Event Innovation Forum Speakers to Discuss Volunteers, Fund-raising Evangelists, and Breaking Catering Rules

By BizBash Staff February 22, 2013, 3:51 PM EST

Jeremy Katzman, Laila Brock, Mark Wells.

Photos: Courtesy of the speakers

Chad Kaydo, editor in chief of BizBash, and Howard Givner, founder and executive director of the Event Leadership Institute, announced three new speakers scheduled for the Event Innovation Forum during BizBash IdeaFest South Florida April 10 at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

Mark Wells of Hello Florida—named an event innovator by BizBash in 2012—will explain how he pulled off a gala dinner in which 800 guests ordered á la carte during the three-course seated meal. Jeremy Katzman of the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation will share his insight into converting gala attendees into enthusiastic advocates. Laila Brock of the Orange Bowl Committee will discuss how her three-person team manages more than 100 events a year with the support of more than 600 volunteers.

The Event Innovation Forum will include two 90-minute sessions with presentations from industry thought leaders and creative thinkers. Registration includes access to the Event Innovation Forum, a seated luncheon with opportunities to speak one-on-one with presenters and attendees, and a trade show floor pass. Previously announced presenters include Rachel Gross of Univision, Bruce Orosz of ACT Productions, and Rebecca Grinnals of Engaging Concepts. More participants will be announced in the coming weeks. Attendees can register for the BizBash IdeaFest and the Event Innovation Forum here.

Below is more information about the topics and presenters.

Breaking the Catering Rules: How I Let 800 Guests Order From a Menu and Other Innovative Ideas
Mark Wells, vice president of creative services, Hello Florida
For a gala dinner of event industry V.I.P.s, Wells knew he had to aim high to impress seen-it-all guests. In this session he will share how he let guests sit at tables of almost any size—from four to 20 people—and order á la carte and choose from multiple options in each part of a three-course seated dinner. And it all took place in a two-story tent with wraparound balcony seating.

Fund-raising Case Study: Turning Gala Attendees Into Passionate Evangelists
Jeremy Katzman, manager of media relations and e-philanthropy, Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation
At any given fund-raising gala, only small portions of attendees are passionate supporters. The rest are attending as guests of an honoree, filling a corporate table, or they’re just there to mingle. The nonprofit’s challenge is to reach these attendees and turn them from people who are merely aware of what you do into enthusiastic evangelists. In this session, Katzman will share how the Miami Children’s Hospital created its signature Bald, Brave, Beautiful campaign to achieve this goal and how the campaign spread virally beyond the gala.

Building & Managing a Volunteer Army
Laila Brock, director of events & team operations, Orange Bowl Committee
With only three full-time event staff members, the Orange Bowl Committee manages to produce more than 100 events each year, including galas, meetings, hospitality programs, pregame functions, and sports clinics, many of which occur simultaneously. How does the committee pull it off with such a skeleton crew? Its secret is volunteers, lots of them. In this session, Brock will explain how her team manages more than 600 volunteers through a complex, yet organized, system of chairpersons, ambassadors, and captains to leverage deep community support for her programs.

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