November 2017 Print

President's Report


Last month I challenged you to try something new.  My something new was glass blowing.  I went with some friends for a birthday celebration to a glass blowing studio in Algiers Point.  It was amazing and hot up near those forges.  My pumpkin that I made with the help of the master glass maker is beautiful and proudly sits in my kitchen window.  I was amazed at how quickly the glass turned into a square when I didn't put even pressure when rolling it on the table to incorporate the color.  I was very thankful for the master glass maker that helped reshape a few times.  I tried something new and can't wait to go again.  I hope you tried something as well and enjoyed yourself just as much.

November starts our holiday season.  The New Orleans ILEA chapter looks at this month as a month to remember to give back and/or pay it forward to others who may not be as fortunate.  Giving money to a charity or even a gift to someone is a wonderful thing but there are also other ways to give that I don't want us to overlook this season.  Sometimes it means visiting someone who doesn't always get a lot of company.  Making twice as much of your casserole and giving the other half to an elderly neighbor or new mom so they don't have to cook that night.  Even taking the time to walk your street or area around a school and pick up the trash and debris that accumulates is a big help.  Remember the little things can sometimes make a bigger impact in someone's life in your community.

I hope your holiday season is a wonderful one and you join us this November as we work with the Bastion Group to help make their first event for their Veterans' facility a success.  Using our everyday talents and time to show our love for the people who fought for us and are finding a place to fit in.


Samantha Lister



Back to top

ILEA Monthly Events - Future

Help us give back this month at the new Bastion Community! 


And don't forget about our free to attend monthly happy hours! This month will be at the newly opened Cambria on November 29th 5pm-7pm. All members and non-members welcome!



Back to top

ILEA Monthly Events - Past

With a funky new venue as our backdrop and a delicious lunch from Pigeon Catering, our October meeting was a real treat! Our guest speakers Valerie Adams, Jessica Burke and George Kuchler gave us some great tips about how to get our work published in local and national publications. 

1   2

3   4

5   6



Back to top


Happiest of Novembers from our Membership committee to you! We hope you enjoy this quote as much as we do when thinking about what this incredible fall month brings. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” By Melanie Beattie

We wish you peace, hope, and a heart full of gratitude! 


Back to top

Member Shout Out


Back to top

Trending Hospitality

Speakers at BizBash Live: New York shared insights on making better events, from building a visual brand strategy to creating emotional journeys.

By Rayna Katz and Ian Zelaya October 30, 2017, 7:01 AM EDT

Link to Original Article

Event professionals from American Express, Refinery29, 196, Goop, First, and BRC Imagination Arts shared tips on a variety of industry topics at the Event Innovation Forum at BizBash Live: New York, which took place October 25 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Here are their tips on industry topics such as experiential storytelling, event security, nonprofit messages, and more.

1. Events are all about the optics.
It’s incumbent upon event planners to think about events from “every camera angle”—literally and figuratively, said Patricia Padilla, founder of 196 and former executive director of the United Nations Foundation. She advised the audience to “build a visual brand strategy and create images that amplify the message.” Padilla did that at a 70th birthday celebration for the United Nations, which included a 20- by 30-foot flag she had made for the occasion.

It’s also important to take advantage of the venue’s selling points to make the event special, she said. “Highlight your location; ask yourself how to get creative.”

But sometimes creating the event includes forethought on how the overall experience will be for guests, Padilla explained. “In 2008 in London, we brought girls from different socioeconomic backgrounds in to meet former First Lady Michelle Obama. I thought, ‘How can we make this intimate for the girls when there are 70 cameras here?' We looked at every camera angle, created a low podium, reoriented the chairs, and more. You have to put it all together to make a powerful moment.”

2. A moment can transform an experience.
Of course, creating those moments is the holy grail of event planning. So where does an industry professional begin? Christian Lachel, executive creative director of BRC Imagination Arts, advised guests to “start with the heart of the audience.” Tugging at heartstrings is vital to “creating experiences that matter and creating emotional engagement.”

Next, he tasked planners with the not-small step of transforming their constituents. “If you’re not trying to create change, don’t create an event.” Lachel said this effort is helped by having a “strong, unifying theme.”

Also part of the heart-focused strategy is the creation of “an emotional journey,” said Lachel. “Experiences shouldn’t have one level, they have ups and downs, and different levels. Engage all of the senses.” He also stated that experiences need a “sense of vitality,” and that technology should be used “in service of your story, not the other way around. We need to leave people with a sense of awe.”

3. Service is the name of the game.
It’s more than a coincidence that American Express is known for providing its cardholders with great customer service while the company’s events team is a top innovator; it topped BizBash’s annual Top 10 Innovative Brands list earlier this year.

The idea of delivering top-notch service is valued throughout the company, explained Deborah Curtis, vice president of global experiential marketing and partnerships at American Express. 

“American Express was the first company to give customers early on-sale tickets,” she stated. “Why? Because we listened. For nearly 30 years, we’ve had an unrelenting focus on service and what customers yearn for, using our credit card as a gateway. We put service in the palm of customers' hands.” 

