Exclusive Interview! How CPHR re-invented the sponsorship experience.


We continue to enjoy annual increases in registration numbers and profits for our annual conference, says Erin Roddie, an association planner at CPHR Yukon and BC.

Download this interview to learn how CPHR was able to overcome sponsorship challenges , how they re-defined value for their sponsors and how using AV technology helped boost their events’ ROI.

[pardot-form width=”800″ height=”100″ id=”7721″ title=”Download Interview- Interview with Erin Roddie at CPHR”]


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Venue of the Future: Key Trends Driving Venue Selection

The needs of today’s planners and groups are much more complex than they were 10 years ago. Planners are looking for spaces that can support their event requirements both physically, and technically; they are becoming more strategic in their selections.

In this FMAV Webinar, Ryan Young, Associate Director of Sales at Brookstreet Hotel, spoke with  FMAV’s Alissa Hurley, VP of Marketing about the demand for technology in events and venues. Watch now![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_js]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[/vc_raw_js][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Collaborating with the Timewise and One West Event Design, FMAV wanted to create an immersive experience that would welcome and accommodate high calibre speakers and keynotes. While also providing a warm welcoming space that encouraged networking and conversation.

The designing of the main room (the Process)

The team (FMAV & Timewise) met in the Edmonton office to align and frame the event towards creating a narrative to explain the value it represents to its various stakeholders.
The first step was a Stakeholder Alignment Exercise (more details can be found here). From the exercise the team identified the high impact stakeholders that would provide a high return on investment, if the design was focused on them.




The team then took those key stakeholders, and performed a Rapid Empathy Exercise. They mapped out a statement each stakeholder would make before the event, as well as a statement for after the event. These statements helped to understand the change in behaviour the event would create. It also contributed to articulating the events value further.
We then dug a little deeper into each stakeholder. The team wanted to understand the level of experience the stakeholders wanted. We asked the question, on a scale of 1-10 where would the stakeholder sit?

1= simple and accessible                   10= highly experiential/disruptive.






Then we performed a Presenter Intimacy Matrix, with one axis being up on a “Rockstar” i.e. up on pedestal, inaccessible, star power. Vs “Best Friend” intimate, reach out and touch them, like best friends sharing a coffee, being close to and getting to associate with the presenter.









What’s the Vibe? We listed words that speak to the feeling at the event.

From that activity and information, we identified our event narrative which was:

‘Go West offers event professionals in Western Canada the opportunity to come together to make meaningful connections, educate, elevate, and engage within a community. Presenting the Western Canadian region as brave thought leaders, actively embracing innovation. Leading the industry with smart, effective event design.’


Additionally, the goal for the producers was to grow the events stature, exposé, attendance and educational impact.


Achieving the narrative

To achieve this narrative we applied several design strategies in the main room, firstly we manipulated the shape to break the standard rectangular box. Creating a triangular shape with video screens and impactful draping. The shape served two purposes, firstly to focus attention on the main stage, and secondly, to envelope the audience as if the screens and drape were arms embracing them.

To reinvent the stage experience and to compliment the shape of the room, FMAV designed a diamond shaped stage allowing audience members closer access to the presenters while keeping the stage height above 36” in order to give the presenters an air of rock stardom.

Utilizing FMAV’s GeoMod Stage Set solution, we designed a maple leaf referencing our proud Canadian heritage. OneWest Event Design came to the party with mixed seating arrangements. Strategically placed to encourage attendees to interact with each other and connect with content and conversation outside of the onstage presentations.

To add to the sense of audience intimacy, FMAV designed a rigging plot that had truss lines raking down towards the back of the room creating lower ceiling, bringing an intimate mood to the audience area while keeping the main stage theatrical.

To accentuate the rake of the truss, tiered seating was installed at the back of the room, allowing attendees to get a higher vantage point, creating a unique experience.


Some small subtle technology choices were made to enable and enhance the attendee’s connection to the presenters. For example a robotic camera was positioned at the back corner of the stage near the presenter’s entry point, it allowed for a reverse angle shot capturing the presenters entering and exit from the stage. The shot choice in essence ‘broke the 4th wall’ showing the audience a part of the backstage experience of which most attendees are very familiar. It both humanized and energized the arrival and departure of each presenter.

The IMAG screens were portrait orientated to allow for a full body shot making the presenter 16’ high, enhancing the gravitas and feeding that ‘rock star’ esthetic.









All of this came together to achieve the event narrative with great effect. Allowing Timewise, FMAV, and OneWest Event Design to contribute in our own ways to create community, foster innovation and show our pride of Western Canada.

