Archive for the ‘recognition’ Category



March 28, 2011

As the “star” dust settles after Friday night’s ISES Awards party, I’m sitting in my office contemplating what’s next.

I am so grateful the CRV team was recognized with five awards and I was especially honored to receive the ISES Team award on the group’s behalf because it speaks to my passion for collaboration among partners as an unmatched means to accomplish a mission.  The ISES Star Awards planning team demonstrated that with a great party Saturday night, and our CRV Team of both ISES and non-ISES members and vendor partners clearly demonstrated that with some amazing results for our client.

My second favorite moment in the spotlight was our win for Creative Design as that chandelier was not only an awesome symbol of working together and a great visual, but a powerful tool representing CRV’s initiatives.    Following closely behind were BeEvents win for Event Décor and Design and Interactive Media’s win for Technical-mixed with a disappointment that Matthew Trettel was not duly recognized for his graphic design efforts-not because I wanted a “sweep” but because those efforts did such a great job communicating the CRV message to our audience.  We would not have delivered the Experience we did for our client without them.

And then there was “Best Corporate Event”.  I’ve spent most of the weekend contemplating why it seemed so incidental in the bigger scheme of things and can only explain it with the emptiness I felt as I stood on stage and recognized that the audience before me had no idea what we did to win in that category.  Any hope that what we accomplished could be a “teaching moment” trickled away.

 That evening and over the weekend, we’ve been flooded with e-mails and face book comments acknowledging the wins and offering up congratulations and individual recognition of a job well-done, but only one conversation from Friday through Sunday even hinted at an understanding of what the CRV Experience was all about.  Only TCB got it that Boston Scientific was the hero for using the event to address their business concerns and we, as the producers of the CRV Experience were the tool they selected to make that happen…and our needs-based creative design delivered the results they were looking for. 

For me at least, that’s what this is all about, in a nutshell.  That is why I am still passionate about the industry and why I continue to hope that somehow, some way, some time, we will be able to breakthrough the clutter of “pretty” and “fun” and help others in the industry understand what can be accomplished, and how personally gratifying it is to be a part of something that creates change.

So, I will rally one more time as I start the planning process for CRV 2011 to frame what this past year at Boston Scientific  has accomplished, what didn’t work so well, and what needs to be done going forward.  This may be my last chance to communicate “it’s all about the work” before I finally let it go and devote my efforts for the next fifteen years to my other passion- the river.



March 25, 2011

I planned my first corporate awards ceremony in 1971 as part of an incentive program to Rome, Italy.  Between then and now, I have been involved with 400-500 of them around the world – either as the planner, the producer, the recipient of the recognition, or to support someone who was a recipient.  So far, there are not too many that stand out from the crowd.

On a personal level, there are three.  I immediately recall receiving the President’s Award from Skip Gage at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.  I had the most fun at one held in Florida someplace where I missed my name being called to receive recognition for becoming a Goalmaker.  And I am most proud of one I received from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for my volunteer work on the riverfront.

On a professional level, most are a blur, or worse, are occasions I would prefer to forget.  Because the truth is, this tradition of public acknowledgement and celebration generally does not meet expectations.

I admit – I am a purist about this.  I believe that some how, some way, we have to keep trying to find a meaningful way to celebrate the featured work- not an individual’s popularity or efforts to campaign for votes .  And I continue to believe that some how, some way, we will discover how to do that if we just keep trying.

 Meanwhile, I have a hard time connecting to the trend of making the recognition event all about the party.  I would blame my attitude on “age” but the truth is, I felt this same way 30 years ago.  We strive for a bigger and better party; we sometimes elevate the recipients to some god-like level; we emphasize noise, dance and drink; and usually forget about not only food, but respect for simple attendee and recipient creature comforts.  It’s “all about the work” has morphed into  it’s “all about the quest for a bigger and better party.”

