ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.
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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ M A R C H 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 14 When meeting planners and CVBs find ways to share information, combine skills and communicate openly and often, their efforts tend to result in not only creating successful events but also in developing productive, ongoing relationships that are mutually beneficial. Here's a look at how some powerful relationships were built between planners and CVBs in the South. Collaborating Effectively By Sharing Expertise One very important aspect of the relationship between a CVB representative and an event planner is the effective sharing of each other's complementary expertise. For example, Ann Ferrell Cauthen, special events coordinator for Hattiesburg (Miss.) Tourism, recalled her experience in organizing an annual event for the Hattiesburg Zoo when she was fresh out of college, with little real-world event experience. Having someone like local event planner Jennifer Clark of Emerge Events to work with for one of her first large events was extremely helpful, she said. "Jennifer has her own event-planning business in Hattiesburg," explained Cauthen. "She was very involved in Hattiesburg's FestivalSouth, a big arts festival with a series of events all over the city, and in charge of several FestivalSouth events taking place at the zoo. We collaborated together on those. I lent my expertise on the zoo side of it and she solicited vendors and some artists and performers for the events. One in particular was called Arts Day at the Zoo. Together, we created this event, which was a great success and now has become an annual event. "I'm very lucky to have crossed paths with her because she was full of fresh ideas and knowledge of the event industry and had a lot of connections. She introduced me to a lot of people and she kind of mentored me, too." Clark, who co-owns Emerge Events with her husband, Steve, expressed similar sentiments. "As an independent event planner, it is a huge asset to be able to partner with the Hattiesburg Convention Commission (HCC) on events," said Clark. "The HCC includes several incredible venues, with highly trained and knowledgeable staff. When we work together, we each bring our own strengths to the table to put together a great event. It has been a pleasure to work with up- and-coming event planner superstar Ann Ferrell Cauthen. One event that we both really enjoyed was the FestivalSouth Arts Day at the Zoo, which is now an annual event. Ann worked with the zoo and other venue staff to help determine animal-enrichment activities that would go well with this event, event layout ideas and other areas that she could provide her expertise in. I was able to focus on coordinating the artists, art vendors, performers and art activities for children. This kind of collaboration allows each of us to use our strengths and also work together to come up with new, unique ideas." How Mutually Beneficial Relationships Build Successful Events By T. Wayne Waters ANNUAL CVB ISSUE Working Together An off-site activity arranged by the Rutherford County CVB