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  • Announcing the 2012 Big Apple Award Honorees!

    JOIN US on June 27th to celebrate their achievements!


    Each year the ISES New York Metro Chapter recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations at the annual Big Apple Awards gala with a Hall of Legend or C.O.R.E. award.  The honors are bestowed upon those who have made exceptional accomplishments and significant positive impact on our industry and the Events community at large.

    This year marks the 25th anniversary of ISES. To help make this year’s awards extra special we asked for your input on whom we should recognize this year.  The results are in!


    This award recognizes select event industry colleagues for their leadership, exemplary  achievements and tenure in the Special Events industry.

    DAVID BEAHM, Founder, David Beahm Design

    David is one of America’s prominent event designers.  Known for his inventive work and trademark over-the-top flower creations, he has designed countless events for society, high profile and discerning clients, including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas (referred to by the press as the Wedding of the Century), as well as a host of celebrity and Fortune 500 corporate events. He includes among his diverse corporate client base such well-known names as: Target, The Discovery Channel, Champagne Perrier-Jouët, Van Cleef & Arpels, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Christian Dior, McDonald’s and Louis Vuitton. ….more

    HARRIETTE ROSE KATZ, Founder & President,
    Gourmet Advisory Services

    One of the country’s leading wedding and event planners for over 30 years, Ms. Katz founded her company in 1978, and what began as a solo practice has grown into into a significant business with senior partners, a full time staff and non-stop events. She is known within and outside of the event planning industry as a trendsetter and is one of the most respected event designers in the country today. Ms. Katz and her team have established an impeccable reputation for creating signature events that translate into unforgettable memories….more

    C.O.R.E. AWARDS:

    (Celebrating Outstanding Results from Events) recognize an organization that has successfully used special events as a vehicle to achieve its goals.

    Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS

    DIFFA is heading into its 28th year as one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the U.S. Since its founding in 1984, DIFFA has mobilized the immense resources of the design communities to provide over $40 million to hundreds of AIDS organizations nationwide.

    For the fifth consecutive year, DIFFA was again named among the top 50 U.S. HIV/AIDS funders by Funders Concerned about AIDS.


    Times Square Alliance

    The Times Square Alliance works to improve and promote Times Square – cultivating the creativity, energy and edge that have made the area an icon of entertainment, culture and urban life for over a century. Founded in 1992, the Alliance keeps the neighborhood clean and safe, promotes local businesses, manages area improvements and produces major annual events including New Year’s Eve, Summer Solstice in Times Square and Taste of Times Square…more

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    BizBash Recap: Sustainability Summit Shows How Green Is Good for Business

    This article originally published in BizBash on April 5th.  By Beth Kormanik. 

    Tensie Whelan of the Rainforest Alliance told event planners how they could work together for change at the ISES New York Metro Chapter’s Sustainability Summit. Photo: Greg Baker/Drury Design Dynamics

    During planning for the International Special Events Society New York Metro Chapter’s second Sustainability Summit, the Accepted Practices Exchange and A.S.T.M. (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) released their long-awaited green meetings and events standards. Chairwoman Jill Taub Drury realized the summit had to change so it would practice what it was teaching.

    “There are a number of events about green that aren’t green,” Drury said. “We felt like it was important to walk the walk. I wanted people to see the experience is not missing anything.”

    About 200 event professionals saw the results Tuesday at this year’s summit, held at the Rubin Museum of Art. The event, timed to fall a few weeks before Earth Day, brought green resources, tips, and trends to the industry through workshops and speakers. Its Marketplace 2.0 brought together sponsors and green experts on topics from rooftop gardens to converting cooking oil to biodiesel fuel. “We believe sustainability is not a cause but a mandate,” Drury said.

    Green efforts on display Tuesday included serving a menu of at least 25 percent local, organic, or sustainable foods, which Rubin in-house caterer Stephen Starr Events was able to do. The event also partnered with composting company Royal Waste Services and required materials to be printed on recycled paper to help achieve a 45 percent waste diversion. Signage was created from recycled soft-drink bottles. Attendees could access speaker bios and sponsor information by scanning QR codes with their smartphones.

