Announcing... The REELLAVENT Experience Podcast /February 18, 2019 by REELLAVENT

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We’re excited to announce the REELLAVENT Experience Podcast!  REELLAVENT Experience will pull back the curtains to host conversations with event creatives diving into their inspiration, motivation and most important, the essence of their work.  Join us every 2nd and last Wednesday of each month to listen to some of the most fascinating conversations with event professionals.  

Join us, we can’t wait to share our upcoming podcast with everyone!  

What Event Planners Can Learn From Hip-Hop /August 10, 2017 by REELLAVENT

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I am glad I kept my Tidal subscription! 

June 30, 2017, was not only an important day in Hip Hop culture, but it taught me a few lessons as an experience producer.  Shawn "Jay Z" Carter released an oral history in audio.  His 4:44 album is hailed as a critical work of art, although this term and his work don't come as a surprise to lovers of his art.  However, there was something different about this music and the release of it that fans and those familiar with his work were used to hearing.  This time was a slight departure from Jay Z, the husband and father who is notoriously private, which in my opinion was a very smart approach that he and his better half Beyoncé made throughout the duration of their careers both separately and together. His new music was open in a very mature, humble way.  There were moments of bravado, but this time he provided in-depth context.  He also did something that caught my eye on from a business perspective. Jay-Z turned his music release into an exclusive public experience. Exclusive meaning, you had to subscribe to his streaming service, Tidal or be a customer of Sprint, to have access to this event.

The digital hybrid approach to events is fairly recent and still growing in the industry. When utilizing online tools to reach a wider audience, the possibilities of innovation are endless.  He took the release a step further by also hosting in-store listening sessions, many staffed by a DJ. Subscribers and customers created a sense of community while partaking in the culture.  It really created FOMO online and in person.  I loved this strategy and by the way I really enjoyed the new music.  By implementing a hybrid experience, he created a sense of belonging, heightened his audiences' experience and widened the way in which we accessed his music. Think about this in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Engagement (ROE), I am certain Tidal and Sprint gained new customers and Jay-Z new supporters of his music and his journey.  

DJ Damage at The Sprint Store in West Hollywood- photo credit: Jarrod Williams/Exclusive-Access.net | Source: https://revolt.tv/stories/2017/07/02/jay-drops-444-invites-public-thier-local-sprint-store-preview-07004c07cd   Note: I do not own the rights to this image, if you re-post, please cite properly.

DJ Damage at The Sprint Store in West Hollywood- photo credit: Jarrod Williams/Exclusive-Access.net | Source: https://revolt.tv/stories/2017/07/02/jay-drops-444-invites-public-thier-local-sprint-store-preview-07004c07cd

Note: I do not own the rights to this image, if you re-post, please cite properly.

So what happens after the event?...

Many times people do not think of events a cyclical, perhaps just a one time thing that starts and ends, this could be the furthest thing from the truth.  The countless hours of planning, testing and planning again produce great audience experiences.  But what happens when the event is over?  How do we keep the experience going?  Jay-Zs formula is to continue to engage supporters.  He has consecutively provided visuals to his music along with footnotes of people engaging with the theme of each song.  The visuals are a take on social commentary, his personal anecdote and analysis of the world around him. Talk about the value being provided to all of the new subscribers/customers.  This method is proving to not only be successful, but it is also maintaining audience retention.  

The reactions to the content have not ended after the main release date, he and his team are strategically encouraging ongoing conversations.  I cannot wait to see what is next, and until then you can subscribe to Tidal, here and enjoy 4:44.

Co-working Spaces: Do's & Don'ts of Event Partnerships /August 2, 2017 by REELLAVENT

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As we continue to explore ways of connecting and having meaningful gatherings, options of doing so continue to present themselves.  One option in particular is your local co-working space.  As an event professional, my approach is to work from within the community and think of innovative ways to strengthen what already exists.  Since co-working spaces are becoming the go-to for building professional community and working amongst like-minded persons eager to grow and learn together, I decided to take a closer look at how to effectively collaborate with these spaces.  Below is an interview from co-founder of Second Shift Chicago, Levi Baer. He provides great advice on the do's and don'ts when partnering with a co-working space. Take a look and leave a thought below in the comment section.

