BizBash Live
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LOS ANGELES, WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2018, 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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Jenny Bronstein
Jenny Bronstein

SVP, Account Service
NVE Experience Agency

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

To announce that Amazon Prime Video was available in-flight, NVE worked with Amazon to create a pop-up movie theater inside the largest-ever Amazon shipping container dropped in the JetBlue terminal at JFK. This was a personal passion project of mine for a number of reasons. It was the first project I oversaw at NVE from conception through execution and something that would lay the foundation for a new relationship—and true partnership—between Amazon and NVE for the next several years.

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

I had two. The first was in high school after I hosted my first parents-aren’t-home party. Most would have bought red cups and called it a day, but I decided it had to be luau themed. With decorations, photos ops, and Malibu Rum pineapple drinks served in coconuts. The next was Cabo Wabo, and then western…you get the idea.

Second was during my first job post-college. I was working at an advertising agency and volunteered to plan the company’s holiday party. I realized during the process that I enjoyed my volunteer role far more than the job for which I was actually getting paid. I started applying for new event-related jobs a few months later.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Never let your lack of experience on paper be a reason to not attempt something new. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. A little discomfort and fear of failure is healthy—that’s where you push your potential, learn, and grow.

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Brent Bushnell
Brent Bushnell

C.E.O.
Two Bit Circus

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Cindy Celis
Cindy Celis

Creative Director
Edge Design and Decor

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?
2016 Luxe Launch at Vibiana. It was also the launch of our own collections, with 32 vendors and 13 design teams.
What was the aha moment that made you love events?
I had just been hired to open the new venue for Saint Sophia Cathedral, called the Huffington Center. When I worked on our first wedding at the venue, I watched the bride come down the staircase and cried.
Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?
Know who you are and the ‘why’ of what you are doing.

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Scott Dallavo
Scott Dallavo

Director of Events and Strategic Alliances
Los Angeles Times

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Lee Dyson
Lee Dyson

Owner
Hey Mister DJ

What was the most memorable event you’ve worked on?
We did a big dance party for GLAD (Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness). We brought in a big sound system that was heavy on bass (subwoofers) and lighting that triggered to the beat of the music. The kids danced for three hours straight, and there was an interpreter on stage who signed the words to the songs. It was a touching moment and always reminds me how truly powerful music is...truly a universal language!
What was the aha moment that made you love events?
I spent years refining my room-awareness and crowd-reading skills in nightclubs, so when I finally had a couple big corporate events where people really noticed how much of a difference a properly curated set of music can have on the vibe and atmosphere of the room, I was hooked. There is nothing more rewarding than having people value and appreciate your talent and the impact it has on a room of guests.
Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?
Always stay humble and remain grateful for every opportunity you are given. Constantly work on refining your skills, and never assume you know everything you need to know to be successful.

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Chuck Elias
Chuck Elias

C.E.O. and Co-Founder
Eventbots by Sciensio

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Danny Fisk
Danny Fisk

C.E.O.
Work The Room Productions

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Vanessa Fontanez
Vanessa Fontanez

General Manager of Experiential & Conferences
Vox Media

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Todd Hawkins
Todd Hawkins

Founder and President
The Todd Group

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Sandra Herriot
Sandra Herriot

Director of Events
ExperiencePoint

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

A 900-person conference in the Puerto Rico Rainforest.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

I directed my first fashion show at 16 and fell in love with bringing inspiration and imagination to people.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Pause and breathe. You can make anything happen. Believe in yourself and your clients will believe in you!

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Brett Hyman
Brett Hyman

President and Founder
NVE Experience Agency

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

In its early days, NVE partnered with Beats by Dre for the launch event of their streaming platform, Beats Music. This event allowed us to bring together the icons of 90’s hip-hop: Busta Rhymes, NAS, Eminem, Diddy and Mase, Ice Cube, Bone Thugz and Harmony, and of course, Dr. Dre himself.

The event was centered on the theme, “The Ultimate 90s Hip-Hop Playlist.” But there was an exciting catch: The guests had no idea that this playlist would be brought to life through live concert performances. I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of the audience when they realized these acts were coming out live.

The event was also a monumental testament to our level of production precision. We designed the entire concert to flow and feel exactly like a playlist, with multiple consecutive performances. The execution required flawless timing and seamless transitions for live bands and stage cues.

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

Immediately upon graduating college, I took an internship in LA’s nightlife scene, which evolved into a five-year career under my initial company known as Night Vision Entertainment.

