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2020 Annual Conference

Thank you all that joined us for our 2020 Annual Conference!

2020 is destined to be a visionary year of innovation and collaboration as MNFEA takes over the North Shore.  As always, the education sessions will be packed with valuable information for event and festival professionals, vendors, and service providers. Equally important, our networking and social events offer attendees multiple opportunities to nurture existing relationships and create new ones.


Click Here to learn more about our Wednesday and Thursday night activities

Thursday, March 12th

7:00 a.m. - 7:45 a.m.
Wake Up and Revive with Morning Yoga
Join us  for a rejuvenating morning yoga session! The hotel will provide towels for use, or pack your yoga mat.

8:00 a.m.
Networking Breakfast and Registration

9:00 a.m. - Noon |  MORNING BLOCK

Keynote: You Don't Need to Advertise a Good Party
Consumers have never had so many things competing for their attention as they do today. Amidst all the competing noise, learn the specific strategies to: increase the number of people attending your event; become the event that people mark their calendars for a year in advance and could never imagine missing; and create an event that gets everyone talking, posting and sharing about. The solutions revolve around: how to put yourself in your attendees shoes - stepping "outside" of your event to dream about what it could be, instead of just what it has always been; why the rise of the "professional attendee" has created problems for organizers and what to do about it; the importance of Customer Care vs Customer Service; and the 3 Mindsets that every person working your events must have in order to deliver a 6-Star Experience for each attendee.
Speaker: Bill Svoboda

"It's Not What You Know, It's Who"

Today’s professionals know that it’s tough out there.  They’ve heard the statistics and they know the game…”it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  A large part of our professional development, on-going learning and growth opportunities are obtained through connections.  Networking is a must.   But, to many, networking seems awkward.  What to say?  How to approach people you don’t know very well?  Worse still, how to ask those people for assistance?  This session will simplify networking so that it is easy for the professional networker and a pleasure for those who get the networking call.  

Speaker: Brad Ballinger, Co-owner at Cincinnatus


Noon - 1:00 p.m.  |  NETWORKING LUNCH

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.  |  AFTERNOON BLOCK

Cutting Edge Strategies for Engaging Volunteers to Meet Mission
In the "New Normal" of high demand for service and tight funding, nonprofits are turning to 
volunteers in fresh and creative ways to meet mission. The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration has been developing strategies to do just that. Attend this workshop to: chart a new direction for your nonprofit with nine cutting edge strategies to help you maximize the impact of volunteers; explore how to design volunteer positions for today’s volunteers, streamline your volunteer program, and get organizational buy-in for a culture that focuses on impact through volunteers; assess your organization’s readiness to fully engage volunteers and move your organization to a next level of volunteer engagement.
Speaker: Terry Straub, Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration


It's Rock 'n Roll, And I Like It!
Booking the right live music for your event can be an exhausting process filled with questions: Are we booking the right act? Are we paying a fair price? Take the questioning out of the process with this substantial advice from an expert in the Midwest event scene.
Speaker: Kimberly Gottschalk, President of Sue McLean & Associates and Meghan Gustafson, Director of Events and Programs, mpls downtown council


The Forecast for Your Event: Better, If You Hire A Human
That weather application you’ve been using to forecast for your event sucks. Don’t blame the app, though – it wasn’t designed to make the type of hyper-local, context-dependent forecast you need to put on a safe, successful event. For that, you need to hire a human.  Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, consulting meteorologist, and real-human-being Mike Augustyniak of WCCO-TV will explain how weather apps work, and the characteristics that make them unsuitable for event forecasting. He will also explain the services that consulting meteorologists are able to provide, and present several real-world case studies from events around the region.
Speaker: Mike Augustyniak, WCCO-TV

Whack-a-mole Management
With increasing regularity, leaders are susceptible to falling into the "Whack-a-mole Management" trap. They feel forced into constantly responding to whatever seemingly urgent problem has most recently "popped up" in front of them, and are left with little to no time to focus on more important core issues. Scott Graden is the owner of the New Scenic Café and the founder of the coaching and consulting team Laera. During this session, Scott will cover how he strives to break away from Whack-a-mole Management using "The Laera Approach." The Læra Approach is an ongoing concert of learning and teaching, and is centered around three words: SIMPLE, HONEST, AWARE. Scott will discuss various ideas, tools, and mental models which can collectively help with removing complexity, embracing and dealing with reality, and discerning urgency from importance.
Speaker: Scott Graden, Owner of the New Scenic Café