That mindset carried over, said Curtis. At this year’s U.S. Open, with which AMEX has been a partner for 24 years, “We wanted every fan to experience the event at every level. We created an 'Air Open' experience to have fans be immersed in it and have fun along the way, feeling the game like never before.” 

What’s most important for planners, she explained, is to embrace their role. “We get to see the response to what we do on customers' faces. Realize that you are in the happiness business.”

4. For experiential marketing, be authentic, create memories, and put audiences first.
Refinery29 has put itself on the map as an innovative brand leader when it comes to live experiences—specifically its Instragrammable 29Rooms experience. Albie Hueston, creative director for experiential, and Kelly Markus, vice president for experiential at Refinery 29, discussed the ingredients for what they call their “secret sauce” for creating meaningful live events—keeping events true and authentic, making them memorable and engaging, creating a canvas for conversation, and putting the audience first.

“Telling the truth is vital. Knowing your brand and what you stand for is the first step,” said Hueston. “Then knowing your audience and what makes them tick is the next step. The relationship must be a two-way dialogue. The beauty of experiential is being able to talk directly to the consumer and understand what’s important to them.”

When it comes to creating memories, Markus added that sometimes the absence of technology can lead to a more engaging experience. “In this high-tech digital world, it’s a breath of fresh air to step away and get into the simplicity of life,” said Markus. “While it’s great that there’s virtual reality and augmented reality, it’s always great to go back and say, ‘Remember how great it was to watch the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory?’” 

5. For event security, start early and talk often, know your audience and speakers, and have a chain of command.
Sam Sherman, vice president of planning and production for First—a global event management agency with clients including LG, Oath, and Kofax—offered a variety of event security tips and how to stay prepared, in the wake of event tragedies including the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas and the Manchester Arena bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in England. 

“Start early and talk often,” said Sherman. “The moment you’re conceiving an event is the time to talk about what might happen at that event. Safety and security needs will differ if you’re inside four walls as opposed to being outside.”

Another piece of advice Sherman offered was getting to know the audience and speakers at any given event. She stressed the importance of having a conversation to understand a speaker’s security requirements. One example she gave is that celebrities often post about events where they’re speaking on their social media accounts, and that it’s beneficial for organizers to talk to them about their social media rules if they don’t want crowds showing up at a closed event.

Sherman also explained that it’s critical for organizers to have a chain of command and communicate the plan in case of an emergency. “Your chain of command could be multiple lines. Tell everyone who’s involved with the program, “ said Sherman. “And be prepared and be flexible. Trust that when someone asks for a change, it’s for a great reason.”

6. Create a 360-degree experience for consumers by bringing online content to life—and vice versa.
Goop, the lifestyle website and newsletter launched by Gwyneth Paltrow in 2008, has grown its brand through live events. In 2017, the company hosted its inaugural In Goop Health conference in Los Angeles, and also hosted a variety of events in the Hamptons, where its summertime events included a pop-up shop and a kid-friendly party in conjunction with the movie Despicable Me 3. The next In Goop Health event will take place in New York in January.

Colleen Kennedy Cohen, Goop’s director of events, discussed the brand’s recent foray into the event world and how its editorial content translates to its live events, in conversation with BizBash editor in chief Beth Kormanik.

“We have this amazing online presence and we use events to bring them offline for consumers,” said Cohen. “All of our events look, feel, taste, and smell like Goop. It starts the moment attendees enter to the moment they leave. We try to pay attention to those details.”

Cohen, whose event team consists of three full-time employees and two freelancers, explained that the brand’s goal is to offer a 360-degree experience for consumers by bringing the content to life, and then by delivering that content back to its audience. Her team makes specific choices about decor an activities—some that may surprise eventgoers.

“I’m not a big believer in photo booths. Organically, people will create these moments,” said Cohen, specifically noting the Instagram-friendly Despicable Me 3 event.

The team then closes the loop by featuring events in Goop's editorial. “The content is our bread and butter. We definitely try to capture content at every event we do,“ she said. “We try to always bring that back to our readers.”

Back to top

Calendar of Events

Don't miss out on our next events!

-November 9th, 11:30am-1:30pm- ILEA Gives Back at the Bastion Community

-November 29th, 5pm-7pm- Happy Hour at Cambria

- Save the Date! Ugly Sweater Contest Jingle Mingle December 7th at Carrollton Market- 5pm-7pm

 coming soon


Back to top

Board of Directors

Immediate Past President - Kelly Schellang

President - Samantha Lister, 

President Elect- Stephanie Jones,

VP of Programs and Education - Libby Kemp,

VP of Membership - Sherry Constance,

VP of Communications - Caitlin Alvarez,

Director of Programs- Jeff Rizzo,

Director of Education - Kim Sayatovic,

Director of Communications - Jessica Talazac,

Director of Membership - Angela Mahaffey Watson,

Director at Large - George Kutchler,

Director at Large Historian - Heather Dyer,


Back to top