My immersion into LA nightlife was the networking super highway that connected me to the heads of global brands, entertainment execs, and A-list celebrities. Night Vision became LA’s largest volume promotion company and quickly built a strong foundation in event production, producing premieres and music events for brands such as 20th Century Fox, VEVO, and Beats by Dre.

I understood what I was doing, but never truly articulated why I was doing it, until one day a good friend asked me why I was spending all my waking moments dedicated to this work. The thought that came to my mind that day remains our agency’s guiding principle: The right moment will transform someone forever.

The realization that events have an unmatched ability to transform individuals, foster communities, and drive culture is what eventually led to the pragmatic growth from an event production company to the world-class experiential marketing agency now known as NVE Experience Agency.

I continue to lead NVE and its portfolio of best-in-class brands with the same core principle with which the agency was founded.

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?
As more marketers begin to recognize the power of experiential, here are a few things they need to consider:
  1. Always ask “Why?”
    1. If what you’re doing is going to move the needle or have any real impact, start by getting to the root of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and then engineer the event around that guiding principle.
  2. Understand what drives culture to identify what moves your audience.
    1. Build an experience with the contextual understanding of what will actually resonate with the people you are trying to reach. Get involved and deeply in touch with what your audience cares about through a constant immersion into the trends and ideas that shape culture.
  3. Integrate technology with purpose and strategy.
    1. Words like VR and augmented reality are becoming buzz words that marketers latch onto. But make sure the technology you leverage serves a purpose and is woven into the fabric of a solid strategy.

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Suzy Jack
Suzy Jack

Vice President, Public Affairs and Events
Los Angeles Times

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Aaron Kaufman
Aaron Kaufman

President
Fifth Element Group

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Beth Kormanik
Beth Kormanik

Editor in Chief
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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Heather Mason
Heather Mason

Founder and C.E.O.
Caspian Agency

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

The Skoll World Forum. It gathers over 1,400 of the world’s leading change agents and social entrepreneurs in Oxford, England, for a week, and the amount of good work being done and positive social energy is incredible. We also work with some of the biggest names in government and world-leading organizations when we’re there. It’s an honor to be a part of it, and after 13 years, it still never gets old.

What was the aha moment that made you love events?

When I was in high school and decided to do a campaign based on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I made my dad help me build a massive boulder out of papier-mâché, had my friends dress like ninjas, and put in banners that fell from the gym ceiling timed to the music. The good news is that I won!

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

It’s about systems thinking. The way a person becomes a pro is not with detail thinking, but rather those who can manage systems and adapt to system challenges. Those who have the magical superpower of being able to structurally think about the steps to accomplish a project from start to finish—to be able to create from nothing—have a special and rare quality. Honing these project management skills is critical. I’d also strongly encourage a background in leadership training, contract law, insurance, and risk management as well as technical knowledge in both audiovisual and computer tech.

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Branden Meck
Branden Meck

C.E.O.
MarketKings

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Simon Miller
Simon Miller

Creative Director
Brand Activation Services

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Nicole Peck
Nicole Peck

Executive Vice President
BizBash

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Alex Plaxen
Alex Plaxen

President and Founder
Little Bird Told Media

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Shane Terenzi
Shane Terenzi

Director of Events
High Beam Events

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

The most memorable event that I have worked on at High Beam Events would have to be this year’s Australia House at SXSW. It was a six-day activation where I took over a popular Austin bar, re-branded it, replaced all the furniture, repurposed existing buildings, and had diverse events every day. These ranged from a pop-up coffee shop featuring Hugh Jackman’s coffee brand, five-star chef-curated receptions, panel programming, and over 60 live music acts. This single space, utilized in such different ways, required not only meticulous and creative planning, but energetic staffing for transition and crowd control. It was truly an exciting and rewarding event!

What was the AHA Moment that made you love events?

I am not sure if there was ever a specific moment that I realized I loved events. It was just inherent in myself. From elementary school, wanting to do the school play and seeing the production behind it, to college where I worked on award shows, it was just something I always have done. It is a part of my being so it’s just been a natural evolution!

Any advice for up-and-coming event pros?

Work hard and keep saying yes! There have been many times in my career where I had no idea what I was doing or what was going to be asked of me, and I just said yes. It gave me great experience, and I learned so much from the amount of random events and situations I put myself in. It does not mean you have to say yes again after that event, but you will never know what it is if you shut it down before it begins.

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Chris Villain
Chris Villain

Influencer, Actor, Singer

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Troy Williams
Troy Williams

Principal and Event Designer
Simply Troy Lifestyle + Events

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