    “It’s threatening, particularly if you’re a small business, for people to say you have to do this now,” Drury said, but she pointed out that all businesses have to adapt to survive, and change can start with small steps. The ISES summit was a way for people to get direction.

    The event set a good example for planners by adopting the new green meetings standards, said Mitchell Beer, chairman of the Green Meeting Industry Council Foundation. “For the first time, I’m seeing how it will be rolled out,” he said. “It’s going to be incredibly powerful. This group is learning by experiencing it, and now they can learn by doing.”

    Keynote speaker Tensie Whelan of the Rainforest Alliance emphasized the importance of working together for change. One catering company may not be able to pressure a supplier to shift to green practices, she said, but several companies working together might. Concerned about paying a premium for green? One tip Whelan suggested was offering a vendor a longer-term contract for more favorable pricing. Whelan also encouraged event planners and vendors to promote their green efforts. Staying under the radar, she said, “[loses] an opportunity to educate people and reinforce good behavior.”

    Lee Ballin, who heads sustainability efforts at Bloomberg LP, described the company’s commitment, which includes using green practices at its 5,000 events a year. Bloomberg’s efforts include big, company-wide goals, like cutting its carbon footprint in half by 2013, and employee-level efforts, like removing everyone’s individual trash cans. Workers can either recycle their waste or take a literal guilt trip to a trash station where bins are marked “Landfill.”

    Paul Neuman of Neuman’s Catering, the event’s general-session chairman, led a discussion on sustainable event planning with Ballin, Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 and Food Karma Projects, and Robert LaValva of New Amsterdam Market. Neuman said he wanted to share the message that “green is good business.”

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    Sustainability Made Sexy in NYC

    This article originally posted on the eventwist  blog on April 6th.

    Jill Taub Drury-Drury Design Dynmaics

    Sustainability – it’s on everyone’s mind. In addition to the idealism fueling the eco-friendly movement, big companies like Wal-Mart, Kraft Foods, and Nestle are now really stepping up their game. It’s no longer just the right thing to do – it also makes business sense.

    Led by Jill Taub Drury and the team at Drury Design Dynamics, the New York Metro Chapter of ISES (International Special Events Society) presented its second annual Sustainability Summit at the Rubin Museum of Art  on Tuesday, April 3rd. The ambitious late afternoon/evening program included educational workshops, presentations and an expert panel discussion. After being well educated and inspired, attendees were invited to mingle with experts and other guests in a stylish alternative to the traditional trade show floor, dubbed “Marketplace 2.0.” Add the sumptuous offerings of Stephen Starr Events (cold curried pea soup topped with lobster and an assortment of local artisan cheeses were among my personal favorites), and you get a sense of just how luxurious sustainability can really be!

    The delicious handiwork of Stephen Starr Events.

    For ISES, an organization of event professionals, it was vital to show that sustainability as a goal and a practice is not only attainable, but contains within it endless possibilities for creative expression. On aesthetics alone, this summit proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that sustainability can be sexy. Moreover, through well presented data and practical instruction, attendees learned that the event industry can indeed adopt sustainable practices that will support us in delivering quality to our clients while at the same time enhancing our events in many ways.

    The mandate for change is clear. According to the EPA, behind the building and construction industry, the meeting and event industry is ranked the second most wasteful in the country. Clearly we can do better! Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance, explained that many of the positive changes that are now taking place with suppliers in the global agricultural sector have been in response to industry demand, fueled by consumer consciousness. In our industry, event planners and producers may hold the key to driving increased sustainability practices by vendors and manufacturers of event related goods and services.

