Sipping a margarita and looking down at my sparkly sack of balls, I thought to myself “Niiine times…” (my fellow Ferris Bueller fans read that correctly). It’s hard to believe that just four years ago I was an Engage! virgin dressed up in a Gatsby themed flapper dress at the Biltmore…luckily I already had the haircut. I full on drank the Kool-Aid and have since been honored to lead break out sessions, moderate editor panels and host dine around tables. #BecauseOfEngage is a real thing and after nine times, being at Nizuc felt like a big happy family reunion full of hugs, high fives and jazz hands.
What I love most about attending Engage! is you always walk away with something new. New friends, new insights…new beach bags! This time around, in pursuit of enlightenment, I came in challenging myself to live in the present during the sessions; no more playing courtroom stenographer with my extensive notes or social media archivist snapping photos. This year I was going to stop, look, and listen up. I simply scripted a handful of key points and main takeaways that stuck with me, because less truly is more. Now as I sit back in freezing cold NYC reading over my notes and with a holiday martini in hand I’m starting to see the stars align. It’s time to go back to basics…with your inspirations, your business and your brand.
Taught Us (and our brands) to
Be Unapologetically Ourselves
1. CARLEY RONEY: EXPRESS YOUR BRAND PROMISE
Who else spun in circles wearing a Wonder Woman bathing suit as a child? *Raises Hand* Her fearless determination and compassionate spirit were inspirational to many including Carley who wove those qualities into The Knot brand. Editor’s Edge is all about expressing your brand…such as interpreting “Celestial” into “Darth Vader Chic” for an out of this world gala.
2. BRYAN RAFANELLI: TALK ABOUT THE WORK YOU WANT TO GET
“What you (visually) put out there is what you’ll get back” is an Editor’s Edge mantra with our clients. Bryan took it one step further emphasizing to not only show but literally tell former clients (aka connectors) about the work you want to get. Agreed “putting things out into the universe” isn’t a new concept, but when its reinstated by someone as dashing as Mr. Rafanelli…you take note.
3. LINDSAY LANDMAN: SIT IN THE FRONT ROW
Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I’m guessing you wouldn’t find him in a SoulCycle class but the concept still holds true. When you sit in the front (as intimidating as that can be) you’re forced to look forward and only at yourself. Forget about everything and everyone riding in the race around you because you earned your seat.
4. BRIAN WORLEY: JUST KEEP WALKING
People come in and out of our lives for different reasons; sometimes it takes 500 miles of walking to see how they’ve shaped our story. We learn to appreciate the journey and not just the destination, which could wind up being a pile of scaffolding. I think Clark Griswald ("Sorry folks park's closed") would agree.
5. ANGELA DESVEAUX: INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE
There’s so much happening within our incredible wedding industry that sometimes we forget to look around. We’re reminded to stop and smell the roses, which are sometimes made of paper or frozen in a block of ice, when we’re looking for #EEeyecandy to inspire new work. Also, don’t piss off the ladies from Rodarte because they. Will. Find. You.
6. LYNN EASTON: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
When it comes to high-touch experience, Easton Events takes the branded ice cube. Why is that? Because you can look like an angel but you better be a devil with the details if you want to play in the big leagues. Remember, every touch point is an opportunity to impress. Life goals: Attend an Easton Events wedding.
7. BARBARA CORCORAN: EXPANDERS & CONTAINERS
Every creative person (aka Expander) needs a logical person (aka Container). It’s really about acknowledging your weaknesses and finding people whose strengths balance you out. That’s exactly why I hired an office manager (You are the wind beneath my wings, Erika!), so I could finally work ON my business, not just IN my business.
8. CINDY NOVOTNY: HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS BUT SO IS NEGATIVITY
No one wants to work with Negative Nancy, so stop being a Debbie Downer. Instead, be a champion for yourself and your team’s efforts. Change is unavoidable so embrace it and use it as motivation to hustle up more business. If you’re lucky, she might even send you a personalized bobble head with her token phrases to get you going (Cindy, I’m emailing you my address now). It’ll reach deeper than the pills can.
9. JES GORDON: BITCH, YOU GOT THIS.
Ever worked on a project that was so clearly a bird-flipping disaster, the budget was dwindling and then your phone goes dark the morning of your install? Jes Gordon has a mother-effing story about that. The solution? “Pick up your t*ts”, go back to basics and f*cking crush it. To quote Jes, “I don’t need to keep up with the times they need to be keeping up with me.” F*ck yeah 🙌🏻
Be true to yourself, your brand and the
FORCE WILL BE WITH YOU!