EventCamp East Coast appreciations

Lindsey Rosenthal's birthday cake. Photo by Karen Brown.
Lindsey Rosenthal posing with her birthday cake on Friday night. Photo by Karen Brown.

I’m still sorting out the lessons I learned from facilitating and organizing EventCamp East Coast, and I’ll be writing about them soon. But, while the memories are still fresh, I want to offer appreciations here for the incredible contributions the organizers, volunteers, and participants made to the event. During lunch on Saturday I shared these thoughts with the participants, and now I want to share them with the online community.

CAUTIONS: 1) I’m 59 and my memory is not what it was. If I’ve left people or assistance out or got details wrong, let me know and I’ll make it right. 2) This is my personal experience of EC²—I attended just three of the thirteen sessions offered, and did not manage to talk with every attendee, so please forgive me if your contributions and sterling qualities are not given the acknowledgment they deserve.

Volunteers
Paige Buck, you came all the way from San Francisco as a Conferences That Work trainee, and threw yourself into helping in every way you could: scribing the roundtable, working effectively on the peer session determination, facilitating the session Time, tools, & tactics: addressing planners’ pain points, and assisting with every logistical need you could. I appreciate you for the skills, charm, wisdom, and humor you brought to EC², and look forward to working with you in the future.

Carolyn Ray, you traveled from Montreal to volunteer at EC², and I was struck by your infectious calm & cheerful demeanor as you seemingly effortlessly dealt with a myriad of issues as they came up. Oh, and besides efficiently helping with peer session determination, you also led two sessions: Learning from event successes and failures and Conflict management & negotiation for event professionals (bet you didn’t expect that). I appreciate you for your enthusiasm, passion, warmth, and your willingness to share your surprising knowledge with others.

Peer session determination
Mitchell Beer, Andrea Sullivan, & Traci Browne – you, with Paige & Carolyn made peer session determination at EC² one of the easiest processes I’ve led recently. You worked with me late into the night while others were partying. I appreciate you for your quick thinking, expert advice on how to cluster topics, and whether to combine them, and unfailing good humor during the whole 14-step process.

Scribes
Paige I’ve already mentioned, but Cameron Toth, you were the scribe that gave that extra I hadn’t even thought to ask for: documenting the roundtable process and, without being asked, jumping up to fill flip chart paper with the salient points from the group spective. I appreciate you for your boundless energy, willingness to help in any way you could, and your continual flow of ideas and possibilities. Oh, let’s not forget your fashion style!

Session leaders

Carolyn Ray (Learning from event successes and failures and Conflict management & negotiation for event professionals) and Paige Buck (Time, tools, & tactics: addressing planners’ pain points) – see above

Traci Browne (Tradeshow layouts that encourage attendee interaction) – see below.

Jenise Fryatt (Social media 101 and Applied improv) – Jenise, I appreciate you for your ability to say YES when the moment comes, your thoughtfulness and accompanying clarity of expression, your kindness to all, your enthusiasm for new experiences, and your infectious cheerfulness and tact. AND… you’re a superb teacher of improv!

Debra Roth (Using design as a tool: how do color, form, and style affect your attendees) Deb, it was a treat to be invited into your creative world. I appreciate you for your straightforward manner, your kindness, your calm guidance during the session, and your evocative, creative talents.

Mitchell Beer (Repackaging conference content) I wish I could have attended your session, Mitchell. I appreciate you for your enthusiasm for my event design, your cheerful professional demeanor, and the blush worthy positive feedback you bestowed which means a lot to me, given your 27 years experience attending and recording conferences.

Andrea Sullivan (Brain-friendly ways to keep attendees engaged) This was the session I most regret missing. I appreciate you for the experience, ideas and energy you possess, and am looking forward to talking with you further next week.

Sam Smith (Integrating web and mobile technology at events) Sam, thank you so much for coming to EC², and your calm acceptance and positive response to an event design so different from what you dazzled us with at EventCamp Twin Cities. I appreciate you for your depth, your knowledge, your ability to make wise choices, your fundamental fairness, and your vocal support for this event.

