Show cover of GatherGeeks by BizBash: The Event Industry Podcast

GatherGeeks by BizBash: The Event Industry Podcast

Welcome to GatherGeeks, a place where people passionate about the power of live experiences come together. Join David Adler, chairman and founder of BizBash, as he discusses the latest news and trends affecting event marketers, meeting strategists, nonprofit organizers, and everyone in between. This podcast by BizBash is the destination for information, innovation, and inspiration for anyone involved in planning events and meetings, from conferences, trade shows, and fund-raising galas to product launches, festivals, award shows, weddings, and birthdays. Look for GatherGeeks in your favorite platforms: iTunes, Audible, Spotify, and iHeartRadio, with more on the way. Connect with us on Twitter at @BizBash and join the conversation using the hashtag #gathergeeks.

Tracks

Why Catering Is the Ultimate Event Touchpoint
This special edition of GatherGeeks was recorded live at Connect NYC, which took place in late February. In this episode, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Michael Cirino, chief experience officer at House of Attention; Chelsey Lavere, senior sales manager of meetings and conventions at Turning Stone Resort Casino; and Mary Giuliani, founder and CEO of Mary Giuliani Catering & Events. The panel discusses why and how the catering experience is the final frontier in event marketing—and the ultimate touchpoint where brands can make a lasting impression. They also delve into cutting-edge culinary innovation and event experiences, from drone cocktail bars to deconstructed chicken dinners, and even an avant-garde 100-course dining experience. In addition, the group explores how technology intertwines with the dining experience and, even more importantly, how event profs can engage their catering partners to be as much a marketing partner as their internal teams and agency partners. Listen in on a discussion that's sure to tantalize your taste buds and inspire your event planning endeavors.
36:49 3/20/24
The New Frontier of Events
This special edition of GatherGeeks was recorded live at Connect NYC, which took place in late February. In this episode, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Jennifer Savica, head of corporate events at New York Life Insurance Company, and Michael Weiss, co-founder of Ai4, to discuss the future of events. Adler calls them two of the brightest minds shaping our industry, and their conversation touches on not only event trends for 2024 but what's on the "trash heap" of event planning, the evolving format of keynotes, the role of AI in events, the shift from virtual to hybrid and back, and the importance of belonging and community. Get ready for a deep dive into the new frontier of events.
28:16 3/12/24
Understanding Attendees Through Their Values—Not Demographics
In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with David Allison, author of The Death of Demographics and a globally recognized researcher known for coining the term "valuegraphics." This data-informed strategy seeks to unpack human behavior by spotlighting shared human values over outward demographic characteristics. Major companies like Lulu Lemon, PayPal, Google, and the United Nations Foundation have embraced this concept, and here Allison breaks down how it can be used to better understand audiences, sell products, motivate teams, and design user experiences. He also discusses why it's time to apply this concept to the world of event planning to create programs that truly resonate. This is an episode definitely worth a listen for anyone seeking to take their events to the next level.
50:50 1/2/24
Illuminating the Intricacies of Event Lighting
In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with two of the best in the event lighting biz: Billy Butchkavitz of Billy Butchkavitz Design and Curt Stahl of Images by Lighting. Based in Los Angeles, this duo is at the forefront of transforming event spaces into mesmerizing experiences. Here, they discuss various facets of event lighting, how lighting has evolved, its pivotal role in setting the stage, and considerations for different event scenarios. This episode also touches on the impact of social media on lighting design, plus Butchkavitz's and Stahl's dream projects (hint: One of them hopes to light the Olympics one day). Take a listen.
