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Catersource and Event Solutions Freshman Class
Bill Pannhoff, Newbie Ambassador, Spring Lake, NC

Welcome first time attendees! Join Bill and several other industry pros for a guided tour of what not to miss during this year’s program. Hear how to plan your next four days to assure that you get maximum value from your Catersource and Event Solutions experience, learn to use the Conference mobile app, how to get the most value from the sessions, what’s happening on the Tradeshow floor, and how to grow your network of friends and colleagues while in Vegas.

The ABCs of Developing Successful Vendor Relationships
Tricia Woodman, Owner and Yolanda Woods, General Manager, Simply Delicious Caterings, Memphis, TN

There are no sweeter words from a potential client than “I was referred by ABC Company. They say you are the best.” Developing vendor relationships is much more involved than simply attending your local networking events, sending thank you notes and hosting a yearly marketing event. Tricia and her team credit the development of strong vendor relationships as a key factor in the amazing growth of Simply Delicious Caterings. From A (always be around) to Z (zero tolerance for negativity), she will share the focused strategy practices that foster successful vendor relationships ultimately contributing to growth and bottom-line profit.

CSEP Conversations
Bill Ferguson, General Manager, Event Source, Columbus, OH and Marni Ness, Sales Associate, Pedersen’s Event Rentals, Seattle, WA

Established in 1993, the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation recognizes event professionals who have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skills and ability essential to perform all components of a special event. CSEP Conversations 2015 is an honest conversation about the designation for the creative event professional. Stop by for a casual tête-à-tête as we answer all of your questions about the CSEP designation and share suggestions for success as you prepare for the exam process. This class wil give you an overview of the CSEP Program, a review of CSEP Content Outline and recent exam changes, preparation tips for the CSEP Exam and resources for CSEP Exam preparation.

Wedding Paperie. Brand it All the Way to the Bank
Yvette Audrain, CPCE, CSEP, Owner, Simply Mox, Dallas, TX

In our world of instant messages and overstimulation, how can you ensure that your client’s message stands out above the noise? Wedding professionals today have to constantly balance new and old, efficiency and etiquette, and then present it seamlessly to a multi-generational audience. This session will help you to navigate the ever-changing wedding branding terrain and teach you how to blow your client’s mind while adding to your bottom line.

Free Votives! Why Giving Away Meaningless Freebies Hurts Your Business
Amanda Allen, Creative Director, MMD Events, Tampa, FL

Are you looking for a sales edge? Then stop giving away free stuff! Find out why giving away things that have no meaning don’t help your sales. Then learn more about what does help sales including value-added items and services, design fees and the ability to anticipate clients needs and wants. Discover the principles of “intentional selling” and the techniques for getting clients to happily pay full price.  You will get and discuss promotions that turn clients off, and those that turn them on. Learn how to write a smart proposal that attracts clients who want more and are willing to pay for it all.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the principles of “intentional selling” and how to integrate these principles into your sales strategy.
  • Get proposal writing skills including tips on managing clients expectations, improve communication and increase your booking rates.  Owners and sales managers alike will see examples of great proposals that organize vast amounts of information  concisely to gain clients trust and boost sales.
  • Hear  in-depth perspectives on why clients don’t want free stuff.  Learn the principles of value and client satisfaction along with effective communication strategies for all types of designers whether your medium is food or flowers.

The Hottest Video Technology Trends for Corporate Events
Scott Frankel, President, Animatic Media, LLC, Hicksville, NY

Producing award-winning video content and challenging your AV partners to work the latest video technology is always a crucial part of the job for meeting and event planners. This session will dive into video production tips and tricks for creating impactful, budget-conscience and purposeful opening videos, marketing videos, awards events, sales videos and more. Learn the latest trends in video technology for corporate events, such as 4K technology, video mapping, large format projection and holographic video. This session will also cover streaming video, on-demand video, twitter and even how we, as event professionals, market ourselves.


Culinary Innovation and Trendspotting. Adapting Restaurant Trends to Catering
Larry Liebowitz, Director of Culinary Innovation, and Cory Rockwood, Associate Director of Sales, Guckenheimer, Redwood Shores, CA

Competition in the marketplace is intense and often a company that is able to adapt to the newest food trends will have an advantage. Join Larry and Cory as they discuss current trends facing the industry and offer an overview of the ideation and collaboration of new ideas and hot concepts. Learn how to identify lasting trends from passing fads and how to adapt these to your business. Discover how to blend ideas, trends, and concepts into your own creative concepts, and to identify trends that will not only keep your company fresh and exciting, but make major contributions to your bottom line.

