#32under32 event director experience

#32UNDER32 Opening Film // Minneapolis, MN from acowsay on Vimeo.

Opening film premiered at the May 28th #32under32 awards.

Since December, this Minnesota Design Gal had been planning for the 3rd Annual 32 under 32 community event. This event was founded by an Ad 2 MN volunteer—with a new idea, the right plan, right volunteers and American Advertising Federation (Ad Fed), this community awareness event became a reality!

Accepting the challenge, I made sure to strategize the goals of the event as I knew this year’s focus would be AWARENESS.

The 2nd year I was honored to receive the 32 under 32 award where I found myself not only being congratulated but also educating people about what the award was.


The best part about leading nonprofit work is recruiting a team of people who you want to know better and are more talented than yourself. That empowered me to reach out to several creative and marketing folks of which I had successful past experiences with, along with a few new eager minds, to create this powerful planning crew for the 3rd annual event.

Sponsorship is the most intimidating role in any nonprofit work because it means you are knocking on doors and asking for, well, dollar bills. My approach this year while spreading the word about the event and award, was to gather influential interesting brands to supply messaging, goods, decorations and give-a-ways for guests.woodchuckIMG_6957



11312637_986381814728827_5574797207792454698_oThe sponsorship break-down included adding a dessert bar from Mall of America, Catalyst Group creating custom boxes of mints and custom designed name tags, Woodchuck wood-stuff which included custom judge thank-you notebooks and event give-a-ways, KIND Snack bags for 32 winners and judges, Creative Circle for an interactive Photo Booth and contribution to event dollars, Red Stamp winner discounts and SOTA clothing for event-day prizes photography branding. Acowsay digital owner, Tyler was part of the planning crew but he also sponsored with his valuable behind the camera time and mad-digital production skills. Again, thanks to these powerful community names for being part of the entire experience—wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you!

Taking on the Director of this not for profit community event, I knew the event itself would need to be elevated—who wants to come to an event, see that you don’t get the 32 honor and pay $40 to go home with empty stomachs and empty-handed… #notcomingbacknextyear

After touring and seeking out venues for longer than my agenda had planned, I landed on the Minneapolis Event Centers (MEC) and worked with the wildly talented Wendy. The team negotiated the entire event timeline, a welcome-cocktail, special beer price (that matters), rentals and food—MEC would be introduced to many influential advertising professionals, so this helped with our small budget. MEC was even spotlighted as a sponsor for their incredible added-value lighting, tech support and stage excellence.

Red carpet? Of course! It’s all about experience!11417771_986378801395795_5862668234762296448_o




In the 2 years prior, there were 5-6 judges with a range of experience and industry focus. I interviewed a few of the past judges to ensure the process for the 3rd annual event would be improving. The entire nomination process was streamlined to be better for judging and elevate most efficiently for quality nominations, rather than the not serious contenders.

I secured 6 inspiring leaders that ranged from Director of Project Management, Strategic Account, Start-up CEO, Content/Copywriting agency owner, Digital Production Creative Director and introduced Public Relations.

The overall judging process entailed verifying the identities of each nominee and nominator, compiling and calculating the judges’ grading sheets and the facilitation of the in-person judging day. The process solidified it is fair and it works to select the top 32.




The 32 honorees of the 2015 award are people who I aspire to be; their backgrounds and proven forward-thinking are incredible. Being able to reach out to them individually was important to me as the event Director—I also realized that I did not have all their emails. A learning for future years is to include a field for the nominees’ email in the nomination form. #ItsCrunchTime

Securing the proprietary URL and designing 32under32.com to be used in the future was a successful outcome—one of my magic 3 goals. The Copywriter and Web Manager worked closely to quickly execute the best messaging and organize the content that made most sense for our busy-career-focused audience. It was designed in under one month for the February 1st nomination window to open.


The user-generated content, for the introduction video, was something that Tyler from Acowsay Digital and I knew we were taking a chance on. We had set our goal of 20 people to submit a selfie video while answering questions provided to them. We had 40 nominees that sent multiple selfie clips to be added to the final video that was revealed at the event as opening film! #youknowwhoyouare

Creating sharable event materials that can be used to market the event in the future was part of the magic 3 and with Tyler’s talents and help from volunteers and 32 Alumni Cory Vandenberghe, Alison Beattie, Aneela Kumar, Sarah Edwards and Danny Olson, we made it happen with two 30-second spots. View those videos on Ad Fed MN YouTube Channel.


Set-up before the event. Ready for the 7:15 ceremony!

Who wants to plan an event—then no one shows up?!

