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Come Learn at The Special Event 2008

Come Learn at The Special Event 2008

More than 100 sessions in eight tracks will be available at The Special Event 2008, which takes place Jan. 15-18 in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center. Learn from leaders in the industry who are experienced in event elements from profitability to branding.

Build a better business and improve your leadership skills with sessions from the Business And Professional Development track.

  • Nan Russell of MountainWorks Communications returns this year with a session on “Seven Ways to Be Winning at Working.” She will discuss taking on corporate clients, among other topics.

  • The session “A Year in the Life of …” will feature an international panel of event professionals. After a review of their event experiences this year, the speakers will lecture on being a leader in the event industry. The panel, with 150 industry awards between them, is made up of Sally Webb, managing director for The Special Event Co.; Andrea Michaels, president of Extraordinary Events; Richard Foulkes, director of special events and productions for the Imagination Group; Sean DeFreitas, founder of Designs by Sean; Harith Wickrema, head of Harith Productions; Colja Dams, president and CEO of Vok Dams; and Joann Roth-Oseary, owner of Someone's in the Kitchen.

  • Find a better way to communicate with “Advanced Speaking Tips and Tricks.” Learn the right way to position yourself for a firm connection with your audience from Jolene Jang, president of Jolene the Fun Specialist.

See what trends are brewing in the catering industry in the Food Services track.

  • With a mouthful of a title, “One Band, One Sound: How to Bring the Chefs and Design Teams Together Without Resorting to Knives and Staple Guns” promises to teach you how to sell chef's creations to clients as part of the decor. Todd Annis and Steve Bales — executive chef and creative director respectively of Bold American Catering — promise tasty treats and an informative question-and-answer session.

  • Jayne Dunsmore, owner of Jayne's Gourmet Catering, will lead the session “Greening Your Event.” She'll cover different ways to make your event environmentally conscious, such as sourcing sustainable suppliers.

The Event Management track will cover new fads and leave you with fresh ideas.

  • The session “The Secret to Increasing Your Bar Mitzvah Sales … It's About Time” will teach you how to create a timeline for the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony. Steven Siagel, president and founder of Siagel Productions Entertainment and Event Planning, promises to share strategies to make the event both spiritual and sensational.

  • Learn the basics of the event business from Phyllis Cambria in “10 Essential Things Every New Planner Should Know.” The co-president of will go over pricing, proposals and procedures.

  • In “Foreign Heads of State to Local State Officials: Planning Events with Government Protectees,” Kimberly Fink — special events director for the University of Georgia — will review necessities such as threat assessment and motorcade route security — everything event pros need to know when planning a celebration for dignitaries.

Get attention for your event with strategies from the Sales and Marketing track.

  • “Pillow Talk — Selling the Experience” will focus on de-veloping a distinct brand. Lisa Konecny of E Events Design and Rosy Usmani of Damon Tucci Photography promise to help you present a version of yourself that is interesting, professional and personable.

  • Conquer the Internet with the session “Online Social Networking.” Arba Tucker, advertising and marketing specialist for Atlanta Wedding Ideas and Atlanta Wedding Directory, will review online tools including RSS feeds, blogs and such networking sites as MySpace.

Get instruction in all things artful with the Design track.

  • Join the interactive session “Cutting Edge Opening and Reveals Too!” with David Fishette, president and CEO of Go West Events and Multimedia, and Rick Borja. The event pros will reveal how you can create an unexpected experience with large or small budgets.

  • Ira Mitchell-Steiman, executive director of creative for All Over Miami, and David Halsey, floral director for The Meetinghouse Companies, will present the third and last year of “Pimp My Party … the Final Tour.” Learn where to search for accessories, and see a variety of thematic presentations.

The Wedding Trends track will cover bridal business.

  • Wedding planners Frank Andonoplas, MBC, owner and designer of Frank Event Design, and Cynthia Basker, director and owner of Celebrated Events, will team up to teach the session “Invitations, Jewelry, Accessories, Oh My! The Pros and Cons of Adding Retails Sales to Your Consulting Business.” Learn how to set up a retail operation to increase your wedding consulting income.

  • Hear it from the bride's mouth at “Inside the Mind of a Bride with Dr. Mike.” The CEO of Entertainment At Large will host a panel of brides as they share their thoughts on what influenced their decisions for the big day.

Sharpen your skills with the Event Tools and Resources track.

  • In the “Exciting Tools for Every Budget” session, Kevin Bilida, owner of TLC Creative Special Effects, will show you what special effects are available for events.

  • Stacy Stern, CSEP, president of The Special Events Group, will lead the “Let's Get Organized! So Many Events, So Little Time” session, where you will learn how to keep all the important details in order. You will review timelines, vendors and checklists.

The place for professional planners is the ISES track.

  • The ISES track comprises five classes, including two dedicated to the CSEP program: “CSEP Program Overview for New Candidates” and “CSEP Program Overview for CSEPs.”

For more information and a complete rundown of the education program at The Special Event, call 866/486-0731 or visit


For the second year, the Academic Event Professional Conference will take place alongside The Special Event. AEP 2008 is slated for Monday, Jan. 14, at Georgia State University. The attendance fee is $150 (if you attend the educational seminars at The Special Event, participation in the academic program is $75).

Breakout sessions will cover such topics as donor relations, working with volunteers, and how to enter events for industry awards. Speakers include Sally Webb, managing director for The Special Event Co., Geni Greiner, the director of university special events at Purdue University, and Harith Wickrema, president of Harith Productions.

For more information, call 919/767-7584 or visit

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