CEMA Newsletter February 2019

Paul Coulter

Paul Coulter

Director of Group Sales,
Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin
CEMA Board Member and Treasurer

Happy February! The year is off with a jump and love is in the air.

I took a moment to reflect upon the many things I love: I love my wife, my three kids, my faith, my little community of Winter Garden, fireworks, and my local brewery. These are the people and things I gush about to all of my friends. Who are your most precious people and what are your most passionate things in life? It is important to express our appreciation and spread that affection.

I also realized how much I love the new perspectives I’ve gained from our Summit keynote, “yes and” (THANKS DUNCAN!) the fresh experiential marketing innovations I’ve considered at the study tours, “yes and” getting to know and helping others within the tightly-knit CEMA family.

In this season of love, I want to encourage our CEMA family to spread the CEMA love and share our most recent CEMA highlight with our event marketing friends. We have such a great community, resources to help overcome challenges (ASK CEMA), and content to offer a greater perspective. I challenge each member to #LoveCEMA to at least three event marketers and invite them to your next CEMA event. Will you be in Philly for the Stadium Series or maybe you’ll be at the Design Thinking workshop in April?

In this season of love, let’s disperse the #LoveCEMA so other talented individuals may share in our resources and love us back by contributing to our community. CLICK for a few videos from our members.

P.S. We are all passionate, but this is also a competition! Prizes to be awarded, so share your best photo/video of spreading the #LoveCEMA!

Member of the Month

Amy Walter

Amy Walter

Manager, Event Strategy

As the Manager, Event Strategy & Technology at Atlassian, Amy Walter drives the Event Marketing team’s measurement strategies, technology, and audience acquisition efforts for the global event portfolio including proprietary events and trade shows. She helped build the first-ever Atlassian European user conference in 2017 as the program lead, and now focuses her time partnering with Head of Event Marketing, Angie Smith, on defining the long-term strategies and goals for their programs. She loves event data and using it to help tell the Atlassian event team’s success stories and provide recommendations on the shape of their events in the future.

Prior to joining Atlassian, Amy held roles at other tech firms as an event marketer, managed event operations on the agency side, and also worked in catering and sales at a hotel. Her focus on operational excellence paired with her data-centric approach has brought a unique perspective to the programs she’s managed.

Amy lives in San Francisco, California with her husband Anthony, and their new 10-week old French Bulldog puppy, Winston. She loves traveling, Positano, Italy is her favorite vacation spot to date, spending time with family and friends, taking day trips to the Napa Valley, and exploring the incredible food scene that San Francisco has to offer.

HATS OFF, and many thanks to our CEMA 2019 Platinum Members

George P. Johnson

George P. Johnson

George P. Johnson

Gaylord Hotels



Caesars Entertainment

Caesars Entertainment

One10 Marketing

One10 Marketing

ProGlobal Events

ProGlobal Events

Org Strategy and Development Webinar Sponsored by CEMA, Now Available for You

CEMA just hosted its first interactive webinar of 2019 in late January, a webinar focused on best practices on organizational structures, RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted and informed) development and much, much more. As an active CEMA member, you can view the webinar and slides here.

Get Out Your Calendar and Add These Exciting Events On NOW!…

CEMA @ NHL Outdoor Stadium Series- Sold Out
February 22-23, 2019

Special thank you to our sponsors Philadelphia CVB, Freeman, BaAM Productions a Freeman Company, Freeman and Hilton.

CEMA members will attend the NHL Outdoor Stadium Series, The Quintessential Attendee Experience. Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) looks forward to seeing you Friday and Saturday, February 22-23, 2019, at this never before offered behind-the-scenes tour of how the National Hockey League (NHL) creates the quintessential fan experience. Learn from our executive panel of experts how to engage attendees and create an emotional attachment that attendees will never forget. Experience activations that achieve amazing brand impressions. Explore the event from a variety of perspectives to get a sense of how sponsorship, operations, entertainment, broadcast, and fan experience objectives are achieved.

Tap into the passion of hockey fans at the 2019 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. The Philadelphia Flyers will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in a regular-season outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field – home of Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. It will be a Pennsylvania rivalry match-up highlighting some of the League’s top talent, including Flyers captain Claude Giroux and the Penguins’ Hart Memorial Trophy winners, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Join hosts Freeman and BaAM Productions, a Freeman Company for a look behind-the-scenes at this fan-favorite event. BaAM, the event producer, has arranged for you to hear from executives from the NHL, Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Philadelphia Eagles to learn more about how this marquee event is concepted and get an insider’s look at how it all comes together on game day.
CEMA @ Houston, TX
March 13-14, 2019
Event Marketing Security- Risks, Threats and Vulnerability

Welcome to the new normal in the world of event marketing. In addition to managing budgets, keynotes, A/V, F&B and attrition, etc., security is now a critical element of your event planning. With new threat dimensions constantly arising, the event marketer is now challenged with mitigating natural, technological or human-caused incidents while optimizing the guest experience.

