Growing with Purpose


When Lakeland Ledger reporter Gary White called me last week with questions about our experience with Emily Rogers as the recent moderator for the FFEA Board Retreat, it was no surprise that we weren't the only ones who saw what an incredible Consultant and Coach she is! The Ledger featured Emily and her growing business this week in an article that truly captures her personality, style and most importantly her ability to help others grow.
Just a few short months ago, Emily helped guide our highly engaged Board of Directors in creating a long-term Strategic Plan for FFEA to guide us in growing in the way that makes the most sense for our current and future members. Be on the lookout for some incredible initiatives starting in the next few months!
Congratulations to Emily and Thank you for all you have done for our industry!

To read the full Ledger article, CLICK HERE.


For more information on Emily and her business, CLICK HERE.

Emily and a group of FFEA Board Members at the Strategic Planning Retreat, November 2013.

IEG Briefing: Sponsorship's New Benefits

IEG has long been recognized as the industry leader in all things SPONSORSHIP so when their Senior VP, Jim Andrews sends out a new briefing I always take the time to really put aside all distractions and study its contents. The company's insights into everything from valuation to sales strategy help keep companies large and small "in the know" when it comes to their sponsorship programs. Their latest briefing does not disappoint!  Here's what Jim has to say about what you need to consider when considering benefits to offer to potential sponsors:

"It’s time to change the conversation about what rightsholders can offer prospective corporate partners.

The only way for sponsors and properties to establish meaningful partnerships that deliver real results for both parties is to move beyond the standard assets that currently comprise most sponsorship offers.

IEG’s new briefing spotlights the seven critical sponsorship benefits that sponsors should require and rightsholders must provide if they want to find success in today’s marketplace by connecting with audiences, consumers and customers."

CLICK HERE to view the full article and download the briefing.

5 Tips for Creating an Actionable Event Survey
Lanie Shapiro, Owner, TouchPoll South Florida


There are many good reasons to survey the attendees at your event. Often, the priority to plan and implement a survey can fall to the bottom of your list, leaving it to the last minute with little time and attention to create an effective data collection program. Here are five tips to help you:

  1. Begin with the end in mind.

What do you need  to know? The first step is establishing an objective. There can be multiple objectives but objectives and goals should be clear from the start. Do you need to attract higher value sponsors? Do you need to retain your current sponsors? Do you want to expand your event to include a spinoff event or additional element? Do you want to demonstrate the economic value of your event to the community? Are you not sure where to best spend your marketing dollars? Do you need to apply for a grant, gather feedback, or collect emails for post event marketing communication? You might say "Yes" to all, but there must be some kind of hierarchy of objectives in order for the final report to deliver what you are setting out to accomplish. 

2. Decide the best way to collect the data.

 There are plenty of options. What works best for your event?

 Onsite/ intercept survey -  Capturing the data while onsite at your event. This method involves gathering the data at the point of experience. Feedback and ideas are fresh in the attendee's mind. This can be through a stationary location at your event, roaming the event and approaching people, or both. Paper surveys, mobile devices or tablets can be used. The key advantage to on site surveys is that results can be immediate.  Unforeseen issues may be revealed and quickly corrected. At a recent event, it was found that there wasn't enough directional signage to find the event, so additional signage was strategically placed upon discovering this attendee-reported issue.

Post event survey- This can be accomplished through an email survey, mail out or telephone survey. For these methods, you would need contact information and in some cases, permission to contact. These are generally not advantageous for public events for these reasons: it's "after- the- fact" and once people leave your event, they are onto their next thing and responding is most likely at the very bottom of their to-do list, if at all. Also, results can take longer, perhaps weeks due to sending, then a reminder and by then you've lost the opportunity for fresh follow up offers, press releases and timely data for sponsor recap reports.

3. KISSER! Keep It (a) Simple Survey (with) Relevance!

 Remember, you are asking them to give up part of their leisure time by stopping for a survey. The key here is the shorter, the better. A survey that takes under two minutes to complete is about all most people are willing to give you at public events and festivals. All too often, a survey is treated as an in-depth inquiry more suited to a focus group. When designing a survey, focus on the "need  to know" versus the "nice to know" questions. Keeping the "need to know" front and foremost is key to developing an effective, efficient and concise survey.  

Examples of not keeping it simple are: too many open ended questions where the respondent has to think or recall too much, too many possible choices in the answers, wordy questions, unclear questions, vague answer choices, as well as using jargon.

Open ended questions are important for gathering great ideas and constructive criticism. You or your staff may not see the event from an attendee's vantage point, so open ended questions are a great way to gain valuable insight to the actual experience of an attendee.

Another consideration is anticipating who the possible respondents may be and keep it relevant. For example, do you know if many are from out of town and you are asking them about local media? This irrelevancy quickly disengages the participant and creates the feeling that this survey is not valid or a waste of time for them.  There are ways to engage the participant through the survey. One way  is to branch different groups to specific questions geared for them like non-residents, young adults, etc. You want the respondent to come away with a positive feeling that they've been a help to your event. Just like baby-proofing a house, get into the mind of the user and you will create an effective and (yes) fun and easy survey for them to do.
 

