About David

  • Synonymous with cutting-edge event design and production.
  • More than 25 International awards in diverse categories.
  • Named Designer of the Year by Event Solutions Magazine, and was most recently awarded the ILEA Klaus Inkamp Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017.  
  • CEO and creative director of Los Angeles-based AOO Events
  • Editor-in-Chief / Publisher of the online magazine and special events industry forum DesignDawgs
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Designing events for maximum engagement  - 2018 Event Industry Trends and Forecasts:

As the all-important supply line to caterers, planners, venues, designers, and of course the end-client, it's imperative that event professionals know what trends are on the horizon!

But it can be arduous to keep up with all the different elements. Here is your chance to get a forecast of the industry on many fronts. As creative director of AOO Events, David Merrell has his finger on the pulse of what’s happening in social and corporate catering events, food and beverage, lighting, technology, and more.

His information comes from many sources and he’s bringing it all to you in this fast- paced, entertaining session. Find out what needs to be in your imagination, and your warehouse, to be ready for 2018 and beyond.

The Pink Poodle Theory: Proven

Using the power of intuition (and a little bit of science) for trend hunting + design inspiration… with proven results. If you’ve ever wondered how some event profs and designers create award winning experiences on or ahead of a trend, The Pink Poodle Theory provides the answer! Discover your own “trust your gut” collecting methods and break up with your pinterest account…


About Keri:

Keri Miller, CSEP is Partner & Chief Creative Strategist of e=mc2 events. With over 15 years of award winning event design and production experience Keri recently took the lead of the companies strategic and creative services. As a partner of the company she has been integral in its success and growth since she joined in 2003.

Keri was recently awarded the 2017 Penni Holdham Volunteer of the Year Award presented by ILEA Canada, is a past Canadian Event Professional of The Year and was the ILEA Brand Champion for Canada on the ILEA International MARCOM Committee for 5 years.

She is fueled by creating experiences that matter and lives for the “Whizbang” – that explosive moment where she and her team – know they’ve really nailed it.  

She also hugs people. 

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30 F&B trends in 30 minutes!  

A fast paced session forecasting food and cocktail trends to incorporate at your events this year.  

About Shannon:

Shannon has worked in Food and Beverage for over 15 years, getting her first “taste” of the industry at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel when she was 18 and she hasn’t turned back since. Starting at The Lazy Gourmet as a junior event planner, her passion, knowledge and “thirst” to create a memorable event experience based on food and  beverage quickly had her promoted to Director of Sales and Events and now Partner.  She can be seen as a regular, cooking up storm in the kitchen at CTV Vancouver or on her online Video Blog for BC Living Magazine.  Shannon also volunteers in classrooms for Growing Chefs, helping kids in inner city schools to grow and then cook with plant based foods. In Vancouver she is also VP of Events and Education for ILEA Vancouver Chapter.  When not working or volunteering you can find her sipping red wine, planning her next travel adventure or next meal.

Intentional Event Design, Our Professional Opportunity.

Using intentional design drives the delivery of people-centric, purpose-driven events; the most worthwhile use of our stakeholders and participant's most precious resources - time and money. This session will look rapidly at the intentions and smart tips to building trusted, return-worthy experiences.

About Tahira:

Tahira is a curious event producer, passionate about intentional event design and the integration of now ubiquitous technology to enhance the human experience at events and everyday. 

Driven by a fascination with what we are learning about neuroscience and the power of the five senses to enhance memory, knowledge retention and improve connections, she is continually seeking appropriate ways to design the most relevant meeting and event environments. An instructor at BCIT, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, she instructs both Special Event Planning and Sustainable Event Management. She contributed to the 9th CIC Manual which provides the framework for the CMP studies. Tahira also loves cooking, time with her family, and anything with bubbles!  

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the idea hunters - got talent

Re-boot, Re-think and Re-energize.

2018 gives rise to new and innovative concepts in corporate entertainment & Ideas.   Those traditional, conventional and standard ideas are over.  More & more corporate entities are seeking live entertainment for exposure, engagement, lead generation,  sales & community building.  If you want to attract attention to your brand or your client’s brand then you will want to be inspired by what is new and trending now.

If you want to maximize your events this coming year,  Janice Cardinale, Chief Idea Hunter, at the luxury brand “The Idea Hunter” will take you through a fast paced & impactful presentation that will inspire, motivate and leave you with enough ideas to fill a calendar year.

About Janice:

Known for harnessing the magic in everyday experiences, the creator and owner of The Idea Hunter based in Toronto, has a rare ability to identify and translate trends from the worlds of fashion, design, beauty, and music into unspeakably engaging event experiences.