Communication and PR planning are key to a successful event because of the many moving parts involved. Our team found that it worked well being organized up-front and drafting the event communication summaries following with the customization of content for each channel. We also had a Google Doc with a social calendar and plenty of unique graphics to share. Starting the 32under32 Gmail worked well for one main outreach email for nominees and nominators, then Ad Fed MN filtered questions from the website and registration. Continuing to add new outreach and PR ideas, while remaining flexible is mandatory.

Social media was buzzing #32under32 throughout the planning sessions and we made hundreds of impressions when the nominations went public through local media help.

The BIO’s of the honorees at the event were told in 2 facts and 1 tail — tweets were deployed tagging the place of work and nonprofit organizations while the honorees’ BIO was read by our fabulous MC, Laura Fitzpatrick. Laura kept our attention and made us laugh while talking about Beyonce back-up singers, George Clooney wedding crashers and 90’s trend-setters… #nailedit


cheers_to_thatIn summary, the #32under32 director role was a super experience to learn more about myself and take on an entire judging process from start to finish (and we know that finish doesn’t just mean up to the event).

As I move forward with other community initiatives and creative impactful projects, I look forward to the future years of #32under32. There are endless possibilities, every year will improve and be different. The best event advice I have is to experiment and improve the process always, remember in volunteer-work that as leader you have to keep people’s attention, inspire them and empower them and keep your director goals to 3 magic ideas…

  • Build awareness in the community – video promotion, sharable social graphics etc check!
  • Launch 32under32.com – align structure for future event years
  • Elevate the event experience

Keep pushing to be a better you,
MN Design Gal – Tricia

Photo credits to: Jay Larson, Heather Hanson, Cathleen Olson, Snap Yourself 

Nonprofits — The BrandLab, cheers you September 6th?

nonprofit organization (NPO) is an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends.

Nonprofits have always been part of my life in some way, and I have to share about one I have known and become very passion about The BrandLab. It really hits home to me because I remember being in Junior High and itching to be able to learn more about advertising, marketing and campaigns. Can you imagine having an internship in High School at Martin Williams, Carmichael Lynch or Olson? This nonprofit makes that dream happen- even more awarding it’s for Multicultural students. I’m happy to say that I have participated in a speed networking event and are volunteering for the up and coming event that is raising funds for them on September 6 held at advertising agency Carmichael Lynch. Register now and see you there.

Learn more about The BrandLab and see why they won for Multiethnic Student Programs, the outstanding Mosaic award given by The American Advertising Federation (AAF).

This is only the start for this nonprofit.

See you at the event! Bring friends, coworkers and cheers you there! 


Winner-Winner! Chicken-Dinner!

This weekend I had the pleasure to announce through National Ad 2 Social Media and to my Ad Fed and Ad 2 colleagues that Ad 2 Minneapolis Won 1st Place Progams from the National American Advertising Federation.


This award goes back to representing your Ad 2 club nationally and getting to compare notes and compete with other talented clubs on Club Operations, Education, Membership and more. Programs is something that Minneapolis has seemed to stand-out in the crowd with over the years. Our themes are always different and we always come up with something new each time to keep reinventing the concept of Advertising and Career Education in our very own local community. We like to network, after work it’s nice to have an adult beverage or cold drink and if we can take away something that involves an agency showing us what they did in a case study, or the newest software they are using to edit video or even a role or discipline you never thought about becoming- then Ad 2 has accomplished what we have set out to do!

AD 2 Programs Image by Tricia

Our winning submissions for the 2012 1st Place Programs included the required 3 events and 1 special program, began with Drive Thru event held in October 2011. The record-breaking-attendee Campbell Mithun event whom people are still talking about that was in November 2011. Martin Williams event held January 2012 where 2 Gingers Whiskey and a 20-second video contest clearly stands out in the crowd. Then finally, the annual pub crawl which was held in May 2011 on LynLake known as Rock the Yacht.

Individually these events stood out to Allie Eide and I while choosing for the submissions in January 2012, because they were all very diverse, yet had this special theme and quality about them we liked.

Ad 2 continues to grow and each event keeps out doing the other. The agencies and talented businesses locally keep stepping-up to show us what they can show the ad community and the committees that run the events are getting more passionate and stronger.

It’s hard to imagine how it used to be back when I would be planning events solely for about 30-50 people and it was before the hash-tags where enabled for events. Now our venues on average need to hold 150 and we are continuing to channel new groups through social media! Thanks to the individuals that help the events before become a success over the years. It not only are the talented volunteers that are active in the committees and events now, but the ones that I worked with back in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Each one of us have different career paths leading us to finding a job, starting our 60-hour work weeks or even being laid-off. Work-life-volunteer-balance is crucial and it has brought many different people in my life. This next generation volunteer group will continue to exceed expectations and I have faith in the on-going leadership involved with Ad 2.