42:40 12/12/23
A Seat at the 'Head Table' (Pt. 2)
Welcome to part two of our podcast with Head Table Talks. (Missed part one? Listen here.) In this special episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits in on a special event planners' luncheon—co-hosted by Melva LaJoy Legrand of LaJoy Plans and Margo Fischer of Bright Occasions—in Washington, D.C. These luncheons, known as Head Table Talks, aim to build community within the event industry and provide a safe space for event profs to network and collaborate. In part two, the focus shifts to the latest happenings in the event business and provides valuable insights into the industry's latest trends and challenges.  The group touches on topics that are shaping the fate of the industry and candidly discusses everything from the pros and cons of new technology advancements, the legacy impacts of COVID-19 on the events sector, to rising security concerns. These event profs also share their own experiences of juggling personal and professional lives. Take a listen, and keep scrolling to read more about our distinguished guests. Melva LaJoy LegrandAs a self-made entrepreneur recognized for her work in the live event industry, as well as causes rooted in social equality as it pertains to women, health, and race and identity, Melva LaJoy Legrand is a public speaker, event producer/director, community leader, and storyteller. As the founder and CEO of LaJoy Plans, an event planning firm she relaunched in 2019, Legrand has been recognized as a trailblazer in the event industry, receiving the BizBash Top Event Industry Innovator Award and the Events Industry Council Global Social Impact Award in 2022. As of 2023, Legrand has spearheaded two new initiatives: Mondays With Melva, exclusive monthly content for her subscribers, offering career guidance as well as event planning tips, and Head Table Talks, an annual luncheon she co-created as a safe space for event planners. Margo FischerMargo Fischer is the owner of Bright Occasions, a full-service event planning company specializing in bespoke weddings and milestone occasions. Fischer brings a wealth of industry knowledge and hands-on experience to her clients, from previous roles in corporate event planning and private event catering. She has a passion for curating unforgettable events. With a strong foundation in event planning and an impressive career in some of Washington, D.C.'s most prestigious venues, Fischer boasts over 14 years of expertise in the event industry. In addition to helping couples and families, Fischer has worked on community events such as the annual Art in Bloom museum experience and gala reception at Anderson House. She also co-produced the Beyond the Blackout series to highlight diversity and inclusivity within the event industry and is currently co-producing Head Table Talks networking luncheons to create a space for event planners to gather, mingle, and learn from one another. Kawania WootenKawania Wooten, CMP, brings a unique mix of experience and skills to her businesses, Howerton+Wooten Events and The Enlightened Creative. Her vast experience in the hospitality world includes hotel management, casino and gaming, the culinary industry, and 30 years as a professional meeting and event planner for Washington, D.C.'s elite. Wooten strives for professionalism, creativity, and impeccable organization within every function planned by the Howerton+Wooten Events team. She is an adjunct instructor in the hospitality, tourism, and culinary arts department at Prince George's Community College.  Aisha Malik RodriguezAisha Malik Rodriguez is the founder and owner of Aim Aro Logistics LLC, a dynamic company specializing in production and event management on a global scale. With a career spanning over 25 years in the event and hospitality industry, Malik Rodriguez has become a true expert in her field. Born and raised in Fairfax County, Va., and hailing from a rich Pakistani cultural background, Malik Rodriquez brings a unique blend of experiences and perspectives to her work. Her family, which is large and spread around the world, has instilled in her a deep appreciation for diverse cultures and traditions. Malik Rodriguez's company, Aim Aro Logistics LLC, excels in a wide range of services, including vendor management, event permitting, and emergency response management. With a passion for creating unforgettable experiences, she and her team are dedicated to helping clients navigate the entire event process from start to finish. Whether it's a festival, a government or military event, a corporate gathering, a nonprofit initiative, or a private celebration, Malik Rodriguez's expertise shines through. Jennifer CharlesJennifer Charles is a co-founder and the chief creative officer at Something Fabulous. Charles' specialty is in designing experience and storytelling marketing. She has a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Charles began her career in radio, television, and film. From interning at theToday show and Good Morning America to working in production with The Food Network and New Line Cinema, she has experienced storytelling from many different angles and industries. Becca MaiBecca Mai is a West Virginia native who transplanted to the D.C. area shortly after launching a career in hospitality. She has been in the wedding industry for over 10 years specializing in planning for LGBTQ+, multicultural, and fusion weddings and events. While the majority of her career has been geared toward wedding operations, she has spent a lengthy portion of it building out platforms, training programs, and more. She is now a business strategist for wedding professionals and an inclusive wedding planner, assisting wedding business owners on the back of the business to streamline, automate, and organize with hospitality 100% in mind. 