Jay Daughtry (Social media 101), Jonathan Vatner (Beginning writing workshop), Kiki L’Italien (Advanced social media). Jay, Jonathan, and Kiki: I don’t know you well enough to say much (though I’m skeptical about that bacon-flavored vodka, Kiki), but I appreciate the three of you for stepping up to the challenge of leading event sessions with little warning, and reappearing triumphant at their successful conclusion.

Photos & videos
Karen Brown, Eric Lukazewski, Cameron Toth, Lindsey Rosenthal, Traci Browne, Heidi Thorne, Sam Smith, Jenise Fryatt: I appreciate you all for taking the time to snap, video, upload and tweet photos and moving images of EC². Your work will help to keep memories fresh, and show some of the atmosphere and abundant interactions at EventCamp East Coast. And Andre Flewellen Photography and Ken Kauffman Photography: thank you for donating your services to further document our time together!

Caterers
Susan and Ernie of The Twisted Gourmet – what a feast you provided us at EC²! What more could we have asked for? Thank you!

Hostess
Beth Brodovsky, what a hostess you turned out to be for our Friday night party! I appreciate you for graciously offering the use of your home by fifty strangers, and for your unflappability as we moved furniture from one room to another during the party, stuck paper all over your living room walls, and prepared food in your kitchen. (And on an unrelated note, I also appreciated your incisive contributions to Deb’s design session.) We all owe you a big vote of thanks!

Partners
We had ten wonderful partners at EC²: BizBash Media (represented by president Richard Aaron, and associate editor Anna Sekula), Grosh Backdrops and Drapery, Omnipress, EventMobi (represented by founder and president Bob Vaez), etouches (represented by vice president Suzanne Carawan), Echelon Design, Inc. (represented by marketing and creative director Eric Lukazewski), Promo With Purpose (represented by founder Heidi Thorne), The Conference Publishers (represented by president Mitchell Beer), CharityChoice, and Planet Planit. All of you made this event possible through your donations of services and/or financial support. As Lindsey & Traci are well aware, I am somewhat cautious and picky when it comes to working with partners for my events, but with you there was no need for caution. You supported EventCamp East Coast enthusiastically and we all benefited from the relationship. I thank you, as do all of us who attended.

My fellow organizers
Almost last, but far from least, are my two fellow organizers, Traci Browne and Lindsey Rosenthal.

EventCamp East Coast was held because Traci, whom I met at the original EventCamp in New York, bought my book, became excited about the event design and wanted to see what Conferences That Work was all about. When she asked me to help create a regional EventCamp, I accepted immediately. Without Traci’s belief in me and my work, EC² would never have been born. So Traci, I appreciate you for possessing that trust and belief. But there’s much more. I also appreciate your passion that fed us as we worked through one logistical problem after another, your forthright temperament to “tell it like it is” coupled with a surprising flexibility and tact that made you a delight to work with, your sense of humor, your integrity, and, perhaps most important, your big heart hiding under that superficially cynical exterior. I’d work with you again in a minute, and hope to do so often.

Lindsey, at Saturday lunch at EventCamp East Coast I described you as “a force of nature”. (That, in case anyone is unclear, is a good thing.) Lindsey, I am so grateful you joined Traci and me and took on so many of the responsibilities of making EC² a success—we could never have done what we did without you. I appreciate you for your wonderful, unique mixture of drive (don’t step in her way, folks) and charm (Lindsey can put anyone at ease in about ten seconds), as well as your burning integrity, the passion you wear on your sleeve, your hard work ethic, and, like Traci, a big heart.

Lindsey & Traci, I appreciate you so much for taking responsibility for the event logistics so I could concentrate on facilitating EventCamp East Coast.

You
Finally, I want to acknowledge all of the attendees of EventCamp East Coast. You created this event. None of you were passive spectators. I appreciate you for actively participating, for shaping EC² into the event it became, for freely sharing your knowledge and experience for the benefit of all, and for taking risks in what you said and did while we were together. Together, we made EventCamp East Coast into something unique and wonderful. Thank you!