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Monday, August 29, 2016

Janet Reports From Prevue's Chicago Visionary Summit









Strategic Meetings Summit
Hotel Allegro • The Gray • Hotel Palomar Chicago Kimpton Hotels
August 11-12, 2016

Janet was honored to be among 30 invited attendees at Prevue's Visionary Summit in Chicago.

"The summit was a chance to see longtime colleagues and friends and to exchange ideas and experiences in high-level meetings and discussions.
I came home inspired and energized!"



Just like a reunion!

Dianne Devitt from DND Partners, Barbara Scofidio, Editor at Prevue and chief organizer of the Visionary Summit, and Janet.

Prevue launched the Visionary Summit series in 2016, with previous Summits taking place in Miami and New York.
Summits are all about networking, education and thought leadership.
These unique event experiences bring together a select group of experienced, pre-qualified senior meeting planners in an intimate setting primed for collaboration and networking.
Visionary Summits are education-only events, the sessions are interactive, with rotating roundtables to ensure that you meet everyone in the room.

"I loved the fact that every aspect of the program included an educational or social consciousness angle. We started with a well-organized site visit to all three Chicago Kimpton properties. The Opening Reception took place at Hotel Allegro where a celebration of craft beer and wine featured food pairings and hands-on lessons by Kimpton Hotels’ top mixologists. The socially conscious amenity experience included Revo sunglasses and corporate gifts from Helping Hands Partners, a Chicago–based non-profit that offers high-quality goods that pair modern design and handmade craftsmanship with a socially responsible mission. Their social enterprise and fair trade partners provide jobs and programs for those who are disadvantaged, hard-to-hire, developmentally and/or physically challenged.
All of us attendees received a free pair of Revo sunglasses, with $10 from each pair going to support a U2's lead singer Bono-endorsed charity, the Brien Holden Vision Institute, to stop preventable blindness.
I immediately started to think about possibilities in Los Angeles. It is easy to find local organizations that can benefit from your events  and social conscience tie-ins in any city. In Los Angeles the organization Do Good LA does the research and connection work for you!

My friend and colleague Dianne lead a session on "SenseUp", Designing Event Experiences for the Senses. We all worked on using all of our 5 senses to retain the content of the meeting.

I was happy to participate in a meeting planner panel together with Cecile Mutch, Senior Director of Corporate Services, Kellogg, and  Lynne Tiras, President of International Meeting Planners, on the subject of Managing Internal and External Stakeholders.
Barbara Scofidio had asked us to come together for this panel as we each represent a different background and our viewpoints address various angles of the same issues.
We addressed questions such as how to deal with the constant changes at companies we collaborate with, staff retention at our companies, the way millennials have affected the ways we communicate, dealing with peaks and valleys in small companies, changing needs and demands in a large corporation, and the effects of social media on our industry. It resulted in a very lively hour of discussions!


Artist John Bukaty created this Chicago-inspired painting as a Live Art event during the opening reception at Hotel Allegro. I'm a Chicago native. I love this painting! 

The Summit was also a chance to return to Sweet Home Chicago and visit family. It was all around a great week!

I hope you are having a similarly great time.

Warm regards,
Janet 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Event Decor Report: Boots To Bling - Montana Style!



We recently had the pleasure of working for a multiple day event at The Resort at Paws Up. What a wonderful change of pace for all of us and a real chance to create a Western look for an authentic, gorgeous Western location. Our Director of Event and Floral Design Kate Brack draws creative inspiration from the wild outdoors. She was in her element!

Kate Brack: “The clients wanted to create an authentic, never before seen, big sky Montana experience for their guests. No detail was overlooked from the entertainment all the way down to the napkin choice. Each detail was meticulously researched and considered. The result: three distinct evening events that attendees will cherish for a lifetime.”

Chuck Wagon Country Picnic: The Arrival and Welcome Dinner.


In keeping with the surroundings, we went upscale Western. Table top décor included voyager flannel table runners, red, white and blue bandana napkins and wooden handle silverware presented in pint mason jars. Food stations featured custom calligraphy slate menu boards. 



Boots and Bling: Creating Country Glamour in a Barn for the Gala Night.


Existing crystal chandeliers immediately set the stage for the Boots to Bling theme. Guest tables featured vintage inspired floral print linens, rustic cross back chairs and antique centerpieces accented with blush, champagne and apricot blossoms. The finer details were showcased at each place setting; genuine Tuscan napkins, platinum luster charger plates, authentic French Dot china, vintage gold flatware and custom stone place card holders. Before and after the event, guests were encouraged to take an old town keep sake photo at our big sky ranch themed photo station. 



