Expert Profile: Jen Kramer

Experienced Event Planning Expert and Philanthropist

Jen Kramer, a highly skilled and dedicated Sales Manager at Access DMC in Chicago, boasts an impressive 30 years of experience in the dynamic world of hospitality and event planning. Throughout her illustrious career, Jen has held various pivotal roles in renowned organizations, including the City of Chicago - Mayor's Office of Special Events, the Chicago Park District, Navy Pier, and DePaul University. Her extensive background spans a diverse range of responsibilities, from directing events and managing entertainment to overseeing marketing initiatives. With a deep-rooted passion for celebrations and entertainment as powerful business tools, Jen has consistently demonstrated her ability to drive revenue growth and exceed client expectations.

A Chicago native through and through, Jen's unwavering commitment extends beyond her professional endeavors. For over two decades, she has proudly served as a board member for Special Olympics Chicago, actively contributing to fundraising efforts for this esteemed charity. Outside of the office, Jen finds solace and inspiration along Chicago's breathtaking lakefront. Whether she's donning her running shoes for a lakeside jog or exploring the city's vibrant neighborhoods on her bike, Jen's love for her hometown shines through. Her quest for hidden culinary gems further underscores her affinity for Chicago's diverse and thriving restaurant scene.

Delivering Unforgettable Experiences

As a Sales Manager at Access DMC, Jen derives great pleasure from engaging with clients and unveiling the wonders that make Chicago a truly exceptional destination. While the city's iconic attractions are widely known, Jen's expertise lies in highlighting the exceptional and specialized service providers, vendors, and business professionals that set Chicago apart. Leveraging her insider knowledge and problem-solving prowess, she goes above and beyond to ensure that each client's expectations are not only met but exceeded. Embodying the spirit of "the City that Works," Jen's dedication to creating experiences that surprise, delight, and fulfill every aspect of her clients' vision is unparalleled.

Jen's career has been punctuated by a defining moment that showcased her exceptional skills in crisis management. During her tenure as a City employee, she played a pivotal role in handling the crisis surrounding the 2007 Chicago Marathon, which had to be canceled mid-event due to extreme heat and humidity levels. Her exceptional logistical and operational abilities proved instrumental in effectively managing this challenging situation. Recognized as a model for emergency preparedness in large-scale events worldwide, Jen takes immense pride in the significant contribution she made to the successful resolution of multiple catastrophic crises that day.

From spearheading the Chicago White Sox World Series Parade in 2005 to organizing the Chicago Blackhawks' first Stanley Cup Parade on Michigan Avenue, Jen holds a deep sense of pride in these unforgettable moments of triumph. Moreover, she celebrates the resounding success of Navy Pier's Winter Wonderfest and the remarkable growth of the Special Olympics Chicago Polar Plunge, which has experienced exponential participation and fundraising over its 20-year history. These achievements exemplify Jen's unwavering dedication to creating and executing events that leave a lasting impact on attendees and the community at large.

Resilience, Innovation, and Reimagined Experiences

Reflecting on the future of the event and meeting planning industry, Jen believes that resilience is the key takeaway from the pandemic. She holds an optimistic outlook for the road ahead. Jen envisions a future filled with excitement, innovation, and fresh ideas that will reshape the landscape of events and meetings. As professionals adapt, reimagine, and reinvent themselves and their offerings, she believes the industry will continue to deliver remarkable and awe-inspiring experiences that exceed expectations and leave a lasting impact.

Jen Kramer is hosting the '40 Ideas To Make Your Holiday Party Stand Out' session during Holidays In July, our Planner Master Class event on July 25th. Make sure to register for the event HERE.


What To Expect At Our Next Planner Master Class

By Elena Martin - Ateema's Director of Events

As part of Ateema’s upcoming Holidays in July event on July 25, not only will planners have the opportunity to get ahead of the game with inspirational ideas for your holiday gatherings, we also plan to offer two educational sessions that will keep you on the cutting edge.

Read on to learn more about these sessions and Register HERE for the event today. 

Transforming Events: The Impact of Generative AI on the Meetings and Event Industry

Join University of Chicago Clinical Professor & Chief Scientist, Dr. Utku Pamuksuz, as he takes the mystery out of how event planners can benefit from using AI to enhance their work. Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the event planning industry. In this session, event planners will be encouraged to explore its practical applications and benefits.