I’m happy to share this 1st Place Programs honor with all of you!


Stay tuned for a few more rocking events to finish off my last few months as your Ad 2 President and Programs Director. OLSON will be hosting the Thursday, April 5th event and this one will be one for the books. Register today! Then the final HOORAY of the 2011-2012 Program year will be the  OlympiAD² Pub Crawl, so put May 17th on the calendar and register before you forget.

Thanks again for reading and participating with our nonprofit organization. This MN Design Gal won’t be going away, the party planning, ideas, innovation and leadership lives in my blood.

Congrats again to Ad 2 Minneapolis!

Now what’s for dinner- Chicken?
Your Ad 2 President – Tricia Severson

Continue to read and learn more about Tricia on her blog 12 PT fine print.

[Insert Your Name] Advertising Summit

Instagram by @mnfutureadgal, sitting front row at 8:10 AM on Friday 3/2/12

Some of my followers may have heard of it before, but the Student Advertising Summit was held Friday, March 2. The day actually originated in the mid-90’s called “Career Day” for students to come and learn about internships and jobs in the advertising and marketing field. In 2005, the day re-branded into Student Advertising Summit and now is called “SAS” if you’re in the right in-groups. The day continues to grow and break records for attendees reaching over 300 this year. Along with the important Sponsorship participation in the advertising community is only growing.

The SAS DayThe day started with opening announcements, which I had to try to settle the group down from being too rowdy of course. Sarah Heininger and Andrea Styczinski are the co-directors of the SAS event also helped start the day off. These two talented women have been part of the planning for a few years being interns and then volunteer leaders. It took a few weeks of convening them that they can take on the director role, but now after one year under their belt I bet they feel invincible!

Some of the Team SAS!The tweets directly to me started after my opening speech which my opening really wasn’t anything fancy other than being real about networking; also making sure the attendees knew how important it was that they took the time to come to the U of M campus today. They were here for a reason and that was apparent.

"Tell Better Stories" Christopher Owens

"Tell Better Stories" Christopher Owens the keynote speaker at lunch. He opened with a Kardashian joke. So YES he was entertaining, real and simply incredible.

Throughout the day, the hellos and interest in Ad 2 came in through the booth that we had set-up next to Colle + McVoy sponsor table. Allie, Zach and I got to talk to potential members and also just the population on questions. The numbers aren’t in yet, but I bet we signed-up over 10 new members at a $30 student-only rate.
Ad2_table_Allie_TriciaI worked throughout the morning to later find out that the team needed me to be part of the round-table discussions that give attendees some candid time with industry leaders. Sitting at a creative table, I found that every group of about 10-15 were interested in agency stories, how to show-off their creative portfolio and what jobs to apply for. I was very real with them showing them my iPad and making sure they knew to have an online website, Behance or Cargo. I shared a few personal stories about interviewing and presumptions on appearance.

highlight reel 1The questions also came in about internships and I make sure they knew to pick their Top 5 agencies/marketing/businesses and to go after it! My internship was not even posted, I approached the company because one day I wanted to move to San Diego and that company had a location there. Half-way through the interview Randall (Now a Creative Director at OLSON) says to me, “What are you here interviewing for again?”

I’m a believer of business cards and leave-be-hinds. I don’t care if advice from others tell you not to use them; the cards that do surface somewhere are worth something. I can remember a time after graduation when I send postcards to hundreds of contacts in the mail and still remember when Amanda Brinkman (at the time, head of UHG Carrot and past Ad 2 President) told me personally that her secretary gave it to her and said “Wow, this looks really cool.” I also caught people hanging them up in their office as art. Or how many times do I get a call or email and it starts, “I saw your card and was wondering your still looking or could do any freelance.” Be creative. Be you.

Bemidji State University

Only Bemidji State Student! (I'm a '06 Alum) He was representing so proud of him! (Plug-in his name when find his business card on my desk)

After 2 hours of consistency chatting and answering questions around an oval table, I moved on to doing a few portfolio reviews. (Meanwhile internet became terribly slow at and I tried to send-off a few client changes; I had to brush off my bandwidth frustrations very quickly). The portfolio reviews instantly gave me a flashback to 2006 when I had my portfolio class and the recommendations that your teachers tell you that are “agency real-life” can frankly be a real-life industry joke. The main thing I had to remember is let the presenter shine and help them remember and highlight their strengths and also minus a few weaknesses within their portfolio– then give some true criticism including telling a guy that his hat had some heavy lint on it. (Helpful fashion hints always) I ended-up giving one of the girls a hug after because she did so well and I could feel her nervousness.