Fond Farewell: Farm to Table Under the Stars

A 72’ imperial farm table was placed on a 12’WX120’ custom deck, contracted specifically for this one of a kind event. Mismatched farm chairs provided eclectic seating for guests and further enhanced the theme. Each place setting featured recycled olive tumbler glassware, rustic edge china and hand block printed fern patterned napkins. The imperial table was further enhanced with geometric copper containers featuring natural white and plum blossoms with foliage accents native to the region.

The chef demonstration area was backed with a custom decorative baffle wall to mask the outdoor kitchen prep area.
 
The biggest challenge came when the team had to make a tenting call within hours of the guest arrival time! 


We fell in love with Montana skies and the beautiful landscape.
Thank you to the amazing crew at the Resort at Paws Up
and especially to our wonderful clients! 
Yes, we did have fun!

         

It was truly a change of pace for us to work in a remote Western location. We love a challenge and we very much enjoyed the time we got to spend in Montana.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Music Inspired By Olympic Fever - Get Motivated!



What a blast it is to watch Michael Phelps make Olympic history and to celebrate with both Simones!
Cheering on gold medalists put some extra pep into our step - and a thought popped into our heads: let's keep this energy going!

Nothing is better than music to motivate. We tasked DJ Lee Dyson with the creation of an Olympic Fever playlist. Here is "Get Motivated".
Lee outdid himself! "Get Motivated" consists of 3 hours and 6 minutes of genre-crossing, sure-to-energize music to encourage anyone to reach for the gold! So let's get moving!



Please click the image to start the playlist.

We hope to put a smile on your face and a bounce in your feet.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Alisa Reports: 2016 EPTA In New Orleans

Photo Courtesy of EPTA


End of July in New Orleans means hot & humid.

But difficult weather did not deter Alisa Walsh from happily accepting Susie Perelman's and Larry Green's invitation to join Event Pros Take Action's 2016 New Orleans visit to rebuild homes and help disaster victims in the Lower 9th Ward.

"It was wonderful! I have made friends for life. I have never been this sweaty and dirty and I can't wait to do it again!"

End of July in New Orleans means hot & humid.
But difficult weather did not deter Alisa Walsh from happily accepting Susie Perelman's and Larry Green's invitation to join Event Pros Take Action's 2016 New Orleans visit to rebuild homes and help disaster victims in the Lower 9th Ward.

"It was wonderful! I have made friends for life. I have never been this sweaty and dirty and I can't wait to do it again!"


AFR had donated all the furniture needed to create a new home for the Baham Family. Lenny Talarico applied his great talent as Design Angel who put his magic touch on the interior.  


Alisa: "It was a lot of fun because all of us volunteers share a similar background, working in the event industry. Decorators, linen experts, planners, all these event professionals from different aspects of our industry come together and bring their various skills for this great cause and to help people in need. I assembled beds and decorated rooms.
The next day I moved on to a new building site and sanded ceilings for 8 hours, without any AC. I don't think I have ever been this dusty, dirty and sweaty; and happy to be there!" 


"On Tuesday we visited Covenant House and helped organize the summer carnival celebration that was sponsored by Hello Florida. The event honored the young adults, ages 16 to 22, that receive assistance from Covenant House to learn life skills and get a positive start in life. We had a great time even though it poured rain all day." 


"It was great to take a moment to work at something very different and get down and dirty with all my colleagues for a good cause. We really had to get out of our comfort zone. After the long sweaty days we took showers and went out to experience New Orleans cuisine and music at night.

I am looking forward to seeing a lot of my EPTA friends in Austin this week.
And I can't wait to return to New Orleans and do it all over again!"

__________________________________
We are so in awe of what Larry Green and Susan Perelman have achieved in just a few years! Please check out EPTA.
Sign up to volunteer and/or donate.

Very best,
Janet 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Please Meet Our New Music Contributor: DJ Brook Lynn



DJ Brook Lynn really likes to "Make People Move" - and that's why we love to work with him at the turntables!
We met Brooke Johnson a little over a year ago and he has quickly become a frequent collaborator.
We can say with confidence that he packs the dance floor even with the most challenging guests.

His knack for finding the right groove makes sense when you learn that Brooke started as a teenage break dancer in San Francisco. Break dancing evolved into other dance styles and led to making music that he liked to dance to.
His extensive DJ resume includes residencies at clubs in San Francisco and in Sacramento, in top venues like the SoMa hot spot WISH Bar.
On the corporate event front Brooke played fashion shows for French fashion house Chanel and private Chanel-sponsored events for Silicon Valley CEOs.
His real passion: finding new music.

Brooke: "Thanks to online streaming we are really seeing a paradigm shift. I do a lot of research and listening. Nowadays the traditional Billboard chart toppers do not necessarily translate into record sales! Many established artists get radio play because of the power of their record labels but this does not always correlate into quality. I find a lot of great music online, performed and produced by online stars who do not get radio play. However, they do sell! The fans discover the music online, listen to it a number of times, the downloads turn into online hits and online sales. The streaming services really add a lot of material and thus create a much better rounded music offering."

