Article for NACE ATLANTA CHAPTER
Director of Events Oglethorpe University
Managing Director, Conant Performing Arts Center
Millennials and Student Engagement ~ The essence of the present and future successes in the events industry.
What is all this talk about “Millennials”?
Create Student Engagement!
A “buddy system” – bring students in your workplace, not just give them tasks to do, but allow them to see if from your perspective and understand why and what. It is important that they understand it is not just “your way” but what makes your business successful. Students will offer energy, positive change and may even give you a perspective that you didn’t necessarily see.
Yes, there are those trophies and rewards students love to receive. However, NACE does a wonderful job annually and we do locally that we can offer special accolades to bring students who want the industry be the best they can be.
The award recipients in Houston were abundant. They reflected the students of today and the leaders of tomorrow.
FUNDING. Imperative and necessary. The NACE Atlanta Chapter will no doubt need
“seed money” and professional sponsors from the event community that will help lead and show them the way…
Bryon and my goal will be to elevate and stimulate you, our members, to donate to their future which ultimately creates their future and leaves the legacy of our hard work to shine.
NACE Experience Conference 2017
How many times do you think it takes to create a new habit? 5 times, 16 times, 20 times times? Nope, it takes 66 times to create a new habit according to Janet Zaretsky. In presenting How to Get Noticed, Get Heard and Get Ahead, Janet explains you have to create new habits in order to be noticed, be heard and get ahead.
So often, we ask questions but are rarely listening to the answer. That is because we are too busy thinking about what we will say or ask next. In order to be heard, you need to listen, not react. Conversations then take a different turn and become more meaningful and memorable rather than focusing on us and what we want to say next.
In order to get noticed, not only does your body language and the words you use when communicating make a difference, but how you dress is a large factor. If you wear jeans and a t-shirt to a client meeting which is taking place in a ballroom venue, you might not be viewed as that high end florist or photographer or DJ that the client is looking for. Slouching can also give the impression that you are not invested in the conversation therefore resulting in people passing up on your services.
You are always being judged. When you walk into the doctor’s office, when you introduce yourself at a networking event, when you are grocery shopping. People are often afraid of being judged, so they hold back on giving their opinions or asking a question. Everyone wants to be noticed in some capacity, and in order to do so, we all feel the need to get ahead. When searching for new career opportunities, too many times we often look past the opportunity if we don’t fit every one of the requirements. What is the worst that could happen if you apply to a job that you may not have 100% of the experience in? They don’t hire you. But what if you didn’t apply and you could have been hired? We get emotional when we feel that there is a threat to our ego. Instead of reacting, try responding. Apply to the job. Show your confidence. Ask for compensation based on what you are worth. In turn, you were heard, noticed and are now ahead.
Unleash Your Inner Powerhouse:
3 Keys to Get Noticed, Get Heard and Get Ahead
- Janet Zaretsky
NACE Experience 2017 article by Emily Evanoff
The first session on Sunday was the Industry Summit and Chapter Awards where we reviewed Anirban Basu who is the Chairman and CEO had some very important and interesting information on the state of the industry, hiring and firing and the way that certain “taboo” policies (i.e tattoos) are becoming less of a issue when hiring employees. Myself, Carlton Brown and Brittany Buttery were called on stage and recognized as new CPCE’s which was such an honor. I then had the opportunity to select the round table discussion for Catering Professionals in the Social Hotel Market. It was a great way to meet other people in the industry that do the same thing I do.
That night the Experience kicked off with the Opening Reception at the Ballroom on Bayou Place. It was amazing. The entrance to the event had models with body art, a full graphic step entrance, and a huge mural wall display. The theme of the event was monochromatic, and the entire large room was filled with color and light. Some of the interesting notes from the reception was the “open bar concept” there were drinks made and displayed almost like a grocery store. There was a “lite-brite” wall of shooters, cotton candy and doughnut stations. An entire wall of lights – the party did not disappoint.
The first breakout session I attended was the “Unleash Your Inner Powerhouse” with Janet Zaretsky. We were told about common themes that women do in the hospitality and business world. She noted we needed to speak up, always ask for what you think you deserve and that it’s ok to describe ourselves as the amazing person we are. I took away a ton of great information that I have since shared with my team.