The Do's and Don'ts of Creating a Site Plan

Your site plan in vital to the success of your event. These logistics experts, behind some of the largest festivals in Minnesota, will challenge you to avoid the pitfalls that so many people make when creating their site plan. This interactive session will provide you with some real world scenarios and allow you to problem solve with your peers. 
Speakers: Steve Madson, SRO Productions, Jon Ionazzo, Atmosphere Events, Mark Rausch, mpls downtown council

Building Event Content that Attracts Sponsors, Attendees and the Media
While consistency can be a good thing, as event producers we understand that "same old, same old" is not a good thing! Whether you are producing a corporate event or a public festival, creating content that inspires your clients and attendees is paramount for long term success. In this session, Sara Collins and Cindy Lerick will explore how to build event content that attracts sponsors, engages attendees and catches the attention of the media. 
Speakers: Sara Collins, Stone Arch Bridge Festival and Cindy Lerick CFEE, The Art of Events


Fireworks: Are they the right fit for your event?
The pros at RES Pyro will walk you through the types of fireworks displays that are possible for your festival and talk you through the best practices to make sure you do not run into any issues when it is showtime. Whether pyro is something you do all the time or if you just want to know how they pull off the 4th of July without a hitch this session is for everyone. 

Speaker: Erv Hamen and Tracey Vanasek, RES Pyro

From State Fairs to Rodeos, Discover Food and Beverage Trends that Impress in 2020
Food is the way to an attendees' heart...or so the saying goes! A good assortment of food and beverage offerings can elevate your event and take it from 'barely care' to 'everyone's there' in a moment. Discover the food and beverage trends that will have all of your attendees hashtag-ing away in 2020.

Speaker: Stephanie Hansen, Mytalk1071 .1 @WeeklyDish Radio Show Host, @StephaniesDish.com Producer & Social Media Influencer, Curator Culinary market Stone Arch Bridge Festival and Art In Bayfront Park

Friday, March 13th

7:00 a.m. - 7:45 a.m.
Wake Up and Revive with Morning Yoga
Join us  for a rejuvenating morning yoga session! The hotel will provide towels for use, or pack your yoga mat.


8:00 a.m.
Networking Breakfast and Registration


8:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. |  MORNING BLOCK


Partnering with your City – What’s Better Than FREE?

Whether you’re well established or launching a new event, this session highlights how Visit Duluth, the city’s destination marketing organization, partners with events to provide FREE marketing to drive attendance.  Creative examples that can be customized to your community, provide more bang for the buck and suitable for events of every size.
Speakers: Anna Tanski, President of Visit Duluth


Fundraising For Your Festival and the All Important Sponsorship Deliverable's

Is your festival sponsorship support emotional or transactional? This interactive session will explore ideas on how to maximize your sponsorship revenue through a better understanding of your event and its position within the market. Bring your questions and unique ideas and let’s explore these ideas together.

Speakers: Jean Ryan, JRI Marketing and Jim Leighton, RAIN
Moderator: Meghan Gustafson, mpls downtown council

Your Events, Our Parks!
Cities across MN are continuing to build state of the art park facilities that are designed specifically to draw in tourism to first, second and even third ring suburbs. Come learn from two park and rec professionals, Aimee Peterson (Maple Grove), and Nate Rosa (St. Louis Park) about how two cities have designed and utilized park facilities to host not only city run special events but are specifically designed to host large regional and national events.
Speakers: Aimee Peterson, Superintendent of Recreation - Maple Grove and Nate Rosa, Recreation Supervisor - City of St. Louis Park


"Stop the Scroll:" Get their attention and maximize social media for your event
According to a recent Microsoft study, the average human being has an attention span of only eight seconds. So how do you quickly and effectively leave a lasting impression on your audience? Belay Creative owners Stacey Robertson and Karen Ybarra have insider experience as Minnesota event marketers and are excited to share tips on how to capture your target demographic's attention on social media and grow your reach.
Speakers: Stacey Robertson and Karen Ybarra, Belay Creative


11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  |  NETWORKING LUNCH & ANNUAL MEETING


12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.  |  AFTERNOON BLOCK


Active Shooter Preparedness
Recent national tragedies remind us that the threat is real and as people in the festival business we need to prepare in the event we are faced with an active shooter situation. Find out how you should interact with law enforcement and steps you can take to make sure your staff, vendors and contractors are a part of the see something say something mentality. This valuable session will give us the tools we need to create a plan to react and recover should an incident occur. 
Speaker: Glenn Sanders, Department of Homeland Security



Closing Session & Prize Drawings

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