4. Incentivize.

An incentive gives people a reason to take the time to stop and do your survey.  An effective incentive is one that is good, but not TOO good!  For an onsite survey, you can offer a small promotional item, an enter-to-win, or both. There needs to be a delicate balance between what is motivating enough but not a reason for people to come back to you time and time again, sometimes disguising themselves, just for the free gift.  For an online survey, the enter-to-win can be very effective.

5. Use It ...or Lose it!  

Now that you've spent the time, effort and (many times) money to implement this survey project, what are you going to do with the results? Review your objectives. Meet with your staff and agencies to review the results. Perhaps you need to use some of the information in a sponsor recap report, or include some key findings in your marketing materials. Here's a list of possible uses:

  • Make improvements for your next event
  • Create a new sponsor and vendor marketing piece highlighting some of the data
  • Enhance your sponsor recap report
  • Include pertinent data for your grant applications
  • Realize new opportunities such as a spinoff event
  • Evaluate some of the event activities you are currently doing
  • Email follow up offers from sponsors and promote your next event
  • Review your marketing plan and overlay it with some of your findings
  • Share some interesting results with your stakeholders, supporting agencies and community

 An effective survey takes some effort in planning and execution, but once you have the elements in place, results can have an immediate positive impact on your event. 

   Lanie Shapiro is the President and Owner of TouchPoll South Florida, a survey company. Lanie earned a B.B.A. degree in Marketing from Hofstra University and has over 20 years experience in the field of advertising, sales and media research. Her background includes extensive experience in radio, television and magazine advertising, as well as planning and executing promotional programs, sponsorship sales and activation. Lanie has served a wide variety of local, regional and national clients. Lanie serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Festivals & Events Association. Click here to contact Lanie. 



The 20th Annual Florida Festivals and Events Association Convention and Trade Show will take place August 13 - 15, 2014 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL. It will provide unmatched educational and networking opportunities.

"The FFEA Convention and Trade Show provides a tremendous opportunity for event planners and producers to learn and network.The speakers are phenomenal - the best in event industry. It is a wonderful opportunity to network with other event planners  and producers, as well as vendors and sponsors. And, all for an affordable price! I never miss it!"     

Dutch Sanger, Director Panama City Downtown Improvement Board

 
Registration  •  Agenda  •  Educational Sessions   •   Exhibitor Information

Entertainment Showcases   •  Silent Auction   •  SUNsational Awards

Hotel Accommodations  •   Travel Information   •   Convention Committees

Festivals & Tourism: Creating an Impact

 

It seems as though events, and festivals in particular, have always been a mainstay in cities throughout the world with some dating back centuries and drawing crowds in the millions. So what makes a festival successful? There are certainly plenty of factors to consider, but collaborative partnerships which help draw tourism and generate economic impact on a city seem to play a significant role. I love this article by Chad Kaydo, Editor at Large of BizBash and featured today on Governing.Com.

READ CHAD'S ARTICLE: Cities Create Music, Cultural Festivals to Make Money

What do you think creates an event with longevity? Do you consider intangible factors into your opinion of success? 


5 Tips for Running a Successful Facebook Contest
Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic, Marketing Director, Saffire Events

Facebook recently announced that they’ve changed the requirements for running promotions on their site, making it even easier to administer contests for your event’s fans. They’ve removed the requirement to use a third-party app, and now allow entries to be collected via comments and “likes” on your page posts as well as using “likes” as a tool for voting on your page. With these changes in mind, here are 5 tips for running a successful Facebook contest.

  • SET GOALS: As you prepare your Facebook contest, consider what you’re trying to achieve prior to getting started. For many events you’ll be looking to gain interactions on your Facebook wall including Likes, Shares and Comments. All of these interactions not only increase the awareness of your event as fans spread the word to their friends exponentially growing your audience, but they also have an impact on your site’s search engine results. If increasing Facebook interactions is your goal, then the new promotions rules will be perfect for you as you ask your fans to either “Like” or “Comment” on a post to enter for their chance to win. This will be especially helpful in the weeks leading up to your event as you create a fever-pitch of anticipation and excitement.
    However, if your goal is to increase your newsletter distribution and you want to collect email addresses as part of the promotion, you may still want to consider using a third-party app to help administer the contest. Keep in mind the more information you require the greater the barrier to entry. Requiring your customers to enter personal data will decrease your response rate, but that may be a calculated decision in an effort to collect more valuable data. Consider this tactic after your event is over and you’ve created even more loyal fans willing to take that extra step.
  • CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE – Think about “who” your event appeals to and how you’d like to attract that audience. This will be important when determining the prize package to ensure it garners a response, but it also may affect the times that you post about your contest. According to Zephoria, highest traffic on Facebook occurs mid-week between 1:00 & 3:00, while Thursdays and Fridays have much greater engagement; but you want to reach your fans specifically. Facebook has improved their reporting of data on your page, and this information should be utilized when running promotions. By clicking “View Insights” in the top section of any Facebook page that you administer, you will find a wealth of information regarding your posts and what your fans are responding to. The default view is the “Overview” tab but by selecting the “Posts” tab, and the “When Your Fans Are Online” option you’ll see both a chart of days of the week as well as times of day that your fans are on Facebook. You can also switch from “When Your Fans Are Online” to “Post Types” to see the response each post has received so you can determine the best type of post for your audience.

