There are particular moments during every conference that stand out above all the educational sessions, networking events and engaging discussions with colleagues beyond the convention center’s air-walls. Most of us have high expectations for things like an opening keynote, a must-attend session on a particularly relevant topic, or an industry debate certain to spark an animated discussion. But it’s those unexpected moments – little gems that are unearthed when we least expect them – that can leave the biggest impact. These moments can make us realize why we invest time and money to attend conferences, and can leave a lasting impression on our personal and professional psyche.
During VenueConnect 2013 in New Orleans, that gem of a moment was discovered by many who attended the Closing Keynote, “The Power of One: Take Back your Life, Ignite your Possibility and Change Your World.” The title itself carried a lofty promise for those who woke early for the Monday morning session in a city known for its nightlife. And the speaker, John O’Leary, was not someone many of us had heard of before.
With the room filled to capacity, John thanked those hearty souls who came to hear him at such an early hour. And then, with particular poise, O’Leary began his story. Taking us back to his youth as a nine-year-old growing up in St. Louis – and to the day he was severely burned in his family home. O’Leary brought attendees into the mind of a child, fearful not of dying, but of disappointing his parents over the mess he’d left at their burned-out house.
He deftly painted a picture of the many individuals who saved his life – his older brother who battled the fire to rescue him, the doctors who gave him a 1% chance of survival, the custodians, nurses, therapists, his parents and even a local legend, baseball announcer, Jack Buck, that stopped by the hospital, first to encourage John simply to survive and then with one simple question, “What more can I do?” returned day after day to help O’Leary overcome the many challenges he would face along the way.
Soon O’Leary had the audience both laughing and crying, as he shared his story of tragedy and inspiration, love and motivation, all woven throughout with humor, humanity and hope. His story was relevant to venue managers – encouraging us to see the impact we make on the lives of those we guide – each staff member with a role, large or small, but all equally important to the success of our organization. O’Leary reminded us that through the investment of love and how we value our personal and professional relationships, we can impact each of those lives we touch. He ended with one simple question for each of us to ask ourselves, “What more can I do?”
I left New Orleans awoken. Cognizant of my own role, and asking myself, “What more can I do beyond my usual duties as a wife and as IAVM Marketing Communications Manager, to make a difference for my family, for our IAVM members and for my community?”
My hope is to ask myself that question daily. I am taking John’s “21 Day Challenge” and I am looking to find ways to inspire and support each individual who enters my life. I know it is a small step towards what our IAVM President and CEO, Vicki Hawarden, has envisioned for our organization – an IAVM with a mission to provide excellent, meaningful and inspirational support for each of our members and even to our own staff. With a goal of working together and asking ourselves, “What more can we do?” as John O’Leary can attest, the answer holds the possibility to change our lives and change the world.
By Matt Alderton
Virtual events continue to grow in popularity among marketers, according to virtual events provider ON24, which cites a May 2013 study by Forrester Research showing that nearly half (47 percent) of B-to-B marketers rely on virtual trade shows and events to research which technologies and services to buy.
The growth is clear, and what’s driving it is multifaceted, argues the company, which published a list of five trends that it credits with driving virtual event adoption:
Carpenters’ Strike Resolved at Pennsylvania CC; One-year Contract Extensions Signed with Six Unions
–Trade Show News Network
Less than a day after members of Local Eight of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, who work at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, went on strike and threatened a 10,000-attendee medical meeting set to come into the center, the crisis was averted.
Union officials for all six unions that work in the building and the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, which oversees it, signed one year collective bargaining agreement extensions. Continue Reading →
The 2013 Venue Excellence Awards were presented in New Orleans, La., July 29 at VenueConnect, IAVM’s 88th annual conference and trade show. These prestigious awards recognize venues including stadiums, convention centers, arenas, and performing arts centers, and academic institutions that demonstrate excellence in the following four criteria: service to the community, team building/professional development, safety and security, and operational excellence. The criteria used to evaluate the venues are at the core of IAVM’s mission, and are key components to the success and vitality of the venue industry. A committee of industry leaders chose the finalists for each venue type, and winners were approved by the IAVM Board of Directors.
The 2013 Venue Excellence Award Winners
In just five short weeks IAVM’s arena managers will be heading to beautiful and cool Toronto, Canada, for the 2013 Arena Management Conference (AMC). This year’s conference will take place Sept. 8-10 at the Westin Harbor Castle. AMC will be a great opportunity for attendees to tour the beautiful and diverse city of Toronto, network with other arena managers and listen to industry experts cover topics such as: ticketing and the use of social media, the unique challenges associated with live animal events, and the ever popular promoter and agent panel. We checked in with Todd Hunt, AMC Planning Committee Chair to see what he expects some of the highlights of this year’s conference will be.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s AMC conference?
The cooler temps! Canada has to be cooler than Mississippi in September, right? Seriously, the city of Toronto is a fabulous setting for this year’s meeting.
How do you think Toronto will influence the conference?
We’ll certainly have more of a Canadian feel to this year’s meeting, eh. We’re adding Canadian experts in safety, security, and the concert business in addition to our traditional panelists.
What sessions do you think will provide the most animated discussions?
The promoter/agency forum is always a highlight of AMC. We’ve got a stellar lineup this year, with several major agencies and promoters confirmed. The Terry Butler Town Halls are also perennial discussion magnets.
What sessions are you personally looking forward to?
That’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite. The entire conference will be fantastic – from Tim Lieweke’s opening address to the closing party at the top of CN Tower.
What one thing do you hope to take home with you after the conference?
Other than maple syrup? It’s hard to pick just one takeaway but for me it would be a larger network of peers to reach out to in the future when those inevitable “interesting” challenges arise.
Early Bird Registration for AMC closes this Friday, August 9.