Posts Tagged ‘ISES STAR Awards’



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 26, 2011

I’ve sent my kudos to Leslie Larson and her team who took some risks, thought out of the box, and changed things up. Their great efforts produced a Star Awards that worked well. I’ve sent my thanks to two key vendor partners that could not be recognized because they are not ISES members (MCC and Kelber Catering); and now I have unpacked the three crystal symbols that represent the recognition I received for my part in the production of the CRV Experience 2010.  They look good up on the shelf with the “I AM CRV” team picture and the framed set of CRV buttons!

All in all, the CRV Experience received five Star Awards:  Best Corporate Event over $75,000; Best Event Décor and Design; Best Creative Design; Best Technical; and the one I most wished for, Best ISES Team.  That one alone made it all worthwhile. 

One last time (in the context of CRV 2010 at least) I will say again: this was a group of people that were melded together by trust and respect for one another.   They committed to the CRV Experience-driven by the possibility of delivering excellence.  In the course of ten weeks, we invented new best practices to raise the bar in our industry and together, we proved through collaboration we can change the event world and how it “rethinks”.   Along the way, we verified that needs-based creativity produces value.  Best of all, we produced an interactive learning experience that drove results for our client.   And there is nothing better than that.  I confess had we not been recognized for that team effort, I would have been devastated.

I had not anticipated the number of people that would personally seek us out to give us a word of congratulations, and I wondered why I have never thought to so overtly do that myself in other settings. 

That unsolicited peer recognition to me seemed so much more powerful than the organizational recognition.  It rated right up there with Shelly Elmore from TCB casually sharing that the whole magazine was abuzz since they featured the article in March about Boston Scientific and how great it was they have taken the lead in using new formats of meetings to engage employees and get two-way conversations going with BSCI leadership.

So it seemed to me I had battled the funk and won…that is, until Kim and Marilee came to say goodbye and closed the book on this chapter.  I was quickly engulfed again in the black cloud and had to make an early exit from the festivities.  Later, safely at home and enjoying a celebratory snifter of Remy Martin, it occurred to me that perhaps I had blamed the tradition of awards and recognition celebrations in error for my gloominess earlier in the day…could it be that I was just dreading saying goodbye to the two best client contacts I have every worked with?



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.