 

  • DETERMINE THE CONTEST TIME FRAME – In a recent study by Wisemetrics, a post had about 2.5 hours to reach 75% of its maximum impressions. However, Facebook has recently announced a new change called “Story Bump,” which pushes posts back into fans’ timelines if the post received a lot of interactions, giving your posts a slightly longer life span if your audience is engaged. This is great news for marketers as each “Like” and “Comment” entry to win increases the odds that even more people will see the post in their news feed. With this quick engagement, fans typically expect a similarly quick turn-around in results. Consider running a new contest each day in the weeks leading up to your event. A single post that asks fans to vote for their favorite attraction, food item or musician by the end of the day for a chance to win a prize package should garner a quick surge of engagement, and by continuing to run similar daily contests you’ll keep fans checking back to your page on a routine basis.
    For more in-depth contests that ask people to submit personal information, consider a longer time frame with multiple posts reminding users to enter to win, over the course of a week or two.
  • CREATE A PRIZE PACKAGE – As event and venue coordinators you have a unique advantage in having access to lots of things that people really want. Individual tickets, multi-day passes, VIP access, concessions or ride vouchers and merchandise are just a few options to consider that would come at a low cost to you with a potentially high return in Facebook fan engagement. Keep in mind the level of interaction you’re asking of the fan and let the prize package reciprocate their effort.  Asking fans to Like or Comment is quick and easy and the prizes can be smaller to reflect that. If you’re requesting more information, offer a larger and more desirable package to encourage fan engagement.
  • PLAN THE FULFILLMENT – This final step is often overlooked, but is crucial for maintaining your fan loyalty. Knowing how you will quickly deliver the prize to the winner will prevent the possibility of turning an elated Facebook fan into an angry Facebook fan. Consider the size of the prize, shipping or pick-up options, and timing of contest compared to prize’s expiration date.

With these new contest rules in place, engaging your customers on Facebook has never been easier.

Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic has a comprehensive background in online marketing, social media, account management and project planning & strategy. In 2007, she joined Wright Strategies, managing online projects for clients including KEEN Footwear, Nike and Frito Lay. Two years later, when a large rodeo approached Wright Strategies to develop a website, the company discovered a need for an “online solution” in the event and venue industry.  In 2009 they created Saffire Events: software developed to give events and venues a beautiful, interactive online destination, including content management, mobile, social, ecommerce, email marketing, texting and more. From 2009 through today, Jessica has played a key role in planning and developing how Saffire looks and how it works. She has served as the Senior Account Manager working directly with clients as they prepare to launch their new websites, and is now the Marketing Director developing strategy to help Saffire continue to grow. She received a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s in Education from National-Louis University in Heidelberg, Germany where she and her husband were stationed from 2000-2002 as he completed his Army service. Prior to Wright Strategies, Jessica gained valuable experience in project and client management at a design agency. In her free time she loves to travel and experience other cultures (especially their food and art), as well as spend quality time with her family.


Meet the Member
Retta Logan, AAA Flag and Banner MFG, INC

Number of Years with your current company: 13

What does your company do? AAA Flag and Banner manufactures and installs FLOOR GRAPHICS, CAR WRAPS, TRADESHOW DISPLAYS, BUILDING BANNERS, WINDOW DISPLAYS, BILLBOARDS, POP DISPLAYS,DIRECTIONAL SIGNAGE, PENNANTS, HANGING & DISPLAY HARDWARE. STADIUM GRAPHICS, WALL COVERINGS, FABRIC PRINTING, POLE BANNERS .

What makes your company stand out from your competition? We use top of the line products, have G& master Ratings, 3 M warranty , our products are Eco-friendly and we install nationwide. No job is too big or too small for us.

First Paying Job: Summer Camp Counselor

First Break into your business: Super Bowl 95

Best Book You Have Read: Catcher and the Rye

Best Advice you have ever received: Never eat yellow snow

Birthday: July 25

Children: 2 boys Trey and Logan

Pets: 2 dogs and 12 Fish

College/Education: MS

Favorite Sports Team(s): Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat and the University of Georgia Bulldogs

What is one of your favorite quotes?  Life is not measured in the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member?  We joined FFEA on the recommendation of one of our valued customers .  Best Benefit has been able to connect with our current customers , build new relationship and new customers and it provides an opportunity to showcase our new products.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry? Be educated, professional and nice. Network  Network  Network

FFEA Member Recognized for Excellence
Florida State University Panama City Associate Dean Dr. Steve Leach congratulates instructor and program coordinator Rosemary Prince at the recent Office of Distance Learning Awards Ceremony

The FSU Office of Distance Learning (ODL) recently recognized faculty in Florida State University Panama City’s College of Applied Studies for their outstanding work in online education.

Rosemary Prince earned the Award for Excellence in Online Course Design, and Banyon Pelham was recognized for Innovative and Effective Use of Technology. This was the first year the ODL presented awards to recognize faculty for work in distance learning and promoting effective practices for online and distance learning across disciplines.

