Leadership / 01.23.24
INTIX 2024: Holowaty to Put Attendees First at Her ‘Employee First, Guest Forever’ Session
As INTIX 2024 draws even closer, many of those coming to the big Las Vegas event are now firming up their plans for what workshops and speaker sessions they will be attending. One of the most well attended is expected to be “Employee First, Guest Forever: Building the Future of CX,” featuring HALM Development Co-founder and CEO Jacque Holowaty as speaker.
The one-hour session is scheduled for 12 p.m. PST on Feb. 1 and, according to Holowaty, will be “built to fuel the passion of those in our industry who have been steadfast in their pursuit of creating exceptional experiences for our guests and employees. But it is also aimed to ignite, or even reignite, the fire in those who have maybe found themselves at a standstill wondering how they can make a difference. From real-life examples of impactful programs to tips and tricks on how to start small to make meaningful change, we will focus on why employee-centric organizations truly build better customer experiences for all of our guests.”
If she had four words to describe the presentation she has been putting together, they are: “engaging, educational, collaborative and fun.” Holowaty says, “The key piece of wisdom that I always hope people take away from my sessions is that they truly can be the change they want to see. Many of us spend time conditioning ourselves to think that we need more years of experience, a better job title, a larger platform [and so forth] to start making a difference. But more than anything else, it’s the little things that usually make the biggest impact, and those little things can be done by anyone.”
The session description for “Employee First, Guest Forever” notes that front-line employees are the most critical puzzle piece in creating exceptional guest experiences. So, who exactly are a live event’s front-line employees, and how can they best set the example from the top down in delivering such excellence? Holowaty’s answer was quick, but thoughtful: “I tend to define front-line employees as those interacting in the most intimate capacity with our guests. So, think ticketing/box office, guest services, security, parking, hospitality, housekeeping and even behind-the-scenes roles such as operations and maintenance. Guests very rarely see the executive team members or have any idea who they are. But they can tell you who Larry the usher at section 113 is and whether or not Larry helped to make a positive difference in their experience. Empowering your front-line staff and acknowledging their individual contributions of making exceptional moments happen creates a culture of unlimited possibilities.”
This is not Holowaty’s first tradeshow experience. Drawing on the past, what makes for a good session or workshop at an event like INTIX 2024? “I do think the key ingredients differ for all participants, the same way that not everyone likes the same type of food,” she says. “Some people like traditional, simple, comfort food, while others like spicy and unique flavors, and some people are adventurous and willing to try anything. The same applies for a good session or workshop. Those that create a diverse menu that provides a little bit of something for everyone I find are the best. Sessions should bring the basics, because not everyone is at the same level in their career. But they also need to provide impactful and memorable takeaways so the session doesn’t blend in with all the others. Most importantly, the session presenter should be genuine and truly believe in what they are talking about, because those sessions are the ones with the best connection throughout the whole room.”
She continues, “It is easy to get caught up in wondering what people will think of you as a presenter. But one thing I heard once that stuck with me is that ‘People are not thinking about you as much as you think they are thinking about you.’ That reminded me to just be myself and deliver the content in a way that is authentic to who I am. The best part about INTIX is that it is a tribe of wonderfully supportive humans, and everyone is here to lift up each other and the industry together!”
As for her favorite past INTIX conference and exhibition, Holowaty said it would have to be last year’s. After all, INTIX 2023 in Seattle was where she served as conference chair. She says, “It still feels surreal that Maureen [Andersen] even thought of me for something like that, and I still feel humbled by that honor.”
At the same time, Holowaty was eager to share a core memory of INTIX 2020 in New York City during the conference celebration party with a live band playing that still impacts her today. She says, “At one point I was dancing in the middle of a group of individuals who just a few years before had been complete strangers and now were people I called friends and who turned so many of my insecurities into traits of mine that I am proud of. The feeling of pure happiness and love I felt in that moment I wish I could have bottled up to drink on the days when I may need that extra boost of self-love. INTIX is special, and for those who have attended, they know what I am talking about. It is a conference where the energy feels different. It feels positive and supportive and collaborative. The love for what we do as an industry is palpable. Maybe that’s because for so long, ticketing was looked at as ‘less than.’ But for me, ticketing is anything but ‘less than.’ In fact, ticketing is a career that led me down a path that is ‘greater than’ anything I could have ever dreamt for myself!”
You May Also Like
Want news like this delivered to your inbox weekly? Subscribe to the Access Weekly newsletter, your ticket to industry excellence.
Tags: Leadership , INTIX 2024