LevI Baer | Co-Owner SECOND SHIFT

LevI Baer | Co-Owner SECOND SHIFT

  • If someone is seeking to host an event at Second Shift, what do you look for in a partnership?

We are a new organization, just a few months old, so at this point the best event partners for our co-working space are people bringing a complete event production and just need a host. We don’t have the capacity to be finding all the panelists, sponsors, and figuring out the run of show, so the more that is handled by the partner the better! That said, we always use our platform and network to help promote events and bring in our community as well.

We also look for a values fit; we want to work with people that share our goals of community building, collaboration, and personal and professional advancement!

  • How can the partnership be a mutually beneficial relationship?

The best partnerships for us are ones that benefit both us and the group bringing the event. I always ask the facilitators if they want to sell as many tickets as possible, try out a new concept for feedback, or some other goal so that we can help support with how we plan the event. On our side, we want it to be something of interest to the coworking community, which can be about entrepreneurship, networking, or some social cause that many of our community members may care about.

A great example of this is a partnership we have now with liftUPlift who is hosting events with us this summer that boost their work supporting women entrepreneurs. In return for us providing a great event space they are helping to promote our coworking space to their community, which is a very mutually beneficial relationship!

What pitch materials should a potential partner prepare?

We try to streamline the process by asking questions of potential partners on our website . In general we want to know who the organization is and what kind of work they do, what are the goals of this event, and what do the logistics of this event look like. For example, we are a great space for workshops, but can’t accommodate large parties, so the more clearly potential partners describe their event the easier it is for us to decide if we are a good fit.

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  • Post event, what follow-up tips can you offer?

Help clean up! You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) by how many people don’t help clean at all whether it’s asked of them or not. Your host is tired and wants to go home just like you, so a few extra hands at the end of the night goes a long way.

Sharing pictures that both parties can use on social media is also great, or if you’re posting directly, tag the host so they can retweet/repost, etc.

I also think constructive criticism is helpful. Especially for us as a new company, if people tell me something like “this whiteboard doesn’t work here” that type of information is helpful so I can make it better for future events! Sandwich it with some positive feedback and I think most people will be open to it.

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  • Other noteworthy advice you would like to offer...

Be authentic. Don’t sell yourself, your business, or your event as anything other than what it really is. That way you can find partners that are a great value match, which not only give you a good home for an event, but the possibility for a lasting professional relationship!

To book your next event at Second Shift, visit: Second Shift Rental Request 

Venue Spotlight | Rogue Philanthropy /July 7, 2017 by REELLAVENT

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A perk in our work is that we get to visit new places and meet new people.  Today I was invited to visit a new #eventprofs #venue in #chicago: Rogue Philanthropy, the space boasts a flexible layout, awesome design, play lounge, bar area and a great industrial kitchen.  According to their website, 

"Rogue Philanthropy’s mission is to partner with organizations dedicated to making practical improvements in services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as partner with other local grassroots non-profits making our community stronger.

Rogue Philanthropy launched in late 2013 to raise funds for local grassroots non-profits in the Chicago area. Founding member Dave Gebhardt decided to take action after seeing his wife struggle to keep one of Chicago’s most innovative vocational programs for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities running. Due to the states cuts in funding and a recession that has significantly lowered donations, great organizations like these must operate in crisis mode."

Eventurers, check'em out and let them know Monique sent ya!

Location: 2842 W. Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60622

Telephone: 312.401.0422

Email: info [at] roguephilanthropy.org

Collaborate w/ Local & Diverse Partners / January 12, 2018 by REELLAVENT

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I grew up in the Humboldt Park community in Chicago.  It was there that I developed a sense of community which helped me to understand the importance of being involved in your local community.  It was in my elementary school, Jose de Diego Community Academy that we were encouraged to take field trips to our local institutions and celebrate monumental moments such as when the Puerto Rican flags were unveiled on Paseo Boricua.  It instilled a sense of importance, responsibility and most of all respect. We were also introduced to new cultural celebrations such as when the Kenwood High School choir came to sing You Will Know, a popular empowerment song from the 90's or when we sang and danced with BB King's daughter.  I reflect on those times and many more for a few reasons, but with regards to this post, I want to tie in a few reasons why respectful collaboration with local and diverse partners is important.