The day ended with a happy hour at the good ol’ Library Bar where all the U of M students go to get drunk for $2 drinks and $1 shots. The basement was packed and the tension was relaxed while a few students still had resumes in hand that I loved seeing.

The day wouldn’t have been complete without my volunteers Allie Eide and Zach Zutler helping with the Ad 2 table, whom were 1st year SAS attendees last year and now are part of the Ad 2 board! Jay Larson and his fabulous photographer and genuine energy. I have to say, that when it comes to events and having the right guy you must be patient and truly care about the cause and Jay does. I think I have known him for 3-4 years now… and we met at AIGA events back when I networked 4 of the 5 nights of the week!

Shout-out to the entire Student Advertising Summit Team because I have to say, this will go in history that first time any group ever attempted to get a real-life flash-mob together!

Also BIG THANKS to all my friends, colleagues and mentors that were part of the day that I didn’t get to talk to or see them present. So happy to see familiar faces and it wasn’t unnoticed!

I hope to still participate with the summit throughout my career and also become a spotlight speaker to enhance the diversity for the years to come. I have so many topics and ideas that I must be able to execute them.

Did you insert your own name into the summit title of my blog? Because at any age, or point in your career you can attend. It’s a great to have a day to step-back and learn, think about the future and remember why you got into Advertising in the first place.

High-Fives to all the participates and attendees! Hope to see you at next Ad 2 event to chat-it-up!



Talking with my hands like my mother.

{Stop back for I will be adding more photos throughout the next week.}

2 Thumbs-up for 2 Gingers

Last night, there was whiskey, 20-second videos, bowls of pop-corn, Jimmy John subs, cold beer and lots of networking and laughs being held at Martin Williams, one of the top advertising agencies in Minneapolis. Having the idea that people could submit a 20-second spot focusing on 2 Gingers Whiskey, seemed a bit out there. But there were 23 submissions by 19 people and it was very entertaining!

There were over 100 people from college students through seasoned creative directors, web designers, artists and more from local agencies and beyond.

One of the highlights for me of the night was seeing Kieran, the founder of 2 Gingers Whiskey walking around the room full of people and serving at the bar his famous Big Ginger drinks sold at his one-time owned local pubs.

How did the video contest go?
Winners were announced and given a signed bottle of the whiskey and even all 19 people that entered got a bottle of 2 Gingers which was very cool. (I still need mine because some started to get opened at the bar).

Enjoy my submission, that I filmed on my iPhone at Coopers through the Super8 app and then edited in iMovie.

Kieran there again inspired me! But I guess I forgot actual video producers were allowed to submit too. Wow there was some great works, stay tuned M|W is going to have all reels live to enjoy.

Another Ad2 event planned. Executed. And was successful!

Challenges included the task of monitoring the agency doors and guests entering the building and elevators after it locks. It seems to always be a task to get key passes, have volunteers rotate through the night to let the guests up the elevators and to be fair and considerate to everyone’s time. Needless to say some volunteers stepped-up and owned the tasks, while lesson learned a volunteer list must be made before the event with rotating times and have one committeemen member in-charge. It doesn’t work having it be me anymore.

New Ad2 Signs that I produced and printed to talk about history and quick facts. #love

The bar line got long and awkward for a while, so moving the beer to the right and having people just try until the 2 Gingers was gone helped. The Martin Williams case-study was downstairs so to get people downstairs took longer, but of course a wrangler announcement helped the cause. Word of the wise, make sure to have your speaker want to speak and that he owns the presentation. If they are passionate about the work within it, it will show. Also keep it short, 10-15 minutes is great… because it will lead to 30 easily. Did I mention we like puppies, demonstrations and humor?

Calling all photographers! Need some explousure? How about just want to be able to come to Ad2 events for FREE and be able to meet lots of people? Please let me know, my photographer talent have become big-timers, so again, last night no professional photographer in sight, so those are my iPhone and Diptic creations.

2 thumbs-up for the event hosted by M|W!

How will we ever top this one next month?