53:01 11/28/23
A Seat at the 'Head Table' (Pt. 1)
In this special episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits in on a special event planners' luncheon—co-hosted by Melva LaJoy Legrend of LaJoy Plans and Margo Fischer of Bright Occasions—in Washington, D.C. These luncheons, known as Head Table Talks, aim to build community within the events industry and provide a safe space for event profs to network and collaborate. At this particular Head Table Talk, held in late October at Dauphine's, Adler brings his Jeffersonian-style of discussion to the six planners gathered and asks each of them: What was your first job? And what did you learn from it? This is just part one of this thought-provoking discussion. Part two, to be released next week, will shift its focus to the latest happenings in the event business and provide valuable insights into the industry's latest trends and challenges. These are two episodes you don't want to miss.  In this special episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits in on a special event planners' luncheon—co-hosted by Melva LaJoy Legrend of LaJoy Plans and Margo Fischer of Bright Occasions—in Washington, D.C. These luncheons, known as Head Table Talks, aim to build community within the events industry and provide a safe space for event profs to network and collaborate. At this particular Head Table Talk, held in late October at Dauphine's, Adler brings his Jeffersonian-style of discussion to the six planners gathered and asks each of them: What was your first job? And what did you learn from it? This is just part one of this thought-provoking discussion. Part two, to be released next week, will shift its focus to the latest happenings in the event business and provide valuable insights into the industry's latest trends and challenges. These are two episodes you don't want to miss. Keep scrolling to learn more about our distinguished guests. Melva LaJoy Legrand As a self-made entrepreneur recognized for her work in the live events industry, as well as causes rooted in social equality as it pertains to women, health, and race and identity, Melva LaJoy Legrand is a public speaker, event producer/director, community leader, and storyteller. As the founder/CEO of LaJoy Plans, an event planning firm she re-launched in 2019, Melva has been recognized as a trailblazer in the events industry receiving the BizBash Top Event Industry Innovator Award and the Events Industry Council, Global Social Impact Award in 2022. As of 2023, Melva has spearheaded two new initiatives: Mondays With Melva, exclusive monthly content for her subscribers, offering career guidance as well as event planning tips, and Head Table Talks, an annual luncheon that she co-created as a safe space for event planners. Margo Fischer Margo Fischer is the owner of Bright Occasions, a full-service event planning company specializing in bespoke weddings and milestone occasions. Margo brings a wealth of industry knowledge and hands-on experience to her clients, from previous roles in corporate event planning and private event catering. She has a passion for curating unforgettable events. With a strong foundation in event planning and an impressive career in some of Washington, D.C.'s most prestigious venues, Margo boasts over 14 years of expertise in the event industry. In addition to helping couples and families, Margo has worked on community events such as the annual Art in Bloom museum experience and gala reception at Anderson House. And she co-produced the Beyond the Blackout series to highlight diversity and inclusivity within the event industry and is currently co-producing Head Table Talks networking luncheons to create a space for event planners to gather, mingle, and learn from one another. Kawania Wooten Kawania Wooten, CMP, brings a unique mix of experience and skills to her businesses, Howerton+Wooten Events and the Enlightened Creative. Her vast experience in the hospitality world includes hotel management, casino and gaming, the culinary industry, and 30 years as a professional meeting and event planner for the Washington D.C. elite. Kawania strives for professionalism, creativity, and impeccable organization within every function planned by the Howerton+Wooten Events team. She is an adjunct instructor in the Hospitality, Tourism, and Culinary Arts Department at Prince George's Community College.  Aisha Malik Rodriguez Aisha Malik Rodriguez is the founder and owner of Aim Aro Logistics LLC, a dynamic company specializing in production and event management on a global scale. With a career spanning over 25 years in the event and hospitality industry, Aisha has become a true expert in her field. Born and raised in Fairfax County, Va., and hailing from a rich Pakistani cultural background, Aisha brings a unique blend of experiences and perspectives to her work. Her family, which is large and spread across the world, has instilled in her a deep appreciation for diverse cultures and traditions. Aisha's company, Aim Aro Logistics LLC, excels in a wide range of services, including vendor management, event permitting, and emergency response management. With a passion for creating unforgettable experiences, she and her team are dedicated to helping clients navigate the entire event process, from start to finish. Whether it's a festival, a government or military event, a corporate gathering, a nonprofit initiative, or a private celebration, Aisha's expertise shines through. Jennifer Charles Jennifer Charles is a co-founder and the chief creative officer at Something Fabulous. Jennifer’s specialty is in designing experience and storytelling marketing. Jennifer has a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She began her career in radio, television, and film. From interning at The Today Show and Good Morning America to working in production with The Food Network and New Line Cinema, she has experienced storytelling from many different angles and industries. Becca Mai Becca Mai is a West Virginia native who transplanted to the D.C. area shortly after launching a career in hospitality. She has been in the wedding industry for over 10 years specializing in planning for LBGTQ+, multicultural, and fusion weddings and events. While the majority of her career has been geared toward wedding operations, she has spent a lengthy portion of it building out platforms, training programs, and more. She is now a business strategist for wedding professionals and an inclusive wedding planner, assisting wedding business owners on the back of the business to streamline, automate, and organize with hospitality 100% in mind. 