An experience is boring if it only has one perspective. Let me state this, it is important to celebrate and honor individual experiences, but with regards to an event, experiences are communal and the bringing together of folks should also reflect in how #eventprofs build upon who is accessing the space.  As an experience producer, I lead with this approach. Acknowledging race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc. are important if our goal is to always push the impact of the content presented.  Meaning, we should constantly ask, who or what are we not thinking about while constructing an event?  And in what ways can we be inclusive? Here are some things to consider when thinking of collaboration, diversity and partnership:

  • Transportation maps, that show ADA compliant routes. Highlight these for potential audience members. Hire someone locally who can support this effort.

  • Translation services both in person and in marketing messages.

  • Gender Neutral restrooms (FULL STOP)

  • Panelists and Speakers (If they all look the same, sound the same, then start over, but don't get superficial or lazy with this. Even with events that are marketed to a certain demographic, don't present the content in a monolithic way, make sure speakers still fit the theme in an intentional way.) Look local first, hire and partner with an expert from the community.

  • Find ways to partner with a local business. In Chicago, we are known for our different ethnic enclaves, although many rooted in discriminatory policy practices (that's another convo), we can still bring in community restaurants for catering, local artists, speakers, etc. Make it a point to highlight the voice of the people.

Finally, a respectful gesture is to offer compensation. Payment is important, not only because people have bills to pay but the hesitancy to pay diverse and local partners should not become practice, especially if they offer services and expertise that enhance your event and the experience of your audience.  

In the comment section below, rep your city and a local business, artist, service, etc.  

#SurvivingRKelly | Watch Event Resources / January 4, 2019 by REELLAVENT

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Over the years, online watch parties have determined the success of shows, spurred dialogue and moved the culture forward so much so that creatives, executives and actors are engaging directly with supporters. While this has been used mainly for fictional shows, we can also engage for educational documentaries. This week #SurvivingRKelly a documentary about the #Chicago born singer will air on Lifetime from 1/3-1/5, 9pm est.

Here's a little info: For over a decade Robert Kelly better known as R. Kelly has allegedly engaged in non-consensual relationships with underage Black and Brown girls. He has been accused of allegedly being violent, controlling, manipulative and a frequent sexual abuser of young girls and women.

#SurvivingRKelly is a six-part series that tells a total story about his background and the stories of those who survived his alleged abuse, but even more than that, it tells the story of how we respond and allow these types of behaviors as a society. Let's use watch parties to support this important moment in our culture. To create your own #SurvivingRKelly watch event please consider these tools:

·       Watch guide created by Girls for Gender Equity - GGE | https://www.ggenyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Viewer-Guide.pdf

·       Self care guide created by Feminista Jones | https://www.patreon.com/posts/23727743

·       Respectfully, join the conversation online by using #SurvivingRKelly

Note: Please also keep in mind the heaviness of the subject. It is okay if you cannot watch the doc.

 

We Made It: Black History Month 2019! /February 1, 2019 by REELLAVENT

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Welcome to Black History Month 2019!

Black History Month, originally referred to as “Negro History Week”, was started by a group of African Americans with Dr Carter G. Woodson leading the way.  Lear more about its origins here

 As we embark on the 28 days focusing on the global contributions from the Black diaspora, we will share analysis on how monumental events throughout Black History have shaped and pushed our culture forward. 

Let’s engage!

Happy International Women's Day! / March 8, 2019 by REELLAVENT

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Ever since I could remember, my mother and grandmother were always there to teach me lessons I learned right away and later in life.  One of the reason’s I started REELLAVENT was because growing up, these women always made room for people to join us at the table.  They lovingly welcomed people in our home to talk, eat and feel safe.  Part of my approach to event planning borrows from the traditions and experiences gifted to me by two of the most beloved women in my life.  On this International Women’s Day I want to give honor to them as well as all women, who in the spirit of their ancestors, are guided by a fiercely righteous intuition.