Come to Houston and get behind-the-scenes of two dramatically different incredibly successful events and learn how their teams manage the unique threats to their event while maintaining the integrity of the attendee experience. It’s an all-hazards approach that is sensitive to keeping the amount of disruption to a minimum. Listen to your peers as they share their success stories and their challenges in presenting these two Best Practice events!

RodeoHouston: 2.6 million attendees, 20 day event; the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world, utilizing over 700,000 square feet of exhibit space and the NRG Stadium, while managing 33,000 volunteers.

CERAWeek: Executive conference for over 4,000 global industry leaders and policymakers from over 75 countries. Attendees are C-Suite executives, high-level government officials, and International dignitaries such as the Minister of State in United Arab Emirates, OPEC; Secretary of the Interior, US; and Chairman of US Senate Energy and National Resources Committee with multi agency coordination of FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security and local law enforcement.

As you’ve likely noticed, these are two significantly different audiences but with the same risk mitigation thread- how to keep the attendees safe with minimal disruption to the attendee experience. In two interactive panel discussions you’ll also learn how these two teams strategize to manage their C-Suite attendees, coordinate one of the largest volunteer base in the US, how they maneuver through big name performers (Beyonce, Tony Bennett, Justin Bieber, Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks and this is just the “B’s”!), crowd management, A/V, social media, registration and much more.

Come to Houston and bring back invaluable information for your team and while you’re there, enjoy an evening with Santana, performing Wednesday night! REGISTER now.
CEMA @ Napa, California
April 25, 2019

A study tour in Napa, CA. Hosted by Wine Destinations. (need we say more?)

CEMA Summit 2019 — Call for Speakers

We are looking for the cream of the crop. The best of the best. The stand-outs in the industry. We’re looking for your entry! Please submit your abstract to speak at our annual CEMA Summit today >>

And a reminder:

Save the date for July 21st through the 23rd

CEMA Summit 2019, MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Asked and Answered. CEMA Experts Answer Your Burning Questions

CEMA members have access to an incredibly valuable, exclusive benefit – the opportunity to ask a question of the most knowledgeable, experienced event managers in the world. Submit a question to our team of expert members, we will gather responses and publish them in an upcoming newsletter. The latest Question and Answer(s):

ASK CEMA Question:

“We have a new head of sales leading our global sales org. He is interested in learning about how other companies design their sales kickoff events.

Can you share some unique components and best practices of your annual sales kickoff that make your events a success?”

ASK CEMA Answers from the Experts:

Answer #1:

  • With out of the box speakers of cult brands – and how they came to success vs. speakers that are teaching a selling method
  • Group work out classes – why do you always have to bond over booze? Works out that offer education or team building. Teams that sweat together go a long way.
  • Group led Mindfulness mediation room and zen lounge

Answer #2:

I’m not sure I’m going to be of much help, as we are just planning our “SKO” – Sales Kick-off – and we are looking at redesigning what didn’t work in years past. It’s definitely not been a success…

Below are a few things we’re looking at/doing to create the change:

  • We had a good year, and are hosting our event two months into the new FY, so we are going to focus LESS on the year past, and more on the year ahead…
  • Product Roadmap – awareness of any net new offerings in the FY to come…
  • Ensuring the sales team is aware of how to sell against competition
  • Break-outs: Creating fun/hands-on experiences instead of just “death by slides” – engaging our product education team to help us with demos.
  • Listening – we looked at anecdotal feedback from the event last year and are trying to course correct, where appropriate
  • Listening – we looked at anecdotal feedback from the event last year and are trying to course correct, where appropriate
    • Use cases both from their peers AND from key customers
    • Demos & videos (sales/customer success stories) – to get point across and to break things up
    • Both our CSMO/COO + President of sales are committing to keeping their piece short – 15 min max
  • Highlighting our award winners in fun and unique ways (low-cost)
    • At registration, they receive a special lanyard
    • They will have an “award winner” e-signature page they can use throughout the FY
    • Fun ways to use video to intersperse it throughout the event – on monitors, walk-in, general session stage, etc. – to showcase the award winners
  • NO awards banquet – we are hosting a special cocktail reception for those who are award winners
  • For those who are winning President’s Club, they will be honored at the awards banquet and with special lanyards, etc.
  • Instead of awards banquet, where only the top 150+ out of 1900, will win anything, we are taking those funds and throwing a celebration/party
  • They are always at the bar during closing keynote, so we are now planning a possible kegnote – bringing the bar into the room. We don’t want it to get too rowdy, so we are still thinking it through…

We are still planning, but hope that helps a little…

Answer #3:

The typical key metrics for sales meetings are: Networking, Education, Celebration and Motivation. Your event experience design should include these metrics to achieve your event objectives. The days of talking heads and hotel ballrooms are long gone.