Brook's music can also be found online, for instance on SoundCloud and MixCloud.
Please click and take a listen!


Brooke has a lot of projects lined up for late summer and fall 2016. "I am in the studio laying down some vocals for my friend Freakpusher. I am also working on producing my own DJ tracks that will come out later this year. Next up, though, is my playlist "Ode to 70s Funk, Soul and Disco Hits", truly some of the best dance music ever. It will be on my SoundCloud Playlist. Thank you for listening!" He promised to make time for our events!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Event Report: Summertime - And The Production Is Not So Easy


In early July Brynne Peña had the enviable task of producing a series of three evening events in a gorgeous coastal setting, a private estate in beautiful Palos Verdes, California.

The Theme: A Storied Night Under The Stars at The Cliff's Edge.

The Event: three consecutive gala dinners for varying numbers of guests with changing entertainment.

The Challenge: HEAT!

Brynne is happy to share the details on how we beat the elements to keep the guests comfortable.


Brynne: "The client entertained at their own private location and we had proposed a basic look that could be adjusted each day to accommodate the very differing guest counts. On night 1 we had 45 guests, night 2 saw 100 and the final night closed with 110 revelers. We had worked up blue prints for all three nights that allowed us to incorporate existing structures and include the pool area in the setting. Exact planning allowed us to add 8' banquet tables as needed for the higher guest counts without having to take down the previous setups. 
The California coast is infamous for cool fog and nightly marine layer in spring and early summer.
We had planned ahead and rented a 40x80 clear tent to ensure the view of the Starry Nights and protect our guests from the elements."
Crystal chandeliers provided an elegant touch to the outdoor location. 

Crystal chandeliers provided an elegant touch to the outdoor location. 

The tent arrived on the first day, just in time for a change in the weather. It got unexpectedly warm and sunny for the coast! 
Brynne: "The outside temperature reached about 85 degrees. Our tent acted as a green house. Temperatures peaked near 105 degrees as we were setting up. We were drenched in sweat. It was time to make some phone calls! The tent setting was way too hot for guests. We called our trusted partners and added air conditioners and fans. Our crew then went to work, expertly setting up the cooling equipment while they adjusted tent openings at the same time to create more air flow. We worked hard and fast to create an all around comfortable environment." 

Further changes were made to the installation schedule, bringing in all floral decor as late as possible to prevent wilting.  

Brynne: "I am really thankful to our amazing crew! We managed to reorganize our setup and get the venue finished just in time for the event. During the days our crew worked in triple digit heat, under time pressure to get it all done. Our client and the guests never noticed the heat challenge! By 6pm the tent was elegant and cool. Nature provided perfect sunsets to top it off. We celebrated three beautiful nights under the stars, with mild ocean breezes."


___________________________________
Thank you to our crew and especially Brynne! Always the pro, she never let anyone notice that we perspired and she met the challenges all outdoor events pose with a smile.

Very best,
Janet

Monday, July 18, 2016

Good Deeds! Let's Make This Video Go Viral! #NCAMChallenge



Dear Friends!

Please join us, donate one minute of your time and accept the #NCAMChallenge!

A very worthwhile non-profit in Santa Ana, California, could win thousands of dollars if their video goes viral.
And all you have to do is click ❤︎.

Janet:
"My longtime friends know that I originally worked as a school teacher in a tough neighborhood in my hometown Chicago. I moved West and entered the event production world and - as they say- the rest is history. But I never lost my passion for arts in education and that is why I have been a supporter of the Orange County Children's ARTS Center for several years. The Santa Ana based non-profit provides a large number of art based therapeutic and educational programs to an under-served community - and their successes speak for themselves. It's a pleasure to see the kids and students excel and thrive!

OCCTAC is currently participating in a nationwide campaign called #NCAMChallenge on Indi.com.  The Festival of Children Foundation offers participating non-profits a chance to win up to $50,000!

OCCTAC has an amazing success story to tell and their violin teacher Cynthia Faisst accepted the challenge and recorded the video with her reverse engineered violin duo!
These two young musicians are each missing one arm. However, they did not let this stop them from joining OCCTAC's violin program. Cynthia found out soon enough, though, that traditional prosthetic arms did not work well as bow arms. Searching for an affordable solution, she contacted the Limb Art Project at St. Margaret's Episcopalian School. High school students in a 3D printing program developed the high tech bow arms for the reverse engineered duo! The bow arms can be produced at very low cost, allowing the OCCTAC students to exchange them regularly as they grow!

Please support the violin students and OCCTAC.
Go to the video, click "Heart" and please share, share, share!
http://indi.com/7cs42


In a world full of sad news OCCTAC provides a place of hope and happiness - thank you for your time and your help!
Let's support these kids by making the duo's video go viral!

Warm regards,
Janet