Janice has natural ability to spot up-and-coming young talent & trends. Emerging from a successful career in the Fashion Industry, Janice bridges the gap between understanding abstract trends, and harnessing them in meaningful ways that add “wow-factor”. 

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About Shawn

Shawn Kanungo is a strategist and keynote speaker who operates at the intersection of creativity, business and technology. The senior manager of strategy for Deloitte Digital for over 12 years, he has been recognized nationally and globally for his work in the innovation space.

This keynote is sponsored by: 

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Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Experimental

Competition is for losers. Today, our competitive global market is unforgiving and ruthless –no one is spared. Consumer expectations and behaviors, shaped by new market entrants, have also changed more in the last 10 years than in the last 100 years combined. Disruptive innovation is forcing event professionals to reimagine their customer experiences, channel strategies and event models. How do we survive? Today, we need to be bold, brave and experimental. We can only keep up if we foster a relentless culture that promotes human-centered design and rapid experimentation. This is our only competitive advantage.

In this session, you will:

  • Learn why 2018 is the greatest (and scariest) time to be in business.
  • Understand how the convergence of exponential technologies are disrupting the event industry
  • Explore how the leading companies have embraced the power of competition and experimentation.
  • Learn from Shawn’s experience on the battleground of building culture with clients and internally.
  • Obtain methods and tools for transforming your business and events

Marketing That Matters in 2018

What marketing strategy is effective and why you have to get on board whether you like it or not!

About Kelly:

Kelly is a journalist-turned-digital marketer. In addition to co-founding The Social School and its flagship annual conference The Post Forum, she is the co-owner of Press + Post – one of Canada’s foremost modern marketing agencies. Nothing makes Kelly happier than moving individuals and organizations big and small towards becoming the masters of their online domain, and connecting the top digital trends and tools with the entrepreneurs and innovators who need them most.  [thesocialschool.ca / pressandpost.com / thepostforum.com]

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"Looking Up: 5 Essential Brand Strategy Ingredients for Elevated Vision"

Working in the events industry can mean you feel like most of your work lives in your email or a giant to-do list, but it shouldn't. By using the "Nesting Principles" Derek shows how working on your company, instead of for your company, makes those to-do's more manageable and puts your brand at the centre of everything you do.

About Derek:

Derek MacDonald is the President and Founder of the award-winning event and communication agency - Boom Goes The Drum. With years of experience in the arts and culture, corporate, fashion and not for profit industries, Derek and his team are always looking for innovative and unique ways to connect a message to an audience. The Boom team believes that at the heart of every project there is a story that is worth telling, and if told well that story will resonate.  

Personal Branding: Perception is Reality

There are 2 sides to every person’s story and then there is the truth. When it comes to personal branding there is what you think of yourself, what you wish others would think of you and of course the reality of how you are perceived across all touch points of your life. In this session, we will discuss how to ensure perception is reality. How can you take the vision you have for being the best version of yourself and ensure that other people believe and see that in you? The vision of the kind of person you believe clients would flock to, colleagues would be inspired by and people would listen to.  It’s your personal brand and if you aren’t in control of it, who is?

About Hailey:

Daring and creative Hailey O’Bright is bursting with original ideas. This huntress brings vision and an eye for detail to her position as Account Director at The Idea Hunter. Hailey possesses strong marketing skills after working for large global brands such as PepsiCo. and General Mills. This experience has sharpened her decisive, and strategic mind, which executes all projects with professionalism and polish. As one of the Globe and Mails Young Marketers Under 30, Hailey has proven that age has no bearing on business acumen or the ability to deliver big projects on time and within scope.

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Creating Experiences not Events

Every event is a chance to interact with your stakeholders. Whether you are trying to impress a client, reward your staff, introduce a new product to the marketplace, or celebrating a milestone, your event is an extension of your brand. From invites to on-site signage, the look and feel of the event is a reflection on your overall brand. We will talk about developing a theme and carrying it through your event, including all elements of the marketing mix. A theme which aligns with your corporate image and communication. Each touchpoint is a chance to interact with your audience. A missed opportunity could be missed revenue! 

About Olivia:

Born a bossy chatter box, Olivia has channelled that energy into a career centered around people and ideas. From Toronto, to Vancouver to Edmonton, she experienced a plethora of event marketing opportunities that eventually led her to the role of Director of Marketing at Edmonton power house Go Auto. Leaving the secure corporate world was a leap, but one she was passionate about. In 2012 she started her own company, Boutique Events and found rapid success. With success comes growth and for Olivia that personal growth would position her to start Boutique Collective, which is a creative collective that focuses on enhancing events through strategic marketing.