Corporate Event Success Blog Posts

Group Learning & Shared Experience

Posted on: Monday, January 26th, 2015

Two key benefits of Face-to-Face Communications and effectively using Group Learning & Shared Experience is the easy spreading of influence and people who belong to groups get things done to affirm their bonds.

Doing things together creates a sense of mutual trust and shared influence begins.

As you look at ways to harness the power of live events and to get a larger ROI for your event think of creating these shared experiences when it can tie into your event’s theme.

As I looked back on some of Esprit’s events here are two of my favorites.


Chart the Course – Sailing Regatta – Dekalb Genetics – National Sales Meeting – To make this meeting theme come alive we conducted a sailing regatta where each attendee was part of a sailing crew on one of the 12 meter boats that we rented so they could be part of a full blown regatta on Newport Bay in Newport Rhode, Island. It made the meeting theme come alive and created close bonds as we turned the meeting attendees into part of a crew!

Caring is the Key in Life – Habitat for Humanity – Sun Health Care Group, Annual Management Meeting

The rise in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) over the past decade has been very beneficial not only to the people or organizations who are the recipients of the work done or funds being raised on their behalf, but also to the employees who are part of these events.

Several years ago we planned and produced a management meeting for Sun Healthcare Group. We incorporated a Habitat for Humanity CSR function the day before the meeting began. Over 100 managers worked on building several homes in the Lower 9th ward where some of the worst destruction took place after Hurricane Katrina.

The day was a huge success, as the team saw the efforts of their work unfold. They also realized a bond between all of the participants that only face-to-face communications and group sharing can realize.

It also made the meeting theme of “Caring is the Key in Life” come alive!

The Value of Creating Content

Posted on: Monday, July 28th, 2014

The Value of Creating Content

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One huge asset that’s not being cultivated at many meetings is the content that you can create – from your event – for future marketing efforts. By videotaping and posting 3-5 minute highlight clips, you are positioning your organization as a thought leader in your field. For the past few years, our team has videotaped, edited and posted over 20 videos annually from the Nielsen Consumer 360 conference. In return for just your email address, you can view the highlights from this leading edge marketing conference. There are many great golden nuggets and ideas from executives and leaders from companies such as Facebook, Walmart, Univision, AMC Networks, Hershey and Malcolm Gladwell, the closing keynoter the past six years.

Bright Future

Posted on: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Carole Robertson Blog Photo

This week, I am honored to be producing the Carole Robertson Center for Learning Celebration & Fundraiser – this annual event recognizes the volunteer organizations that help support CRCL and helps to raise funds for this essential organization.

The Carole Robertson Center for Learning is named in memory of Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair — the four girls who were tragically killed in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement.

The Center’s mission is dedicated to nurturing, supporting, and strengthening family life through quality child, youth, and family development programs. It serves Chicago families and facilitates community advocacy on child and family issues. 

Simply put, the Carole Robertson Center provides a day-care opportunity for Chicago’s underprivileged south and west-side families who need a place for their children to go between 6 am and 6 pm. Without this Center, over 700 children may not have a safe place to stay, a warm meal to eat, or loving arms to hold them.

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The Carole Robertson Center understands the need to nurture the very young to make them better students and individuals later in life.  It provides an opportunity for a bright future to kids who might otherwise not have a chance.

For more information on the Celebration & to make a donation, please visit:

For the Greater Good

Posted on: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

As an event producer, most of the time, we are working on meetings for corporate or association clients. We help their employees or members work to be more innovative in order to increase market share or to recognize the performance of their audience.

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Then there are events that are for the greater good of our society. In this case, the event was for those who live on the west or south sides of Chicago. Both of these areas are of low income. On Thursday, September 19th at St. Ignatius High School the Chicago Area Chapter of Meeting Professionals International  had the privilege of planning and producing the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning (CRCL) as part of our Community Outreach Program.

CRCL has three locations that serve 700+ people daily. Each location is dedicated to the memory of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson.  These are the four girls who died in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 15th, 1963.

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These centers evolved in response to the voiced needs of our families. Since the Center’s inception, they have added many programs to meet community needs.These programs include: center–based and home-based child development programs for children from birth through five years of age, school age and youth programming for children and teens through age 18, extensive family support, social services, and parent education activities, adult education and community training, and imbedded program enhancements including music education, family literacy and family health education.

This event was a rededication of their mission and services to those whose lives were tragically taken, as well as linking the past, the present, and the future of CRCL and the community. CRCL’s goal was to revisit their historical roots, talk about the center’s progress to date, and where they hope to go in the future.

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The Mistress of Ceremonies, Leah Hope of ABC 7 News Chicago, led the program. The program was full of inspiring speeches from several of their past leaders; including Carole’s sister Dianne Robertson Braddock.

The keynote speaker was William McNary, who has worked for the public interest for 25 years. He delivered a rousing speech to motivate the audience.

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Concluding the evening was 14 year old Alex DuBuclet. Her voice inspired everyone and demonstrated how CRLC can nurture its students to such a level of excellence. The evening finished with the CRCL students singing “Wake Up Everybody”.

