CMO and Co-Founder, Bizzabo
Motivating force: Building a category-defining platform, Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS, is my life’s work. I moved to New York City in late 2012 without real funding, few connections and little knowledge about the event industry. I had to find my way in an unknown city (and country), build a team and a network, and sell a dream. My goal is to ensure event professionals can deliver immersive experiences that maximize ROI.
I envision a future where attendees move fluidly between virtual and physical experiences without interference from the technology itself, where empowered event leaders create events and build communities changing the fortunes of people and brands. I see a future where positive business outcomes are designed into the fabric of event experiences from the beginning—not as afterthoughts.
Approach to supercharging experiences: I believe events are becoming the go-to strategy for CEOs, founders and executives whose jobs depend on driving results. With the right technology, event organizers can harness real-time data to create personalized experiences for every attendee at every event. That personalization, combined with up-to-the-minute data insights, means events can fully engage attendees and support better business outcomes.
In 2021, Bizzabo introduced an entirely new category—Event Experience—and launched the Event Experience OS, replacing event management software for good. The Event Experience OS is a comprehensive open platform and a critical part of the marketing tech stack, empowering event organizers with flexibility and choice—key components of future-proofed event strategies. To drive this vision forward, Bizzabo acquired four companies in six months—Whalebone, x.ai, TeeVid, and Klik, which we’ve holistically incorporated into the OS to provide the most cutting-edge capabilities for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. As we’re seeing the resurgence of in-person events, I’m excited to help Event Experience Leaders experiment in real-time with attendee communications, event format, networking, specialized session tracks, and more so they can deliver impactful event experiences.
Elements of a stellar hospitality career: I began my career in the Israeli Air Force, serving as a special forces platoon commander for six years. During my six years in the Air Force, I learned the true meaning of service and how to keep my focus on the needs of the larger group. These skills are very transferrable to a career in hospitality. As CMO of Bizzabo, I help marketers and event organizers from world-leading brands promote, manage, and maximize their professional events to create memorable and impactful experiences.
In my role, I’ve committed myself—and the company—to fostering a community and serving our customers as they transform events into their business growth engine. Serving the events community is a priority in my life. I was honored to collaborate with Eran and Boaz to write Event Success, a book that explores the need for evolution in the events industry and presents suggestions on how Event Experience Leaders can find success in this new world.
Next advance pursuing: I’m focused on helping Event Experience Leaders usher in a new era of in-person events, bolstered by what we learned from the pandemic pivot to virtual and hybrid events. I want to enable event organizers to embrace data as a strategic advantage, empowering them to make events more human while pursuing their business goals. I’m passionate about the ways we can apply behavioral data learnings from virtual events to our physical spaces—using advancements like wearable tech to expand the reach of our events, driving marketing goals and community-building efforts.
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Cvent
Motivating force: Over the last 23 years [since Cvent was founded], we’ve seen so much change across the meetings and events industry—but nothing like what we’ve seen in the last 2.5 years. The pandemic was a forcing function that accelerated digital transformation and the adoption of technology to deliver more impactful and engaging experiences.
In the darkest of times, technology enabled us to keep the lights on—and today, technology has enabled us to get back to business and back to events. Despite all the challenges stacked against them, meeting professionals adapted and pivoted to make things happen—and that’s what motivates me and my team today. In this more dynamic environment where there are more ways to connect and engage than ever before…we want to empower meeting professionals with the tools they need to bring people together in-person or virtually—no matter how or where they want to meet.
Approach to supercharging experiences: Being on the technology side of things, sometimes it feels like we’re several layers removed from the actual event experience—but that couldn’t be further from the truth. At Cvent, we’ve always operated with the mindset that technology should enhance the event experience—not detract from it—and in today’s digital-first world, what my team does every day is create the technology that powers the human connection and ultimately….event success. So, our approach to supercharging experiences is really to supercharge the technology that’s driving those experiences.
As event technology experts, it’s our job to make the job of a planner, marketer, or hotelier easier—through simple designs, streamlined user experiences, seamless integrations, and consistent workflows. By focusing on those core goals, we’re ultimately enabling bigger and better experiences—for all event stakeholders.
Elements of a stellar career: 23 years ago…Reggie [Aggarwal, Cvent CEO & Founder] and I started Cvent with the simple goal of making planning meetings a little easier. During a time when SaaS [software-as-a-service] just didn’t exist and people were still very much tied to doing things the manual way, I don’t think either one of us expected we’d be where we are today…still delivering technology to make planning meetings easier. But the reality is, we’re still here because of the planners and hoteliers around the world who are passionate about events and dedicated to delivering incredible experiences.