By leveraging Generative AI, event planners can enhance creativity, engagement, and overall event experiences. This technology enables the use of interactive chatbots and tailored content generation, providing real-time information, personalized recommendations, and immersive interactions for attendees.

The session emphasizes the importance of maintaining the human touch in event planning, utilizing AI as a valuable tool alongside human expertise. By attending this session, event planners will gain the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively incorporate Generative AI into their strategies, paving the way for a future where this transformative technology reshapes the landscape of event planning.

40 Ideas to Make Your Holiday Party Stand Out

Panelists: 

Dayna Malow, CEO, Live Art International, Inc.

Linda Whitlock, President, Corporate Event Interactive, Inc. 

Andrew Brode, President, AV Chicago  

You might be feeling a little stuck on how to make your business’ holiday party stand out this year, especially with employee downsizing and shrinking budgets. You are not alone! In this session, planners will hear from industry experts on best practices to make their holiday parties memorable. Topics will include developing the event look and feel, creating engaging experiences, unique catering ideas, consideration of cross-cultural elements, cutting edge audio visual production, and team building activities. Participants will walk away with an actionable list of ideas to incorporate into their own holiday celebrations. 

Ateema Media & Marketing has been approved by the Events Industry Council (EIC) as a Preferred Provider of the below-listed continuing education courses, which qualify for CMP continuing education credit. Determination of continuing education credit eligibility or Preferred Provider status does not imply EIC’s endorsement or assessment of education quality. 

Get inspired for your next holiday events at Ateema’s next Planner Master Class. Register HERE 


Embracing Sustainability: Key Practices for Event Planners

By adopting a range of strategies, planners can significantly reduce the environmental impact of events while promoting social responsibility and fostering attendee engagement.

Conducting thorough assessments of resource needs allows planners to minimize waste and optimize efficiency. From utilizing digital communication systems to promoting recycling and waste reduction initiatives, implementing sustainable materials and practices can substantially decrease an event's environmental footprint.

Responsible energy consumption emerges as another critical focus area. Event planners are encouraged to explore renewable energy options such as solar or wind power to minimize reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, optimizing lighting, HVAC systems, and equipment efficiency, as well as encouraging attendees to utilize sustainable transportation options, contribute to reducing carbon emissions associated with the event.

Social Responsibility

Social responsibility is an integral part of sustainable event planning. Prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility ensures equal participation opportunities for all attendees, including those with disabilities. Sourcing local goods and services not only supports the local economy but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation.

Engaging attendees and stakeholders is a powerful strategy discussed in the article. By educating participants about sustainability goals and involving them in interactive exhibits, workshops, and networking sessions, event planners can foster a collective sense of responsibility. Such engagement enables attendees to become advocates for sustainable practices beyond the event itself.

Continuous Improvement

Measuring and reporting sustainability performance is a crucial step in driving continuous improvement. Setting measurable targets and regularly monitoring progress enables event planners to identify areas for enhancement and track the effectiveness of implemented strategies. Transparently sharing this information inspires others in the industry and encourages wider adoption of sustainable practices.

By embracing resource management, responsible energy consumption, social responsibility, attendee engagement, and performance measurement, planners can create impactful and environmentally friendly events.

These practices not only benefit the environment but also enhance the event experience while positively influencing attendees and the event industry as a whole.

Learn more about this topic on the Expo Pass website.


How AI is Changing the Event Planning Industry 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT have become integral to the event planning landscape, revolutionizing the industry in countless ways. In a recent webinar hosted by Expo Pass, the power and potential of this transformative technology were explored. With AI's ability to analyze vast amounts of data and ChatGPT's remarkable language generation capabilities, event planners can harness these tools to streamline processes, generate engaging content, and enhance attendee experiences.

Practical Applications

The webinar shed light on the practical applications of AI and ChatGPT in event planning. From automating mundane tasks to generating personalized content, these technologies offer a range of benefits. AI's data-driven insights enable event planners to make informed decisions, optimize logistics, and deliver targeted experiences. Meanwhile, ChatGPT's natural language processing capabilities allow for efficient communication with attendees, providing instant support and personalized recommendations.

The Expo Pass webinar emphasized the importance of understanding the limitations and ethical considerations associated with AI and ChatGPT. While these technologies can greatly augment event planning efforts, human expertise and intuition remain crucial. Event planners must approach AI implementation with caution, ensuring that it aligns with their organization's goals and values. By striking the right balance between technology and human touch, event professionals can unlock the full potential of AI and ChatGPT to create unforgettable experiences.

