It’s a rare opportunity to glimpse into the complicated (and often manic world) of whom is challenged with the immense task of putting together a major event. Akin to how a child feels peeking at unwrapped presents in her parent’s closet a week before Christmas, Lauren Bermudez, Head of Field and Community Marketing, has given us the golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s Factory and shown a bit of what happens behind the scenes as 1E prepares for Microsoft Ignite.
Question (Q): What is the most difficult aspect of planning a huge event like Microsoft Ignite?
Lauren Bermudez (LB): I would say the most difficult thing is bringing everything together. It’s not just the months of prep work, long hours on site or managing a large team of technical/sales people, it’s all those things. It’s making sure everything goes off without a hitch, triaging any complications that come up on site, and most importantly, creating a splash at the event that really highlights our solutions but also the spirit of 1E.
(Q): How far in advance do you plan the 1E activities for Ignite?
(LB): Months in advance. Planning for Ignite 2017 began in the first week of June. This is one of our biggest shows of the year and we started as early as possible.
(Q): Besides the party, what other important initiatives are you responsible for?
(LB): The entirety of the event from the contract to prep, execution and follow up. My team and I work closely and cross-functionally with other departments on specific items but ultimately, we are responsible for making the event happen and making sure it’s a success.
(Q): How many paper airplanes did you have to fold?
(LB): With the help of Victoria Kalvert, we folded 400 airplanes for our 1E Ignite Party.
(Q): What three things do you think are the most important to accomplish while on site?
(LB): 1. Get to sessions! 2. Come down to the expo hall. 3. Network – find peers struggling with some of the same issues, meet that MVP you have been wanting to introduce yourself to all year!
(Q): How many times have you attended Ignite?
(LB): I have attended every Ignite since they started doing the conference in Chicago in 2015.
(Q): What are you most excited about this year?
(LB): I’d have to say our 1E Party on Tuesday night. I think attendees are going to really like the venue and the fun activities we have planned. Every year we try to challenge ourselves to do something different and unique. Needless to say, I think a party in an airplane hangar is definitely something unexpected!
(Q): What do you think is different about Ignite than other conferences you’ve been a part of?
(LB): It’s huge! It’s one of the biggest conferences that we sponsor. It great to see so many different people at the booth each day.
(Q): Why should people in the industry attend?
(LB): Some of the best speakers in the industry come to Ignite. It’s a great opportunity to attend educational sessions, network with your peers and ask questions of some of the most renowned experts in the business.
(Q): Besides the sessions, what should people do while they’re on site?
(LB): I would be a little shameless here and say, stop by the 1E Booth #1135! We will be showcasing our latest technology at our demo stations, we had a ton of experts available on site for Q&A and a lot of nice swag! Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram as we will have a ton of great surprises and you might just find the clues to win a 1E Golden Ticket!
Don’t forget to check out the sessions by Shaun Cassells: BRK1063, Eric Berg: BRK3366, Eric Berg and Alex Benoit: POD2001, Peter Daalmans and Niall Brady: BRK3010, Mike ‘DeploymentBunny’ Nystrom and Johan Arwidmark: THR3081, THR3081R2, THR3081R, BRK3044, and Michael Niehaus, Johan Arwidmark, and Mike “DeploymentBunny” Nystrom: PRE13.