Wendy Mitchell Gill, Vice President for External Relations for CRCL, followed up by saying, “We are still floating after last Thursday’s spectacular event!  Each of us had smiles on our faces from ear to ear throughout the evening’s program and that feeling has certainly carried over to this week. The energy from the evening has fueled the fire within us to push on and use this as our opportunity to springboard CRCL into the future and on to bigger and better things.  The feedback we received from our guests and staff alike was extremely positive.

We thank you for everything you’ve done to help leave a lasting impression on the minds of those who were in attendance Thursday!  I truly believe the best is yet to come!”

Exercise In Discovery

Posted on: Monday, September 9th, 2013


In the working world, multiple generations are beginning to work together for one common goal: to complete a task or a job. Communication and problem solving between two generations can be difficult and this is due to different skills and abilities.

This week, Eloqui, a presentation skills firm sent out: Exercise in Discovery. Their assignment was to give ad

vice on how to read and speak the language of each individualized audience. After delivering a keynote in Denver to customer service representatives of a major insurance firm, Eloqui came across another challenge: communicating with professionals from a different generation, since the representatives ranged from thirty to sixty.

In order to fade the line that divides the two generations, Eloqui made the following recommendations for the youth and also for the sage to keep in mind when communicating with professionals from a different generation.

Youth: Don’t audition or tap dance because you feel fear or a lack confidence. If you fall into that trap, you will tend to say too much, stray off point, pontificate to show how much you know, and lose the attention of your client, customer or audience.

Sage: Express genuine interest in the younger professional and their expertise, especially when it comes to social media, apps, Internet sites, or their particular strength. Drop any condescending tone. Make every meeting or connection an exercise in discovery.

Youth: At the same time, don’t assume the more seasoned professional is ignorant of new technology. Show respect. Be curious. Demonstrate that you admire their wisdom and experience by asking questions. You may tap into an older person’s willingness to mentor. It is also a fast track to gaining trust and deepening a potentially important relationship.

Two Audiences, One Goal: Stand Out

Posted on: Thursday, June 20th, 2013


Nielsen shares with their clients exclusive insights to help them understand consumers and their behavior by Standing Out in today’s over saturated media world. Nielsen’s clients are broken into two distinct audiences; media executives who determine what people are “watching” and consumer package good executives who determine what people are “buying.”

Their major customer conference Consumer 360 has had these two distinct audiences together for this event for 5 years. Over that time in the post event surveys several people would state that they wanted more content specific to their area of interest. The Nielsen event planning team listened to their customers and designed this year’s agenda based on this input.


To do this on the first day we cut the general session time from 4 hours to 2 hours and with that extra time the attendees broke off into 2 hour super sessions specific to each area of interest, watch or buy.

Each Super Session began like most breakouts with an overall presentation followed by a panel discussion specific to each subject. Then using Facilitate Pro software which I like to think of as a “digital flip chart.” the moderators and Nielsen employees (one at each table) began typing in the attendees’ ideas on their laptops or iPads. These ideas were organized by categories and sub-categories to help better understand what their customers want.

Attendees were engaged and became active participants during these sessions. In total, over 1,200 ideas were digitally captured and Nielsen intends on taking this input to improve service and innovate their products and services. These beautifully designed sessions helped keep the interest level high and helped Nielsen listen to their clients.
In summary the General Sessions gave the audience a 30,000 foot view of what is going on globally in media, marketing and branding. The Super Session Sessions gave a 15,000 view of what is happening today in both the watch and buy worlds. The Insight Sessions (breakouts), gave “on the ground” real life examples and customer case studies so that when the audience returned home they had the insights and ideas to improve their companies performance to be more successful.

When professionals come together, listen and brainstorm as a group, great things can happen. By listening to their audience’s input from last year we were able to focus on two specific audiences to create one great event.

Chicago Shows Off With “Ideas Worth Sharing”

Posted on: Monday, June 10th, 2013

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I had the privilege to attend the TEDxMidwest conference on May 2nd and 3rd at the Harris Theater in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Just like TED, TEDxMidwest brings together speakers from a variety of backgrounds and professions. TED prides itself on bringing forward “Ideas Worth Sharing,” and TEDxMidwest did just that, Midwest style.

Some of the highlighted speakers included: Ron Finley, Jeanne Gang, Jenn Lim, and Larry Lessig.

Ron Finley is an individual that can be identified as an “artist.” Living in South Central Los Angeles, healthy food was not readily available. Finley developed a group named “LA Green Grounds.” Together, this group has forested nearly two dozen gardens.


Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang Architects, spoke of her unity of work and a strong respect for the environment. Gang’s choice in water and electrical usage is one that is environmentally efficient, along with her construction materials. She was named MacArthur Fellow in 2011. One of her most famous pieces of work, Aqua Tower, was the winner of the 2009 Emporis Skyscraper of the year.

Jenn Lim, CEO and Chief Happiness Officer of Delivering Happiness, shared ideas that encourages inspiration and happiness in work, community and everyday life. In her book, “Culture Book”, she explains how companies can create cultures that are based on each other’s happiness and still be very profitable at the same time.


