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Event Professionals Share New Year’s Resolutions


Skift Take

Twenty event professionals share their New Year’s resolutions. Seven common themes paint a clear picture of what event professionals want to be and see in 2022. They also offer a good recipe for how to tackle the year ahead.

 

RECALIBRATE

It’s no surprise that event professionals are keen to have 2021 behind them. The idea of adjusting behaviors with the intention of being more successful is popular, so it’s no surprise that recalibrating is the top theme for this roundup of New Year’s Resolutions. From the ambitious personal changes to business mindset shifts, these event professionals are looking to use the new year as some extra motivation for change.

Claus Raasted

Director at The College of Extraordinary Experiences & Coach at McKinsey & Company

To stop trying to sell innovation, productivity, marketing, experience design and all that jazz. Instead, just sell Claus.

Most of the work I do starts with someone reaching out to me, saying "I told XXX that I needed something a bit crazy. They told me to talk to you."

So, I’m going to stop trying to figure out what I’m selling, and just accept that I’m selling "something a bit crazy". After all, nobody ever doubted that I could deliver on that!

 

Kim Myhre

CEO of Experience Designed

To actively embrace change and purposefully work to create a positive future.

 

Keneisha Williams

Founder of Black In Events Network

To embrace the moment more and make my wildest dreams come true.

 

Shawn Kanungo

Disruptive Innovation Keynote Speaker

 

Rolando Espinoza

Creative Director at Champagne Experiential Studios

  • Avoid looking sideways and continue to gaze forward
  • Drink more water
  • Continue to be inspired by children

Tahira Endean

Head of Events at SITE

To be a better advocate for myself to ensure I can be more present with and available to the people that matter the most to me.

Professionally I will focus my time designing education and events that deliver a positive impact with and for people who share my passion for what we do. I will stay mentally fresh and agile by focusing on a clear finish to my MSc in Creativity and Change Leadership with my amazing cohort. To do these things requires staying healthy physically with good choices in exercise and nutrition and staying healthy emotionally with nature, friends, and allowing the time and space for creative outlets and ideas. The realistic me knows we will be living in an endemic world and the optimistic me waits as the world reopens to safe travel. I resolve to do what I can to support recovery and allow all of us to collectively breathe easier again literally and figuratively. I will stay curious and continue to find joy in the moments, run in any ocean and listen to, learn from and laugh with the people who share this journey.

 

 

SLOW DOWN

Another big theme that is top of mind is work/life balance and slowing down. The extra stress brought on by the Covid pandemic and a career that is already ranked among the most stressful has taken its toll on many. Many feel that in order to thrive in 2022 there is a need to slow down and focus on personal well-being.

Ashanti Bentil-Dhue

Founder and CEO of Good Soil Leaders and Co-Founder of Diversity Ally

To prioritize my peace and wellbeing because I deserve to be happy.

 

 

Liz King Caruso

CEO at techsytalk

To move slower.

Sounds crazy after two years of Covid-insanity in the events industry, but with all that’s happened in the world in the past few years, it’s really allowed me to focus on what really matters - sanity, family and meaningful relationships. So while I continue to grow my business and my family, I’ll be more focused than ever on working with the ideal clients, charging fairly, balancing work and personal life more and really embracing the #slowlife. While I will have a LOT to figure out to make it happen, that’s my big goal in 2022!

Sue Pelletier

Freelance Writer/Editor

  • To guide our crazy Australian shepherd puppy on her journey as she grows into the very good girl I now just get glimpses of in between her velociraptor impressions
  • To find new ways to surprise and delight my clients without completely losing sight of that elusive thing called work/life balance
  • To restart my avocation of teaching Zumba classes, even if I have to keep them online for COVID reasons — meetings and events aren’t the only things that are much better in person!

 

 

Anne Dalgaard

Founder & Chief Event Strategist of EventAnne

To slow down!

The event industry is a busy career path, and we’re known for a stressful environment. This Covid-19 ‘era’ has taken a toll on many of us with the constant demand for changing directions, making new plans, being confined when working from home and generally being somewhat out of our element (after all, most of us love making long-term plans, right?).

But I think that it has also shown us that there’s more to life than in-person events with long days on our feet, too much coffee and too little (healthy) food. I, for one, have realized/admitted – after 20+ years in my beloved industry – that an event doesn’t have to be an event, per se (you know the kind with venue/registrations/crew/food/drinks). Sometimes a Twitter chat, podcast or lounge meetup is exactly what is needed.