Stay close to all Ad2 events online. Meet you soon.

your mn design gal

Power Lunch

I had the opportunity to tag along for lunch at Campbell Mithun last week. Four raffle winners from the Ad2 hosted event in November [Past Post] won an incredible lunch with disciplines from this leading advertising agency.
Talk about a real Power Lunch having the pleasure to meet with Rachael Marret President and Director of Integrated Client Services, Dick Hurrelbrink President of Compass Point Media, Heath Rudduck the Chief Creative Officer and Steve Wehrenberg the Chief Executive Officer since 2006. With this incredible talent you would think we would have been awkwardly eating our lunch wraps quietly and letting the Presidents lead conversation about war, global studies of advertising and how much they miss type-setting. But the atmosphere was real-discussions on football, outgoing-what they got cooking for the Holidays and very candid and personal-advise on job searching and career paths!

Meeting Steve for the first time, I had done some research on his most recent speaking engagement at Augsburg College and we talked a bit about work/life balance which he takes pride-in. Campbell MIthun has a 70% women working environment and he ensured me that he respects Moms and Father-the-Dads as well. I was interested to learn Steve grew up in Wisconsin and lived there when the Packers went to the Superbowl two years in a row, as did I. But he did say “Go Vikes”.
Rachael, Heath and I got to talk a bit about the Holidays, past work and how much Heath loves working on car advertising. Watch-out CM needs another car client and will for sure do some superhuman advertising!

Rachael and I got to talk about women in advertising and she shared with me some advice about succeeding throughout my career and remembering that one will not receive if one does not ask for something.

Enjoyed learning from Dick the history of Compass Point Media, his background and how he surrounds himself with incredible talent to keep up with the every changing skills of buying media. It isn’t just “Male or Female: repeat“.

The four raffle winners turned out to be 3 energetic U of M students, and a seasoned freelance designer. The power lunch was just what we needed to not only remind us that Campbell MIthun is one of the best agencies but truly their principles are inspiring to learn from first-hand.

Sara Chars, Jaclyn Lien, Tony Rappa, Kevin O'Callaghan your Ad2 raffle event winners.

A few photo-ops before leaving our inspiring lunch break!

Thanks again to Campbell Mithun and Debbie Fischer for the idea of not just handing out over-sized XXL agency-branded T-shirts but putting thought into something different and having us raffle this incredible and true power lunch.
Who’s hungry?

your mn design gal

Most agencies are lucky to have one poinsettia in the lobby this Holiday season. Campbell Mithun has a few… so pretty! They do it right. Merry Christmas!

The SHOW must go on.

Friday, 11/11/11 marked my 4th THE SHOW that I have attended since being part of the Minneapolis marketing and advertising community.

District 8 and I from the Ad Fed Executive Board

This year it was held at the famous downtown EPIC, where most of us never go to dance on Friday nights but tend to network there (because the venue seems to love non-profit events over the last years). There is plenty of space, 6 bars, restrooms and a DJ can play with the over-looking VIP balconies that people can escape to.

The theme this year really got my attention “The SHOW Hunt”. The design was created by Infinity Direct, where they really pushed the design, which I respect. Full of humor and even used some “famous” ad agency friends. The theme may have been entertaining but did it cheapen the SHOW’s purpose, which is to honor the talented design and advertising in the MSP community?

I appreciated that The SHOW, used the theme for entertainment value as a guest too, including one of the sponsors having the fireplace hunting theme! Photos were taken of guests with hunting props pushed to facebook. It got CPC Intersect to gain the satisfaction of more facebook fans, but the actual printed picture would have been classic and more enjoyable. They should have hooked-up with a printer sponsor and made that happen. It may have costed a few more trees to come down, but the marketing value would have been worth it. (on my refrigerator for 5 years) #justsaying

Of course, being Ad2 President this year again, I had to step-it-up with some sort of entertainment value for this once a year event. So Ad2 partnered up with our unforgettable sponsor Horizontal Integration where the idea of renting a small bar-inspired shooting game ended up with a huge big screen equipped with a shot-gun and pistol hunting experience. Marketing director Jacqueline, even had her representatives sport hunting gear and neon orange hats and vests. #waycool

Jacqueline and I... did I mention Beef Jerky?

Not only, did the second floor turn into the Ad2 / HI Hunting Cave, but that was a rush to see it come to life! Now the organization, is starting a tradition that Ad2 must have some sort of presence at this 1000 + guest event.

The food was by CRAVE (not sponsored but catered), where I of course was expecting sushi to enjoy, but after asking a few catering ladies, my hopes were shot-down.

There was no speaker. No presenter. No announcement. To be honest, I missed that from past years. (Not the 1st Ave, 2 hour one that played all night).

BEST IN SHOW could have been announced, because half of the people kept asking me and I had no idea when or who… Still dont’ know?

won best in show.

