Friday, January 17, 2014

Event Alley Show

One year ago, the Event Alley Show launched, and I commented on what a smart idea this was - accessible, current and relevant information for our industry presented in a fun way that was and is easy to listen to each week.

When I was asked to be a guest host last June at AIBTM, and had the opportunity to chat with CeCe Solomon and Scott Lum, I was thrilled.  

At the end of the year I was asked if I would like to join the Event Alley Show as co-host moving forward to 2014, and I could not be more thrilled to join Lindsey Rosenthal and BIG VOICE Brandt Krueger as we build a community of those interested in meetings, events and the impacts they can have.

We will have some excellent guests, great segments, and a lot of fun learning coming your way.  We invite you to explore the website and to join us every Wednesday at 10am PST / 1pm EST, this year on - air with a new video format, or you can download the audio podcasts and enjoy them when it suits you.  We look forward to your ideas, input, and sharing with us as we build our neighborhood!  Oh, and there are great rewards for listeners so please join us live, share your comments and add to the awesome!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I LOVED being part of PCMA last year, and blogged about all the things I learned that were related to the Letter C - check it out here.

This year I found it was increasingly busy as 2013 marched forward, and I found that I was focusing on the wrong things, and made a conscious decision to focus a little differently in 2014, and I wrote about some of the reasons why I wanted to focus on Wellness and some of the tips I have collected to do so for Corporate Meetings Network here. 

Shortly after this was written (but long before it was posted) I was invited to support an incredibly generous initiative your Vancouver meeting team has created for PCMA Convening Leaders this coming week.  All attendees are invited to join us during the breaks and lunches at the third floor Vancouver ReVitalization Lounge and learn from experts about improving YOUR fitness, sleep or nutrition patterns for the coming year - and beyond.

I hope if you are reading this you will share this message widely so lots of our industry partners take advantage of this during PCMA Convening Leaders this week!

It starts with a short survey, ahead of time or on site and then a one-on-one, face-to-face appointment with leaders in sleep research (primarily on Tuesday), fitness and nutrition (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning) - sharing information to help YOU make 2014 the best year ever.  We really hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Event Design eh - Brock Lumsden

Elements enhance-Fairmont Chateau Lake LouiseTerrace
As part of our Canadian design session (Event Design 'eh) at The Special Event in Nashville on January 10th, our third featured presenter is Brock Lumsden, President of BLD Decor and Scenery in Vancouver, BC.  This session will be excellent as we have brought together designers from across Canada to share their perspectives on event design and collaboration, and we look forward to seeing many of our fellow designers there to learn and yes, play with design ideas!

Q1. Can you tell us briefly about your current role and involvement in the design process?
BL: In past, before my role in my current company, my role had always been one of lead designer.  This would have found me as a part of creative team leading all things design, visual or physical. I would have created and overseen all designs and design process' for an event or, more typically, a multi-day multi-event program.   This would include all technical management, drafting, design building, and design project management.  Now, in my current role as business owner,  my focus is far more on getting my company team structure performing those roles. For the past seven years I've spent more time working on my business than working on designs.  I still lead and design our larger projects.  Getting my company, as an organized unit, to perform creatively, efficiently, and profitably, in conducting and coordinating design outcomes for our clients is a constant and fascinating challenge. 

Q2. Beyond our ubiquitous Mountie, what is one thing you consider “Canadian” when we talk about event design?

BL: Design in Canada, like anywhere,  can be driven by global influences, or regional influences.  The global influences are what can be found within all kinds of media: movies, magazines, or websites, that describe design and taste.  Bizbash, Houzz, Pintrest, Azure. Fashion mags, wedding mags,  are all describing a global design influence that now, in our current content stream,  we all have equal access to.  So I can't really say that these represent a "Canadian" influence.   What I think are 'Canadian' are locally driven and inspired materials, forms, and cultural influences.  For me, in the West, specifically Vancouver, these influences are often found in natural elements.  The outdoors and our mountainous and ocean rain forest locale add up to a unique West Coast vibe.  Wood, rock, water,  temperate rain forest features,  all form a local design vocabulary. The ways these are represented and combined makes for interesting results.  Coast Salish art and other more traditional crafts ( ceramics, wood working, glass blowing )  all inspire as well.   These materials influence all local design mediums: architecture, interior design, hospitality design, sculpture, fine arts, fashion and craft work, and therefore inspire us as event designers.  For me, here in the West, these inspirations often relate to material choices.  Most popular recently are wood.  Using wood in refined contemporary, sculptural and evocative ways that exude a West Coast sense of style is seen in unique ways here. 

