Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Latte Minded Events

Latte Tulip by Mike White
Could I please have my event with half the fat, a shot of hazelnut, served long?

Today I would like my event large, with soy milk, extra foam and a shot of vanilla.

One event artfully designed, honey on the bottom, half-caff please, extra hot.

Of course that doesn't make any sense, but I believe we are seeing this expectation on many levels. When we can go into any number of fantastic coffee shops around the world and order our coffee exactly the way we like it, naturally we want to be able to translate this sense of satisfaction in the immediate experience to the rest of our lives. We can go online and order custom almost anything, but when we attend an event or conference we are stepping into a group experience, and our individual tastes must all be blended, ideally into a brew we can all enjoy.

Imagine as the meeting planner if you could create an event that perfectly satisfied. Where every session exceeds expectations, the rooms are always the perfect temperature, the company inspired, the food plentiful, healthy and delicious, the transportation not onerous, the technology awe-inspiring, the staging and sightlines ideal, the take-away learnings easily applied. For every single attendee.

Imagine attending your own "ideal" event. (please add a comment with what you would like to have included and share your own ideas) Where would it be? Who would join you and who might you meet? What topics would you want to learn about / share your own knowledge on? When would it be - time of year, weekend or weekday? What would you want to take away?

I sometimes imagine myself in the position of barista. All day, every few minutes, you are pleasing someone, managing their need, delivering to or exceeding expectations, in a pleasant and relaxed environment and that must be satisfying.

We look forward to seeing how the blending works for EventCamp Vancouver 
In the meantime, it is back to roast up some new event ideas!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why I love Camp

When I was 12 we moved to a much larger city. While the move was good and I have many friends from that era of my life, what I looked forward to eagerly every year was going back north to summer camp. The anticipation of seeing my old friends and meeting new ones, the discovery of new skills such as archery and new ideas was exciting. Imagine for example we could build and then sleep in our own lean-to, or make our own banock over a campfire! At camp you get to do things that you would not otherwise experience.

As we plan for Event Camp Vancouver, I am finding myself with that same sense of nervous anticipation and true excitement.  When we first sat with our amazing host committee and decided we were going to do this, we had no idea it would grow so organically into the program we currently have, or that there would be so much support from our community, as so many people stepped up to think about how they could contribute to making it all it could be. You will find many delightful surprises, all thoughtfully designed to add to the overall experience.

We are excited to share our venues with you, to share the harbour and mountain views on the five minute walk from the Westin Bayshore to the Convention Centre  and to learn from each other in unique and inspiring settings. Historically Event Camps (the previous six) have left participants feeling a sense of collaboration and a desire to continue to build and nurture the business relationships within this supportive community, and to find ways to work better together as our industry rapidly evolves.

True to camp, we know that when you arrive with a sense of adventure and a desire to learn and grow already in place that the possibilities are limitless. We look forward to sharing this journey with you!

You can check out more details at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Warriors and Artists

The artistry of Underground Circus
"Warriors and Artists" This is how the hosts of So You Think You Can Dance Canada described their top six dancers. They are correct. Performances of this magnitude take endless rehearsal, injuries and dedication to make it all seem effortless.

My children both have their black belts in Tae Kwon Do. Three years of diligent practice of both body and spirit so far in this journey. In their recent testing they excelled at both forms (the black belt form has 81 synchronized moves), board breaks and sparring. Warriors and Artists.

This is also how we can describe Event Designers and Producers. Recently a fabulous colleague, Brock (@BLDBrock) was sharing success from an event in Lake Louise which had been particularly fabulous, but like all events, simply a ton of work. Or in this case, tons and tons with multiple trucks going out for multiple events over a number of days. (Our team had just done an event with a similar amount of trucks the month before and fully appreciate the efforts of driving 1000km with everything, loading it in often through inconvenient pathways, and making it all gorgeous). This was his takeaway "You event girls are TOUGH! You are mothers and lifters and moves and designers and you get right to work and you don't stop until it is perfect - whatever it takes". Warriors.

Each event we do also has to be aesthetically right. Right for the venue, right for the client, right especially for the guests. Artists.

We are perfectionists, logisticians, creators, budgeters, innovators, rule-shakers. We take on a challenge and we refuse to accept average. Artists. With our teams we begin the load in and work for 8 or 12 or 36 hours to get everything right, then rehearsals, then change into event clothes, welcome the guests, watch them have an excellent time, and then strike to do it all again another day. Warriors.

Giving each event thoughtful attention to details, engaging the suppliers to share the story and deliver beyond expectations - this to me is what brings the magic to what we do. The hours can be long and the work arduous, but when you see a well designed event come to life and guests share, learn, connect, enjoy and clients' objectives achieved, that is when this Artist Warrior stands back and smiles.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Success - Whatever that Means

Ultimately there can be no success or happiness if the things we believe in are different than the things we do. Freya Madeline Stark

People who know me see me as being very busy. I am. Most of this is my own fault as I am unable to do anything halfway, and once I commit to something I don't back out. (I am not alone in this, I am instead surrounded by like minded friends and colleagues) Would I like to be less busy? Really what I want is longer days and more time!

To me success is in the people that we get to share our lives with. My family that is the fabric woven together that surrounds me, strong and warm, resilient and forgiving. The many women in this picture above have all impacted me in many ways, and they all remain five years after this was taken people I look forward to spending time with, and that I know I could rely on for anything, even if we don't see each other enough.

Professional success can be rated in many ways, by awards won, by events produced, by how well known you are. For me, professional success is building strong teams that enjoy collaborating to produce incredible and always different events for a variety of clients, again and again. The teams evolve and change to suit the needs of the event, but I have stood as the doors open to countless events produced by our team and heard the gasps as people arrive and experience the many aspects of an event, or heard the buzz after a great presentation that inspires new thinking, two reasons we do what we do.

As I mature in the event planning profession I enjoy seeing the impact of the industry and sharing ideas with people who all are in this to make a positive difference. Again, success.

What does success mean to you?