CEO, Innov8 Events Agency
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Describe your job.
My work is rewarding and never boring. It’s given me the opportunity to lead and learn from a group of creative individuals. It also provides me with the opportunity to be a part of the creation and development of multisensory experiences that provide effective solutions for my clients. What I enjoy the most is collaborating with other event planning professionals needing assistance with their design and technical production needs.
How did you get started, and what got you from there to today?
I started my event career on a somewhat unconventional path. My first ambition was to become a scientist so I could help people live better lives. I went on to study engineering and became a professor, teaching electronics. Throughout it all, I always made sure that I had time on the weekends to pursue my longtime passion of performing as a DJ in radio, social events, and clubs. Eventually, I would start my own event lighting company, which has evolved into what is Innov8 Events, a full-service event production and experience design firm.
I never thought that I would end up consulting, designing, and planning events for some of the world’s largest brands. By taking a leap of faith and following my passion, I finally found my calling. In many ways, creating multisensory experiences for others can make the world a better place. I guess that in the end, I do get to live my childhood dream of helping people enjoy their lives.
Do you have a favorite type, size, or style of event to plan, or do you like variety?
My favorite event type is one where I can design an experience that takes the attendees on an unexpected journey. With the high levels of engagement and social interaction, this type of experience typically yields the highest return on investment, enabling the client to meet their goals.
What’s your best experience of turning lemons into lemonade?
I was designing a sales meeting for a pharmaceutical company. The space I had to work with was a small in-house ballroom that was not large enough to accommodate all attendees. I had an idea: We would create a journey through the human body by dividing the ballroom into a maze of smaller spaces. In small groups, attendees would enter the space and begin an immersive Disney-style tour of the human body and organs. Throughout the “body,” the participants would learn how the pharmaceutical company’s products treated different parts. The event was a huge success. It changed what could have been a boring meeting into a fun, interactive experience.
What’s your proudest moment so far in your career?
I have gotten the most joy as a leader of various industry organizations. Whether it’s serving as president, speaking at conferences, or giving lectures to students, these opportunities allow me to share my knowledge and help make an impact on the future leaders of our profession.
How has your business adapted to the ongoing uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic?
It was very challenging to integrate the multisensory elements into a virtual world. By having a positive, creative mindset, we honed our skills and learned more about the science behind human behavior. It now allows us to provide our clients with even better experiences.
How do you keep up with industry trends and cutting-edge developments in the convention and meeting business? What new event industry trends are you excited about?
I have developed an international network of industry colleagues where we share our knowledge, experiences, and inventions. I keep expanding this network by attending various conferences and trade shows relating to the events industry. This includes conferences on marketing and design.
What are the essential skills that every newcomer into the industry should possess?
To have a successful career in the events industry, you must have a passion for it. You must also have the desire to learn as much as you can about the various crafts of your profession; becoming knowledgeable about lighting, audiovisual, catering, etc., can help you provide solutions and understand the needs of clients and other professionals.
When you are not creating events for your clients, what do you like to do?
I’m blessed to be surrounded by the women in my life: my wife, my two daughters, and a granddaughter.