41:11 11/21/23
Meet Jack Morton's New Executive Creative Director
In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Kelly Roe, the brand-new executive creative director at global experiential powerhouse Jack Morton. At the time of this recording, she’s been at the helm just three weeks. During their enlightening conversation, Adler and Roe discuss her time at The Kitchen, the in-house creative agency at Kraft Heinz; the evolving world of influencers; the art of inspiring teams and extracting their full potential; and the changing nature of what works now in events. This conversation is a wellspring of knowledge and inspiration—take a listen.
40:09 11/13/23
What It Was Like Planning Events for the Obamas
In this episode of GatherGeeks—recorded live at Connect Marketplace 2023 in Minneapolis—BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Deesha Dyer, who served as the White House social secretary for the last two years of the Obama administration. Here she recounts the meticulous planning that went into the Pope’s visit, navigating unexpected situations with poise, and how her time as social secretary informed her understanding of the intricate interplay between politics, social customs, and the importance of creating memorable experiences. Listen for a behind-the-scenes look into events held at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
29:58 9/26/23
How AI Can Change the Attendee Experience
In this episode of GatherGeeks—recorded live at Connect Marketplace 2023 in Minneapolis—BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Michael Schaiman, CEO of creative technology studio GenCity Labs. Schaiman is a powerhouse of knowledge on everything digital. From shaping trailblazing digital experiences to spearheading impactful strategies, his prowess is certain to bring a fresh perspective to our listeners. In this episode, Adler and Schaiman chat about the latter's recent work with the Detroit Lions and Mercedez-Benz, antiquated event tech stacks, how AI can improve an event experience, AI platforms to test out, and more. Take a listen.
27:36 9/12/23
Escape From Burning Man
It's likely you've seen the news from over the weekend: Thousands were trapped at Burning Man—the psychedelic art and music festival that pops up every year in the Nevada desert—after days of torrential rainfall. In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler chats with Bentley Meeker, a legendary lighting artist and Burning Man attendee for the last 14 years. Meeker takes us through what happened this year and how he got out (trekking through three miles of mud), his work on a massive art installation depicting a 30-foot clitoris (yes, you read that correctly), and his past work lighting the famous Temple at Burning Man. This episode is bound to ignite your senses and expand your horizons. Take a listen.
42:29 9/6/23
Event Agency Leaders Share Their Hard-Earned Lessons
Host: David Adler Guests: Anika Grant, Cara Kleinhaut, Dan Mannix Welcome to part two of our exploration of the event and experiential agency world. (Missed part one? Listen here.) Last week, these three agency leaders—Anika Grant of Idlewild Experiential, Cara Kleinhaut of AGENC Experiential + Digital Marketing, and Dan Mannix of underdog venture team—gave us their insights on the pulse of the industry. This week, they'll discuss their own journeys navigating the waves of experiential marketing like seasoned sailors. Expect real stories, heartfelt emotions, and hard-earned lessons. This episode will leave you enlightened on the power of vulnerability and leadership, the art of navigating transition, and what it truly means to be a good boss. 
23:45 8/22/23
What Clients Want Now in the World of Experiential Marketing
In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler has assembled a powerhouse panel of experiential agency leaders to get the pulse of what's happening in the world of experiential marketing—what do clients want now? He's joined by Anika Grant, the founder and CEO of Idlewild Experiential; Cara Kleinhaut, the founder and CEO of AGENC Experiential + Digital Marketing; and Dan Mannix, the co-founder of underdog venture team. Join them as they navigate the intricate laboratory of the experiential marketing world, exploring the aspirations of its key players and understanding how they can harmonize these diverse needs to create exceptional experiences. Whether you're an industry veteran or a newcomer, this episode promises to be a wealth of insights that will help you stay ahead in this dynamic field. Also, stay tuned for part two next week, where they will discuss the joys and pitfalls of being an agency entrepreneur and fostering a culture of curiosity. 