“I am proud of how these two faculty members are committed to excellence in their online courses,” said Ken Shaw, dean of the College of Applied Studies. “They work hard to create, maintain and teach their online programs.”

Prince, who has been on staff since 2006, was honored for her work on Introduction to Recreation, Tourism and Events (LEI 3004). The Excellence in Online Course Design was given to new or newly redesigned online courses exhibiting quality design in instructional materials, learning objectives, assessment strategies, learner interaction and engagement, course technologies, learner support and accessibility.

She also developed and designed the Graduate Certificate in Event Management.

“I am honored and humbled to receive an award for Excellence in Online Course Design,” Prince said. “The opportunity to be a part of the faculty teaching in the distance learning community at Florida State University is exciting and rewarding.

“I am continually challenged to find ways to streamline the process of learning for students in the online environment. I am equally inspired by the ways to engage the students through the cutting-edge technology and faculty support available at Florida State University.”

“Rosemary has been offering quality online courses at the undergraduate and graduate level for a number of years,” Associate Dean Stephen Leach said. “I am pleased that she has received this well-deserved recognition.”

Pelham was recognized for Innovative and Effective Use of Technology for a paper he wrote detailing the use of remotely integrated technology in teaching the upper level law enforcement course, Crime Mapping and Analysis, and its effect on student learning and motivation.

Meet the Member
Jim Luce, CAL Productions – King Guys Bands

Number of Years with your current company:  CAL Productions recently celebrated its 9 month anniversary.

What does your company do?  We provide “Just Really Good Music”

What makes your company stand out from your competition?  The music is really good. 

First Paying Job:  Shoe shine boy.

First Break into your business:  Disney Student Musician Program

Best Book You Have Read: 100 Years of Florida Gator Football

Best Advice you have ever received:  Don’t eat yellow snow.

Birthday:  September 21, ****

Spouse / Children:  1 Spouse, 2 Children, 25 and 23 yrs. old

Pets:  Beagle – Dolly, 14 yrs. old

College/Education: University of Florida, Rollins College – BA in Music

Favorite Sports Team(s): Gator Football, Gator Basketball, Gator Baseball, Gator Tennis, Gator Softball, Gator Lacrosse etc..

What is one of your favorite quotes?  “For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord.”

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member?  To meet cool festival people.  Meeting cool festival people.  

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry?  I’ve been in the industry 9 months.  Will someone please give me advice?

Your Early Resolution: Go Mobile
Four reasons to ring in the New Year with an app

It’s not too early to begin thinking about New Year’s resolutions. There are those tough ones that we know we cannot sustain for an entire year (am I really going to try and give up caffeine?!). Then there are others that are a slam-dunk. Like, going mobile.

When we usually consider resolutions, they’re mostly built around sacrifice. Adding mobile apps to your festivals and fairs, requires no hand-wringing and self-doubt. This is an easy one. Going mobile means adding a modern, compelling and engaging experience for your attendees. Apps are popular, and are here to stay. As a matter of fact, 110 billion (that’s right billion!) apps have been downloaded from Apple and Google to date. In other words, your attendees love apps, and they expect them, so it’s time to give them what they want. If you’re not yet convinced mobile apps are the way to go, here are four reasons why it’s time to make that early resolution to go mobile:

  1. Engage with your audience: Mobile is a great way to connect to your crowd in a new, exciting way. People check their smart phones an average of 150 times per day, spending roughly two hours per day using apps. When you deliver an entertaining, useful app, you’re giving your audience exactly what they want. You’ll be able to provide content leading up to, during, and after your event. One swipe of the finger will bring all the cool, pertinent information they want.
  2. Expand your reach: Remember that bit about people checking their phones all day? Well, they’ll be checking their phones at your event, too. When smartphone users are at an event, they love to share their experiences in a variety of ways, including social media. Comments, pictures, videos and more are shared instantly across several social sites. Your app will provide a gateway for user to instantly connect with their network of friends, helping you build your brand, gain new fans and increase the visibility and interest in your event. Even people who can’t attend your event will want to be there, and just might show up next time. Sounds like pretty solid, organic promotion, doesn’t it?  
  3. Award your attendees: One of the best features of offering a mobile app is that you can provide attendees with real-time access to important information, before, during and after your event. Whether that’s floor plans, interactive mapping, up-to-the-minute schedules, lineups, venue changes, start times, or weather updates, you’re providing a service they won’t soon forget. Sure, the old fold-out maps and schedule brochures are nice (until they’re worn out, or worse, lost!), but a mobile app, particularly a native mobile app, will always be available to you fans and will help them plan their experiences with more confidence. Instead of interrupting a performance or session to share important news, simply send out a push notification and all of your attendees who downloaded the app will be informed, in an instant.
  4. Satisfy your sponsors and increase your bottom line: Here’s the pitch for your sponsors: Attendees will always have your ad in the palms of their hands. As exciting as it is to reach your crowd with your own content, you’ll be able to drive additional value for sponsors and exhibitors with new advertising and messaging platforms. Advertising on mobile apps for events, concerts or festivals will help your advertisers connect with your audience as well. It’s not unheard of for event organizers to have the entire cost for the app paid for using advertiser dollars.