Did I plan that having the March event there for Ad2? Gosh I’m good.

I thought a 11:11 count-down would have been an unforgettable touch… but clearly it was forgotten because very quickly midnight approached and this gal had to head home to bed!

The next day at 6AM I had a 4 hour drive to the National Mid-Year Ad2 Retreat where my entire Ad2 board members were going to represent the Minneapolis Ad group.

The SHOW. Sad to see Conor Callahan via @CLreps graduating from our Ad Fed / Ad2 board and executive director of the planning of the SHOW, but the planning crown will have to be handed-down to someone else. Who will that be? Can you really out-do this year? An event including huge white ceramic moose heads over looking the design work (that by the way got distorted and cost our nonprofit organization over $1,000 #nice who did that).

Excited to see the path the organization goes and frankly annual event The SHOW.

Overall give this year’s show 8/10.
Having a 5-minute Best in Show and People’s Choice shout-out would have made the night come to life. The work looked fabulous, the food was every-flowing even though I missed the dessert bar. Drink special was nice for the kids even though I stuck to beer and best of the all that Ad2 hunting cave and the PEOPLE made the night great!

Happy Hunting!
Your MN Design Gal

Burrito Anyone?

Last night was the 2nd 2011-12 program season event for the #ad2 Happy Hour crowd in Minneapolis.
Campbell Mithun 75+ years old agency hosted the over 200 people Ad Fed and Ad2 along with the new faces in the ad community last night!

Not going to fool you, I did have to pitch the idea to the CEO Rachel and Creative Director Heath months before. I worked closely with Debbie and Kat ran the successful event. The idea of having a whole bunch of young professionals in-house, feeding them, along with supplying adult beverages, can make some upper management a bit hesitant.

Last night, with Rachel and Heath taking over the mic and talking about CM along with a 20-minute case study about MAYO Clinic, the room became full of energy and the questions one-on-one to them made these very successful marketers glow.

The different departments each took a conference room, and turned it into a mini-bar with a special cocktail while being able to answer questions and network themselves.

I’m basics, but the creative department was rocking with a disco light, keg and pomegranate martini along with some banging music. Creative Directors Reid and Heath held down the fort very well.

The idea of CM approaching their client Chipotle to supply the burritos and endless supply of chips, quac and salsa was genius! What a great idea to involve your client, get them to have a feel-good feeling and save yourself a good $1,000 on food costs!

By the end of the night, guys were stuffing burritos down their pants and everyone that stayed until 9PM walked out with a bag of chips and salsa.

Right: Kat Dalager, Past Ad Fed President and supporter and volunteer of the organization, also Campbell Mithun employee and was in-charge Thursday night helping planned and run event.

Did I mention live guitar music and the door prize was a lunch with the CEO/President and Creative Director?

We spotted Heath, the creative director's star moment! Someone had fun making a poster for the event!

I don’t know if Martin Williams, mono or even Olson will be able to top this one the rest of the 2011-12 program year… stay tuned.

Become a Ad2 member (if your 32 and under its $85 a year) or a Student or in Grad-School even ($35)

I don’t want to sound like the night was care-free for someone who plans the events, here are a few planning highlights: the registration team showed-up 10 minutes before start-time after stressing and calling 2 different people to confirm they were on their way, rallying volunteers to continue to rotate through-out the night to direct people to the 26th floor (signs were hung), rotate the volunteers every 45 minutes to let people out until 8pm, greet almost everyone that came in, shake hands with people who clearly were sick, make sure the handful of out-of-town members that emailed before-hand that never met had a good time, connect people looking for jobs to our Ad2 job-placement sponsor, get a few words in to the volunteers about up-and-coming events in between hello’s and side-hugs, connect with creatives and students that called me that week, clean-up messy cups people left on expensive conference tables… and to think about it right now, I never went pee the entire night! #OMG

Besides a few hiccups, I truly continue to love volunteering and love being able to use my talents for the local advertising community. It gives me that feel-good-feeling.

Your Ad2 Minneapolis President
Party-Planner / Networker / Speaker / Organizer

2 Events within 12 hours

I had the pleasure to be surrounded by very entrepreneurial Minnesota women last night. This was the first event that I think I have been to that was, well, all women! It was held at CoCoMSP, where you may remember Garrio a post from last week talking about it.

The overall experience was very powerful, because a lot of the women were fellow “social medistas” and also people I have watched in the design and marketing community. I downloaded the list that was hidden on the website and got to review the 300+ attendees that had registered and study up a bit!

