Event Innovation Forum Speakers to Include David Stark, Event Pros From Groupon, Clio Awards

August 1, 2012, 8:04 AM EDT

Karl Vontz, Noelle Provencial, David Stark, Scott Schenker.

Photo: Dan Hallman for BizBash (Vontz, Provencial, Stark), Courtesy of Scott Schenker

Chad Kaydo, editor in chief of BizBash, and Howard Givner, executive director of the Event Leadership Institute, have announced the first batch of event marketers scheduled to appear at the Event Innovation Forum, a new conference at the BizBash IdeaFest at the Javits Center October 24.

The presenters will include event designer and producer David Stark, Noelle Provencial of Groupon, Karl Vontz of the Clios, Robin Adelson of the Children's Book Council, Howard Singer of Highline Capital, and John Schwartz of EventQuest. Registration for the Event Innovation Forum and the BizBash IdeaFest opens today.

“These are some of the smartest people our editors have come across in their reporting this year, and I'm excited to provide a platform for them to speak directly with other event professionals,” Kaydo said.

“We expect attendees to walk away from the sessions with insights they can use to further their careers, whether they're veterans running their own departments or companies, or just starting out in the event business,” Givner said.

Stark will walk attendees through his creative process in a session titled “The Path of an Idea: From Inspiration to Execution,” explaining how he takes an art-school approach to developing ideas with his creative team and how they pull off their imaginative designs for clients including Target, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the Metropolitan Opera.

A panel titled “How I Pitched a New Event to the C.E.O.—And Pulled It Off” will include insights from three event professionals who have conceived large event projects and then worked within their organizations to make them happen. “Being able to come up with new ideas and sell them up the chain of command is a great way to prove your worth to your company,” Givner said.

The Event Innovation Forum will include three 90-minute sessions with presentations from cutting-edge marketers as well as insights from influential people in other fields. Registration will also include a seated luncheon and other opportunities to speak one-on-one with presenters and attendees, and a trade show floor pass.

Attendees can register for the BizBash IdeaFest and the Event Innovation Forum now at

Below is a sample of the topics and presenters; we’ll be announcing more participants in the coming weeks.

How I Pitched a New Event to the C.E.O.—And Pulled It Off
Robin Adelson, Executive Director, Children's Book Council
Noelle Provencial, Senior Manager, Experiential Marketing & Events, Groupon
Howard Singer, Chief Operating Officer, Highline Capital

Many event planners spend their time implementing other people's visions. But planners who conceive new programs can prove both their own value to an organization and the value of smart, well-executed events.

Robin Adelson will share how she conceived the Children's Choice Book Awards Gala as a signature event to cap off Children's Book Week, pitched it to her board of directors, and worked with her board, staff, and partners to execute the event.

Noelle Provencial will explain how she dreamed up the weekend-long ticketed event Camp Groupon, pitched it to Groupon C.E.O. Andrew Mason, and then worked with departments across the company to sell sponsorships, promote the event, and execute it successfully.

Howard Singer will describe creating Highline Capital's first Investor Day as a vehicle to forge deeper relationships with investors and showcase the firm. He'll explain how he made his case to the firm's C.E.O. and managed a team of speaker coaches, meeting planners, and other partners to produce an event that delivered strong R.O.I.

The Path of an Idea: From Inspiration to Execution
David Stark, President and Creative Director, David Stark Design & Production

Sculptures of $1 million worth of office supplies. Chandeliers of paint chips. Walls covered in Post-It notes. David Stark has dreamed up some of the most imaginative and on-message designs seen at events in recent years, while working for clients including Target, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the Metropolitan Opera. He will go behind the scenes of his creative process to talk about where he gets inspired, how he takes an art-school approach to developing ideas with his creative team, and how they pull off their imaginative designs.

How I Reinvented an Iconic Industry Award Show
Karl Vontz, Director, Clio Awards

As the man behind the ad industry’s biggest award ceremony, Karl Vontz remade the 53-year-old Clios, changing them from a five-day festival and conference to a one-night award show. Vontz will explain how his team listened to feedback from their constituents and then radically rethought the event as an all-year brand—not just a one-time physical event—while finding new ways to build excitement via social media.

How I Built an Event Business in the Middle East
John Schwartz, President and C.E.O., Abu Dhabi and Qatar, EventQuest

In 2008 John Schwartz moved his family to Abu Dhabi to start a Middle East division of the event production company he had co-founded in New York. Soon he was producing large events for the government of the United Arab Emirates, including a multimillion-dollar exhibit space and an award ceremony attended by heads of state from around the world. Schwartz will share stories of navigating the cultural and business differences between the American and Middle Eastern event industries, and point out the large business opportunities he sees in the region.

Update: Scott Schenker of SAP, who was originally announced as a speaker at the conference, is no longer scheduled to appear.

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