Mobile apps aren’t going anywhere, and they’re becoming more of an integral piece in everyone’s lives. It’s time to get in the game, and add a much-needed, modern flair to your events. It doesn’t matter what kind of event you're hosting, offering attendees a unique and memorable mobile event app experience will help you better connect with your audience, and your sponsors. So make an early resolution to amp up your events by going mobile and 2014 will be better than ever

For more information about mobile apps, and how other organizations are successfully folding them into their events right now, visit us at CrowdTorch.Com

Todd Rogers, Director, Mobile Technology at CrowdTorch by Cvent

With over 20 years of experience in technology consulting, engineering and product development, Todd Rogers is currently the Director of Mobile Technology for CrowdTorch by Cvent. CrowdTorch is a leading provider of mobile applications for consumer and social events. Back in 2009, Todd co-founded the company with his colleague Rick Solner because of their shared interest of simply attending festivals. This passion is what still drives the development of their apps today, including ones for the College World Series, Harley-Davison and Disney, to name a few.

Prior to CrowdToch, Todd was a consultant at SPSS, a company that was acquired by IBM in 2009 that specializes in finding and implementing new sources of competitive advantage through predictive analytics.  Before his tenure at SPPS, he was a sales engineering manager at Inquisite, a leading provider of enterprise feedback management web survey software. Todd earned a Bachelor’s of engineering degree from Vanderbilt University in computer engineering.

Meet the Member
Lanie Shapiro, TouchPoll South Florida

Number of Years with your current company: 7 years

What does your company do? TouchPoll South Florida does on-site surveys. We work with festivals, events, tourism boards, community redevelopment associations, conferences, museums, venues and attractions all over the country to design surveys and collect data onsite so that our clients can better strategically plan their marketing, promotions and sales materials; as well as optimize sponsorships and grants, evaluate marketing efforts, and receive valuable visitor feedback.

What makes your company stand out from your competition? We are easy to work with, thorough, knowledgeable on how to create the best survey to fit our clients' needs and how to best gather the data. We also interact well with our client's visitors, and we deliver a concise report containing data that will help our clients.

First Paying Job: Selling home improvements over the phone at 16.

First Break into your business: My friend and PR Guru Shari Lynn Rothstein connected me with Lee Schrager who runs the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival--and that was my first well known large event.

Best Book You Have Read:  The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz - I refer to it all the time.

Best Advice you have ever received: Practice gratitude every day, bring joy to all you do and find the positive and possibility in every situation. Also, take time each day to take good care of your health and well-being.

Birthday: August 9 (I'm a true Leo!)

Spouse / Children:  Robert - married for 27 years, Jordan 23 years old

Pets: Chukkie - our 10 year old Shih Tzu

College/Education:  Associates in Graphic Arts from SUNY Farmingdale  and a Bachelor's of Business Administration from Hofstra University

Favorite Sports Team(s): I am originally from NY but with marrying into a sports-obsessed Boston family, I had to swear my allegiance to all the Boston teams! 

What is one of your favorite quotes? "You are never upset for the reason you think."

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member? I joined FFEA to meet people who value on-site visitor surveys. The best benefit of being a member are the relationships that have been created and getting to know so many wonderful and talented event professionals. Of course, it's been a tremendous benefit to my business, so mission accomplished and more!   

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry? Get measurable feedback from your event attendees--people see things that may not occur to you. It's their experience of your event that matters most

CENTRAL FLORIDA LEADER, Joe Shipes

Joe Shipes, VP of the Leesburg Partnership, has been an FFEA Member for 14 years and is a long-time Board member. This week the rest of Central Florida is figuring out what we have known for years - Joe is one amazing leader! Check out this feature in Lake & Sumter STYLE Magazine and get to know Joe! 

*Photo courtesy of Lake & Sumter STYLE Magazine

Meet the Member
Cinde Martin, Marketing & Event Consultant

Number of Years with your current company: 10+

What does your company do? Marketing and Event Consultant

What makes your company stand out from your competition? Experience, First-Hand Knowledge and Ability to Get the Job Done

First Paying Job: Lifeguard

First Break into your business: Worked as Marketing Assistant at an Anheuser Busch Theme Park called Sesame Place located in Langhorne, Pennsylvania

Best Book You Have Read: Can't Decide...too many good ones!

Best Advice you have ever received: Always Fail Forward

Birthday: May 31, 1963

Spouse / Children: Craig - 21 years married,  Chandler - 17 and Corrine - 14

Pets: 2 cats (Toby & Delilah) and 1 dog (Chewbacca)

College/Education: Trenton State College - now known as University of New Jersey

Favorite Sports Team(s): Ohio State Buckeyes

What is one of your favorite quotes? Great spirits have often met with violent opposition from mediocre minds - Einstein

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member? Networking, learning from peers  

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry? Stay Calm and Carry On....pray for grace to handle all the issues that will arise during your event!
Read Celebrates Milestone with the Greatest Show on H2O
Event Director Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade

Dawn Read, event director for Winterfest®, celebrates 20 parades worth of positive impact in the community this year. In honor of her service, Dec. 14, 2013, is officially Dawn Abrams Read Day in the city of Fort Lauderdale.
 
