Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hybrid Events - Another Way to Learn

I first met Stephanie Pfeilsticker in another life for both of us, she as a corporate meeting planner and I was the Director of Creative and Production at Cantrav, where I had the opportunity to work on several events with their rather awesome team.  Since then she moved into digital and hybrid events and is currently following her passion for both educating the industry and hybrid events.  I caught up with her recently as she gets ready to launch a new program and here is what she had to say.

1.   Steph, can you give me a bit of history on your experience and where your passion for hybrid events began.

I have been a planner in the meetings industry for 16 years. In 2010, I discovered virtual and hybrid events at an industry event. After a successful hybrid pilot where I streamed a National Sales Meeting to those who couldn’t attend in person, a viable option to extend our message was born. Requests came in for more hybrid meetings and I started a Virtual Strategy Group to produce these events.I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was 10 years old. Late last year, I made that a reality by launching Hybrid Events Authority, LLC based in Minneapolis, MN. Through Hybrid Events Authority, I guide clients through the process of planning hybrid events or if they prefer, I can produce the events for them.

2.  You have created a new program for meeting professionals to better understand hybrid events. Can you tell me more about this and what it includes.  Also, are there CE HOURS available?

That’s right. I believe that education on hybrid events is necessary for planners to understand how and when hybrid meetings should be incorporated into their own meetings. Most education at industry conferences give planners 60 minutes to learn about hybrid events. To fully understand the process behind hybrid events, a more in-depth course is needed. To meet this need, I have teamed up with Digital Event Strategist, Mahoganey Jones from Toronto to produce a 5-part series online that will allow planners to walk away with the ability to plan their own hybrid event. We wanted the series of sessions to be comprehensive, yet practical so the information could be immediately put to use.

The course begins on Thursday, April 23rd at 11:30 AM CT via the internet so that anyone can attend! The course is Convention Industry Council certified and there is 6.25 CE hours available. Meeting professionals can register for it at Enter code NMID to receive the early bird rate!

3.  How is this different than the DES program? 
Great question! I had an excellent learning experience in the DES program and encourage others to consider it. This course was designed as a pre-cursor to the DES. If you have minimal digital experience, our Hybrid Series will give you a sound foundation of practical knowledge to build on.

4.  Who developed the program?  I know there is a story to this. Can you tell me more?

Mahoganey Jones of Event Specialists in Toronto was the originator of the idea. She reached out to a mutual colleague to potentially partner. That person referred her to me. I had a similar idea on my “to do” list and was thrilled to partner-up with such a like-minded person. Together we spent months shaping the program and tailoring the content so that it was comprehensive, yet practical. After 4 years and dozens of hybrid events, we have tried and true methods that take the guesswork out of hybrid meeting planning. For example, I know the marketing plan we share works because I’ve perfected it over the last several years at my own hybrid events. We want a planner to be able to immediately put our information to use to produce their own hybrid event. 

5.  If someone is interested in this program how can they get involved?
Our program is detailed on our website, The early-bird rate ended last week, but we are offering your readers the code NMID to register at that discounted rate. Our first class starts on Thursday, April 23rd at 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM CT. If participants can’t attend the live class, they are able to view the recording afterward. The remaining classes are offered on Thursdays at 11:30 AM CT for the next four (4) weeks.
If anyone has questions, they may contact me at or 612-247-4420.  Mahoganey Jones can be reached at or 647-693-3444.

So there we go - another great way to gain some knowledge in our ever changing industry!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I Nominate... #CMP30

I love this initiative from the Convention Industry Council to celebrate CMPs who are making a difference to individuals, and I am so honoured to have been nominated by Mariela McIlwraith. 

When I first started I was finishing my Event Management Diploma and my practicum was led by Claire Smith, CMP who has been such a mentor to me and so many others over the years she has been actively and proactively involved in improving our industry, one day at a time.  She is thoughtful in all she does, kind to all, and never looks back except to learn from what has happened already.  Claire was one of the first to take on sustainability and Vancouver and its Convention Centre today are among the most sustainable in the world.  Her commitment to education and the industry has no boundaries, and I appreciate all she does.

Mariela has evolved her career from thoughtful meeting planner to writer and educator and her strength of mind and strong character continue to inspire me.  She does not have a stop button when it comes to getting things right, and her ethical and straight-forward approach combined with a real commitment to continual improvement are inspiring.

This is simply a good start and I encourage everyone who has been inspired by a CMP to take a few minutes and nominate someone.