#TSE, Scholarship Winner Report


Sabina Fechisin, Program Manager at Fun Productions, won our ILEA Denver 2016 education scholarship from to attend The Special Event in January and she took some time to share her experience with us, including practical tips for social media, trends, and a heartwarming observation on the industry. 

SabinaWhen people ask me what I did this year for my birthday, I will be able to say that I went to The Special Event (TSE), thanks to a scholarship from ILEA Denver.  TSE is a whirlwind of education, events, and networking. There are so many sessions and some of the biggest names in the industry, it can be hard to choose what to do. Luckily I had many other ILEA Denver members there who helped me navigate and get the most out of the conference.

A must go to event is Michael Cerbelli’s Hot List. He was amazing when he came to Denver in October, but even better when you can actually see and try what he has put on the list! The LED Stilt Walkers posed for pictures with attendees, PhotoTap shared photos, and the GaffGun blew everyone’s mind. Seriously though, if you haven’t seen the GaffGun look here: (http://gaffgun.com/).  Totally Mod changed the meeting game with their transformative seating, Time Stoppers 360 caught pictures of us from a new perspective, and Hoang Tran carved a crayon into Michael Cerbelli.

With over 100 sessions to choose from, it was hard to pick just a fraction to go to.  I chose sessions with a focus on marketing, social media, and trends.

TSE 2016Social media can be intimidating.  What do I post? How often should I post? How do I manage all the different sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Periscope, Tumblr and so many more?  There are a lot of different strategies and techniques to managing your personal or business social media. The one thing all the experts seem to agree on is that if you are going to get social, really do it.  Translation: don’t start a ton of accounts if you only have time for two.   Choose the ones that you have time for and do them well.

Here are a few tips for some of the more popular outlets:


  • Create campaigns of attention – tag a partner or client and why you love them
  • Show how you service goals
  • Show emotion to show the experience
  • Test different types of posts and see what works for your viewers


  • Tweets that have links and photos get more views
  • Try not to go over 130 characters
  • Add hashtags to your bio
  • Research hashtags before you make them a go to
  • Create lists of partners, associations, etc.


  • Don’t post memes, google images, or coupons
  • Plan your shot ahead of time, be consistent
  • Don’t take the photo through the app, use your phones regular camera
  • Take more shots than you need from different angles

TSE - CopyOk, now on to what you have all been waiting for–what’s trending this year.  To stay up to date on trends, use the visual search feature on Pinterest and look at magazine covers. One surprising discovery was that magazine covers are all similar.  Look at the color they are using for the name of the magazine and you will see it soon in fashion.

So here is what is trending

  • Using unique spaces – not your typical blank room with 4 walls
  • Taking design risks
  • Where there’s smoke – incorporating cigar bars and vapes
  • Posh step and repeats – more than just a vinyl on a frame
  • Digital swag bags – downloads, coupons, etc.
  • Brand the experience – create picture worthy moments
  • Catering
    • DIY stations
    • Hanging food on different things
    • Bloody Mary’s
    • Grab & Go
    • Ethnic Fusion
    • Wine on Tap
    • Coffee in everything
    • Matcha
    • Mocktails

This isn’t trends related but it did occur in the session on trends. It was towards the end of the day, everyone seemed a little tired but loving the session. Kate Patay, had just finished up her presentation on Social Media’s Influence on Events and Trends and opened the floor to questions. A few people asked questions while the rest of us were taking notes or on our phones, then something happened. The next person to ask a question started with ‘I need help’, and the entire room sat up, turned around, and gave this planner their full attention. The question turned into a discussion with different ideas and what they have seen work. Kate took a moment and pointed out what had just happened and how that is what the industry is all about. I have heard before that the industry is close, and competitors help each other, and all of that good stuff.  At that moment you could actually feel in the room how amazing our industry is. What we call that feeling might trend, #drinkingthekoolaid, #unitedeventsindustry, but that feeling won’t trend.  It’s forever.

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