First, create opportunities for your sales leaders to meet, get to know each other, and share best practices. Opportunities should take the form of smaller breakout settings that allow for natural (not staged) conversations between all sales groups (regional, national, international)

  • Incorporate some fun!
    • For example, one of our clients hosted a talent show that was an experience that (per post event surveys) “broke down barriers” and was so well-received that some salespeople noted they had to “step up their games next year”.


You should share best practices and train sales teams on how to improve their performance.

  • We’ve designed breakouts in non-traditional areas of the venues:
    • For example, one breakout was in a picturesque lobby of a hotel we bought out. This area was used regularly by the sales team who were drawn by the soft seating and pockets of areas for individual and small group discussions
  • For example, one breakout was in a picturesque lobby of a hotel we bought out. This area was used regularly by the sales team who were drawn by the soft seating and pockets of areas for individual and small group discussions
    • It was a validation and demonstration on how valuable they were to the customers’ lives – how what they SOLD mattered and how the sales team was helping others. It was a very powerful experience delivered in setting far more intimate than a large, general session.
  • For a few of our client’s, we have to be at a large hotel or convention center. When that happens we transform the space. For one client we turned a meeting room into a home setting where one of their products was used by their customers. Attendee comments were all positive, as we created a space the was optimized for customers to learn in.


As a company, a team, and as individuals:

  • One of our clients host an awards show where they celebrate the awards the company had won that year. They then transition into teams/individuals that succeeded their goals – both sales and non-sales. They shine a spotlight on both personal and professional achievements. This company created a custom trophy resembling an Academy Award (their CEO takes the place of Oscar). The desire to award was so coveted that some employees tried to create their own categories to try to win one!


Occurs through successful delivery of the above items.

  • You should create unique experiences that reflect your company values, work, and results. Get out of the hotel ballrooms, utilize experiences, and utilize different and/or multiple venues.
  • For one client we used a hotel and a theater down the street. The attendees loved escaping the confines of the hotel, walking outside to the theater, picking up their popcorn, and hearing their company’s vision from their executive leadership.
  • A second client used airplane hangar for its sales meeting, while another held its closing party on a US Naval ship; both adding the “awe factor”.

While all sales conferences must drive towards the Networking, Education, Celebration, and Motivation, each component must be woven into the experience they have. This includes the venue you select, the speakers you pick, and the tone of the meeting. The goal is to have each salesperson walk away with a feeling being valued and taken care of by the company.

Information That Matters to You

As a CEMA member, you have exclusive access to our industry-focused, insightful and pertinent for you case studies, white papers and blogs. Check out the latest:


Time is Running Out! Please Consider Renewing Today

We want to be certain you have access to the valuable benefits you receive through your CEMA Membership. If your CEMA 2019 membership will soon expire, please renew your membership today so you don’t miss out on future newsletters, webinars, blogs, case studies, access to fantastic networking opportunities and an amazing year of events.

The Best Jobs in the World!

Each month, CEMA provides members with information on new career opportunities. If you have a job you’d like shared with members, please send details to stacey@cemaonline.com. Include a detailed description of the position, all contact information, as well as the location of the position. CEMA will post the job opportunity until the position is filled. Visit CEMA Careers for current job postings including:

Congratulations, CEMA Members!

We’re incredibly proud of each and every one of our treasured CEMA members. Check out what some of our members have accomplished lately!

  • Glenda Brungardt, CTSM, Earns Diamond-level Certified Trade Show Marketer Credentials
  • Jim Kelley has joined Fern as Vice President, Marketing & Industry Relations.
  • Robb Trost has joined Freeman as Senior Account Director Brand Experience

Welcome New CEMA Members

Our CEMA membership is growing by leaps and bounds. Please help us in welcoming the following new CEMA members: Camille Beatty Falor, Mark Johnson, Laura Doerfler, Amy Wells of Eventcore; Jennifer Maka of Arm; Anita Cerana of Visit Seattle; Lien-Anh Wagener of CompTIA; Leslie Graziadei, Ravi Chalaka, Jagdish Upadhyay of Jifflenow; Chad Pierce of Hyatt Regency Chicago; Chris Connelly Hyatt Regency San Diego; Emily Howard of Hyatt Regency Orlando; Susan Lehman of Four Seasons Resorts Lana’I; Roisin Callaghan of Cogs and Marvel; Deborah Drisdale of SAP; Jason Woo of Next Generation eSports; Justin Dellario of Twitch; Kim Baker-Bell of TD Agency; Leslie Blye and Nathaniel Stockman of Iacono Productions; Janice LeBeau of SAS; and Jamine Hakki, JoAnn McKay, Katie Sacco of Splunk.