What’s Your Number-One Rule for Events?

Past BizBash innovators share their biggest tips and tricks for event production, design, catering, and more.

(Pictured, left to right): Ira Levy, Jordan Fogle, Kim Graham
(Pictured, left to right): Ira Levy, Jordan Fogle, Kim Graham
Photos: Dan Hallman for BizBash (Ira Levy, Kim Graham), Caitlan Cronenberg (Jordan Fogle)

“All of my client reps, project managers, and crew chiefs start in the trenches. It’s important that everyone understands what they are speaking about with first-hand experience. Many of our younger employees are questioned by seasoned veterans, and clients are continually surprised by the detail, depth, and speed of our solutions. Clients also want to work with someone from start to finish, rather than being sold a project by someone who does not have technical expertise and passed on to someone down the line.”
Ira Levy, creative director, Levy Lighting, New York, 2011 Innovator

“Amplify, amplify, amplify. It’s important to remember that events, like anything else, come and go. But the memory or the amplification of that event shouldn’t end just because the event has. Successful events live on well beyond the event itself.”
Jordan Fogle, C.E.O., the Mint Agency, Toronto, 2013 Innovator

“Before I begin an event design, I distill all information down to its essence and most basic elements. This step frees the imagination as to what single element is most effective to achieve the true objective of the party. The design might use only that one element but provides a framework for adding others so that a proper marriage of design elements becomes the end result.”
Bill Heffernan, creative director, HMR Designs, Chicago, 2011 Innovator

“No matter how successful a past concept, never do the same thing twice. A fresh venue sets the tone for the event, and provides a canvas that hasn’t been painted before. Be open to possibilities, be brave, and challenge your clients to explore new ideas—they will thank you for it later.”
Kim Graham, principal, Kim Graham & Associates, Toronto, 2012 Innovator

“The brain can only remember unique, multisensory, emotional experiences, so design events that are extraordinary and strategically filled with heart and ‘holy-fudgesicle-that’s-cool’ moments.”
Barry Ross Rinehart, executive creative director, Multi Image Group, Boca Raton, Florida, 2015 Innovator

“We approach every exhibition, public program, and event by promoting the Power Plant’s mandate: presenting the best in contemporary art. We share this messaging with each partner that we work with, where they in turn fulfill this mission through their area of expertise—whether through the food, the cocktails, audiovisual, music, or sponsorship activations. We collaborate with organizations that demonstrate a strong tie to the arts and culture, and understand the importance in supporting institutions such as ours.”
Gaëtane Verna, director, the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, 2016 Innovator

“Never let them see you sweat. It is our job as event experts to create magic in what do. When things don’t go as planned or an unforeseen element brings angst, be the professional and pull that rabbit out of the hat. The client or audience only wants and needs to see a job well done.”
Robert Krumbine, chief creative officer, Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2015 Innovator

“Always personalize every event with thoughtful, unique details that tell a story from taste to touch. A corporate logo turned into branding, coordinated Pantone-color design details, passed cocktails that look and taste the theme, regional cuisine that gives the event location life.”
Debi Lilly, chief eventeur, A Perfect Event, Chicago, 2014 Innovator

“Always look at the execution of the event through the attendees’ eyes. What is your desired outcome?”
Vince Thompson, founder, chairman, and C.E.O., Melt, Atlanta, 2013 Innovator

“Every event should be innovative. We push ourselves to think outside of the box to ensure we set trends rather than follow them.”
Todd Hawkins, president and C.E.O., the Todd Group, Los Angeles, 2013 Innovator

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