Larry Lessig, legal scholar, spoke of his vision of American politics. He believes there is a corruption in the American political system due to the fact that our candidates rely on PAC funding from 60%, which comes from only 132 Americans. By doing so, this makes the White House dependent on funders. He shows how this funding process is weakening the Republic.

There are many different branches of knowledge one can obtain from listening to a variety of talks, and also, ideas that may open up new doors for the future. TEDxMidwest was an experience that I am happy I had the chance to take part in. For more information TEDxMidwest and future speakers and events, visit

Great Resource for Events – Eventbrite

Posted on: Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Managing the details of meeting planning and event production can sometimes be the easiest part. Planners become accustomed to the chaotic ways of organizing large events. After all of the hard work and effort is put into the planning process, the hardest thing can be getting people to register and then managing the registration process. The complications and constant monitoring of event registration may frighten some meeting planners, but fear not, there are many resources out there to help the process move with ease.

Eventbrite, an online service, helps manage the entire event planning process. First, one should create an event on the website. A webpage will then be designed for your event. Once this is completed, potential attendees can easily access the event website and register for the event, with several different payment options.

For those that struggle with drawing people in, there are ways to promote your meeting or event. E-vites can be sent to contact lists that are personalized and reach out to a particular client base. Social media sites are also used to promote the event and any progress that is made can be tracked. These tools can all help assist you in seeing the success of the registration and if a change needs to be made.

At the event, Eventbrite allows for an easy check-in system, providing the opportunity to register and sign-up at the door. Since a trend in the event planning industry is to be as ecologically friendly as possible, the attendees can download the app and go paperless by using QR codes and other links to access the information.

Altogether, this resource can help manage the stressful parts of an event. Having the information and details compiled into one location may help the ease of planning and pulling off a large meeting or event.

Scoring for the Customer

Posted on: Thursday, November 15th, 2012


The Esprit team has planned and produced the Siemens Building Technologies Annual Management Meeting (AMM) for the past 20 years. The first 10 years were for companies such as MCC Powers,  Landis & Staefa and Landis & Gyr. Then, 12 years ago Siemens bought Landis & Gyr. Initially, it was a tough transition and much of their senior management experienced turnover. Then during the past 5 years the Building Technologies Division of Siemens North America has had outstanding results with excellent sales and profit growth, along with the rollout of many innovative products and services.

During that time, many European executives have been brought over to help manage this division. In most cases they did well, but their personality did not always gel with the American way of doing business and the personalities of some of the US based managers. A few months ago a new president was brought over from Europe. While he did conduct an initial road trip to many of their branches across North America, the AMM was really his first chance to meet and be with all of his managers. He was made aware of the major staging and production for the general sessions and the raw excitement of the awards ceremony. Our communications client was unsure how he would do with our way of doing meetings and to say the least, he rose to the occasion.

He embraced his role as host of the event, always had a big smile on his face and was always the first one to jump up and high five the award winners. I believe he was blown away when he saw how the power of face-to-face communication created a bond with him and his managers like no other form of communication can.

The meeting had a baseball theme of “Hitting a Home Run for the Customer”.

We had our welcome reception at Fenway Park and many of the workshops had baseball analogies to make their training come alive. Also, the awards ceremony had a wonderful take off of the Field of Dreams called Dreams of the Field and drew comparisons from baseball and laughter from the audience.

To demonstrate their customer commitment and warm welcome at the end of the conference, the field managers came to the stage and gave the new president a baseball signed by his direct reports as their commitment to 2013’s goals and objectives.

Enhance your Content, Expand your Reach!

Posted on: Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The magic that comes from a conference is having peers and colleagues together. As much as we value and appreciate the benefits of technology, it’s important to get people assembled, sharing ideas and experiences. The real value of networking  is when people are face-to-face in a room, learning together and from each other. That personal connection helps people remember your event and your company, providing meaningful relationships as well.

That being said, sometimes people just flat out can’t get away. Whether its because of workload, personal obligations, or finances, sometimes people can’t make the next important conference in person. You don’t want to risk losing out on some potential customers, great contacts, or thought leaders in your industry because they can’t attend your event. Make it easy on them by expanding your reach, and streaming your event live. They are going to miss out on much of the excitement and benefit from being there in person, but at the same time, being able to watch keynotes and breakouts live is better than not being able to participate at all

After all, live streaming can be very informative. Even if you can’t be there in person, there still is a certain thrill at being able to watch an event as its is happening live compared to watching a recorded video. It keeps watchers at home or the office interested and makes them feel the energy of the event.

You can also consider sharing your livestream video on Facebook or Twitter. Fans and followers of your company are already on board with your services or products. Making your events available to your supporters is a fantastic benefit that non-travelers will appreciate.

Another huge benefit to live streaming is adding to your content. When you livestream an event, you have all your video of your events available for YouTube after the conference is over. YouTube is the third largest search engine, so by posting the video of your event, you’ve got another way to drive people back to your website. Afterward, you can also convert segments of the recording into podcasts for people to listen to when it’s most convenient for them.

So, using today’s technology, consider expanding your audience and increasing the reach of your content outside of the four walls of the ballroom.