The Wedding Marketplace. Pricing Strategies for On-premise Venues
Jonathan Jennings, COO, Connecticut Wedding Group, Middletown, CT

Banquet Hall and on-premise venue success and profit is directly linked to the number of events you can book into your space and the amount of bottom line dollars you can garner on each event. While it is often easy to sell Saturday nights, to be successful you must discover ways to sell less desirable dates and times, create packages that are attractive to the bride and groom yet meet your profit criteria, and learn how to compete with the competition to make your venue the most attractive. Join Jonathan for this class as he shares the successful programs and marketing campaigns that have made Connecticut Wedding Group’s on-premise venues some of the most sought after on-premise properties.

Social Media for Event Pros. Top Tips for 2015
Nick Borelli, Marketing Director, Colortone Staging & Rentals, Cleveland, OH

You will leave this session with practical takeaways to optimize your social media efforts based on proven techniques used by different event brands. Platforms discussed will include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You will learn to leverage social media for marketing, talent recruitment, and team retention, while understanding unique user expectations, successful campaign strategies, and recent changes you need to know about.

Diversifying Your Portfolio. Booking and Producing Corporate Events
Meredith Commender, CSEP, Owner/Event Producer, Significant Events of Texas, Dallas, TX

Are corporate events a good fit for your business? You will leave this session with a clear answer to that question. Learn the benefits and challenges surrounding adding corporate events to your portfolio. Come ready for a discussion on the proposal writing process, sales strategies for maximizing marketing to this demographic, guidance for pricing and contract creation, and how vendor partnerships can lead to corporate event success.

Working On Your Business, Not In It. The Not-So-Fun Stuff of Being in Business
Stacie Francombe, Owner, Inspire Smart Success, Atlanta, GA

Being in a creative industry, we all love the beautiful linens, love tasting scrumptious foods with our clients, but the not-so-fun stuff of “running a business” is really what success is all about. In this seminar, Stacie will share her dos and don’ts of managing and running a successful business. Learn about budgeting, hiring and firing, goal setting, time management and much more.


The Small Business Guide to Implementing the New Healthcare Laws
Blu Pannhoff, Attorney, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Dallas, TX

Prior to moving into private practice, Blu Pannhoff worked for the National Office of the IRS in Washington, DC and served on the Executive Steering Committee for the Affordable Care Act implementation. In that capacity, he helped draft the bulk of the IRS’ guidance program for ACA, was responsible for training IRS employees and traveled the country speaking on the health care reform legislation. If Health Care Reform is still a mystery to you or if you have questions about compliance for your company, join this informative session and get some answers.

The Art of Negotiating Hotel Contracts
Judy E. Brillhart, CSEP, PBC, Director of Catering & Event Management, Sheraton Commander Hotel, Cambridge, MA

Take an in-depth interactive look at hotel contracts; What do the clauses actually mean to you and to your clients? This interactive session will let you dive into reviewing hotel contracts, asking questions applicable to actual events and help you understand how hotels structure contracts so that you may negotiate the best deal possible for your client. Learn to speak the hotel lingo from understanding REVPAR to room to space ratios, plus how to spot pitfalls in contracts and more.

A Romance with Flowers and Wedding Design
David Everett, Sr. Event Designer, The JDK Group, Camp Hill, PA

Beyond the bridal party’s personal flowers, there are boundless opportunities to intertwine unique design elements, some floral and some using other materials, into that special day for every bride and groom. No detail is too small and all of the little touches add up to one big statement. Join David as he showcases not only table and buffet centerpieces, but also design elements and unique presentations for passed appetizer trays, dessert presentations, place card tables, wedding guest favors, and more.

The Planner’s Playbook to Jewish Life Cycles and Event Excellence
Michele Schwartz, CEO/Publisher, The Modern Jewish Life, Austin, TX

Have you ever wondered what connecting with the Jewish community could mean for your business?According to The Wedding Report, $29, 000 is spent on the average wedding. Jewish weddings typically last an entire weekend, with a large portion of their budget allocated to the wedding reception. In addition to Jewish weddings, do you speak Bar Mitzvah? Are you ready to expertly serve clients in this $1.5 to $2 billion market? Do you know Kosher rules like the back of your hand?  Led by Jewish life-cycle event planning expert Michele Schwartz, this session will give you the insights, vocabulary, important issues and questions, and needed information so you can plan successful Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and Jewish weddings, and ultimately, help you grow your business.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the basic Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Jewish wedding vocabulary to improve client screening and intake questions.
  • Get the two questions you have to know the answers to before every Jewish event to decrease stress, ensure success and obtain rave reviews.
  • Find out creative, succesful ways to market your services to the Jewish community.


