • Our first Orange Bowl halftime show (we are now going on our 13th show)
  • Miami Beach POLO World Cup

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

Clinton's inaugural events and the G7 Summit

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

  • Never say “no.”
  • Think outside the box.
  • Everything is possible.
  • This industry runs in your blood; if you don’t get a rush by the things you produce, get out!
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Christopher Pastor
Christopher Pastor

Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Pérez Art Museum Miami

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

Throughout my career events have always played an important role. The most memorable include a gala in Paris at the Musée du Louvre and also PAMM’s 2015 official Art Basel party, PAMM Presents.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

My AHA moment was when I realized the level of bonding that events generate. Bonding on all levels and across all platforms. Guests with the institution, guests with staff, staff with staff, etc. It’s the sort of bonding that can only happen through the collective experience of an event.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Pictures and event data are everything—to sell the event in the future to sponsors, to follow-up with guests, to provide wrap or exposure reports to current sponsors in the hopes of renewing their support, for media coverage, for social media, and so much more.

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DJ Saul
DJ Saul

CMO and Managing Director
iStrategyLabs (“ISL”)

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

“DCWEEK” (Digital Capital Week), a festival we built from scratch in D.C. that saw tens of thousands of attendees and 200-plus distributed events that we curated, supported, and produced. The mayor and city officials were involved, we attracted all the right sponsors, and stories unfolded for months about new connections, jobs, companies, and more that stemmed from our work.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

The feeling right after a big event you’ve put a ton of work into is over, and overhearing happy attendees talk about how much they actually enjoyed it.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Get a ton of sleep two nights before your big day, not just the night before. It’s what athletes do, apparently.

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Michael Schwartz
Michael Schwartz

Chef/Owner
Michael Schwartz Events

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David Sinopoli
David Sinopoli

Co-Founder
III Points: Music, Art + Technology Festival

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

III Points 2016. There was such a heavy stress of not knowing if it was going to happen or not, then watching it come together in a matter of 12 hours. The feeling, the energy, shifted to a bright blessing because we didn’t get slammed with a Category 5 hurricane. It was like no other event I have ever worked on.

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

My first big concert that I produced in college. I rented out the O’Dome [Stephen C. O'Connell Center] in Gainesville and booked Lil Wayne and Fabolous right before Wayne dropped “Lollipop.” I sold out the show to my fellow classmates and got to enjoy bringing my favorite rapper at the time to a huge party with my friends. I remember being on stage watching the show and feeling a full-body rush go over me; I knew I found my calling.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Be stubborn with what you love. There are so many low moments on the way up in the event world. So many times where you are like "Wow, all this stress is not worth it." But it is. And it takes time and, really, a lot of losing to learn from your mistakes, to develop your brand, and to understand where the magic is.

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Telsys Tarallo
Telsys Tarallo

Owner and Director
Afterglow Marketing

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?

It was a live concert in Miami Beach for MundoFOX. Before the concert, we were tasked to re-create a TV show about a Colombian drug lord, and I was the director of the entire live show and concert. The show’s actual lead actor was playing his role live. It was one of those events where everything had to fall into place in order to pull it off, and there were about 20 critical things that needed to happen to ensure success. I even had to hire federal agents to escort the lead actor through customs because we were so tight on time for the event.

The event opened with the live show starting outside of the venue, and for a total of 10 minutes I had no control over the event because as the director, I had to be inside the venue. While glued to the sound and video booth within the venue, my partner was so stressed he was sitting on the floor squeezing my calf panicking. He did it so hard that I had a bruise for days. But…we got it done and everything fell into place!

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been attending events. I love the excitement of seeing and experiencing new things. Arts festivals, concerts, anything that gathers people together and promises to be something experiential is exciting to me. The aha moment was in realizing that not only do I love going to events, but I love producing events and being the director behind those experiences for people.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Organization, organization, organization. If you are organized and on top of things, nothing should throw you off your game on the big day. A solid ROS is the spine of the event. Always have a smile on your face and keep yourself together, even if the entire place is burning down. Honesty is the only policy. You are as strong as your worst brand ambassador (so train everyone impeccably well). Have fun. It’s what you want your guests to do, so ensure you are getting in on that action too!

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Vince Thompson
Vince Thompson

C.E.O.
MELT

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