Monday, October 28, 2013

My Interview with Creative Maya Kalman, CEO of SWANK Productions

BizBash’s IdeaFest has become an annual hotbed of creativity for events professionals and this year is no different. With a bevy of smart, interesting speakers and leaders in the industry, IdeaFest will no doubt lead the pack again with hot tips and insights for the future of the profession.

One exemplary standout from the lineup of speakers is Maya Kalman, SWANK Productions CEO. Maya will be mentoring event planners on in the Plan-A-Thon workshop, a part of the Event Leadership Institute Workshop Series, during the IdeaFest N.Y. trade show and conference on Wednesday, October 30.

The focus of the interactive Plan-A-Thon this year is for attendees to reinvent three key event formats: the award show, the gala fund-raiser, and the product launch. I asked Maya three questions about her involvement with the Plan-A-Thon:
  •      How does your role with SWANK productions make you a good mentor for event planners?
  •      What do you expect from the workshop’s participants? How can they best set themselves up for success?
  •      What are you most looking forward to at Ideafest? 

Maya Kalman: Oh gosh…I hate to say this but I feel like almost all of these questions I can't answer because I've never been to this event before!

I'm both the CEO and creative director of SWANK Productions. We do luxury event planning and couture design, creating one-of-a-kind event 'experiences' for our luxe clients.

Maya believes that designing and planning every event is actually “creating an experience for the guests to be immersed in.”

Maya: I love helping other people sit down and really conjure up the most out-of-the-box ideas they can contemplate, but also love to figure out the pros and the cons -- and the pitfalls -- that might need to be thought of ahead of time and solved prior to production. My method of conceptualizing and brainstorming is very much a process of explicit visualizing and walking through every detail of the event in my mind. People always tell me that my enthusiasm and passion for this business shines through. I really do love what we do and it shows!

Maya is excited about the promise of IdeaFest and uncertain of what it will mean for her or for the participants...but she knows she'll love seeing the industry faces.

Maya: I am not totally sure what to expect so I'm not really sure what they [participants] should expect but from what I'm hearing from David [Adler, BizBash CEO and Founder] it's all about just letting your creativity flow. Designing without barriers or constraints, which honestly you never get to do with budget constraints and client wants and needs. 

I've been to many BizBash Events but this is my first IdeaFest so I'm just excited to see everything new in our industry. And to be honest it's an opportunity to see tons and tons of faces we know from all over the country in once place. Kind of an industry reunion! 

You can follow Maya on Twitter for more great events industry information at @mayakalman or @swankproduction.

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