Listen to the full podcast episode HERE
What’s the most innovative thing you’ve seen done either at your event or an event you’ve attended?
This is something new and different: there’s this new digital name tag where you can wear your name tag and it has your name and maybe your title, but you can also send messages through it. I haven’t done it myself but I read about it and someone else told me about it. I think it’s really fun to do something different, name tags are so boring. If you can connect with someone through their name tag it might give someone a little bit of information about you that the other person didn’t know. I think it’s a really fun way of getting people to interact at events.
What do you see to be the biggest business advantage to doing or attending events?
For the Smithsonian it’s definitely the exposure. We are always looking for people to come to us and be part of the Smithsonian, either as a member or as a volunteer or as a philanthropist. We’re two thirds federal and one third trust, so we are always looking for exposure so that people who love the Smithsonian can find a way to be a part of it, and events do that for us all the time.
What’s the best use of technology that you’ve used at events or seen at another event?
Smithsonian has recently started using Social Tables, and it has changed our lives in so many ways. The diagramming is great, the checking system on the ipads is great, knowing how many people have come into the building, or the venue, and rearranging the seating – we did “pinks and blues” FOREVER. And I think everyone knows what the “pinks and blues” are, the post-its/sticky notes blue and pink, rearranging them. So Social Tables has been fabulous for us, so efficient, and the guests love it.
GUEST: Karen Keller
Karen Keller is the director of the Office of Special Events and Protocol at the Smithsonian Institution. She is responsible for planning, programming and managing the Institution’s major special events, including museum and exhibition openings, fundraising galas, dignitary and head-of-state visits, board meetings, conferences and symposia. In this role she also supports the Secretary of the Smithsonian and the Institution’s Board of Regents at events. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Ms. Keller served as special assistant and personal secretary to President George W. Bush. In that role she helped direct Oval Office Operations for the White House. Other positions she has held include: director of administration for the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee and special assistant to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Prior to her work at the White House, she spent 10 years at Burson-Marsteller Public Relations where she planned and produced events and supported C-suite executives.