I’ve actually enjoyed a bit of time to slow down and think about what I want out of my career, our industry … and my life! And I want to bring this into 2022 for a new beginning.

 

 

LEAD

Kathryn Frankson

Director of Event Marketing, Informa Connect

To continue championing the issues I feel most passionate about which include:

  • Providing the event industry and B2B marketers as much resource as possible so they can know their audiences, test new formats and grow successfully.
  • Ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion are a continued focus and commitment and that we collectively put new voices on “stages” globally.
  • Showing that events are a sustainable and inclusive space for everyone including those who are introverted or don’t drink alcohol
  • Continuing to be agile and human in my approach to communicating with teams, partners and designing and messaging for audiences.

That fact that “pivot” became a four letter word in 2021 meant one thing – we all really did just that! We adjusted. We persevered.

We skilled up in new technology, navigated a world of new data points, redesigned our events, advocated for health and safety and began normalizing the conversation around mental health.

 

 

    Paul Cook

    Online Events Producer at Hybrid Event Centre

    To develop my European network of events professionals and help share learnings and experiences that can benefit the sector as a whole.

    I am delighted to have been appointed to the MPI European Advisory Council for 2022 and this will certainly be useful with my resolution to bring Europe together for the benefit of the international community.

    As we enter 2022, the uncertainty of what the events sector looks like is once more top of mind for a lot of event professionals. I want to play my part by contributing where I can and leading where I can through my work as a writer and as a virtual event producer.

     

     

    Tess Vismale

    Chief Event Executioner and Event Technologist at iSocialx

    To be very intentional about fostering environments and partnerships that create a better business events industry.

    In my thoughts, words, and deeds, I want to demystify the belief that we need to be competitors instead of collaborators when doing business. This is for the greater good of the event, our industry, and the world.

     

    YIH-HSIANG (SHAWN) CHENG

    Senior Strategist, Brand + Experience + Marketing, DAHLIA+ AGENCY

    To "walk the talk".

    I am an advocate of a lot of things. I believe every experience should be intentionally designed. I believe technology will continue to reshape our industry. I believe we should care more about accessibility and sustainability. I believe every event should be hybrid in some way. In 2022, I will continue to speak up on topics I care deeply about, but more importantly, I wish I can actually act on it, and help push the wheels further.

     

     

    TRAVEL

    With traveling being such an important part of life as an event professional before the Covid pandemic, it’s clear that a return to more regular travel patterns is the hope of many. But it’s not just about the actual act of traveling, it’s more about the inspiration gained and the in-person experiences that are just not possible to do online.

    Will Curran

    Chief Event Einstein at Endless Events

    To get back to a healthy lifestyle filled with travel.

    These past two years it has been hard to get exposed to travel and new experiences to give me inspiration. My hope is that next year things can normalize to the point where it becomes safe to travel again as much as I did in 2019. Oh and also do more Peloton workouts 🙂

     

    Liz Lathan

    CMO at Haute Companies

    To make more in-person connections, personally and professionally.

    I had the honor of visiting 7 countries in 2021 and experiencing some incredible new cultures and meeting some of my 2020 virtual friends in real life. It was refreshing and inspirational and I will do more of that intentionally in 2022. I’m even going to renew my local monthly “Grown-up Girls Club” where Austin-area women gather once a month to learn a new skill or try a new experience (we’ve learned how to change a tire, taken a self-defense class, gone hatchet throwing, learned how to use a fire extinguisher, gone curling, and more!) – maybe I should franchise it out for other cities, too. 😊 I’m excited to be back in person again in 2022, vaxxed and masked and ready to go!

     

     

    SUCCEED

    Event professionals also demonstrate laser-focused ambition to grow their business and who wouldn’t want that after the challenging years that we’ve just had. With different focuses, these event professionals have set an ambitious course for themselves.

    Marco Giberti

    Founder and CEO at Vesuvio Ventures

    To capitalize on the unique opportunity that Covid accelerated for event tech in the live events industry.

    Finally, event organizers realize that technology will be their best friend, which will create unique opportunities for tech companies in our industry.

     

     

    Courtney Stanley

    Keynote Speaker, Event Emcee & Speaker Coach

    To dream bigger and take strategic, intentional steps to bring those dreams to life.