In a video announcement, Jack Seiler, mayor of Fort Lauderdale, announced the parade date, Dec. 14, 2013 as Dawn Read Day and she was given the city’s proclamation during the Winterfest® kick-off celebration.
 
“Dawn is so special to Winterfest® and the city,” said Seiler. “Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious.”
 
Read’s journey through the Winterfest ranks reflects a true “pay your dues” storyline, starting with her arrival into the organization as a volunteer. Her first task was to input data for the Shoreline Decorating event. Read took the position to help reinvigorate the struggling parade that held a special place in her heart. Once a paid position became available, Read was the first candidate on the list.
 
“Dawn is an integral part of our team at Winterfest,” said Lisa Scott-Founds, president and CEO of Winterfest. “Her commitment to the success of this organization allows us to exceed expectations each year.”
 
Winterfest directly impacts the success of the city of Fort Lauderdale. The Boat Parade is not only the largest event in Florida, but it is the No. 7 largest spectator event in the country. This represents a sizeable economic impact for the city of Fort Lauderdale, generating more than 48 million dollars each year.
 
With only 45 boats participating in 1991, the parade has grown to more than 100 vessels in participation and approximately one million spectators each year. Through television contracts and web streaming, people from around the globe can view the splendor of the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest® Boat Parade.

 

Meet the Member
Kendra Wright, President, Saffire Events

Number of Years with your current company: 15 years

What does your company do? “We provide festivals with a beautiful, interactive online destination they can manage themselves. In plain English, we get people excited to come to festivals!”

What makes your company stand out from your competition? Our websites increase revenue. Our content management increases sanity. Our customer service makes us friends for life.

First Paying Job: Working at a go-kart track in Branson, Missouri (the hardest job of all – working for my dad!)

First Break into your business: I was so lucky to be “around” when the internet began. There was a very lazy guy managing our company’s website; I made a deal with him that I would secretly do his job for him if he’d teach me everything he knew!

Best Book You Have Read: Right now, I’m reading a book called “Dinner: A Love Story,” which is great for anyone who has a picky eater in the family. (It’s like she knows me!)

Best Advice you have ever received: When I started my company, someone said “Leap, and the net will appear!” Such great advice that has served me well!

Birthday: May 28

Spouse / Children: Husband Kirk (who I have dragged into Saffire with me), son Hudson (4 ½ - the half is very important) and a new foreign exchange student from Berlin Marie (16)

College/Education: Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas

Favorite Sports Team(s): I’d be kicked out of Austin if I didn’t say the Longhorns!

What is one of your favorite quotes? See above. Leap, and the net will appear! (Unfortunately you don’t get to see the net until you leap – you have to have faith!!)

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member?  We love FFEA! Going to convention reminded us of the reason we got into this industry – we get to work with nice, smart people who happen to have really cool jobs!

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry? I hope you like roller coasters! Seriously, enjoy the ride. We happen to love the thrill of events, and for people like us, the craziness is worth it!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!
The Havendale Christmas Parade Event Review

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I’ve always liked Christmas. I’m a crafter and a baker so what’s not to like about Christmas, right?! Now that I have kids, Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning. I tried to pretend last year that my son, Matthew, who was 1 1/2 at the time, had even a remote understanding of what Christmas was all about. Let’s face it – he didn’t have a clue and the trips to see Santa, unwrapping the presents, singing Christmas carols – that was all for Mommy. At least my husband is smart enough to know it’s easier to just appease me. But this year – this year is different. Matthew is 2 1/2 now and he is delighted with “Santy Kwause” and our “Kwismas Twee”. No – he doesn’t understand the concept of Christmas yet fully but I am taking sheer pleasure in the fact that he is even somewhat interested. So when Auburndale Chamber Director Joy Pruitt told me about the Havendale Christmas Parade I knew we were destined to pack the kids in the car for some old-fashioned family fun.

I have to admit that I really wasn’t expecting much. I haven’t been to a parade since I was probably 9 years old so I had just pictured a few floats going through a downtown area with some music playing. I have never been so excited about being so incredibly wrong! There were a total of 84 floats ranging from community groups and school marching bands to the Sheriff’s office and even Mickey Mouse. An estimated 10,000 people attended the parade, which spans Havendale Boulevard between two cities, Auburndale and Winter Haven. If you haven’t been before, it’s truly a treat for all ages. The proof is in the look on Matthew’s face when Santa finally arrived…