A Passport to Global Events. Learn How It’s Done and How to Succeed
Sara Gorlick, Director, Global Events, Rakuten, Las Vegas, NV

Events are turning global. Whether you work for international clients on U.S. soil, work for a company that is expanding into new countries, or you are an independent event planner that has the opportunity to take on clients outside of North America, it is more important than ever to understand how events work on a global scale. Attend this session to learn from other global planners experiences and how you can succeed if you plan to be an event planner jet setter.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn more about the current landscape of global events, how many companies are going global, and what these events look like, in the U.S. and outside of it.
  • Find out how to strategically plan an event in a country other than your own.
  • What event elements are  affordable in some countries and astronomically priced in others.

What You Need to Know about the Millennial Start-up
Claire Harrington, Public Relations Manager, Social Tables, Washington, DC

Hospitality start-ups are quickly carving out a niche in the $117 billion-a-year meetings and conventions business, with millennials at the helm of these innovative companies. In this session you will learn about the products the top start-ups offer and their impact on the future of the hospitality industry. Discuss the challenges, and why working with them will alter your business now and for the future.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover how the market shift towards start-ups will affect the event industry and your business.
  • Learn more about the top five hospitality tech start-ups and why you need to know them.
  • Find out how to use the techniques and business strategies of these five start-ups in order to make your company more successful now.
MASTER BUSINESS CLASS – This exclusive session is limited to the first 45 attendees. Sign up here to attend this session on Sunday from 2:00-3:15pm. When Doing “OK” is No Longer Good Enough. Taking Yourself and Your Business to the Next Level
Sean Low, Founder/President, The Business of Being Creative, Petaluma, CAThis workshop-style session is designed for owners who have been in business for five years or more. You are successful and doing “OK,” but want to make that leap to greatness. The question on your mind: How? To do so requires a willingness to change, streamline, redefine, and attend this session. Presenter Sean Low will help you examine your business from a new perspective by going through what he defines as the four essential transitions of creative businesses. Come prepared to delve deeper into how you can master these transitions. Discover how and where you can tighten up your intent, procedures, branding, and inner workings in order to springboard from doing OK to being great.



Cooking Up a Better Website. Four Ingredients Every Website Needs and How to Use Them
Alan Berg, Author/Professional Speaker/Small Business Marketing Expert, AlanBerg.com, Kendall Park, NJ

When it comes to a better website experience, the buzzword is ‘conversion’ – getting people to take the action you want to get them closer to doing business with you. Attend this workshop and marketing guru, Alan Berg, will show you what to add and take away from your website to attain just the right recipe for success.

Learning Objectives:

  • Get the hot trends in wedding and event branding for 2015.
  • Discover opportunities to craft extremely personalized celebrations for your clients.
  • Find out what you can reasonably expect from your paperie and branding partners.
  • Plus, get tips and tricks that you can implement immediately to boost your bottom line.

Navigating Gluten-free, Allergy and Dietary Considerations
Beth Winthrop, MS, RD, CNSC, National Development Director for Wellness, Sodexo Campus

On-premise, off-premise, campus and contract caterers all face one issue in common: at almost every event, they will have to accommodate allergic, gluten intolerant and other diet restricted guests. From the food source to the prep kitchen to the guest table, you will need a plan to assure that you have taken every precaution and have foolproof systems in place to guarantee every guest has an exceptional meal. Learn about developing systems for customers to give you special requests in advance, procedures to minimize cross-contact contamination, key considerations for staff training, and which specific food products need to raise the special care “red flag” on your menus.

Understanding AV. Language to Leverage More Value From Your Suppliers
Matthew Byrne, CSEP, Senior Producer/Business Development, Krista Slack + Aylett Inc., Toronto, ON, CAN

How many times have you been burned by an AV supplier? Do you find you are trying and maybe not succeeding in mitigating scope creep? When a supplier sends you a quote with DX150 DLP on it, do you hope that is what you need for your event, but put all your trust in your supplier? This session will help you get a thorough understanding of how AV is applied to events and meetings, when and why to use it and to leverage more value with your suppliers. You will learn the essentials of what your quote should include, why it’s been broken down in a particular way and what to look for. Key points for takeaway are how to avoid scope creep, how to have better relationships with your suppliers, how to identify the real “must haves” and the “nice to haves”, skills for working with your message and what technology best suits it, and how to gain more value with your team as an expert on all aspects of your event.

