Tess is Chief Event Executioner for iSocialExecution, Inc.; Tech Whisperer with DAHLIA+
AGENCY and Speaker. She is also, Co-Founder, International Blockchain Events Association (IBEA), an organisation charged with bringing awareness, synergy, and inclusivity to the Global Blockchain Events Industry. She is the former Senior Event Lead, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Conference Center Manager, Atlanta Technical College; where she served on the President’s Leadership Team.
Tess is a CMP (Certified Meeting Professional), DES (Digital Event Strategist, stage manager for TEDxPeachtree (9yrs); “Meetings Trendsetter 2014” & awarded the GaMPI Shining Star Award. She was featured in the Connect Meeting Intelligence Magazine’s article, entitled “How I Work: Tess Vismale on Executing Events.” She has presented for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE); Who’s Who in Black Atlanta, Connect’s Collaborate & Diversity Marketplaces; and PCMA’s Convening Leaders Conference, on tech tools and social media for event and fundraising professionals.
- What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?
As a kid, I loved to break things to see how they were designed/worked and put them back together again. Since my inner geek came out many, many years ago, I have continuously used it to navigate my event management career. I have always used tech to help streamline processes and communicate during the life cycle of my events. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to merge my passion for events and technology into a career, breaking (oops, I mean testing!), educating and speaking about event tech. I am happy that our industry is finally embracing, utilising, and awarding this critical key to our success.
- How long have you worked in the event industry and what keeps you interested in it?
I have been in our industry for 30 years and what keeps the passion running through my veins are two things:
- When I am working onsite for an event and I get to orchestrate the plan in real-time with a team by making last-minute “sudden-death” decisions, that lead to an outward-facing, flawless event.
- When a person/attendee/audience I am helping to learn about practical or event tech has that “aha-moment” and is relieved of their fear/barrier to success. I literally get high from those two things.
- Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?
Best: A few years ago I was providing practical tech education at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ annual meeting and a man came up to me to ask for a jump drive. In an attempt to streamline his process, I kept trying to see if he could use Dropbox or Box to send his large document to the surgeon he needed to communicate to.
None of those options worked for him. I could see he was panicking, so I tried to keep him calm and get him what he needed. I found him a large enough drive and then he proceeded to show me the document he was trying to transmit.
To my surprise, the document was 3-D imaging of a heart. Within minutes he revealed to me that he was the manufacturer of this tech, he introduced me to the surgeon who needed the images, and that he was about to fly out to perform heart surgery on a patient the next day.
When I arrived at the TechBar the next afternoon, the gentleman ecstatically told me that because of my help I saved a person’s life! If it was not for what I did the surgeon would never have been able to do the delicate surgery needed.
I was in tears because at that moment I realised what I have known to be my passion – to help people be comfortable with tech in a way that improves their lives.
- What’s your go-to piece of tech when working on an event and why?
I love WhatsApp because I can send audio messages, upload docs, created groups and know my messages reach international contacts swiftly. I can also stay organised much better than SMS threads.
- From your experience, how has tech been best utilised at an event?
Tech has been used to move the registration and session entry lines swiftly, matchmaking/networking, and using QR codes to decimate speaker/session information in realtime.
- We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?
My biggest mistake was underestimating how my fellow planners are stuck in their ways, due to fear, when implementing an event tech that will really help their show. I should have vested more in drilling down into how my team learned tech and what pained them when it came to their personal relationship to it. That data fuels how they choose t implement and use it.
- What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?
I am hoping that some of the lesser-known event tech companies get the spotlight and not the same big box brands that do not really give value.
- Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?
For the same reason FOMO exists, it brings awareness to the tech companies and affects their brand. This recognition says that someone else has the hottest product and I don’t. That alone will push the needle for planners to open up to using it or at least convincing their stakeholders to consider it. Which, hopefully, will move our industry forward to be more innovative.
- If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?
Google Suite, because it is nimble, mobile, works with all platforms and works offline. I prefer using separate tech for a need but if Google suite works then all else with integrate with it and I’m home free.