History of Havendale Christmas Parade

 In the early months of 2001, Auburndale City Manager Bobby Green started thinking about Christmas.   In previous years, neither Auburndale nor Winter Haven had a Christmas parade.   What a great concept to have one grand Christmas parade for both Auburndale and Winter Haven communities, City Manager Green thought.   Connecting both Winter Haven and Auburndale and aptly named after both cities, Havendale Boulevard would be the perfect staging area for this parade.  Upon contacting then Winter Haven City Manager Carl Cheatham, the first meeting of the Havendale Christmas Parade took place on September 11, 2001.  Due to the tragic 9/11 incident, it was decided not to have the parade in 2001, but to give a full year of planning to make it one of Polk County’s best Christmas Parades.  With both Auburndale and Winter Haven staff working together the First Annual Havendale Christmas Parade took place on Friday, December 6, 2002.  It was decided that the Havendale Christmas Parade would take place on the first Friday in December, following Lakeland’s first Thursday in December Christmas parade.  The date lends itself to encourage professional floats by the business community to participate in both parades.   The Havendale Christmas Parade is truly a hometown parade with bands from both Winter Haven and Auburndale rotating the lead in the parade

This is truly an effort of not only both Auburndale and Winter Haven, but all the businesses located on the Havendale Boulevard corridor.  With staging and the start of the parade at Spring Haven Retirement Community and Spring Lake Square in Winter Haven,  the parade travels west on Havendale Boulevard, ending at Publix in Auburndale.

Celebrating its 11th year, the Havendale Christmas Parade continues to grow and entertain Polk County and is celebrated as one of the most favorite holiday traditions of many residents.

When the last school bell rings in June, the Havendale Christmas Parade Committee has already met and started the planning for the annual Havendale Christmas Parade that takes place each year on the first Friday of December.  Under the direction of Parade Chairman Mickey Etherton, the committee is made up of staff from the City of Auburndale, City of Winter Haven,  Auburndale Chamber Of Commerce, Auburndale Police and Fire, Winter Haven Police and Fire, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Rodger McCoy, Ernie Simmons and staff.  Thank you to each individual for their time and effort in planning the parade from start to finish.

 As Executive Director of the Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA), Suzanne Neve oversees the state's leading organization for festival and event professionals. FFEA's 450 members represent the industry's top leaders and the Association serves as a resource to help them perform at their peak through education, networking and the cultivation of the highest standards. In her role with FFEA, Suzanne and her team visit events throughout the state of Florida and United States and they strive to connect, educate and advocate on behalf of FFEA's diverse membership. Prior to joining FFEA, Suzanne worked in the events and hospitality industry for over 10 years, producing more than 350 events with combined millions of attendees. She garnered several awards for her work including General Manager of the Year, statewide Community Service Awards, several Telleys, Addys, Daveys and regional marketing awards. 
How can FFEA help your business? Call or email us today to find out! 407.203.1334

 

Meet the Member
Phil Marro Jr, Sales Manager, Complete Ticket Solutions

Number of Years with your current company: 5 Years

What does your company do?  We are a full service box office that provides online ticket sales, ticket printing and staffing to events all over the world.  If it involves a ticket, we can do it.

What makes your company stand out from your competition?  The fact that we are FULL SERVICE.  Most of our competition only focuses on the advance ticket sales process, which is great, but what happens on event day?  That’s where we can come in and handle everything from A-Z as if we worked out of the same office for the same organization.

First Paying Job:  Box Office Representative for the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins.

First Break into your business:  Meeting CTS when I was in college and working with them at SunFest.

Best Book You Have Read: Always By My Side by Jim Nantz

Best Advice you have ever received:  “Find something you love, make a career out of it and you’ll never work a day in your life”.   

Birthday: February 10, 1985

Pets:  Lab/German Shepherd - Sandy

College/Education: 2007 BA – Northwood University

Favorite Sports Team(s):  The U, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Blackhawks

What is one of your favorite quotes? “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something.  But I can’t accept not trying” Michael Jordan

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member?  The best part of being an FFEA member is the Hospitality Suite!  

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry?  Join and get involved in an association for the events industry such as FFEA.

Not-So-Scary Scarecrows
Leesburg Parternship Scarecrown Expo & Buildoff Event Review

I absolutely love fall. Ok so Fall in Florida isn’t quite the same as Fall up North but I have been discovering some pretty cool events throughout Florida that make me forget all about jumping in leaves. One of my favorite fall concepts this year was the Leesburg Scarecrow Building Contest. If you haven’t been to Leesburg you really need to check it out. They seriously have an event going on just about every weekend. The Leesburg Partnership has an amazing staff and I can totally relate to being crazy busy year round with events but they pull off some pretty incredible and innovate ideas with great crowds every time. The scarecrow contest is no exception!

The Leesburg Partnership has been doing the Scarecrow Expo and Build-off for 4 years now. They created this event after completing a vision tour with Community Leaders in St. Mary, GA. The Partnership staff works with community partners to get the scarecrow building supplies donated and people can come and build a scarecrow the day of the build-off using the donated supplies or they can build their own and just display it.  Scarecrows are then judged in 4 different categories:

  • Schools – Each winning school receives $50 for school supplies
  • City Departments
  • Downtown Businesses
  • General Public – Cash prizes of $100, $75 & $50 for First, Second and Third Place

All winners also receive a ribbon! What a fun, creative idea to bring together the community, while decorating their downtown area for the fall! Kudos to the team at Leesburg. If you want to check out some of their events, make sure to visit their Facebook page – I promise you won’t regret it!

Here is a quick sampling of just some of the amazing creations!

