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Kevin White

Think ISES: July-August 2015

The latest news for July-August 2015 from the International Special Events Society

State of the Industry: It’s Time to Think Bigger

By Kevin White, CSEP, ISES President

Kevin WhiteIt is a yearly rite of passage that the president of ISES gets to pronounce the state of the industry over the course of the latest year. Sitting in the seat right now, I can say with great certainty that the events industry, well, it hasn’t really changed much from the year before. Should you be upset at that? No. Mainly because we are in a solid financial position. Staying there is a good thing. Should you be excited about that? Quite simply, the answer is yes.

Our goal as an industry is to have solid foundations. Steadiness. Even growth. A steady and confident client base. Coming out of the 2008 global collapse, our job as business owners was to emerge wiser. Better. And I think we have. Being better at marketing our value. Better at planning for stormy weather. Better at obtaining results. Better at business in general.

This general steadiness or calm also gives us an opportunity to think about the longer term issues that will come calling. Before we had the collapse, all the industry media could write about was sustainability. Well, that situation hasn’t gone anywhere but down. It is incumbent on us to continue to master sustainable design in our events and products. It is our duty to push for those things.

And for years now, all anyone can mutter about the future of events is “social media.” Well social media, for all of its ability to add to a person’s digital profile or to market an event, only erodes the live experience. Distraction. Obsession. When you stop watching in order to start video recording, you’ve lost the live experience. Personal connection is being lost for constant digital connection. This erosion will only continue.

This notion of longer term thinking has also come to ISES. As our own lives become stretched thin for time, the time to devote to the explosion of options for things like networking, learning and being inspired has become less and less. The very notion of an association based on live events having less and less time for events means we are due for a rethink. How will we deliver value in the very near future? How will we squeeze time out of much needed volunteers? These are the long-term questions that need answers now.

At the annual general meeting in Seattle back in August, I put the challenge of long-term thinking to everyone--not just those in the room, but in the society as well. How do we think about “us,” the people who make up our society? Or how can we redefine what our association’s deliverables are? We haven’t heard much on these topics. It is a difficult task for volunteers to ignore the immediate and think down the road. But now is the time for this. Many of us have been through feasts and we have been through famines. In this in-between space we currently occupy, let’s all be smart and start thinking bigger. Because soon, we will need to start acting bigger, too.

Fan Your Creative Spark in New Orleans this Summer

Fan Your Creative Spark in New Orleans this Summer

By Kelly Treadway

Kelly TreadwayAs shared by the legendary author and poet Maya Angelou, “You can’t use up creativity … the more you use, the more you have.” This is the theory behind the ISES Live 2015 conference in New Orleans, and it is not to be missed. August marks the third year anniversary for ISES Live moving into a progressive and fresh education structure. Built on the pillars of creativity, collaboration and innovation, the conference educates creative event professionals from around the world on how three simple (and yet complex) pillars can move one forward in the world of special and live events.

ISES Live 2015 will be hosted in one of the most vibrant destinations to date. No denying, this host city will be a colorful backdrop for conference attendees as they gather to be inspired and connect. The conference hotel, Hilton New Orleans Riverside, is within walking distance to Bourbon Street, the French Quarter and a variety of entertainment activities that will keep ISES Live attendees at the center of it all.

Opening this year’s conference is speaker Robert Fogarty, creator of the internationally known Dear World project. Fogarty’s creative and innovative “message on skin portraits” have been credited as being a loudspeaker for the world. Fogarty has photographed thousands of people for the Dear World project, including survivors of the Boston marathon bombing and Syrian refugees. Day two will be jumpstarted by speaker Roger Haskett, a speaker with a rich and diverse career as an actor, emcee, writer, director and entrepreneur. He has a unique formula for influencing others to be more engaged and authentic. There will be much to be gained in his session, “Pressure Cooker Confidence.”

Strategically placed among two days of speakers are several opportunities for attendees to network and connect. This year’s networking activities include the President’s Reception with ISES International President Kevin White, CSEP; the Opening Event, held at the quintessential New Orleans venue, The Chicory; the Design Experience Tour at Mardi Gras World (both educational and social); and the 2015 Esprit Awards, which honor the exceptional professional achievements of individuals and organizations from across ISES membership.

What could make ISES Live even better? Giving back! ISES Live has partnered with two worthy service organizations this year. Attendees are encouraged to attend the SEARCH Foundation’s annual fundraiser, which gives attendees a chance to be involved in making a difference for event professionals in need. Attendees are also encouraged to join Event Pros Take Action (EPTA) for a Stay and Work program following the conference. Honestly, what better way to demonstrate the strength of our industry than to rebuild a beautiful New Orleans community?

If you’ve already registered to attend ISES Live 2015, know that you’re in for a ride that will change the way you view creating events forever. If you are on the fence about attending, I encourage you to click and learn more. Visit for details on every speaker, sponsor, educational topic and networking activity. Insights on creativity, collaboration and innovation await you in New Orleans this summer!

Photo by Julie Anne


ISES Thanks Its Current ISES Live 2015 Sponsors

ISES Thanks Its Current ISES Live 2015 Sponsors

ISES is excited to announce its current list of ISES Live 2015 sponsors. This diverse group of events-related organizations ranges in specialty from customer-service solutions to event furnishings, major league baseball event planning, meetings industry trade show, elegant events venue, mobile apps, float building, catering, innovative specialty insurance products, Scotland business events, and airplane transportation. We thank each of our sponsors; this creative industry event wouldn’t be possible without their support.

2015 Diamond Presenting Sponsor

CCR Solutions


Presenting Sponsors

AFR Event Furnishings

CORT Event Furnishings


Platinum Sponsors

Giants Enterprises

IMEX America


Silver Sponsors

The Chicory

Crowd Compass by Cvent

Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World


Bronze Sponsors

Catersource Event Solutions

HCC Speciality

Visit Scotland Business Events



Delta Airlines


ISES Is Proud to Announce Its Global Partners

ISES Is Proud to Announce Its Global Partners

The ISES Global Partner Program is designed to provide organizations and brands who want to connect with decision-makers within the global event community a simple and cost-effective route to market.

With a combined buying power of key products and services in excess of $21 billion, and access to a global market of over $280 billion, the ISES Global Partner Program will help you expand your reach and visibility with a multi-platform program designed specifically to meet your objectives.

Our Global Partners work with us because they see ISES as a gateway to the 5,000 ISES members around the world and to the wider international event community. ISES Global Partners come from a variety of disciplines and sectors, but all share the common vision of working together to support the mission of ISES as an association and to develop mutually beneficial business relationships. To learn more about the Global Partners Program, visit the ISES website at

AFR Event Furnishings

Catersource Event Solutions

CORT Event Furnishings

CCR Solutions

Giants Enterprises

HCC Specialty

Visit Scotland Business Tourism

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