5 things I learned at ILEA Live 2016 in Austin


ILEA Live was a special treat for me this year.

photo credit: Lisa Hause Photography

photo credit: Lisa Hause Photography

It was in Austin, Texas, my hometown for 15 years, the place where I was the ILEA Austin chapter president in 2011-2012 and the spot where The Simplifiers was born and launched in 2003.

Two years after moving to the UK, it felt like a sweet, sweet homecoming.

All my favorite breakfast tacos, all the familiar, friendly faces and hugs at every destination…here are the 5 things I learned while at ILEA Live.

5 things I learned while at ILEA Live:

1) Austin is just so easy.

It’s a great city to produce live events, no matter where you live in the world.  While at the conference, I decided to experience things a little differently this time.

This time, I decided The Simplifiers should be a sponsor of the conference and take part in the Technology Hub, now that we are officially an event tech business with The Apprentice Program, which simplifies how busy event professionals train and empower their interns.

ILEA Live 2016

The Simplifiers take part in the Tech Hub at ILEA Live

And that was a very good decision.

During the 2.5 days of the conference, our team showcased the newest version of the training software at our booth.  People got their hands on the platform, saw a sample of the training videos, previewed the intern homework missions, pop quizzes and more.

2) Together is better, alone serves no one.

They even got to see how the resource library with the crowdsourced content would work…meaning, once they completed the 6-weeks of onboarding training that The Simplifiers provides the mentor and their interns, they can dive into a wealth of knowledge and sharing of best practices from the very best thought leaders in our industry, globally.

Mentors using the platform to train their team can also shoot and upload training videos to share with others.  People loved the idea of not only teaching their team using our tools, but learning a few new things themselves along the way.


3) Authoring just got SIMPLE.

In addition, we showcased the authoring tool.

To our surprise, people really, really loved seeing this.  The ability to create your own training modules for your team’s eyes only peaked many people’s interest.  If you’ve wanted to create your own training curriculum for your new hires, freelance staff or employees, here’s your answer.

You simply create a module by plugging in text, video, images from Google search and couple that with a self-graded pop quiz and BOOM, you’re training your team simply and fast.

You build it once and then rinse, repeat in future semesters.

authoring-tool-TheApprenticeProgramTake John, for example…I met John as I was walking to the Opening Night event at Brazos Hall.  John owns a photobooth company and they have event technicians all over the country.  He needs to get his team up to speed with how exactly they setup, run and breakdown their machines at live events.  On our 5 minute walk, I explained that The Apprentice Program training software can do that.  He can create training modules in our system, shoot quick, easy training videos using his smart phone and upload it all to the platform.

He shares this training content ONLY with his team.  As long as they’ve got user licenses to login, they can access it anywhere in the world.  Easy.

I think I BLEW his mind…we’ve got a call scheduled this week to discuss next steps.

4) Every person you meet can teach you something.

Listening is an art form. While at the conference, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing 20 of the very best thought leaders in our industry on-camera, shooting new training content for The Apprentice Program.

Being able to slow down time, focus on one person, their story, their journey and wisdom in their sector of the events industry was such a treat.

Very few people know that I used to be a radio DJ…

Interviewing people is my happy place.

Mary Baird-Wilcock, CSEP interviews Cindy Lo, DMCP at ILEA Live

Talking with David Merrell of AOO events about how to leave a legacy or chatting with Frank Supovitz, former NFL Super Bowl Event Producer about how to keep cool when 2.1 million people are watching your event LIVE around the world…or speaking with Richard Aaron of BizBash about the importance of finding a great mentor no matter what stage of your career you are in or sitting down with Jordan Adams of Big Time Creatives and hearing about the triumphs and challenges of growing an event planning business in her very first year, so many people…so many stories.

Every single one provides an opportunity to learn and grow.  Throughout it all, I couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear.

We are thrilled to add these 20 new interviews to our training platform and share them with you.

5) Be part of something BIGGER than you.

I’m always reminded how important my ILEA membership is when I leave ILEA Live.  At first, that $499 annual membership fee seems like such a hefty price, especially if you’re just starting out as a new business owner.  Trust me, I know.

It is an investment into your own personal development where you meet new people, get connected and grow.

my challenge for you:

At your next ILEA chapter meeting, seek out your local chapter board members and you introduce yourself.  

It takes a little courage but you can do it.  Introduce yourself to the VP of membership if you’re interested in meeting a ton of people FAST.  Introduce yourself to the VP of Education/Programs if you want to feature your product/services at an upcoming chapter event and boost your business.  Introduce yourself to the chapter President if you want to TRULY get plugged in.  Ask if your chapter has a Director of Student Relations and find all the bright, shiny stars who you could hire as your future event interns.

You’ll be surprised what doors it’ll open this year.

ILEA Austin

ILEA Austin chapter win Chapter of the Year for third year in a row!


But don’t just join and sit back…no big sacks of cash are going to roll in.  You’ve got to step up, say hello, get involved and prosper.

The Apprentice Program provides easy to implement, structured training for your interns, apprentices and new hires in the events industry.  Get them onboard faster with how your firm plans, designs and produces live events.

The Apprentice Program includes:

  • weekly “spark” training videos
  • intern homework missions
  • individual intern report cards
  • intern pop quizzes
  • mentor support and advice

Starting at just $75/intern USD per semester for our custom-crafted training, guaranteed to get your interns to think faster on their feet.

Join the waiting list for Fall 2016 start.


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