On Security & Contingency Planning
Lindsey Schneider (Minnesota Medical Association): Some of the roadblocks that we’ve been running into at our association are smaller probably compared to what most of you are all dealing with. We always need one person totally dedicated to us whether it’s an undercover officer or someone in a full uniform, and that’s been really hard to find in an event setting other than a convention center.
Amy Leyden (McNamara Alumni Center): I just attended a campus-wide talk on free speech and hate speech. … That’s a challenging issue being that we’re on campus of a public university—controversial speakers that University departments or students want to bring in. With the election coming up, we’ll see candidates coming through and supporters and protesters. We have some good experience that makes us ready for those things.
Jessica Miller (Jacki Brickman - Consulting): We have started cross-training our team so that everyone is CPR-certified, and we’ve had a couple people go to first responder training, too. Wherever we are, whatever venue we’re using, we have an evacuation plan. Whatever the contingency is— whether it’s weather or protests—we’re prepared for whatever happens.
On Décor Trends
Connor Myhre (W2O Group): There’s a lot you can do with just a little bit of light, whether it be color or texture. Especially with gobos … you can overlap them to make it look like there’s rain falling on the sides just by adding two rotating gobos. It’s really the mood that you want to create and how experienced your designers are to make that happen, how tuned in they are to the goals that you have.
Lauren Segelbaum (Event Lab): I think that social media is contributing to décor trends. I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram. … I used to get my inspiration from storefronts. I still love Anthropologie because I love the way they create their storefront. Well, we don’t have a lot of storefronts anymore.
Jim Leighton (RAIN Events): Well, you’re pulling your ideas from Instagram, but then people at your events are recording it on Instagram. So that’s also designing with social media in mind.
Devie Hagen (Élan Speakers Agency): Wellness is a major topic right now for my speakers. A year ago there was no interest in the topic at all. Now the meeting planners are all asking for it.
Katie Numedahl (CWT Meetings & Events): Our world is so busy, if you can incorporate a wellness activity into a work activity too, it’s a win-win.
Sean Schuette, CMP (Schuette on Duty Solutions LLC): The SPINCon conference is all about brain, body and being so they offer things both in the morning and at night. In the morning there’s yoga, meditation and the like … at night they have activities like bingo and wine circles which are on various topics.
Meghan Gustafson (MPLS Downtown Council): I’ve been pescatarian, but I just say vegetarian because everyone kind of knows what that is. There was a time I would just dread whatever they brought me because it was not thought out at all. I think chefs are taking it seriously now.
Rosemarie Kelly Ndupuechi (3E Productions LLC): I’ve had really good experience with food. I send out a list of people and all their various needs. I do find that chefs are willing to work with it. They’re very accommodating.
Jaimie Mattes, CMM (HelmsBriscoe): There are places where you’re expecting to have [food] labeled and it’s not happening. There’s an expectation sometimes, especially when you register for something and they’re asking for any allergies, and then it just doesn’t follow through.
Christie Altendorf (D’Amico Catering): I’m seeing a lot of plant-based foods done in really familiar ways. We did an all vegan wedding tasting the other week where we had buffalo cauliflower wings. So it’s classic, American favorites, but they’re done in a way that’s hopefully a little healthier, maybe a little more affordable and definitely more sustainable.