I had noticed that Clock Work a woman-driven geek inspired company had sponsored the event, but sadly they were not present. Good work on their part, I’m guessing the event was pretty reasonable to sponsor and made someone like me admire their company even more.

A few things stood out to me. The food was lame. If your going to say appetizers then it better have some substance for a girl plans this out. If it is cheese and a flatbread basket, leave it off and people can be surprised and excited for something to nibble on. The drinks were $5 each, and attendees got 1 drink ticket (even though I didn’t get one, must have been missed, but then @CleverKate gave me two half-way through the night). #score

It was hard to hear during the break-out table discussions and they were suppose to be 6 20 minute sessions, when there should have been 5, 7 minute sessions with 15 minutes breaks in between to extend your chatting.

There was such a variety of women, which truly made it a refreshing experience! It was kind of exciting to me to have only met about 3 of the women in person before the event out of the about 150… (totally guessing the number of attendees).

When women get together we judge the shoes people wear, in this case the boots and how after one glass of wine we get even louder and the cheeks become redder.

I had a follow-up already from a lady that I knew instantly after meeting last night would be the “unpersonal-junk-mail-filling-annoying-kind” and that became true! I received her mass-mailed BS (blind-sended) 9 paragraph email that even included her picture! Too bad. I guess she meant-well but please we are women! At least be a bit more personal and even though a picture could be a good idea, you are not a real estate agent.

10 hours later… I found myself at the International Market Square where Ad Fed was hosting the first breakfast of the 2011-12 season. Dan Khabie the CEO of Digitaria spoke about Agency Culture and the Evolution of a Digital Agency.

I was very excited to meet Dan for I admire what his company is producing and how they present themselves in the social media space.

My take-a-ways from his presentation was the importance of again, Client Services and being innovative! Dan would not be where he is at today unless he took chances and he even said daily he is still learning and trying new things. Adjusting his brand and agency to attract the right clients and merge with others to strengthen his talents too.

Dan is from St Louis Park and now lives in San Diego with his agency, but he takes pride in saying it is a west coast agency with a mid-west soul. I asked Dan how he maintains that on a day-to-day level with his employees. He said that he sends long-winded emails and checks in along with walks the hallways and invites people out for coffee and lunch randomly. He also said he still buys individual gifts for each employee, VCR’s, flat-screen TV’s thing like that.

Did I mention his company is almost 150 people?

I’ll send a recap blog post by Leah. Mine is just a touch of what he had to say.

Tonight, I think I better lay-low. Drinks with close friends and a date with Steve is in order. Why do I put myself through this “networking stuff”…well… because I love it.

shaking hands and hugging women… wait a minute… I mean networking with women.
your mn design gal

ps. Going to new events alone may be scary, there will be the point where you sit in your car and start to think you don’t want to go in. GO IN! The best networking happens when you are alone and not chatting or having to introduce your counter-part.

A Can of Alphabet Soup

Many local Minneapolis advertising and marketing professionals have heard of the once-a-year event The Alphabet Bash that was heard last night. It is a networking event that gets people from all different organizations together to do what they do best… network! IABC, MIMA, AdFed, PRSA just to name a few.

I have gone to this event the past 4 years and it seems to be the unofficial kick-off to the non-profit season.

From what I know, Heather Cmiel started it and I hope to pick her brain more one day on what the main motivation and reason was to start this along with and organize and run this outstanding networking event.

The Alphabet Bash takes pride in serving really good food and having lots of it, including a giant dessert bar and then also 2 drink tickets for each guest along with outstanding door prizes. Please note I have never won even one prize! The #ABCbash11 (I’ll use their hash-sign) doesn’t have a schedule of events other than ones you can pay more for at the beginning and this year noticed a few inter-mixed throughout the event itself. It is hard to step-away from conversations and wasn’t aware of the topics so I did not participate in these to review.

The buffet greets you and makes you hungry fast centered in the middle of the EPIC dance floor right below the stage. Picking up the large glass plate I made my way through the dinner buffet of cheeses, tomatoes, hard breads, fruits, cold meats, random rice and smoked salmon. Now, I’m not saying the food wasn’t good but I’m holding my first glass of white wine, a fork, napkin, this heavy plate and trying to make my way while seeing people and trying to say hello is not unpleasant or rude.

Holding your 7 lb plate you awkwardly don’t know where to go next, I look up and there are spots upstairs in the VIP areas, but too far to walk and God only knows it would take 25 minutes to make my way through the networking crowd. There is this small drink railing that the dinner plate does not fit on and would not balance, then there are a select number of standing cocktail tables that are full already with 3 people can standing around one because our plates are 15×15 inches round.