We’ve adapted and evolved alongside them—continuously finding new ways to automate processes, enhance experiences, and increase business impact with technology. The other driver of my personal career trajectory is the monumental technological change we’ve seen in the last two decades. Just think about how far our cell phones have come since 1999. Digital development is happening faster than ever, which is what has inspired me—and our entire team—to stay ahead of the innovation curve and support our customers in this continuously-evolving space.
Next advance pursuing: Being in technology, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking is a given. There’s this innate desire to continuously improve on what’s already been created…and it’s no different at Cvent. One of the things we’re focused on right now is helping our customers capitalize on the pent-up demand for more engaging events. Travel and in-person experiences are coming back with a vengeance—so how do we empower planners to make the most of this momentum while continuing to take advantage of the additional reach of virtual experiences? One piece of that is to make our Cvent platform a truly collaborative digital environment that other technology leaders can develop on top of to expand and personalize our platform capabilities.
This concept goes much further than your standard run-of-the-mill integrations and instead brings traditionally siloed solutions and data into one centralized hub for improved event execution and greater business impact. These kinds of advancements may not sound or look as flashy as trending themes like the metaverse—which we’re exploring in the background—but, they are the kinds of advancements that have an exponentially positive impact on our customers…which is ultimately always our priority.
Becky Sheehan, CPA
Chief Financial Officer, Encore
Motivating force: At Encore, we believe in the power of events to transform organizations and communities, and “Connect and Inspire” is our global mission. I am motivated by our talented team members who deliver with excellence every day, who take pride in helping others connect, innovate, and deliver on their intended outcomes. I am also motivated by that same “Connect and Inspire” mission for our internal stakeholders. By focusing on our team members and making Diversity, Equity and Inclusion core to our purpose, we are supporting an amazing workforce as they create events that transform—creating and producing events aligned with their visions and objectives.
I’m proud to share that this year Encore earned the Great Place to Work certification in the U.S. and many of our international regions. It not only showed us our strengths it also provided insights on where we can continue to grow to support our people. With the significant growth in events this year, and with more complex, larger events making up a more significant part of our business, we are laser-focused on recruiting and training across our solutions including strategy, creative, production and technology. We believe our talent and expertise is what differentiates us as leaders in the event industry.
Approach to supercharging experiences: Truly connecting with people and inspiring them toward a stated and shared purpose or objective is not a one-size fits all approach. Getting to know our customers, asking questions about their teams, their goals and the kinds of shared experiences they may have had—good and not so good—all inform a path forward. The best experiences I have been a part of have reflected creative strategies to enable seeing things more broadly, engagement tools to drive real time actions, and a mix of some fun to also enhance engagement.
Elements of a stellar hospitality career: I joined the hospitality industry in January 2020, being drawn to the idea of connecting and inspiring people. With our company’s rich history, I was also drawn to be a part of Encore’s leadership role in the industry—helping to shape the future of events. During the first two years, we were faced with what is likely the most challenging personal and professional period with the global pandemic. During this time, the need for connection and inspiration was critical and served us as we navigated this time.
Our focus was on preserving our business, investing for the future, and retaining our team members, customers, and venue partners so that we could return even stronger. As a leader, being people-focused is my top priority. I am very passionate about our people, especially championing diversity, equity and inclusion. I am proud to be the executive sponsor of the Women of Encore business resource group, where women and our allies connect for personal and professional growth and support. I am inspired by our team, and I am grateful to be a part of Encore.
Next advance pursuing: People are our greatest asset and therefore our advancements will continue to be focused on and come from our people. We continue to enhance our “Focus on You” employee value proposition with programs oriented to Connecting (Being Purpose-driven), Belonging, Growing and Thriving. We also have launched a new program entitled WAVE, which stands for women in audiovisual events. The program is designed to recruit, train and develop women in technology roles as well as to provide advanced training and mentorship opportunities with a goal to double our female workforce by 2025.
Further, with the significant growth in events this year, and with more complex, larger events making up a more significant part of our business, we also are focused on the recruitment of technical talent, additional training for all team members, and investing in new technologies that are team members will deploy in serving our customers. This year, Encore earned the Great Place to Work certification in the U.S. and many of our international regions. We are proud of this designation, and we know our work continues focusing on our employees.