     

   

As Executive Director of the Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA), Suzanne Neve oversees the state's leading organization for festival and event professionals. FFEA's 450 members represent the industry's top leaders and the Association serves as a resource to help them perform at their peak through education, networking and the cultivation of the highest standards. In her role with FFEA, Suzanne and her team visit events throughout the state of Florida and United States and they strive to connect, educate and advocate on behalf of FFEA's diverse membership. Prior to joining FFEA, Suzanne worked in the events and hospitality industry for over 10 years, producing more than 350 events with combined millions of attendees. She garnered several awards for her work including General Manager of the Year, statewide Community Service Awards, several Telleys, Addys, Daveys and regional marketing awards. 
How can FFEA help your business? Call or email us today to find out! 407.203.1334
Meet the Member

Chris Allison, The Bucky & GiGi Show

Number of Years with your current company: 17

What does your company do? From the Backyard to the Ballroom….. Center Court to the Center Ring….. these two former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clowns will amaze and amuse… dazzle and delight using Circus Skills, Physical Comedy, Mime, Magic Improvisation and Audience Participation!

What makes your company stand out from your competition?  Our versatility and adaptability!  We work with our clients to present a show suitable for their guests.  Not only do we have our unique show, but we also can provide our own sound system, microphones, and custom circus back-drops and circus ring for shows.

First Paying Job: Fast food restaurant

First Break into your business: Being offered a job to travel with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a clown right out of high school.

Spouse / Children: Wife and comedy partner Gina and our son Hunter.

College/Education: BFA (Bachelor of Fun Arts) Ringling Bros. Clown College.

Favorite Sports Team(s): NY Yankees / NY Giants

Why did you join FFEA / What is the best benefit of being an FFEA Member?  To meet and network with festival and event members.  Since moving here 6 months ago I am amazed at how many festivals / events take place in Central FL.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone in the event industry? Undersell and Overdeliver!

Mama Mia!
Taste of Little Italy Event Review

January and February are busy event months in Florida so naturally I’m busy visiting them! (I know – my job is so hard, right?!). This weekend was no exception. I started in North Palm Beach at the ArtiGras Kick Off Party and had a blast. Then I headed south to West Palm Beach for the South Florida Fair (post below) and now I’m on my way back North again to Port Saint Lucie to the Taste of Little Italy. I have been to the “sister” event, Feast of Little Italy quite a few times as it was walking distance from my house so I was excited to visit Jerry with Via Productions for the Taste. And secretly I was hoping that since it was just a “Taste” and not a “Feast” that I would have more self control and stick to my diet but that didn’t happen. Oh well.

The producers pride themselves (rightfully so) on offering patrons a Cultural Journey Filled With Authentic Italian Food, Music, Art and Tradition and they definitely delivered!

I was there on opening night (Friday night) and got to see headliners Tommy Mara of the Crests & Joey Dee along with some great vendors (food and art). I wish I could have been there Saturday as well since that’s when the incredible Jennifer Chaparro did a chalk painting (pictured below).

I asked Jerry to send me over some information about the Festival and below is the information on their mission and Charity. They are so involved in the communities that they are located in and really support local vendors and non-profit organization. I absolutely love their philosophy. Here are some pictures too – just try not to salivate over the food photos!

Mission:

“Several years ago we started with a vision to create an experience rich in Italian culture. We look to celebrate the contributions of great Italians through food, music, art and tradition. Today as we stay dedicated to encouraging the importance of family and community we hope to stay mindful of the hardships that our ancestors endured in migrating to this great country. We can only hope to continue creating memorable moments together as we share in the passion of the Italian – American culture.”

Little Smiles is our official Charity

“We had a very successful Toy drive prior to the Taste in the Treasure Coast with Little Smiles and the help of BB&T banks and Rodger Dean Buick GMC. We Delivered mountains of toys to Lawnwood Hospital on Christmas Eve. We also sponsored the first Junk Food Run at Lawnwood Hospital with Little Smiles, this is a wonderful, fun time where we push around a huge red pull cart filled with all candy, sweets, desserts, etc. In conjunction with the doctors and nurses it helps the children that are going through chemo replenish calories and at the same time makes them feel like kids again. We also visited all the children that were there.They all get to fill big bags and pick whatever they like. To see the kids faces light up is indescribable, to think something as simple as candy can cheer them up that much, their smiles are priceless!”

 

 

As Executive Director of the Florida Festivals & Events Association (FFEA), Suzanne Neve oversees the state's leading organization for festival and event professionals. FFEA's 450 members represent the industry's top leaders and the Association serves as a resource to help them perform at their peak through education, networking and the cultivation of the highest standards. In her role with FFEA, Suzanne and her team visit events throughout the state of Florida and United States and they strive to connect, educate and advocate on behalf of FFEA's diverse membership. Prior to joining FFEA, Suzanne worked in the events and hospitality industry for over 10 years, producing more than 350 events with combined millions of attendees. She garnered several awards for her work including General Manager of the Year, statewide Community Service Awards, several Telleys, Addys, Daveys and regional marketing awards. 
How can FFEA help your business? Call or email us today to find out! 407.203.1334