If you would like to replicate this success at your event and design amazing experiences for your audience,  connect with us now!

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Why Get Certified

Watch our Webinar replay featuring Elizabeth Nutting, CSEP and Joanne Rockwood CMP, CMM around certification and why it is important for your career as an event planner.

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FMAV’s Year in Review

Taking a look back on a fantastic year of events that made up 2019. Thank you for being part of our journey.

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3 Steps to Smarter Event Technology

With so much available in the marketplace, knowing what technology is right for your event, your organization, and your audience can be challenging.

At FMAV we know you want to be a respected event professional. In order to do that, you need the best audio visual event technology. The problem is understanding event technology can be overwhelming especially trying to decipher what solutions are best for your event. That’s why we have partnered with 5000 clients to design successful events by providing the right solutions that make sense.

Click here to download the guide!

In the first post of our series on meeting Wi-Fi, we broke down bandwidth and the myths around how much you actually need for your meetings. But without a quality infrastructure, bandwidth would never reach the devices – laptops, tablets, smartphones – that we all use. In this second part of our series, we’re looking at infrastructure and the questions you should be asking regarding this often-overlooked aspect of internet services.

At home, internet bandwidth arrives on a single cable, usually in the basement or somewhere else convenient for the cable guy. Then, to actually make use of the bandwidth, you need some electronics – at the very least, a Wi-Fi router. If you happen to have a larger home, you’ll know that the Wi-Fi router that comes with your cable subscription doesn’t cover the whole house, and more electronics (in the form of Wi-Fi boosters) are needed to make things work properly.

Internet infrastructure in a meeting or event venue is the same, although due to the size of the building and high numbers of people, we need significantly more electronics to make things happen. In fact, venues sometimes make the mistake of upgrading bandwidth without the infrastructure to deliver it, which results in a higher bandwidth bill for the venue but no better experience for the guest.

The most important aspects of infrastructure to understand are the wireless access points – we like to call them WAPs, for fun. Ironically enough, these aren’t wireless. These are cabled to the rest of the infrastructure and create the last “hop” wirelessly from themselves to and from your device.

There are two important aspects to understand about WAPs:

  • How many there are in a space?
  • How old they are?

Taken together, these two pieces of info determine the Wi-Fi capacity of the infrastructure or in other words, how many devices you can put in that space without overwhelming it. Often hidden for aesthetic purposes, it’s hard to know from a site visit how many WAPs there are or how old they are – so this is an important question! One of the easiest things you can do is ask for the access point layout diagram. Every venue should have one, and this will give you all the information you need.

The question I already hear you all asking next is, “OK then, how many WAPs are enough?” Well, like a lot of IT stuff, it depends. Fortunately, we’re here to help with that and other specific questions you may have, regardless of the venue you select.


  • Ask for the AP layout diagram and the age of the access points. Your trusted techie will be able to make a call on whether the infrastructure will be able to support your needs.
  • If you find inadequate infrastructure (or bandwidth) at the perfect venue for your next event – don’t worry!  Both can be successfully augmented given a little advanced notice (and we’d be happy to help).
  • Internet@psav.comwill answer all of your internet-related questions, regardless of venue.


Alissa Hurley Inducted into Canadian Meetings + Events Expo Hall of Fame

We are pleased to announce that Alissa Hurley, VP, Marketing at FMAV has been inducted into the Hall of Fame at the recent Canadian Meetings + Events Expo! The Hall of Fame program, now in it’s 11th year, is comprised of 68 industry leaders who have made, and continue to make outstanding contributions to the Canadian meetings and events industry. Alissa was inducted as the 2019 Industry Innovator; a category that recognizes a planner or supplier who has developed and implemented a service, product, or concept that modernizes today’s industry and moves it forward.

Throughout her 25 years of experience in the events industry as both planner and supplier, she has been implementing innovative solutions to demonstrate the strategic impact of meetings and events. In 2007, while at Maritz Canada, she developed a proprietary measurement approach leveraging audience segmentation research expertise. This approach helped clients optimize their event marketing portfolio. In addition, she was a member of the project team that developed the initial Canadian Meetings Industry Economic Impact Study which provided the framework for other global regions to follow. Over the years, Alissa has been an active industry volunteer with MPI and currently serves as a member of the MPI Canadian Advisory Council.
“I am so grateful to have met Alissa over 9 years ago, when I just started EventMobi,” said 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee and EventMobi founder, Bob Vaez. “As an early technology adopter, she took a chance and let me pitch this crazy idea of an event app in 2010 while she was at Maritz. Not only she provided countless feedback to help me understand the industry better and fine tune our product, she also leveraged technology in bold new ways when no one else was paying attention. She has always been 2 steps ahead of everyone else pushing the boundaries and creating exceptional experiences at events. But what is so unique about Alissa is her passion to help others and pull everyone behind her to elevate how we manage and run events and conferences with or without technology.”

