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Network and Engage

Behind-The-Scenes Interview with AVP of Convention, Part 2

Hot Air BalloonWithout further ado, here is part 2 of what goes on behind the scenes at the annual ICBA conventions.

What kind of hours are you and the team working during convention?

                It’s not an exaggeration to say from sun up until long after sun down. Usually, our team is ready to go around 6:00 am, or at least an hour prior to the first event of the day. With so many moving parts and events scheduled daily, it’s not uncommon for staff to work until later in the evening for several days straight. Of course, finding time to rest is important as well, so you need to find those free moments to sit and catch your breath when you can. My hours at the convention are essentially shortly after I wake up until the last event is done in the evening.

What are some of the strangest requests that you’ve gotten about Convention?

                Thankfully, people are very understanding (for the most part) that there are many moving parts and pieces to the puzzle that need to come together in order to have a successful event, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t faced with challenges from time to time. Some of the more interesting requests come from very creative people, looking to create a buzz about something related to their company and brand. Recently, one group wanted to provide hot air balloon rides for convention attendees. While a fun idea, there were liability concerns that the hotel and ICBA had with the concept.

What was one of the biggest hurdles you encountered for Convention?

                The 2011 Convention in San Diego was a huge challenge. I hope the attendees didn’t realize or notice all the obstacles we had to overcome, that’s the goal of any meeting/event planner! We were faced with hurdle after hurdle behind the scenes. Everything from electrical outages, freight elevators not working, weather issues that caused high drape in the exhibit hall to sway back and forth and nearly fall over, and flooding inside the exhibit hall overnight due to heavy rains were just a few of the challenges. Just when one thing was resolved, something else would go drastically wrong! There were other hurdles that kept us scrambling, but in the end, as long as the attendees were happy and were not affected, that’s all that matters.


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