The Event Designer and the Caterer Should Be Friends
Ronnie Davis, Managing Partner, Ronnie Davis Events and Managing Director, Great Performances, New York City, NY

Any special event is a roaring success if it meets or exceeds the client’s expectations. The event design must be flawless, the food remarkable, the service exemplary, and the entertainment memorable. Lack of planning and cooperation between the caterer and the event designer may cause disaster. Ronnie’s experience in both event design and catering give him the credentials and the knowledge to share tips about working together to meet the needs of the caterer and have the food service play a leading role in the event. He’ll showcase several examples of actual events to illustrate the key points that should be considered when planning and how the menu and the service style can enhance the event’s theme.

Follow My Lead! Build a Great Company by Being a Great Leader
Matt Allen, Owner, MMD Events, Tampa, Florida

Being a business leader not only means leading your team but also being a leader within your event community. Learn what leadership means and looks like in this industry’s often casual and unstructured work environment. When you lead, the competition has no other option but to follow. Discover how to set high standards, create boundaries and broadcast principles in order to change the landscape of your event community. Learn how to see the difference between something that is simply a great idea and that whch can make money. Get examples of risk and reward and hear the stories behind success. Join Matt as he shares knowledge, tips and tricks learned from taking his business from the garage to seven figures.
This presentation will be heavy on audience participation with guided Q&A. Come prepared to participate in a lively, informative session!

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover what type of leader you are and how you can affect change in your event community.
  • Learn business systems and bring home tools that will put you ahead of your competition.
  • Get ideas on timing, risk and how to adapt to grow.

30 Predictions for the Next 20 Years of Events
Dan Berger, Founder/CEO, Social Tables, Washington, DC

Think of the changes we’ve all seen in the past 20 years of business. Can you even imagine what the next 20 years will look like? Probably not, but if you aren’t at least trying to predict the future of the event industry, you’ll find yourself back pedaling to keep up with the innovation that is coming our way. One way to envision the future and what will be possible is to continue to stay up with the people who are on the front lines of the techno shift. This rapid-fire session will do just that. Come ready to be amazed at what is three steps ahead of us in technology and communication in order to stay one step ahead of your competition.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify macro trends in technology and communication that are changing the way we live, work and play.
  • Get a glimpse of what events will look like in 2035.
  • Learn how you can take advantage of what’s ahead, as well as future-proof your business in preparation for all the upcoming changes.


Effective AV Budgeting for Your Events
Rick Turner, Director of Business Development, Colortone Staging and Rentals, Cleveland, OH

Budget is always a concern when planning an event. Planners try to get the most bang for the buck by spending money on elements that wow the audience, like flowers, table linens, and décor. Audiovisual and lighting are seemingly less important to the event planner, until cutting corners causes unforgettable problems at the event. With careful advanced preparation and a close working relationship with an audiovisual production team, you can use budget dollars wisely for the audiovisual services that make the most sense. Join Rick Turner as he helps guide you through the proper steps to ensure that you and your client host a remarkable event for the right price.

Advanced Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business
Trevor Lynn, Chief Marketing Officer, Social Tables, Washington, DC

So you’re on social media and it’s going OK. You’re sending out tweets, posting to Facebook and investing a lot of time building your online presence. What happens next? How do you turn that into sales? This session will take you past the free world of online marketing and show you how to get those followers to become customers. You will leave this course understanding the value of free online marketing and how paid online marketing can take your business to the next level.

Hollywood Events. Style, Trends and Innovation for Big and Small Budgets
Troy Williams, Owner/Event Designer, Simply Troy Lifestyle + Events, Los Angeles, CA

What is a Hollywood event? Like the entertainment that emanates from this town, there are many styles! In this session, you will find out more about two of those styles. One is the big production style steeped in Hollywood history, but forward-thinking in terms of design concepts. The other is Hollywood “indie” style, with streamlined budgets that are big on ideas. In both, creativity is abundant! Come to get the latest in event design, catering trends, menu presentations, and more. And! Get insight and takeaways on how both this innovator extends his work and brands into his market for exposure and new business.


Opening Session. At the Intersection of Catering and Events
Marcus Samuelsson, Chef, Red Rooster Harlem, New York City, NY and Neal Fraser, Chef/Owner, BLD, Fritzi Dog, The Strand House, Neal Fraser & Co. and Redbird at Vibiana, Los Angeles, CA

Two top chefs will take the stage at our first ever joint Catersource and Event Solutions opening session to discuss the relationship between catering and events and how working together can maximize everyone’s profits, while providing the best service possible.






*Speakers and schedule subject to change.