Name: Lisa Gamitian

Position: Program Manager

Years with EMP: 6 months

 

Favorite Event to Date: A sales kick-off we did in Las Vegas. What was interesting, we had been on the road with all these internal teams so when you walked into an environment of two thousand people and you’ve gotten to know them and build relationships with a history, it was nice to see faces you know. What I think was great about that entire program, was what is great in general about all our sales kick-offs, they are about inspiration and motivation. They are about bringing teams together.

 

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While new to Ellen Michaels Presents, Lisa Gamitian is not new to program managing or to conferences services. She recently wrapped a 21 city road show tour with a client that took her domestically and abroad. An expert traveler and efficient packer (she recommends rolling!) Lisa talks about creating client intimacy with customers and being a road warrior.

 

 

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What is your goal as a program manager for a road show?

 

I would say one of the things about road shows is that it’s usually driven from headquarters, driven from one corporate source and the program is duplicated across several cities. So you want to be sure you’re meeting the corporate’s goals and objectives, but also meeting the regional team’s goals and objectives.

 

That’s interesting, having to service regional preferences or a different agenda for example in the Midwest vs. the South.

 

I wouldn’t say that the agenda is different but there might be everything from geographically, to food and beverage trends, to little things like that. I’ll give you an example, in this particular case with this road show we did do both domestic and international locations. You know when you go international what might be a breakfast trend here is different internationally. So looking at these different locations our choices would relate to the local experience.

 

21 cities in two and a half months, that’s impressive. You’re handling a crew, it’s like you’re on the road with a band.

 

Exactly! (Laughs) You get to know your clients. Again they’re merging a corporate team that’s travelling across these cities delivering the content, but then partnering with their local team for each city. So you definitely get to know them.

 

What do you handle for clients in terms of planning and production?

 

Certainly 100% of the logistics. Meeting venue, location, food and beverage, AV and technology, internet requirements. By doing that it frees our client up from the day-to-day details, they know it’s taken care of, so they can really focus internally on content and presentation.

 

Do you have location preferences for shows?

 

I would definitely say hotels. Conference centers can be a good match based on the location. Because the attendees are usually local, if you’re able to identify a location that may not be a hotel but has local drive and a local presence that can work really well.

 

Usually with road shows your clients know what type of venues they want to hit, which can be good or bad depending upon venues. You’re already locked into a city and a specific time.  it can make the planning process more cumbersome in putting all the pieces together.

 

Are there any unique challenges that present themselves on the road?

 

Not anything that can’t be worked through. More personal preferences once you get on-site with the local team. Usually nothing drastic content related, more just logistically related. Case in point, we might decide all our meetings are going to be classroom style then you get on-site and a local team might have a preference to make their local customers feel more included.

 

The good and the bad is you’re duplicating the same program over and over again. Each time you’re perfecting it. You get a constant chance to re-evaluate what’s working, what’s not working and then make a change for the next time.

 

What role does technology play in your day of the show?

 

In terms of its presence and production for the day-of, for these types of events- simple, clean, to the point, not showy and over the top. Relevant, current and clean is what’s important.

 

Which key components do you need for a successful road show?

 

Location and relevance to their customers. Sitting in the meeting and having the customer and the client being able to learn something new, walk away with a new piece of information or have a question answered. Always, we are going to pay attention to the customer experience – was it engaging? Was it exciting? Were they greeted? Were they fed? DID they leave feeling appreciated?

 

Are there any skillsets that a program manager should have for road shows vs. traditional events? 

 

Details, details, details. What I think could be the key, and unique in a road show environment, is having at least a base knowledge of the area or what’s happening in the area.  If it’s relevant to your program or not. Having an idea as it relates to the attendee. If you’re in a city and there’s a huge festival at the same time, that could hurt or help, so just always be in the know.

 

What is necessary for the client to make them feel like they are getting their value and meeting their goal?

 

Obviously their goal is to meet and be in touch with clients and connect on a personal level. The highlight is always the personal, intimate, one-on-one connection with their customers. Because it’s happening at a much smaller venue. You’re sitting amongst a couple hundred people versus a couple thousand people. That’s what we’ve seen across the spectrum.

 

Your best advice to new program manager specifically starting out managing a road show?

 

I would say the key is to understand as much as you can from the local team about their customer’s location and demographic. Example, a client might know they want to have a show in L.A. and that’s the specific you’re given.  But where in L.A. is their strong customer base coming from? If you pick Orange County but all their customers are more Hollywood, you’ve got to consider that asking them to drive for a local meeting over an hour in traffic is probably not going to sit well with them. So the more you can understand about the local base and where they are coming from is helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask those questions.