Q3. If you were giving special event participants one reason to attend our session, what would you say?

BL: Come see how we do it in Vancouver !!   I love tapping in and coming to an understanding of people's worlds and seeing how they approach their work.   Its one of the beauties of TSE.  I enjoy seeing how designers or firms in Los Angeles tackle a problem, versus how a firm in Colorado, or San Diego, or New York, or Paris,  may approach the same challenge.  This session offers you a glimpse into our worlds which are uniquely Canadian.  Mine is driven through a West Coast aesthetic which, I think, is unique. 

Event Design eh - Bryan Bell

Winter Wonderland by Decor and More
It was very exciting to consider how Event Design can be considered "Canadian" and then to bring together designers and owners of Canada's leading event design organizations to collaborate and discuss and share how they approach design.  We are excited to share this session, Event Design eh at The Special Event in Nashville.  Our fourth member of this team is Bryan Bell from Decor and More in Toronto, bringing in both a legendary presence and an Eastern perspective - one we know will also really have a lot to share in this interactive session.  Last year I spoke to Bryan about their approach, and you can check out that podcast here; this year I had just a few questions he shared his responses to.

 Q1. Can you tell us briefly about your current role and involvement in the design process?
 BB: As a company D&M is often involved right in the infancy stages of the event, and as such we are frequently asked to collaborate with our clients to come up with a cretive vision together.  This allows us to brainstorm as a team and also helps utlize some of the building blocks that we have in our inventory to help create exciting designs.  In my role as President I am part of the team here at D&M and with most events we will sit down as a group (sales, designers, artists, floral, graphics, etc.) and bounce ideas off one another to help create fresh, cutting edge designs.  The collaborative approach is one which is part of our DNA and we have found it to be very successful. 

Q2. Beyond our ubiquitous Mountie, what is one thing you consider “Canadian” when we talk about event design?
BB: Absolutely the environment and the elements.  Wood, snow, and water as just a few examples play huge roles in the life of a Canadian and translate through our filter on event design as well.  Often times these will be fused together as a subtle mixture in the background of a larger forefront design; for example in the use of tree stumps on a buffet treatment as a container, or a palette of white on white as the foundation of an event and representing 'the Great White North.' 

Q3. If you were giving special event participants one reason to attend our session, what would you say?
BB: Come and have some fun and see how your neighbors to the North approach event design.  We promise we won't give you any homework!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Event Design eh - Corinne Kessel

As mentioned in my previous post, a stellar group of Canadians will be presenting at The Special Event 2014 in Nashville next Friday, January 10th in a collaborative session - Event Design 'eh focusing on both great Canadian design as well as collaboration for success. Our second highlighted participant is the current ISES BC Chapter President, trombone-playing Corinne Kessel of Greenscape Decor in Vancouver, who understands good design is backed up with a great team. A recent winner of the Burnaby Chamber of Commerce's Person of the Year Award, we know she will add to the session in a way our participants will really enjoy! 
1. Can you tell us briefly about your current role and involvement in the design process? 
CK: I am the Principal of a design and d├ęcor company, not that I am the Principal Event Designer.  As a niche company, we work in many different markets, with event design being one where we can express our creativity more readily than others.  My leadership in the event design process lies in building trusting relationships with clients, vendors, venues and suppliers and then facilitating an open dialogue between my design team and the other project partners.  I oversee my design team and work to ensure they are creating a clear and on brand vision that they are able to develop into a tangible plan and design, and are able to deploy effectively and meet all expectations.  My personal strengths are in project management, logistics and engineering, so once my design team or our client has come up with the “dream,” I am able to help make it happen.  My passion for design is not in the details of selecting your table linens, or the type of rose in your wedding bouquet, so I have dedicated and talented team members that love to do exactly that.  They would rather not have to deal with structural engineering and complicated logistics, so I have created a win-win team that gives the best value to our clients!  

2. Beyond our ubiquitous Mountie, what is one thing you consider “Canadian” when we talk about event design?  

CK: Purpose.  Everything has a purpose and gives back – it’s the polite thing to do.  We don’t bring a bunch of extravagant stuff into a room if it is not going to have a purpose.  Clean, minimalist, functional, resourceful, creative, sustainable, multidisciplinary.   Smaller budgets are met with higher creativity instead of just less.   

3. If you were giving special event participants one reason to attend our session, what would you say?

CK: Canada rocks.  And the West is best.  And the women are smokin’ hot.
We sure hope to see you at The Special Event next week! 
If you