We then all went into the Culinary Experience for lunch with Jerry Edwards and Monique Sudack moderating. We learned about the current trends of food, what is up and coming and what is current now, while we were served a fabulous coursed meal paired with wines.
The next session I attending was with Meryl Snow – There is no money in Sales for Second Place. She was a fun speaker and really reminded us of the value of connecting with our clients. The small touches that are needed to be successful
That evening was the Foundation Event Inferno at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice. We were all able to dress up in Red and have a fun night raising money and dancing.
I next morning we were up bright and early and I attended the smaller break out session Managing Millennial Catering and Event Planning Pros with Lisa Hopkins Berry. I enjoyed hearing from the presenter and the audience about their thoughts and experiences with this topic. I think this was an important topic to debate and let the National Organization know that I would like to see more about it.
Next I went to the Art of Surprise and Delight with Meghan Ely. I enjoyed this presentation in that it reminded me of how it is the small things that make someone really remember you and your business. I followed this presentation by attending Kate Patay Design in color. It was great to see how color and trends influence all different parts of business. I then went to Customer Journey, their path to your success. Having another customer focused breakout session was a fun way to learn about the things that
make the customer tick. Finally, I was the moderator for the Venue Manager vs. Wedding Planner featuring Alicia Crosby. I have always enjoyed hearing her speak and we had a very open conversation with the entire group about how the two groups can work together for a successful event.
That evening was the Awards ONE Gala, in which the trophies were presented to the best of many different categories. As a chapter we didn’t come away with a win, but we were able to spend time with each other following the awards at the reception. The reception featured lighting displays, DJ and a fabulous plated dinner. We ended the evening with an after party in the hotel that went until 1AM.
The NACE Experience is a truly wonderful opportunity for any hospitality professional and it was a pleasure and privilege to attend the Houston Experience in 2017. I look forward to next year!
NACE Experience 2017 Reflection
The Little Things
In the fast-paced, and sometimes relentless, events industry, it’s easy to lose focus of our individual reasoning for choosing this field of work over another. It far too easy to get caught up in the grind and forget the little things about our field that keep us coming back. It’s hard to think that many professionals in this industry choose to show up to the office every morning simply for a paycheck. We are involved with events, catering, vending, etc. because we’re good at it… because we derive a sense of satisfaction from a happy client… and because we genuinely value our “friendors” and those around us.
I love attending the NACE Experience every year for the fabulous parties, great education, delectable cuisine, and world-class comradery. Still, perhaps the most intriguing thing about Experience every year is seeing how each city interprets the events industry and how their NACE Chapter interacts with their local scene. This year, Houston epitomized why I love Experience because they remembered to focus on the little things that make them unique and make all of us love our jobs.
I was blown away by the attention to detail and thoughtfulness of the incredible Houston Chapter as our hosts. I could rave on and on about their successes, but below are a few that truly resonated with me and are things that I believe we can all remember to do for each other and our clients on a daily basis:
- Attentiveness: Houston listened to our feedback from 2016. They took the concerns of their national community to heart and made changes to improve on the already impressive Ft. Lauderdale Experience. From formatting the educational content to cuisine choices, they demonstrated their desire to please and improve.
- Giving: From their time to their talents, Houston gave their country-wide NACE Members so much to be thankful for.
- Hospitality: I still can’t BELIEVE I found a Gala invitation in my room with a custom cup and Tito’s cocktail fixins! How very Texas of them! Southern hospitality brought to us by a prized local brand.
- Pride: I love how much Houston prides their student involvement and loves to show them off. They were a wonderful asset to the Experience and give us hope for the future of our industry and association.
- Community: Was anyone else impressed with the local Sheriffs sporting cowboy hats that escorted us to the Opening Reception? What a wonderful, thoughtful and unique local touch.
- Courage: Houston was not afraid to take risks this year. The Monochromatic Opening Reception is a wonderful display of their ambition. It was simply an amazing, over-the-top event. From the painted dancers, to the hip band, adventurous cuisine and food stations, unique bars and cocktail recipes, and outside-the-box décor… I was floored and in awe of their imagination and desire to put themselves out there.
This year, Houston remembered all the little things that make not only the NACE Experience worth it to all of us, but make our careers paths worth all our blood, sweat, and tears. This business ain’t easy, and it surely isn’t always glamorous, but it’s rewarding when we do it right… which is certainly what this chapter did in 2017.