24:42 8/14/23
What It’s Like to Manage an Event Venue Today
Host: David Adler Guests: Christopher Felts, Wayne Fernandez If you’re looking to geek out on venues, budgeting, and AV, this episode is for you. Joining BizBash chairman and founder David Adler this week are two experts who understand the intricacies of how having great venue partners can make or break you: Christopher Felts, director of operations for AES NYC, and Wayne Fernandez, the general manager of Magic Box Event Center in Los Angeles. Although located on different coasts, these venues both provide raw, blank canvas spaces to planners. In this conversation, expect the trio to get honest about how quickly partner relationships can go sour, budgeting prowess, and insights into what they’re seeing firsthand in events today. And they see everything.
51:04 7/18/23
Why Big Event Ideas Only Matter If They’re Impactful
Host: David Adler Guest: Michael Cirino In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Michael Cirino, the mastermind behind the 100-Course Meal and founder of creative studio House of Attention. Cirino knows that events have the power to evoke emotions and leave lasting impressions, and his storytelling prowess is sure to leave you inspired. In this episode, he shares the secrets behind that groundbreaking dinner event, discusses the inner workings of House of Attention and his concept of “big ideas,” and reveals his remarkable perspective on event experiences. This conversation is sure to challenge your perceptions and ignite your imagination. 
45:30 6/12/23
Why Celebs Descended on an Event No One’s Heard of Before
Host: David Adler Guest: Chris Detert In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Chris Detert, chief communications officer for Influential, dubbed as the largest influencer marketing company in the world. The company recently wrapped work for Possible, a new marketing conference that brought brands and tech and media companies—plus big-name speakers like A-Rod, Elon Musk, and LL Cool J—to Miami last month. In this lively convo, Detert discusses Influential’s nail-biting approach to helping make this inaugural conference successful, curating celebrity speakers, how the company completed a big land grab for the upcoming Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity by taking over Twitter Beach, and the promising future of AI.
44:19 5/22/23
DEI in the Events Industry—Why There's Still a Long Way to Go
Host: David Adler Guests: Meera Somji, Andrew Carney In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Meera Somji and Andrew Carney, the co-founders of Clusivity, a consultancy that helps organizations take a data-driven approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The duo recently gave a presentation at the 2023 SISO CEO Summit in Las Vegas and used a powerful storytelling style that masterfully combined hard facts and compelling narratives. In this candid conversation, Somji and Carney discuss how they crafted that presentation for the SISO audience (comprising global show organizers), as well as how their company is breaking new ground and addressing DEI in the events industry in unique ways. This episode also explores the challenges and opportunities that come with implementing DEI strategies—plus the impact these efforts can have on both the industry and the world at large.
32:00 4/17/23
How Event Attendees Think Today
Host: David Adler Guests: Chris and Jill Drury In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Chris and Jill Drury, the husband-and-wife team behind event agency Drury Design. The two are involved in just about every aspect of group dynamics for both virtual and in-person events. They are the go-to couple for updates on what’s really going on in the world of large corporate events. They collaborate on all aspects of their business—whether it’s with clients like IBM and Microsoft, their teams, and especially with attendees. In this episode, they discuss the biggest changes in the events industry in recent years ("people want more meaning out of these events," Chris said), plus how to create an atmosphere of openness, piggybacking private events around major trade shows, and an exercise they do internally called “idea jams.” If you want a sense of what’s going on in the industry right now, take a listen.
42:25 4/10/23
What Event Profs Can Learn From a New Generation of Diplomats
Host: David Adler Guest: Jonathan Steffert In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Jonathan Steffert, the cultural attaché of public diplomacy and public affairs for the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, D.C. Steffert represents a new generation of diplomats who understand the importance of developing soft power in ways that engage and promote the values of their country. He's a great believer in using storytelling in every part of his job, especially when hosting events at the embassy. (Pro tip: This includes mowing the lawn ahead of every event to get that great cut-grass smell, and handing out friendship pins off his own suit when other people show an interest.) Steffert is one of the most strategic thinkers on soft power. And as the epitome of New Zealand love for the environment, diversity, and kindness, his lessons are as important for an experiential marketer, to a meeting planner, to an event designer, and everything in between. Take a listen, and take notes.