I end up putting my glass of wine down on the drink rail (hoping no one roofies it while not looking) and started my pleasant dinner experience talking with a group of 5 colleagues. Meanwhile I’m hoping someone else would walk-up that would be needing an eating buddy too.

After eating only half of my plate and moving around the smoked salmon like I enjoyed it, I then found a random spot to set my plate and walk-away from it back to my mini-high-school-inspired group. A few minutes later see two ladies trying to find a place like myself to set their heavy plates and kindly grab theirs and add to mine.

Moving up-stairs I notice the lack of “booths” or entertainment. The dessert bar is positioned on the left side and the doors to the patio are to the right where I quickly find myself enjoying myself for the next hour.

With little entertainment, this event is purely positioned on the guests that attend. If you don’t find having conversations with people and being able to move around on your own, then you find many people leave at 7pm and so the crowd quickly disappeared, making you wonder where everyone went.

I make sure to stop and say hi to friends that paid to sponsor the VIP sitting areas and the spin the wheel of prizes that Horizontal Integration did that for sure was the best “booth”. Not only because of the attractive blonde running it but my friend walked away with a $5-$25 mystery Target card. I wanted one!

Snap Social had a “Free Massage” booth where they actually positioned 2 masseuses to give on the spot massages. Now, I did give [@CoryVandy] some grief on this one having 4 guys standing there ready to make conversation with you before or after your FREE massages. Needless to say it was buzzing around the Bash and from what I could see there was never an open chair. I’m too germ-a-phobic to even sit down on one of those things, needless to say having 50+ people stare at me from around the room.

The price of the event has grown slightly over the last years which is very normal, but makes me wonder what is making it different or better to increase the price? If anything I noticed the food stations went away and there was less things to look at. Did I mention I have never won a prize over the last 4-5 years?

Highlight of my night was meeting @ArikHanson whom I have followed for a while now on twitter and have overlapped with some mutual contacts. I started a conversation about the event with him and we exchanged cards like a normal networking experience, until he saw my handle @mndesigngal and says “your MN Design Gal? Oh my we are Instagram friends too!” A BIG HUG he then gave me! That was so funny I couldn’t help but laugh and got excited he knew me and made the connection!

Overall give the event a 7 out of 10. They really try to get a variety of people, and the sponsors drive the booths and entertainment. I enjoyed making conversation and seeing friends that don’t see much throughout the year. If you told me there was the same event next month or even in 6 months, I wouldn’t go. But by this time again next year, the Alphabet Bash 2012 will for sure be a must-go.

What would I do slightly differently:

-Small plates and spread out the buffets. You want people to move around the space and people like choices and a variety.

-Venue space, you want it busy but not packed, I suggest a new venue to create buzz too, would 1st Ave be too expensive? Varsity Theater? Large Photography studio downtown or Northeast…

-Entertainment. No bands, no DJ’s but something that gets people buzzing, Lady-Table-Walking buffets or a man on Stilts dressed as advertising celebrities, or how about a 10 minute hypnotist that would be funny and get people talking about it the next day at work for sure.

-Twitter wall is a must (they tried last year) and over all Event-Contest. Everyone there is tweeting using hash-signs, checking-in and seeing who or what is trending and that is so much fun! Make a special prize or treasure hunt focused on QR codes (i know over-done) but something that people can do while networking and there again make conversation.

-Sponsors SPONSOR THINGS or themes… Sponsors love to do cool things rather than just give money. How about the Mexican Station sponsored by Promotions where they can feature all their trinkets on the food station too. Mini-Martini bar sponsored by the Creative Group, Liquid Courage helps you find a job, but only 2 drinks per guest… 3 drinks make you stutter. Chocolate-bar sponsored by US Bank, “money!” and more…

-Every organization should have a “booth”. Now of course I’m with Ad Fed and to be honest don’t even know if we had a booth there last night, but somewhere at least that I can take a flyer. It also makes the random “nonmember” students and people satisfied that they came and learned more about what group they want to be in that next year. Frankly, I wanted to learn more about the MN Women in Marketing group because I have been thinking about joining and getting involved and didn’t see ANYTHING or anybody representing them. Darn.

Now, do not get me wrong I do not like to critique people’s events in a rude way and easier said than done planning one. Believe me, I have planed many events and have respect for anyone doing non-profit work unpaid. Once my President duties with Ad2 wind-down, I would like to focus more on community events and non-profits that I don’t know much about and local events like this one.

This MN gal will keep networking, having a few cocktails with my fellow colleagues and keep meeting new people like yourself, because that is something that will always be part of my design life!

Cheers to us!