Crafting Unforgettable Experiences: akire productions 

Crafting Unforgettable Experiences: akire productions 

From captivating corporate conferences to intimate non-profit galas and film screenings, akire productions stands out as a beacon of creativity and excellence in the event production industry. Based in the vibrant city of Chicago, this boutique production company is renowned for its dedication to crafting immersive event experiences that leave a lasting impression on attendees.

Driving Mission: Prioritizing Genuine Connections

At the heart of akire productions' ethos lies a mission that prioritizes genuine connections and meaningful experiences. With a commitment to serving people first, the team approaches each project with a focus on elevating interactions and creating lasting impacts. Through mission-driven creative solutions, akire productions ensures that every event resonates deeply with attendees, fostering genuine connections and leaving a lasting impact.

Unique Approach: Immersion in Brand Story and Aesthetic

No two events are the same, and akire productions understands this implicitly. With a unique and custom approach to every project, the team immerses itself in the brand story and aesthetic of its clients. Whether it's a virtual, in-person, or broadcast event, akire productions strives to engage, inspire, and captivate guests with innovative and captivating experiences tailored to the client's vision and objectives.

Cultivating Collaboration and Trust

Transparency and trust are fundamental values at akire productions. By fostering a culture of collaboration and open communication, the company cultivates deep connections – from its internal team to its partners and event guests. Through this collaborative approach, akire productions ensures that each event it produces serves the true needs and hearts of all involved, resulting in exceptional experiences that exceed expectations.

About Erika Kulovitz

Erika Kulovitz is the visionary founder behind akire productions, a dynamic event design and production company known for its creativity, passion, and attention to detail. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Erika's journey into event design was inspired by her love for design instilled by her grandfather.

Erika's diverse skill set encompasses event planning, marketing, and production, reflecting her commitment to excellence and innovation. Her deep appreciation for the arts, cultivated through 23 years of dance, infuses every aspect of her work, bringing a unique blend of creativity and emotion to each event she produces.

Originally from Chicago but with a special connection to Los Angeles, Erika's reach extends far beyond geographical boundaries. Through akire productions, she continues to redefine the event industry, one unforgettable experience at a time, by bringing her boundless passion, creativity, and expertise to every interaction.


Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) Unveils 2024 Public Policy Agenda

Source: MidWest Meetings

The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) has set the stage for its advocacy efforts in 2024, identifying key focus areas that underscore the industry's vital role in economic growth and job creation.

As Congress has recently convened, the ECA's comprehensive agenda aims to ensure a favorable operating environment for the business events sector, foster seamless international travel and commerce, and create a welcoming atmosphere for industry activities across states and cities.

Priorities for Economic Growth and Workforce Development

Hervé Sedky, Emerald Holding Inc.'s President, CEO, and Chair of the ECA board, emphasized the laser focus on policies supporting economic growth, job creation, and small businesses. The agenda outlines six top priorities for the year, including restoring visa operations to pre-pandemic levels, supporting government policies for attracting and training the industry's future workforce, and reinstating communicable disease coverage in event cancellation insurance. These initiatives aim to not only navigate the challenges of the present but also lay the groundwork for a resilient and thriving future.

Building on 2023 Successes and Future Advocacy Initiatives

The ECA plans to build on the successes of 2023, such as amending Chicago's paid-leave law to exclude business events visitors and advancing legislation in Congress for expanding skills-based training opportunities. Looking ahead, the alliance is set to introduce new advocacy capabilities, empowering industry leaders and advocates to actively participate in the political and policymaking processes. By staying proactive and adaptive, the ECA aims to amplify the impact of its advocacy efforts, fostering an environment conducive to the growth and sustainability of the business events industry.


10 Event and Meeting Trends Shaping 2024

Embark on a journey into the future of event planning as we unveil the top 10 trends shaping 2024. From eco-conscious gatherings to cutting-edge technology, this guide is your passport to staying ahead in the dynamic landscape of event management. Join us in exploring the keys to unlocking unforgettable events in the coming year, where sustainability meets innovation, and tech-forward experiences take center stage!