39:07 3/20/23
Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths to Lead an Event Agency
Host: David Adler Guest: Richard Waddington In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Richard Waddington, one of the most creative players on the international event scene. He is the co-founder and former CEO of event agency First Protocol, which is now known as FIRST. And he’s been in the news recently as part of PCMA’s acquisition of the U.K.-based Event Marketing Association (following its acquisition of another event marketing body, CEMA, in 2020). Here, Waddington recalls working his way up the hospitality ladder, candidly discusses his struggle with dyslexia, and speaks about trust and the importance of apprenticeship relationships. As a leader and a participant in the huge growth of the events industry over the past 20 years, Waddington is a must-listen guest. The episode concludes with the return of our “Ask the Experts.” Dawn Penfold of Meetingjobs talks dealing with being miserable at work—and how to know when it’s time to leave. And wine and spirits specialist Vanessa Cominsky returns to discuss how wine is no longer a luxury but a must-have at events, plus how cannabis and nonalcoholic beverages are faring now.
42:06 3/13/23
The Event Profs Behind SXSW on What to Expect This Year
Host: David Adler Guests: Hugh Forrest, Cindy Lo In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with two key event profs behind South by Southwest (SXSW), the buzzy annual festival in Austin that attracts emerging talent, iconic performances, and groundbreaking ideas in the realms of music, TV/film, tech, and culture. We first hear from Hugh Forrest, SXSW’s co-president and chief programming officer, who delves into the festival’s 30-plus-year history, how it’s evolved and thrived in those decades, why AI will be a big topic this year, and what else he’s most looking forward to at the 2023 festival. Cindy Lo, CEO of full-service events agency RED VELVET, then joins the pod. She’s been producing brand events and activations for years with SXSW, and here she discusses what both planners and attendees want most out of these experiences, how brands are measuring ROI, and how the fest is attracting younger generations. This is a preview episode you won’t want to miss.
39:31 2/27/23
What Is Hospitality Today? Take It From The Plaza
Host: David Adler Guest: Luigi Romaniello In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Luigi Romaniello, the new managing director of New York’s iconic The Plaza Hotel. Like the famous book series Eloise, the 30-year industry veteran actually lives at The Plaza where he oversees all aspects of the luxury hotel, including daily operations, guest experiences, and continued growth strategies. He comes to New York after years managing other iconic properties in The Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Dallas, and Abu Dhabi. He's the first one to tell us that no one really owns The Plaza except for the people of New York. And in this interview, he also touches on his management philosophy, what hospitality looks like today, and how hotels can become epicenters of community. In addition, you’ll hear from three new “Ask the Expert” guests: Tim Groot, CEO and founder of Grip, an AI-powered event platform; and renowned event designers David Beahm of David Beahm Experiences and Todd Fiscus of Todd Events.
39:54 2/20/23
How This 5-Day Gathering in Poland Tests the Boundaries of Live Experiences
Host: David Adler Guests: Paul Bulencea, Claus Raasted, Tahira Endean In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder sits down with the founders of the College of Extraordinary Experiences, a five-day conference held inside a 13th-century Polish castle that uses an immersive education method to study experience design. We also hear from “graduates” of the conference—including IMEX's head of programming Tahira Endean—on the life-changing learning that impacts how they plan events and conduct their lives. Founders Paul Bulencea and Claus Raasted come from the world of LARP (live-action role playing)—could that be the ticket to entice this next generation of eventgoers? We also hear from our returning “Ask the Experts.” Wine and spirits specialist Vanessa Cominsky delves into wine myths, and hiring pro Dawn Penfold of Meetingjobs discusses what hiring managers in the meeting and event industry are looking for today.
37:51 2/13/23
Dishing on the Catering Industry—What to Know to Be a Better Client in Today's Market
Host: David Adler Guests: Carla Ruben, Chap Gage, Dawn Penfold, Vanessa Cominsky In this episode of GatherGeeks, along with the main interviews, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler has added two new “Ask the Expert” features. One is with career and hiring pro Dawn Penfold, president of Meetingjobs, who will discuss salary transparency and where the job market is today. Our second expert is Vanessa Cominsky, wine and spirits specialist for Prestige-Ledroit Distributing Co., who will touch on how the wine and beverage industry has changed because of the pandemic. In the main interviews, our two speakers give us a sense of the state of the catering industry. Carla Ruben, owner of Creative Edge Parties, dishes on a new generation of guests at events, and how clients are moving away from comfort food and leaning into clean, luxurious offerings. Then, Chap Gage, CEO of Susan Gage Caterers, discusses how the building blocks of a great company include taking care of coworkers and building meaningful relationships with clients and the community, and how aspects of his military training have become a benchmark for service.