    Tensie Whelan-President, Rainforest Alliance

    With an impressive commitment to reduce their carbon footprint by 50% by the year 2013, Bloomberg LP is a corporate leader in adopting sustainability standards. Sustainability Manager Lee Ballin illustrated this in detail. By creating an entire corporate culture devoted to sharing, promoting and demonstrating the benefits of practices such as more efficient waste disposal, reduced energy consumption and re-purposing used materials wherever possible, Bloomberg has demonstrated the cost saving benefits of such measures. According to Ballin, for every $1 invested in environmental management, the company has saved $2 in operating costs. Since 2008, they have measured and tracked $25 million in savings!

    Lee Ballin-Bloomberg LP, Robert LaValva-New Amsterdam Market, Jimmy Carbone-Jimmy's No 43 & Food Karma Project and Moderator, Paul Neuman-Neuman's Catering

    While it is generally agreed that there are upfront costs in making equipment and supply upgrades to facilitate new practices, it has also been shown that after the first couple of years, these investments are usually earned back in savings that continue well beyond the point of expense recoupment. Plus, as a bonus, adopting practices that support a healthy environment just makes sense for everyone!

    So what are the takeaways for us as event professionals? How do we work with our clients to adopt more sustainable practices at our events? How do we convince our suppliers and vendors that incorporating a wellness lens into our collective thinking is good for all of us?

    Here are a few things I learned:

    • Consumers (and that includes clients) are generally in favor of companies that care about them. Adopting sustainability practices shows that we care about our environment and our community.
    • One easy way to encourage recycling is to take away individual garbage cans from employees, exhibitors, etc. and install clearly marked community receptacles. There’s nothing like group pressure to make sure people aren’t throwing recyclable materials into the bin marked, “LANDFILL.”
    • The use of LED lights saves energy and money!
    • Recyclable building materials such as homasote and masonite are a great alternative to plywood.
    • Reusable metals and other leftover construction materials as well as rented items help cut down on waste.
    • Instead of firing non-compliant vendors, we can give them feedback about their practices and incentives to make positive changes. These interactions can be teaching moments!
    • Paying more attention to temperature control in our venues to avoid overheating or overcooling can save fuel and money.
    • Locally grown produce and other regionally produced food items support local agriculture and manufacturing, stimulate local economies, and offer some of the healthiest choices for our guests.

    Here in New York City, meeting and event planners have a lot to learn from our friends in the food and restaurant world, many of whom have already made great strides in their practices. With our thriving green markets, the New Amsterdam Market and a growing emphasis on supporting local farmers and food purveyors by chefs and caterers, we have great partners already willing to share their practices with us.

    With the recent creation of the Convention and Industry Council’s APEX Green Meeting Standards, we now have specific guidelines with which to work. Event professionals, there’s no more excuse. It’s sexy. It’s affordable. It’s specific. Sustainability is here to stay!!

    If you attended the ISES Sustainability Summit and want to share your experience and/or additional take-aways, please leave a comment!

    All photos courtesy of Greg Baker

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    Building Awareness For Your Brand on Limited Budgets

    What’s the difference between the independent event planner you met on the elevator and the one you’ll have a drink with and the one you’ll sit next to at dinner? Visit their websites. Check their references. Still hard to separate.

    Super customer service? If they don’t make this claim, it could only mean they really don’t have good service. Best rate? Just until they are undersold, forcing them to offer their “ ‘best’ best rate.” Experience? Can’t dispute track records, although some recent examples in the news would challenge that stance.

    I was chatting with a longtime planner seeking marketing help, and she couldn’t articulate why someone should choose her over others. Wouldn’t that be the first thing you’d determine before starting a business – or if you plan to get some business?

    Independent event planners and small supplier companies that serve them don’t have unlimited budgets to promote themselves. So first try to answer this question: What’s so special about you? Ok, now that your confidence is up, consider these random thoughts as you look to build brand awareness and separate yourself from the pack. Note: proficiency of execution counts – steep financial investment not always necessary.

    1. If you don’t have an opinion, find or steal one. You need a voice, which you can cultivate and use everywhere – social media, website, blogs. You don’t have to be a thought leader – let’s face it, everyone can’t – but relevant thoughts count, and people will listen and take notice when you deliver them.

