2018  Conference Speakers


JANUARY 21 - 23, 2018

Derek Paton; VP of Sales & Marketing, RBC Heritage Classic

Building Sponsorships Through Your Brand
Tuesday, January 23  |  9:30 am

Sponsorships and sales in the event and festival industry can sometimes be a tough nut
to crack. Providing the right benefits to match the unique needs of corporate partners
isn’t so cut and dry anymore. Paton brings insights from the corporate and event worlds
together in this engaging session to provide planners with ideas to create and expand
their own sponsorship success.

Neville Bhada; Tourism Skills Group

Ten Effective Measures for a Successful Communications Strategy
Monday, January 22  |  12:30 pm

Make the most of your voice and message in today’s increasingly crowded marketplace. 
Review tools currently at your disposal and discover some new ones. Understand how to
identify and leverage your unique brand while ensuring consistency across multiple
platforms. Are you wasting resources by using digital communications ineffectively? Are
you leveraging the effectiveness of free or low-cost tools? Are you skipping opportunities
out of fear they won’t be effective? Get answers and learn to do more with less.

Jeff Gerber; Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival

Enhancing the Event Experience
Monday, January 22  |  12:30 pm

It’s time to step back and remember that the event experience leaves a lasting impression
on attendees. Jeff will guide you through a visionary approach to looking at your event
and accessing how to create the most memorable experience utilizing the resources
already at your disposal.



Ellesor Holder; Gray Marketing & PR

Building Your Brand – What Works & What Bombs
Monday, January 22  |  2:40 pm

This engaging session provides you with tools and knowledge to implement a marketing
strategy to connect with your customers and instill loyalty.  Holder will share proven
tactics that build brand awareness with laser focused targeting and creative strategies,
allowing you to reach your event audience and stay true to your name and influence.

Apps for Success in 2018
Tuesday, January 23  |  11:25 am

You’ll be introduced to the best web tools and apps to make your work, marketing,
email, communications, social media, time management and daily lives less stressful
and more productive - all from your smartphones, tablets and computers. You will learn
which tools work best and how to integrate them into your daily life.  Attendees will
walk away with information you can incorporate right away and start using immediately.
Holder provides lots of ideas and helpful info that attendees can implement easily and without extra work. You will walk away saying, “WOW!”

Angie Prosser; City of Greenville

Festival & Event Security
Monday, January 22  |  9:30 am

Community festivals and events are celebrations that bring together hundreds, often
thousands, of people. But like the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the Boston Marathon,
and most recently the Route 91 Harvest music festival, events can often be a target of
violence, and major security threats. As professionals in the festivals and events industry,
it is essential that organizers adopt a proactive approach to managing risk, and better
prepare for what could happen. Learn from one of the state’s most experienced event
planners with practical tool take aways and techniques to develop and implement a safe and secure event.

Cely Johnson, Craft Market Director; Beaufort Water Festival    

Building Better Vendor Relationships
Monday, January 22  |  2:40 pm

Vendors for all festivals, whether food and beverage, craft, merchandise or others, are
essentially the face of your event. Building and enhancing those relationships adds
tremendous value to you and your attendees. Learn how the Beaufort Water Festival
continues to nurture these relationships with vendors.

Beppie LeGrand, Main Street South Carolina
Enhancing Community Involvement & Volunteer Participation

Tuesday, January 23  |  11:25 am

The power of community buy-ins is critical for a festival or event. The Main Street approach
works because it is comprehensive and based on simple, straight-forward, common sense
principals. How you can take Main Street principals and garner the support of your local
communities will be the focus of this session.  You'll learn what you can do to leverage
community resources and recruit citizens to create a powerful volunteer base that
promotes the vitality of your events all year long.

Round Table Topics

These moderated discussions provide you an opportunity to engage your peers on topics not covered in the traditional session setting.  Attendees are encourage to share ideas and experiences relevant to the topic.  The 2018 conference agenda has three round table sessions.  Some topics will be repeated.

Working with your Board     |     Social Media Marketing     |     Vendor Applications     |     Alcohol Permitting & Serving

Staying Relevant     |     Volunteer Management     |     Current Political Environment & Your Event    

Fireworks     |     Amusement Safety     |     Entertainment Booking     |     Facebook Advertising & Marketing

Working with Sponsors     |     Kid & Family Zones     |     Understanding Event Contracts

Round table facilitators include:

Neville Bhada, Tourism Skills Group
Ellesor Holder, Gray Marketing
Mary Watts, SC Living Magazine
Melissa Bernhards, Charleston Co. Park & Recreation Commission
Darron Kirkley, Pageland Watermelon Festival
Hubert Bullard, World Famous Blue Crab Festival
Adele Alducin, Delly Productions


All sessions and speakers, dates and times are subject to change.