"There will always be a need for in-person events"
We caught up with Gianna Gaudini, Global Head of Events, SoftBank Investment Advisors (Vision Fund), to learn more about what’s on her mind as a corporate event planner.
AVIXA: Considering the rise of digital communities and social media, how has the role of live events changed?
Even in these challenging COVID-19 times when more and more live events are being canceled, I still think there will always be a need for in-person events. Digital is a great way to scale event content and reach, and provide options to those who aren’t able to physically attend an event. Yet there’s no replacing the sensory experiences one gets in an immersive event environment, not the in-person connections that are forged formally or informally over meals, or activities at events.
Finding ways to extend the experience beyond a single live event is an important part of today’s event planning strategy. Thinking through the full before-during-after experience and engagement with your audience is critical to building a lasting community.
AVIXA: What does it mean to be a co-creator of experiences?
It takes a village to produce events and experiences, and the best ideas come from collaboration. Being a co-creator can be interpreted as engaging a cross-functional team in experiential plans, it could be a partnership between brands, or a live-digital hybrid experience.
AVIXA: What is the most important quality you look for in an AV provider?
The number one quality I look for in an AV provider is trust and honesty. An AV company shouldn’t be scared to offer honest and unbiased recommendations, even if it means the company makes less money. And, if an AV company isn’t able to service your event properly, they shouldn’t hesitate to tell you and recommend a better fit.
AVIXA: What do you wish AV providers understood about you?
I don’t always know what I need, so rather than just ask what AV equipment or requirements I need for an event, it would be helpful to first understand my goals and then come to me with questions and recommendations. I am not an expert in all things including AV, so I lean on my trusted partners to advise me on the best and most cost-effective strategies.
AVIXA: How do you keep up with new technology?
I read blogs, newsletters, attend events, listen to podcasts and webcasts (I love Gather Geeks and Bizzabo’s In-Person podcasts for event planning strategies), and sometimes even attend workshops. I also get pitched frequently by agencies and vendors, and I allocate time each month to meet with them to get an overview of their capabilities. This often leads to discovering new technology and ways to apply it that I might not have explored on my own.
About Gianna Cardinale
Gianna Cardinale Gaudini is the Global Head of Events for the SoftBank Investment Advisors (Vision Fund), and author of the book The Art of Event Planning, an Amazon best-selling book. Prior to leading global events for the Vision Fund, she led Google's most strategic events as an Executive Event Producer for over nine years. At Vision Fund, Gaudini drives global event strategy, leads the global events marketing team, oversees a multimillion-dollar budget, directs strategic sponsorship and investor relations events, and collaborates with other organizational leaders on brand experiences. Other career highlights include building the team for and producing Google’s largest event, Google Cloud Next, a B2B enterprise conference in San Francisco for 30K+ attendees, leading Google’s Brand and Reputation and policy events, and leading Google’s largest internal global conferences and women’s events.