    2. Nominate yourself for awards – better yet, win some. There’s nothing like telling the market someone has recognized you. Plaques look great on walls, and one award is worth months of publicity and branding, on marketing pieces, press releases and email signatures at the least.

    3. Look for speaking opportunities. Industries crave new voices and personalities, as keynoters or panelists. Seek out the groups appropriate to you, determine their proposal process and timeframe, and get with – and on – the program.

    4. Write a guest post. Industry websites and publications that want to be content machines welcome relevant opinions. Write on a topic that does not directly promote your product but provides useful information to your audience. Remember: content sells; selling doesn’t.

    5. “Always Be Helping” replaces “Always Be Closing.” Get away from the hard-sell approach and be a resource  — it will be a quicker route to earning trust and respect, and increase your odds of getting the business anyway.

    6. Make your website a work in progress. Many people redesign and refine their sites, then go to sleep on them. How can you keep it vibrant and changing so that your market wants to come back and check it out first thing every morning?

    7. Write a White Paper. In a world where custom content is king, take charge and produce the de facto, in-depth research on the topics that matter to your audience and that position you as a thought leader (oops, as a thoughtful person).

    8. Speaking of research, there’s nothing like snap industry polls that generate quick content and compelling information for a market. Consider one of the many reasonably priced services that allow you to survey your audience and post timely results on your site and via social media.

    9. Be everywhere – or give the impression you are. Social media. Live events. Quotes in industry publications.

    10. Take a reporter to lunch. Relationships go a long way toward increasing your chances of standing out and actually getting coverage when you have something relevant to push. Understand how they evaluate information, what they look for, and how they make decisions on what gets in and what doesn’t.

    11. Are you “a niche” or “all things to all people”? I’ve never met a travel agency, for example, that says it can’t handle corporate meetings. Many can, but most can’t – they’re just afraid to say they can’t do something for fear of losing a business opportunity. Let people associate you with a specialty.

    12. Join the conversation. Social media is an opportunity, not an obstacle. “Conversations are markets,” says author Patrick Schwerdtfeger. Use it to get in on the discussions and as a vehicle to lead viewers to your important links.

    13. Push a theme — not a release. Press people get hundreds of releases. Yours better be on the level of a cure for a rare disease if you expect coverage. Approach the media with a theme, or a relevant topic for them to cover. Then you can lend key input because you happen to be an expert on the topic.

    14. Start a webinar series. Great chance for you to further your position of providing industry content while capturing leads of people who show a direct interest in the topic and hopefully your product category.

    15. PRWeb and others. There are services tailored to provide broad-reaching distribution of your news to the appropriate sources. Find them – and use them.

    16. Placement or purpose? At a past company, we had a great case study of a key client, and we had to decide: do we pitch this story to an industry publication or do we write it ourselves, manage the distribution process, and use it as collateral marketing material? Now if an industry pub picks it up, there’s the perception of a third party independently acknowledging you  — but it’s confined to their circulation list. If you write it as impartially and non-promotional as you can, and share it intelligently using all the avenues at your disposal (social media, tradeshow handouts, mailings to your own lists), you likely will get a wider reach.

    17. Interview a key industry figure. Then market the interview and place it on your website.

    18. Friends in the right places. Latch onto key influencers. Have them follow you and serve as brand ambassadors.

    For more insights from Jim Alkon, please visit his blog www.mediadevelopment.biz

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    2012 Big Apple Awards are Heating Up!

    There’s so much happening at the
    Big Apple Awards, we can hardly contain ourselves!

              • Awards Submissions Now Open! Click HERE to enter!
              • Tickets On Sale Now –  Click HERE to purchase gala tickets!
              • Legend & C.O.R.E. Announcement Coming Soon!


     2012 Big Apple Awards Gala
    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
    Arthur Ross Terrace and Powerhouse
    American Museum of Natural History

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