Industry Innovators 2023: Michael Farrell

The president and founder of Redstory uses events to generate emotional connections between brands and people.

Industry Innovators 2023: Michael Farrell
Farrell loves working on events that have a human-centric impact, like a recent fundraiser for the International Justice Mission. "This is a meaningful project to me, not because of the eight-figure dollar amounts," he says. "It’s because of the lives that will be changed because of it as IJM advances their mission beyond where they could previously reach, rescuing millions and protecting half a billion from slavery."
Photo: Courtesy of Redstory

Industry Innovators 2023: Michael FarrellPhoto: Courtesy of Michael FarrellMichael Farrell is the president and founder of experiential agency Redstory and the president of destination management company Destination 614. He's also the president of the Tennessee chapter of Meeting Professionals International, and splits his time between Nashville and Columbus, Ohio.

How he got his start: Farrell worked in sales and marketing for an experiential firm in Columbus before branching out on his own to launch Redstory in 2019. The agency specializes in experiences that generate emotional connections between brands and people, with data and experiences centered on the power of human impact. 

What innovation means to him: "I believe innovation is driven by a combination of creativity, problem-solving, and a willingness to challenge the status quo. It involves exploring uncharted territories, taking risks, and embracing experimentation," he says.

In fact, one of Redstory's core values is "be a student of innovation." "This is something we live and breathe on a daily basis. Staying innovative and forward-thinking is critical in today's dynamic experiential marketing and event landscape, and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way," he says. "It enables our team to adapt, compete, learn, drive change, and future-proof our careers. Becoming a student of innovation has led to personal and professional success in an ever-evolving world."

How he stays inspired: "I stay inspired by learning from sources beyond our field such as those in the behavioral sciences and neurosciences, collaborating and networking with peers at industry events such as Connect, staying informed through research and reading, participating in workshops and training sessions, and cultivating curiosity and a mindset of lifelong learning. These practices have helped to foster creativity, provide fresh perspectives, and keep me engaged and motivated."

Career highlights: "Two of the most memorable events in my career took place in the last 12 months, actually," notes Farrell. "One was a brand conference for Lane Bryant where we celebrated and motivated 150 of Lane Bryant’s regional managers and top store managers around purpose in a four-day experience at the Hilton Easton in Columbus, Ohio. This was a memorable event because of the attendees' extremely positive response to the event and its message. Engagement was off the charts—and beyond that, the CFO of Lane Bryant told us it was 'worth every damn penny.'" Following the event, Lane Bryant’s Net Promoter Score was up 2%, Farrell adds. Industry Innovators 2023: Michael FarrellAt the Lane Bryant Brand Conference, real employees modeled the brand's fall clothing line.Photo: Courtesy of Redstory

Another highlight? A fundraising event for the International Justice Mission, where 120 of IJM’s most invested donors and potential new donors gathered to dive deeper into the organization’s mission and model and connect with like-minded individuals. "Before the event was even over, donors were committing to five times their gift, putting some donors' annual giving at multiples of millions," notes Farrell. "The event exceeded expectations for fundraising and sent donors home with new lifelong friendships. This is a meaningful project to me, not because of the eight-figure dollar amounts; it’s because of the lives that will be changed because of it as IJM advances its mission beyond where it could previously reach, rescuing millions and protecting half a billion from slavery."

Back to the full list

This feature is sponsored by Spiro, the global brand experience agency for the new now. Spiro delivers culture-bending, out-of-this-world live brand experiences that give all your stakeholders a chance to experience your brand long after your event ends.

Page 1 of 41
Next Page