Overall, the Expo Pass webinar showcased the transformative impact of AI and ChatGPT in event planning. From optimizing operations to delivering personalized interactions, these technologies are reshaping the industry. By embracing these advancements responsibly and integrating them into their strategies, event planners can stay at the forefront of innovation and deliver exceptional events that leave a lasting impression.

Read the article and watch the webinar recording on their website.

Special thanks to our partners at ExpoPass (and ChatGPT for the valued help).


Looking Back at the 22nd Edition of the Hospitality & Tourism Summit

The 22nd edition of The Hospitality & Tourism Summit (HTSC) was a pivotal industry conference that provided enriching experiences for attendees. Held on May 2, this event featured a captivating trade show, enlightening educational sessions, and invaluable networking prospects.

With the participation of over 1,250 distinguished professionals, including top meeting and event planners, concierges, hotel salespeople, social media influencers, business representatives, and industry experts, the summit offered a unique platform to connect, learn, and cultivate business opportunities in preparation for the bustling summer season.

Key Takeaways

According to a survey conducted among planners, 100% of the respondents highly recommended their industry peers to attend the HTSC event next year, indicating a high level of satisfaction (rated 8 or more).

The top three reasons cited by planners for attending HTSC were

  1. to find new venues and vendors
  2. to expand their professional network, and
  3. to stay informed about industry trends.

When it came to the trade show, planners particularly appreciated:

  1. the great variety of vendors
  2. the opportunity to hear from industry leaders during the educational sessions, and
  3. the abundance of delicious food and drink options available.

Elena Martin, Director of Events at Ateema, reflects on her experience at the HTSC event, describing it as a resounding success, especially considering it was her first time attending. Martin highlights the energetic atmosphere and the connections made among Chicago's finest professionals. She also commends the creativity displayed by the 120+ vendors in representing their businesses.


The Benefits of Morning Meetings

February is Hot Breakfast Month, a perfect time to focus on the benefits of morning meetings, and how eating together enhances productivity.  

Breakfast business meetings are typically more relaxed and informal than lunch meetings. As we gain a deeper understanding of the importance of breakfast, these meetings will only become more and more popular. 

Ryan Estis is a leadership coach and speaker based in Minneapolis, MN. He explains to BBC Worklife why the early morning has become his go-to time for meetings: “I am caffeinated, centered and intentionally focused,” he says. 

Benefits of Eating Together 

A 2015 Cornell University study found that groups that eat together perform better together. In research that could have implications for organizations that want to enhance team performance, Cornell professors found that firefighter platoons who eat meals together have better group job performance compared with firefighter teams who dine solo. “Eating together is a more intimate act than looking over an Excel spreadsheet together. That intimacy spills back over into work,” said the study’s author, Kevin Kniffin, visiting assistant professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “From an evolutionary anthropology perspective, eating together has a long, primal tradition as a kind of social glue. That seems to continue in today’s workplaces.”

Check out one of Chicago’s most popular catering options for your breakfast or brunch meetings. 


Expert Profile: Dianne Devitt

Last summer, during our Planner Master Class at Rosebud on Randolph, Dianne Devitt led a 3+ hour workshop and round-table session, focussing on Creative Leadership and owning the responsibility that comes with planning and leading a team.

Producer, speaker, author, educator, creative strategist, Dianne is an industry leader, visionary, and personality with global experience as a producer, speaker, author and educator. Dianne’s dynamism, coupled with the innate ability to help people and business see and identify possibilities to make effective change, find solutions, and unleash the power of creativity for growth is supported through her belief that “No Idea is Out of Reach.”

Global Speaker

An innovative thinker, Dianne is one of the original pioneers in the experiential industry, having owned a premiere event production company. Throughout her career, she has spoken globally on topics from inspiration, motivation and the power of people coming together. Her background in theater and developmental drama impacts the spontaneity and engagement reflected in her presentations.

The author of What Color is Your Event?, a global resource for creative planning, Dianne also co-authored Called to Lead: Success Strategies for Women, with 17 other women. Dianne has worked and liaised with four US Presidents, astronauts, CEO’s, city and government officials, and heads of state. Always seeking what’s next, Devitt identified the focus and importance of non-verbal sensory communication and produced the SenseUP! Summit.

