BizBash Live

LOS ANGELES, WEDNESDAY, JULY 19, 2017, CALIFORNIA MARKET 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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Kari Brizius
Kari Brizius

President
Relan

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

My most memorable event is working with the Green Sports Alliance Summit. In March 2011, the Green Sports Alliance launched in the Pacific Northwest with six teams and five venues. Watching this event grow to nearly 500 sports teams and venues, from 15 different sports leagues, and 14 countries has been amazing. Sports have such a huge impact on our culture and our communities. It is so impressive to watch the sports teams step up to the plate and take a stand for the environment. The teams, leagues, venues, and sponsors acknowledge that we need to make changes to keep our planet healthy. As influential heroes and leaders, they have taken this opportunity to create a call to action that their fans will embrace. Together, they will make a difference for our planet.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

Growing up as an avid athlete, my AHA moment was watching a video of Nadia Comaneci scoring a perfect 10 in the 1976 Olympics. At a young age, I knew I loved events, the crowds, the fans, and the excitement around them, whether that was fund-raisers for animals, parades, or even the circus. Every event is unique. Today's events create experiences that can have an extraordinary impact on attendees. I love being a part of the experience and helping to create that impact.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Be brave, be bold, think outside the box. Be ahead of the curve and imagine that what’s around the bend is where you might find your next AHA moment.

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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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Ashley Crowder
Ashley Crowder

C.E.O. and Co-Founder
VNTANA

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

Super Bowl LI. We had three holograms for three different clients, which allowed us to get really creative on content and see all aspects of the event. It was amazing to see the scale at which brands show up to take part in the once-a-year event.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

In college I was an engineering student who mainly did engineering internships because they paid well. But one summer I interned at MTV and got to attend a multitude of events, from press junkets to the BET Awards. It was so much fun I knew I wanted to do something in that space, but it took me a few more years to figure out exactly how to combine my love of engineering and events to start VNTANA.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

To execute a flawless event you need to have an amazing team behind you. Focus on hiring experts in areas you’re not as familiar with and you’ll go much farther than you ever thought possible.

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Stephen George
Stephen George

C.E.O.
Surkus

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Jes Gordon
Jes Gordon

Owner/Creative Director
jesGORDON/properFUN

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

We are so incredibly lucky to be involved in all sorts of events, but mainly one stands out in particular: the Berry Gordy Jr. and Smokey Robinson 50-years-of-friendship celebration. There are no photos of this event and there were only 16 people in attendance, but the event was Gordy throwing a special dinner in honor of his incredible friendship with Robinson. It was held in Beverly Hills in a private room, and only family was invited from both sides. The two gentlemen serenaded each other all night long at the dinner table, and, truthfully, it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had the honor of witnessing.

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

I have been doing events since I was a very young girl, but I think that my major aha moment was when I had found out that a bride and her mother were just recently granted the honorable badge of both surviving breast cancer. It was then that I felt a great deal of pride in being able to help provide in creating an event filled with monumental joy for the ladies and their families; this is truly what I feel this profession should be all about.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Lots:

  • Never let your ego get in the way of learning, and continue to learn throughout your entire career; you should never stop learning
  • Don’t ever work for free, unless it’s for a charitable cause
  • Hire great people around you, including financial advisers and event-support help
  • Don’t take on what you don’t know
  • Most importantly, no one can ever disrespect you but you.

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Bruce Henderson
Bruce Henderson

Chief Creative Officer
Jack Morton Worldwide

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

We create a lot of extraordinary events with many of the world’s best brands, so it would be impossible to name one as the most memorable. The recent Samsung Galaxy S8 launch event at Lincoln Center in N.Y. was very fun. It was a crucial launch for the brand, and so we were inspired to create an experience that would truly bring to life this amazing new suite of products. Our creative concept enabled us to incorporate some very cool elements, including a live remote demo of Samsung’s new Gear 360 camera.

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

I was a recording artist in an earlier part of my life. When I went on site for my first brand event, it was very much like loading in for a concert. I was hooked.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Expect the unexpected.

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Gabrielle Kessler
Gabrielle Kessler

Creative Director
The Visionary Group

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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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Christian Lachel
Christian Lachel

Executive Creative Director
BRC Imagination Arts

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

The Shanghai World Expo in 2010. It remains one of the largest global events in history, welcoming more than 73 million people in six months.

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

The first World Expo that I worked on in Aichi, Japan, in 2005. Watching the audience come through our pavilion and leave with joyous smiles meant everything to our team. It’s the most rewarding part of any project, creating an emotional connection, and I was hooked.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Follow your bliss. If you do that, you’ll always love what you do and opportunities will happen.

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Dea Lawrence
Dea Lawrence

Chief Marketing Officer
Variety

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Caroline Lett
Caroline Lett

Senior Event Producer, Office of Cultural Relations and University Events
University of Southern California

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Jeff Olsen
Jeff Olsen

Director of Special Events
The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Foundation

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

Producing the inauguration of the 11th president of the University of Southern California was an incredible experience and taught me so much about events and my own capabilities.

What was the AHA moment that made you love events?

The moment came during my first university commencement when, after all the planning and stress, I saw the faces of the thousands of students and family members in attendance. I realized that what we do is bigger than any one person.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Learn as much as you can from wherever you can! Internships, seminars, online courses—the more tools you have in your toolbox, the more valuable you become.

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Nicole Peck
Nicole Peck

Executive Vice President
BizBash

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Sharon Sacks
Sharon Sacks

President and Founder
Sacks Productions

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

The World Cup in Paris—the excitement of planning an event while not knowing whether the city hosting the event would in fact take the gold was a thrill.

Hosting such a variety of people with so many different hopes forces you to be beyond creative—my mind was racing with unlimited ideas. Tapping into your thoughts and ideas will allow you to create magic.

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

From the very beginning, I knew I loved events. Before starting out on my own, I worked for Jerry Perenchio and planned an event honoring Prince Andrew. Throughout the planning process, each element I faced challenged me on a different level. It was those challenges that brought something out in me—something I wanted to tap into every day from that moment on.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Always follow your dreams, and make good relationships with your vendors. Those are the people who will make or break your events.

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Kimberly Seeherman
Kimberly Seeherman

President and Creative Director
Events by Fabulous

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