ISES Live Scholarship Winner – Fernanda Araujo


ISES Live Scholarship Winner – Fernanda Araujo

I joined the ISES – GT chapter in May, and was one of the lucky winners of the ISESLive scholarship this year. I couldn’t believe it when my name was called.

To start, I couldn’t believe I was going to the Bahamas for such a big conference hosted at the Atlantis resort. Our host, Nigel Collin, CSP, delivered an incredible opening speech that made me change a few old habits; replacing “Yes, but…” with “Yes, and…” being one of them. He helped us understand the power of being open-minded about new ideas and how to deliver them to our clients.

I was very excited about the innovative format of the educational part of the conference. After the opening speech, each presenter took the stage for a 15-minute overview of their topic. Once the 15 minutes concluded, the presenter moved to another room. Any attendees interested in the presenter’s topic could join the presenter for an hour-long deeper dive into the topic. On the first day, I stayed and listened to almost all of the 15-minute sessions because I didn’t want to miss anything. I then realized that I could float from one deep dive to another; we were encouraged to move from one session to another if we wished.
The speakers were phenomenal professionals from event producers, fashion designers, music artist directors, bakery owners, catering managers, creative brand experts, social media specialists to many more. It was a room full of the most creative professionals in the industry I’ve ever known.

On day two, there were no keynote speakers but many break-out rooms with topics ranging from problem solving, creativity sparks, networking and being creative.
All sessions were remarkable. I especially liked Kevin White’s, CSEP, problem-solving session which made me realize that we too-often focus on the big problem, but that we should solve one smaller problem at a time. Gena Berry’s Play With Your Food session brought out our creative and fun side, and I really enjoyed that session, too.

The biggest phenomenon before, during, and after the conference, in my opinion, were the mobile apps. We were introduced to Bonfyre, which is an unlimited group text messaging service that helped us find others interested in the same session topics, provided updates on sessions, and allowed photo sharing. You could even use Bonfyre to find someone to chat with or to go to the beach or dinner with. And let’s not forget what a great tool the ISESLive app was during the conference!

Creativity and networking were the main focus of the conference. As event professionals, we are already challenged to be creative and network every day. But after attending three days of ISESLive, I am more inspired to continue to embrace that challenge. I realized what a great group of talented event professionals we are, and I am so proud to be a member.