    To me, that means Ill be focused on developing awesome partnerships in our community, saying YES to the ideas, projects and people that align with my vision (and "no" to the ones that dont), and trusting that my intuition will not steer me wrong. Im predicting that this year will be the best one yet in a lot of ways for a lot of people, and Im here for it! Lets go!

     

     

    BE WELL

    Fitness and health are popular New Year’s Resolutions all over the world, event professionals are no exception. While some may have been able to create more family-friendly routines when working from home, for many this has come at the detriment of their physical fitness routines.

    The start of a new year is always a great time to set healthy goals for body and mind.

    Brandt Krueger

    Technical Producer at Event Technology Consulting

    To focus on personal health.

    Like a lot of folks, I put on more than a few Covid pounds in 2020. I had made a good dent in recovering in 2021, but as the pandemic lingered on longer than any of us had hoped, the exercise and healthy food choices dropped off again, and the weekend crept into Thursday and Wednesday when it came to having a couple of cocktails. Rather than do the "after the holidays" thing, I started just after Halloween, hoping to get a jumpstart on ’21. They say it helps to pronounce these things publicly, so I’m letting the world know I intend to drop 20 lbs as safely and healthily as possible.

    And it’s not just the physical: I’d also fallen out of the habit of regular meditation and reflection, and so I’m trying to get that habit started again as well!

     

     

    LOOK AHEAD

    Uncertainty is the new certainty. As cliche as that sounds, it is unfortunately true. Only time will tell if 2022 will be the year that brings some form of certainty. Without a crystal ball it’s impossible to see the future, but that does not mean we should not make forecasts using our best data. Best of all we can use these forecasts to help event professionals succeed in the year ahead.

    Brent Barootes

    President and CEO at Partnership Group

    Previous predictions lead me to believe in a future strong economy, although we will continue to have an inflationary effect on our spending dollar. This means that brands will have to continue to build deeper relationships with consumers, and brand loyalty will be essential to that growth. That is where sponsorship marketing is the master at conferences and events!

    What can we expect in 2022 according to my crystal ball? Here are my three predictions and hope they are my resolutions as well.

    1. By fall 2022, we will be back on track to operating sponsorship programs at pre-COVID levels. That means conferences, events, festivals will resume at full capacity, face-to-face (versus virtual) galas will be back in vogue, as well other events and experiences such as fundraising events that are associated with sponsorship. Professional sport will return earlier (as it already has in Q3 and Q4 2021 though it dipped due to Omicron), and our amateur and collegiate sport worlds will return to pre-COVID numbers of participants and events by fall 2022. There will still be some trepidation in summer 2022 on the part of both event planners and the public. Until we pass summer 2022, there will be some holdback. That is why the real measuring stick will be from September to December 2022.

    2. The “return to normal” by fall 2022 will not be a “return to pre-COVD normal,” but will be the “new normal.” Our new world, for the successful organization—and we are already seeing this with pro sports and others—will have integrated considerably more technology. It will integrate the virtual world and the digital world into everyday programming, and sponsorship will need to retain these features. Where we could produce a play and broadcast it to people outside our market who pay to attend and enjoy will be an important element for sponsors versus just reaching the 500 “bums in seats” each night of the “personal experience” production. (This goes for galas, sporting events, conferences, etc.) What we did during COVID that worked for sponsors will need to remain. Those that retain these learnings and engage them going forward will reap the rewards of additional revenue, while others that plan to return to “the pre-COVID world of assets and engagement” will be bewildered why there are no dollars for them.

    3. By the end of 2022, we will see sponsorship agreements include many more measurable ROI elements. Sponsors will demand metrics and accountability. With the use of new technology and the March 2020 to fall 2022 experiences, there is enough technology to deliver substantially better ROI. With a shift to digital experiences integrated with live on-site, we know digital metric delivery is tantamount. Sponsors will demand more overall for their dollars, but they will be willing to spend more with those that can deliver results. There will be an accelerated shift to ROI for sponsorship investments even greater than after the 2008-10 recession. There will be a move from “philanthropy” style sponsorship to true sponsorship marketing. Brands have given unconditionally during two years of COVID and now they will need to get ROI for those gifts. Properties will need to be prepared to deliver results and to be good negotiators.