An advocate for industry education, Alissa spent 6 years as part of the faculty for the Event Management Certificate Program at Mount Royal University and has served as both as part of the CMM Advisory Board and as a CMM Program Mentor. In 2016, Alissa became the first Certified Event Designer in Canada and the first certified instructor of the Event Canvas methodology in North America.

“There are very few people who have given as much back to the industry as Alissa,” said 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee and Head of Events, SITE, Tahira Endean. “She has focused on educating bringing new and better ways of doing things to the entire industry while caring what planners have to say and bringing that to life.”

Event_Design_Alissa_HurleyOver the past 3 years, Alissa has made it her mission for the Canadian meetings and events community to adopt a common language of event design using the #Event Canvas approach. As the official representative of the Event Design Collective in Canada and through the support of FMAV, she has:
o Trained over 500 Canadian meeting and event professionals on the Event Canvas methodology.
o Brought the 3-day Event Design Certificate program to Canada which enables participants to achieve the Certified Event Designer (CED) designation.
o Awarded 18 scholarships for Canadian meeting and event professionals to achieve the Certified Event Designer (CED) designation

“Alissa is a true leader in the events industry. Her forward thinking and technical knowledge combined with her passion to innovate has made immense impact on the event industry in Canada,” said Bill Brown, President and CEO of FMAV and Divisional Vice-President, PSAV. “I’m very proud to have her as part of our team.”


3 fast tools to help with creative design process

1. Stakeholder Alignment Canvas Exercise:

Before you can design your event, you need to understand who you are designing for. The old saying, “You can keep some people happy some of the time, but not all people all the time” is very true. This four-step process map allows you to think outside of the standard financial and hierarchical stakeholder list and together agree which stakeholders provide the most impact.

Step 1: For 5 min and without discussion create a long list of all the people who could have anything at stake when it comes to the event. Stakeholders can be trivial to fundamental to the events success. Write them on sticky notes and put them on the long list section. As the writer sticks them to the Canvas they vocalise them so everyone can hear them. But no discussion or justification should be given.

Step 2: For 1 minute and without discussion take that long list and plot the stakeholders on the matrix, showing their level of power (can they stop the event from happening) and interest they have in the event (do they want to be involved in its design, do they need certain things to happen at the event for the event to be successful). After the 1 minute is up the team can discuss and debate the location on the Canvas, but for no more than 5 minutes.

Step 3: Stop the debate and ask the team to define and agree upon the overarching aim of the event. In a short statement what is the purpose of the event? What makes it successful. Once that is complete move to step 4.

Step 4: Re-evaluate the Stakeholder’s location on the Matrix referencing each against the Overarching Aim. This step will help you be sure the stakeholders belong in the top quadrant High Power and High Interest. These are the stakeholders we design for first because they provide the biggest impact and therefore value.


2. Retrospective Chart

This is a great tool to get the design team’s thoughts on previous activations. Allowing everyone to evaluate past activities and understand how they can be improved upon for the future. It is important that all activities during live events provide a return on investment. This simple chart helps align the team on the past and work towards the future.

Step 1: Write on the chart (or sticky notes) all the things that were successful at the event.

Step 2: Write on the chart (or sticky notes) all the things that were successful at the event.

Step 3: For every item plan a next action. Keep, Cut, Elaborate, Refine, Sideline.

3- Brain Buckets – Idea Prioritization.

The best brainstorming outcomes arrive when we put no constraint or feasibility on the ideas. A million-dollar idea that isn’t in the budget might spark a five dollar idea that is. Therefore, we always tell people there are no bad ideas and write them all down. However, presented with a huge list of ideas, it can be challenging to sort th

rough them. It is nessecary to evaluate them based on their importance and feasible taking into account time and budget constraints etc.

Step 1: Brainstorm a giant list of ideas (sticky notes) that can solve the event challenges you face. These could be technologies, décor, food or any other elements. Do not disqualify anything because of time, budget or difficulty.

Step 2: Take the notes and plot them on the Idea Prioritization chart or sort them into buckets based on Low Cost/Low Difficulty Low Cost/High Difficulty High Cost/Low Difficulty High Cost/High Difficulty.

Step 3: Discuss as a team which idea/s is the most balanced and which will return the best results for the cost and effort.