And for some, that is success. I recognize that for the extrovert, being the center of attention is the  be all to end all.  I just wish there were some figures to support HOW MANY of the rest of us are tortured because we prefer to be backstage and not in the limelight.  And I also recognize that the planning of those events provides a great opportunity for the sponsoring organization as it serves as a base to build community.  Committees of volunteers give great energy, time and effort as they work together to conceive, design and execute their vision; and in so doing, they become a community that helps strengthen that organization-not just at the event, but on-going.

As usual, as this week approached, I have been filled with trepidation – not about whether we will “win” because that has already happened last August when we delivered the work; and we have certainly been recognized via local and national press as well as a place on the agenda at RETHINK.  However, I knew by today I would be in a funk about this whole practice of Award and Recognition. 

And last night the MME Best of Awards did nothing to help me stave off that funk.  A surge in popularity brought attendance to over 450 people – far too large a crowd for the “W” but it’s hard to switch venues at the end…and there is not much one can do about bigger crowds than planned in that venue.  I can criticize, though, the food and beverage service.  It should be good, shouldn’t it? – it’s Manny’s after all.  And therein lays the problem.  A great restaurant does NOT a great caterer make.  Even good restaurant food does not easily translate to good banquet food nor the knowledge of how to deliver it to a large audience.  And one bar -Yikes what a disaster.  Suffice it to say, the experience was good for connecting with a few; not too good for networking, and I have no idea who won in any category except those pre-announced! 

That certainly did not help my trepidation about this evening at the Star Awards!  So, I am afraid I won’t get much work done today – I need to focus on managing an attitude adjustment and talking myself into appreciating the evening for whatever it turns out to be.  A “been there; done that” attitude just won’t do.  I need to rise to the occasion. I owe it to the team and to the CRV client…and to the ISES volunteers that are producing the experience.



March 4, 2010

Recently, thanks to my colleagues, I was nominated to be considered for the MINNESOTA MEETINGS AND EVENTS 2009 Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award.

Not aware this was in the works, I was surprised when Ann Warner of the magazine shared that Tiger Oaks Publications and the Editorial Advisory Board had selected me as the recipient. Although I hope I was gracious and reflected that I was honored, what was also racing through my mind was “This is an award usually given to old people at the end of their careers – I shouldn’t be getting this – I am not done yet! “

Nevertheless, tonight at the MME Best event at TCF Stadium, I will humbly accept – at least for the years I have invested – the recognition.

As I reflected on exactly what it was that I have achieved over the years, my thoughts took me back to an early passion for theatre – not as an actor, but that person in the background doing make up, painting scenery, designing costumes and student directing productions staged in high school and college… and of course, the one arranging the cast parties! Even then I rejected the celebrity of the performer – let others be the stars, I wanted to build the foundation, create the environment, and celebrate the successes.

When a dear friend, Mr. J, my high school drama and speech teacher sent me off to the “real world” with wishes for “bigger and better parties”, I’m sure he had no idea that indeed, I would do just that and would spend some 40 plus years passionately making meetings and events not only my avocation, but my lifetime vocation.

That interest and passion have led to opportunity after opportunity presented to me to move forward with that next “big event” – as an early player in the incentive world, to one of the first to meld show production with meeting management as a performance improvement tool, to a pioneer in Event Marketing in the early 90s, and certainly as I launched Creative Events in 1992. It was often the “first time” for much of what I tackled – and so, I was blessed to be the one making the rules, rather than having to follow the rules.

Mr. J and others – certainly those who tried to manage me over the years -would have predicted that I would not adhere to the norm but would rebel and question every rule and fully presume I could change things.

That optimism has not abandoned me. I still think I can change things – so I will continue to work in this industry into the foreseeable future. For stimulation and new viewpoints I will continue to tap into the energy of those younger that surround me today in this business, while drawing upon the inspiration of industry icons before me – such as Ruth Code. So I will keep going – still on that quest to deliver that perfect event that involves, engages, embraces and empowers those that attend-and pays dividends back to its sponsor.

Meanwhile, thank you so much, Tiger Oaks- for honoring me with this award. It’s become a new encouragement to keep going – to make it to wherever I think I am headed!