As an Adjunct Professor at New York University for over 30 years, Dianne has created and taught over six different courses in the hospitality and tourism sector in the Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism where she was honored to receive the Award for Teaching Excellence. Dianne believes in the power of associations,
training and networking having served on local and international boards throughout her career. Dianne enjoys the arts, theater, cooking, recreation and her yoga practice.


Meet Elena Martin, Our New Director Of Events

Elena joins the Ateema team after serving 5 and a half years as Associate Director of Marketing & Events at the educational nonprofit for first generation college students from under-resourced communities in Chicago, Chicago Scholars. 

Elena was first introduced to Ateema after she attended a Chicago Planner Master Class event in early 2020. Networking with other event industry professionals and learning about new vendors who could put a creative stamp on her events, showcase the brand in a new way, and create unique and memorable moments for attendees was exciting and a valuable professional development opportunity. 

Elena: "I was one of the only staff on my team that planned events, so having a chance to speak with other event professionals and discuss best practices was helpful to my career."  Planning events for young high school and college age students meant she needed to stay on top of new ways to keep her events engaging and fun. "I'm excited to provide the same high level of support to other planners that I received at my first Ateema run Chicago Planner Master Class event and keep pushing the industry to innovate in new ways by working together." 


YOLK: Quality Breakfast & Brunch Catering Within Your Budget

If you are looking for the very best breakfast or lunch (brunch) catering in Chicago, Yolk is the place to try! Since 2006, Yolk’s catering has offered the best quality catering services for outdoor events, parties, weddings, special events and holidays at affordable prices.

Yolk truly takes pride in delighting your guests with top quality food and catering services, all within your budget, seven days a week. Simply stated, Yolk provides clients with outstanding quality, great pricing and superior customer service.

Craft your own menu

A dedicated catering manager will work with you. They will work on specific logistics for your event and help you decide on the menu. Some patron favorites include the Breakfast Combo, which includes a little bit of everything or the Countryside Skillet.

Of course healthy options are available as well, including the Kale Scrambler, Iron Man Scrambler, or the Yolk Berry Bliss made with homemade Greek Yogurt.

Individual boxes

In the current ‘social distance’ climate, you or your clients may prefer individually packaged boxed meals. These boxes ensure a safe and healthy breakfast, brunch or lunch experience. Yolk can definitely make it work! 

Get in touch

Place your order online or send an email to catering@eatyolk.com 

Catering pick-up and delivery is available from 7 am until 2:30 pm on weekdays and from 7 am until 10:15 am on Saturdays and Sundays. 


Howl at the Moon: Interactive Live Entertainment at Your Next Event

Howl at the Moon is an iconic live music venue, located in the heart of downtown Chicago. Their dedicated team will work with you to create the perfect corporate event. 

How at the Moon’s corporate event venues rate among the best in Chicago. The different private and semi-private event spaces at Howl at the Moon can hold from 10 up to 400 guests. While your clients are giving their presentation -using Howl’s state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, their audience enjoys a customized food and beverage experience. 

Interactive Live Music Experience

During your event at Howl at the Moon, your guests will enjoy a high-energy and interactive live music show. The performers take song requests from your guests’ favorite musical genres and will play them live on the spot. If you want to customize your event even more, Howl’s talented entertainers would love to perform an original song. Why not honor your company, your valued employees or a guest of honor with a unique song? It does not get more interactive than that! 

Amenities

Some of the amenities at Howl at the Moon include: 

  • Food Stations
  • Passed Hors D’oeuvres
  • Action Stations
  • Coat Check
  • Stage Call Downs
  • Early Start Entertainment
  • Customized Company Song
  • Party Favors
  • Piano Banners with Company Name and Logo
  • Specialized Company Drinks
  • Carving Stations
  • Passed Appetizers
  • Complimentary Microphone Use
  • Photo Booths
  • Specialty Cocktail Stations
  • Ice Luge
  • 8 ft. Donut Wall
  • Step & Repeat (includes photographer and props!)
  • Customized Indoor Billboards
  • Candy Buffet
  • Stage Use
  • Audio Visual Equipment
  • Parking
  • And more! 

Referral Incentive for Meeting Planners

Refer your guests to Howl at the Moon for an event and receive up to $250 in cash or Howl credit! Contact the team by email or give them a call @ 312-327-0755 for more information.

More information about events at Howl at the Moon can be found on their website