58:27 1/16/23
A Year in Review with BizBash's Editorial Team
In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with BizBash’s editorial team—interim editorial director Shannon Thaler, managing editor Sarah Kloepple, and senior contributing editor Claire Hoffman—to discuss how events fared in 2022. The trio answer questions about what gave them “goosebump moments” this year, their favorite BizBash stories they worked on in 2022, and what they predict is in store for the industry in 2023. 
46:25 12/27/22
State Dinners to Top-Secret Events—Lessons From a Former White House Social Secretary
Host: David Adler Guest: Deesha Dyer Imagine orchestrating a visit from the pope and a Chinese state dinner… within days of each other. In this episode of GatherGeeks, recorded live at Connect Winter Marketplace in Washington, D.C, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Deesha Dyer, who served as the White House social secretary—the person responsible for planning and coordinating official social events at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.—for the last two years of the Obama administration. Dyer is also the founder and CEO of Hook & Fasten, a social impact agency that specializes in transformational relationships between corporations and communities, diversity and inclusion, and executive operations. In this conversation, Dyers gets candid on navigating stressful moments in a high-stakes environment, working with Michelle Obama, how she started as an intern at the White House, lessons she’s learned, and insights on serving the country.
52:07 12/21/22
How This Tech Company Is Simplifying B2B Payments for the Meetings and Events Industry
Host: David Adler Guests: Tony Wagner, Sara Meyer Meeting professionals are constantly multitasking. The last thing they want to do is spend time on manual, tedious processes that should just be easy—including cross-checking spreadsheets to track down commissions and payments. This is where Onyx CenterSource’s GroupPay™ can help. This holistic solution is an industry-first payments automation platform that provides hotels and meeting professionals with unparalleled transparency and efficiency to track and proactively manage their event commissions—which, in turn, enables easy reconciliation and faster payments. In this special sponsored episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Onyx’s Tony Wagner and Sara Meyer to discuss the company’s expansion into the meetings and events payments sector of the hospitality industry, how GroupPay™ can help when planners feel like they’re “flying blind,” and what fast, easy commissions can look like with the right technology in place. Do you manage the meetings and events commission payments process? Tell us your thoughts on how we can streamline and simplify this process for a chance to win an Apple Watch Series 8! Take the survey here. Sponsored by Onyx CenterSource.
41:37 10/17/22
Setting the Standards for the Events Industry
Host: David Adler Guest: Amy Calvert In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council (EIC), which oversees more than 30 member organizations in the events industry. The EIC is a global champion of event profs and event industry excellence, offering professional standards and recognition and certification programs that take the industry to new heights. In this podcast, Calvert divulges what keeps her up at night representing this industry, discusses why inspiring young people to enter the industry is more important than ever, and how the CMP—considered the gold standard for planners—is changing as a result of the pandemic.
35:20 10/3/22
How Are Global Exhibitions Changing Today?
Host: David Adler Guest: Doug Emslie In this episode of GatherGeeks, BizBash chairman and founder David Adler sits down with Doug Emslie, CEO of Tarsus Group (one of the largest exhibition companies in the world), to get a global perspective on trade shows and exhibitions. How have things changed since the pandemic? How do they differ culturally between markets like Europe, the Middle East, and North America? Emslie also discusses how to bring back attendees each year, how the global structure of events is becoming more regional, the rise of bleisure travel, and why technology and sustainability will be positive disruptors to the industry.
36:31 9/26/22
A Virtual Event Platform's Path to Global Recognition
Hosts: David Adler, Claire Hoffman Guest: Vaibhav Jain In this special edition of GatherGeeks—recorded live at the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—hosts David Adler and Claire Hoffman (BizBash’s senior contributing editor) sit down with Vaibhav Jain, CEO of event technology solution Hubilo, to discuss how he took the company from a local in-person event solution to a global behemoth. He also touches on how he realized events could be life-changing, how he raised money and pivoted strategy, and how he knew the platform had to involve agile, fast development to meet client needs.
23:22 8/1/22
Behind the Scenes of Meta Beach at Cannes 2022
Hosts: David Adler, Claire Hoffman Guest: Damien Baines In this special edition of GatherGeeks—recorded live at the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—hosts David Adler and Claire Hoffman (BizBash’s senior contributing editor) sit down with Damien Baines, the experiential marketing lead at Instagram. They go behind the scenes at Meta Beach where, for the first time, the company has used Meta branding at the festival. Baines also discusses what inspired many of the elements for this year’s beach, planning a superbloom-themed dinner for the event, and how Instagram aims to highlight all types of creativity and passion on the platform.
31:18 8/1/22

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