Sustainable Events Take Center Stage

Embrace eco-friendly events with a focus on economic and climate concerns, promoting sustainable behavior and responsible resource sourcing. Read more about sustainable events HERE.

Privacy & Security in the Digital Sphere

Prioritize data security in the digital age, intensifying privacy regulations, and training for handling sensitive attendee information.

AI's Evolution in Event Planning

Dive into AI-powered recommendation engines and engaging headlines for personalized attendee experiences.

Digital Accessibility for All Events

Ensure inclusivity with technology, integrating screen readers and voice recognition tools for accessible digital and in-person events.

Social Media: The Event Promoter's Ally

Leverage platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn for event promotion, forming partnerships with digital influencers for expanded reach.

Live Streaming Dominates Engagement

Ride the wave of live streaming events, attracting millennials and Gen Z through partnerships with digital influencers.

Mobile Technology Transforms Event Experience

Embrace the mobile revolution with event-focused apps, providing seamless event discovery, reservations, and ticket purchases.

Augmented & Virtual Reality Redefine Experiences

Explore Augmented Reality (AR) for enhanced customer service and Virtual Reality (VR) for immersive event experiences.

Data's Growing Role in Event Planning

Invest in data analytics tools, using insights to track attendee behavior and make informed decisions for future events.

The Future of Hybrid and Virtual Events

Continue the trend of virtual and hybrid events for global accessibility and cost-effectiveness, providing broader reach and engagement.


Tick-Tock Triumph: Mastering Time Management for Event Planners

Read the full article on the ExpoPass website

In the fast-paced world of event planning, time is the ultimate currency. A robust time management strategy isn't just a tool; it's the secret ingredient to orchestrating flawless events without unnecessary stress. Efficient time utilization not only keeps you on budget but also provides a cushion for unforeseen challenges, ensuring your events are executed with precision.

Our comprehensive time management guide for event planners delves into the organizational aspects that set the stage for success. From prioritizing tasks using the Pareto Method to establishing weekly and daily goals (the BIG THREE), we offer practical tips to conquer the ticking clock. Additionally, we explore effective scheduling techniques, emphasizing the importance of time blocking, deadlines, and strategic breaks to maintain focus and flexibility.

While technology can be a double-edged sword, we highlight its role as an invaluable ally in event planning. From setting alarms for time tracking to utilizing project management software like ActiveCollab and Monday, we guide you on leveraging technology to your advantage. Finally, we emphasize the often-overlooked aspect of rest, emphasizing its role in enhancing efficiency and preventing burnout.

In the world of event planning, where every minute counts, mastering time management isn't just a skill—it's the key to delivering exceptional experiences. Learn how to invest your time wisely and build a personalized toolkit for seamless event execution. "Tick-Tock Triumph" is your guide to transforming time from a challenge into your greatest asset.


man and woman drinking coffee

Brewing Success: Elevate your Events with Kikwetu Coffee

Kikwetu is a journey to connect two places that are very important to its founders: Kenya, where they were born and raised, and Chicago, where they have made their lives. Started in 2014, Kikwetu is a minority-owned, women-led business, born and operated in Woodlawn.

The company aims to provide high-quality coffee and tea to people of all walks of life and enable them to connect with each other. The quality of the Kikwetu products and the exceptional service provided by the team have made the business a huge success in Chicago.

But Kikwetu's success also comes from a belief that building and fostering human connections is the foundation for a just and sustainable planet. The company cares deeply about the people behind its products and works hard to uncover and amplify their stories to build bridges.

Across Chicago, Kikwetu offers catering for events, meetings and gatherings featuring handcrafted beverages, pastries with a special splash of Kenyan hospitality. Kikwetu also provides elevated coffee & tea services for residential condos and office buildings.

Kikwetu is the exclusive coffee served in the Cloud Bar on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center. You can also find its products in markets in Streeterville, Lincoln Park, West Loop, Hyde Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park, Evanston, South Loop, Glenwood and North Center.

www.kikwetu.coffee/


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.


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.