Leadership / 01.23.20
INTIX 2020: Highlights From Day 3
On Day 3 of INTIX’s 41st Annual Conference & Exhibition, attendees woke up and went to bed in a New York state of mind. Quite literally, in fact, with the lyrics of Billy Joel echoing in many attendees’ heads as they retired for the night. Mostly, though, it was a day of inspiration, motivation and well-deserved ovations. Here are the highlights from the third day.
Leading Off With a Town Hall on Leadership
Day 3 of INTIX 2020 got off to a rousing start with the two-hour Town Hall General Session, subtitled “Industry Leadership in Today’s Entertainment Industry.” The setting was once again the massive Sutton Complex room on the second floor of the New York Hilton Midtown, and INTIX President and CEO Maureen Andersen said it best in her opening address: “Leadership is something that grows over time and is ever evolving. We are given constant opportunities to embrace leadership in this day and age that elevates, encourages and fosters growth.”
She then introduced the first speaker, former WNBA star and founder of the Women’s Professional Basketball Alumni Association Rushia Brown. Brown gave a funny, poignant and extremely insightful speech that started with her telling the story of being an aimless 10th grader in South Carolina, reeling from the death of her father, then finding direction in sports and subsequently becoming one of the top college and pro athletes in the country. She then illustrated how those in the room can become the best leaders they can be if they just show PASSION, using the word as an acronym to spell out the best qualities in a decision maker — P for Perseverance, A for Attitude, S for Sacrifice and so forth. “Even though we all come from different places,” she said, “everybody in this room has a different skill set, talent or ability to make a difference.”
Rushia Brown on stage at INTIX 2020.
Brown then shared the stage with three top female executives from the entertainment industry for a special Q&A session on leadership: moderator Stephanie Baker, COO of the Entertainment Benefits Group; Marla Ostroff, Executive Vice President of Arts and Theatre/Strategic Accounts for Ticketmaster; and Kristin Caskey, the Tony-winning producer of such Broadway hits as “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and the current “David Byrne’s American Utopia.” Caskey perhaps gave the best advice when she said, “Patience is a beautiful gift. If we have patience with ourselves, both to succeed and to make mistakes, it’s always a much more worthwhile journey.”
Leadership Panel Q&A
A Morning Mixer and Liquid Brunch With a Side of Bacon
Following the Town Hall General Session, many attendees made their way over to the Grand Ballroom — site of the INTIX Exhibit Hall — for a Morning Mixer and Liquid Brunch. For most, it was another opportunity to network, to connect and reconnect, and to schmooze.
There’s a story behind the bacon, of course, and it goes back to last year at INTIX’s 40th Annual Conference & Exhibition in Texas when Andersen touted that crispy bacon would be served at the Annual Business Meeting Breakfast on the conference’s last day. One problem. There ended up being no bacon, something Andersen has been playfully ribbed about by colleagues in the 12 months since. The Morning Mixer with bacon Bloody Mary shooters (plus food) made up for it and then some. Among those who partook was Nicole Fred, ticket support specialist for the PGA Tour. Drink in hand, she said, “You gotta give it to Maureen for making good on a promise.”
Additionally during the Morning Mixer, many lined up for chair massages and wrist massages in the upper balcony of the Exhibit Hall. Also in the balcony — and a new education element — was 5 Minutes to Save a Life, with attendees learning how to use a Narcan kit and a defibrillator. After all, a drug overdose or a heart episode can happen at any time and anywhere … certainly stadiums, arenas, theatres and performing arts venues.
On a lighter note, TicketsWest’s Surprise Boxes were a hit once again when sales started at 4 p.m., with all proceeds going to the INTIX annual fund for membership enhancements, education and programming.
Awards Lunch Is a Testament to Community
Just after noon, attendees ventured back to the Sutton Complex room for a luncheon, the highly anticipated INTIX awards and another Qcue Live Auction. This time around, showman and professional auctioneer Zack Krone roused the chicken parmesan-eating crowd to bid on everything from all-inclusive dream vacation packages to use of the Citi suite at Madison Square Garden for the Billy Joel concert this coming weekend.
Auctioneer Zack Krone
But the centerpiece was the various awards given out that INTIX columnist Christine Payne detailed in a separate article here. The winners were genuinely touched by the honors bestowed on them, with some even being moved to tears. INTIX Chair Derek Palmer welcomed to the stage Jane Kleinberger to give the 2020 INTIX Spirit Award to Linda Forlini, the retiring Vice President of Ticket Philadelphia. Fighting back a cry, Forlini said, “I hope that for the rest of my working time, which is 92 days, I continue to exceed expectations!”
The winner of the FutureTix Young Ticketing Professional Award, FutureTix Vice President of Operations Kelly Brennan, was unable to hide her emotions upon winning. Tearfully, she thanked her parents, siblings and husband for “putting up with me. … My father (they are a ticketing generational family; Dan DeMato, fellow award winner himself) taught me that at the end of the day, you need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and like what you see. I’m lucky to say that because of FutureTix and all of you, I get that opportunity every day.”
Kelly Brennan accepting her award.
Brennan’s speech had already choked up Danny Frank, Citi’s Senior Vice President and Global Manager of Client Entertainment and Ticket Services. But when he won INTIX’s Outstanding Ticket Professional award, he also took the podium visibly emotional having already run through a veritable gauntlet of hugs. “For those of you who are newbies this year, I guarantee you are going to meet friends who will become your lifelong friends,” he said. “I have.”
When the winner for Outstanding Ticket Office was announced, Keith Kelly from The Lowry and Quaytickets made his way from the far side of the room to the stage as attendees applauded. He accepted the award on behalf of his hard-working team back home in the U.K.
The Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award, INTIX’s highest honor, was awarded to Vince Rieger, Senior Director of Business Development for Shubert Ticketing. He received a standing ovation and many hugs as he approached the stage to speak.
Afternoon Workshops Give Way to an Evening for INTIX’s Uptown Girls and Piano Men
After exhausting much of the hotel’s supply of tissues, attendees scattered to various rooms and ballrooms on the Hilton’s second floor to attend a plethora of sessions, seminars and workshops. Among the most notable were “Women in Leadership: Getting Candid About Motivation and Success;” “Audits Are Not a Sexy Topic;” “Sell More Tickets: The Power of Facebook and Instagram Ads;” and “Finding Calm: How Mindfulness Can Help You Lead, Learn, and Live Better.”
Day 3 climaxed later that evening with a fantastic INTIX Live Celebration of the Music of Billy Joel. Performing in the Hilton’s Trianon Ballroom was Michael DelGuidice & Big Shot, the officially sanctioned Billy Joel tribute band comprised of several band members who now tour with Joel himself worldwide (including his monthly gig at New York’s Madison Square Garden). Concert attendees were still humming songs like “Tell Her About It” and “Only the Good Die Young” at AudienceView and INTIX's After Party at the INTIX Lounge afterwards.
INTIX Live Celebration of the Music of Billy Joel.
On to Day 4 and the Annual Business Meeting Breakfast, more workshops and a closing keynote address, Strategies for Overcoming Adversity, by writer and Emmy Award winning NBC broadcaster Jimmy Roberts.
Check out the highlights from INTIX 2020 Day 1 and Day 2.
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Tags: INTIX 2020