The Celebrate Life Series: Episode #7- Sean “Big Daddy” McKee, From The Heart

At a recent industry soiree, I had the opportunity to ask some of the top entertainers and event producers from across the country for some advice that would benefit my clients and anyone else tuning in who was planning a milestone celebration. This is the seventh episode of MMP’s new online video resource, The Celebrate Life series.

These industry rock stars were kind enough to share some advice they’ve given to their clients over the years that helped them have an unforgettable experience filled with exceptional entertainment and hospitality.

The 7th installment of the Celebrate Life series features my good friend, fellow DJ of the Year winner and operations manager at James Daniel Entertainment, Sean “Big Daddy” McKee.  Sean is adored throughout the mobile entertainment community because of his limitless “big daddy loves you” hugs, text messages and positive vibes which are broadcast to the country on a daily basis.

Sean’s clients, like many, want “all of their guests to dance and have a great time.” Via some fun and interactive audience participation techniques after the first course is finished, Sean is able to tastefully encourage an entire guest list to get up from their chairs and over to the dance floor in just a few minutes.   When hiring your master of ceremonies, choose an entertainer who performs from the heart and genuinley loves to serve your family and friends.    That’s a great tip!

You can contact Sean @ (203) 969-2400

Best wishes,

Wedding Pros Go ‘All In’ at EPMEN

I don’t mind being inside when it’s cold and rainy outside.  Especially when some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the wedding industry are sharing techniques to improve what you’re passionate about and philosophies that can help you earn loyalty for life from your clients.  EPMEN 2012 was on.

SCE ‘s Jason Jani, struck a nerve with a lot of the attendees when he said that “75% of the people on this earth aren’t doing what they love everyday… That sucks.”  “Don’t just chase the dollar, chase the dream…  Don’t settle…”  It was clear why artists like Jay Z and Kanye West call on Jani when they are on tour.  His passion for “doing cool things for cool people” is currently unmatched in the mobile entertainment and event production field.  I loved the way his question, “Are you making excuses or are you all in?” came up in conversation and on twitter the rest of the day.  As I said on my Twitter… “I’m all in JJ!”

EPMEN 2012 Inspired by Instagram.... From Top Left- Glenn Roush, Strato Doumanis, Jay Thomson, Vincent Velasquez, Sean McKee, Erik Kent. From Bottom Left- Marcello Pedalino, Jayne Hallock, Mike Walter, Jason Jani

 

Lorenzo Araneo, host of Rockstar Podcast and devout Twitter fan, shared some heart-felt personal stories about why he and his family are loyal to particular brands in his Art of Social Marketing presentation.  After he and a few others in the audience got a little choked up, his points were easily made and accepted.  I really liked how Lorenzo wasn’t shy about sharing his affection and respect for his Italian heritage.  Araneo tells it like it is.

Always a crowd favorite, Elite’s Mike Walter, brought his usual dose of well-prepared wit and wisdom in a seminar called, 10 Things You Can Do To Have A Better Day.  In addition to stressing the importance of waking up early, exercising and eliminating distractions… he earned a tweet-worthy moment with “Health and fitness IS a time management solution.” Amen Michael!  Neen James would be proud.

After a post-EPMEN steak dinner, we did our best Reservoir Dogs impression. Strato Doumanis, Vincent Velasquez, Tony Tee Neto, Marcello Pedalino, Glenn Roush, Jeffrey Scott Gould, Mike Walter, Jason Jani

Many of us got to meet WedLock’s Jayne Hallock for the first time and picked up a few nuggets from her seminar on Blogging.  One in particular was the Yoast SEO Plugin recommendation for Word Press users.  Another was how to use Pinterest as a source for content and inspiration.  Jane also had some heads nodding when she said, “Your website is your business card; your blog is your personality.” And, when you are blogging, “sometimes about 100 words is enough.”     (-maybe next time. )  Hallock and seemingly everyone else in the entire world except me was dialed-in to Instagram too.  (Some of the cool filters that app offers was the inspiration for this entry’s photos).

Up and coming stars of the photography and cinematography world, Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams, offered some great tips for capturing event footage and testimonials with the latest DSLR equipment, software and technology.  Since MMP still uses a video camera from 1997 to record comments from our clients at the end of events, this seminar was extremely informative and timely.  We’ll be taking their advice soon and  upgrading to a DSLR camera with a 50mm 1.4 lens and a manfrotto 561bhdv-monopod.  Rob and Vanessa also shared ways to offer instant gratification to your clients.  This dynamic duo is making quite an impression on the workshop circuit.

If you were interested in Creating an Exceptional Customer Experience before the actual sale, Alan Berg had you covered.   Alan has a remarkable ability to take anything you do or say and within 5 minutes advise you how to do it and say it 10 times better.  On top of that, he knows how to take whatever you are currently doing for your prospects and rethink everything–  from the way you contact them initially to the way you respond to them when they call you back after shopping around.  Mr. Berg has some serious skills.

EPMEN 2012 B.I (Before Instagram) From Top Left- Glenn Roush, Strato Doumanis, Jay Thomson, Vincent Velasquez, Sean McKee, Erik Kent. From Bottom Left- Marcello Pedalino, Jayne Hallock, Mike Walter, Jason Jani

The country’s most lovable Emcee, Sean “Big Daddy” Mckee, took a day out of his ‘8 gigs a week’ schedule to host the festivities.   Show producer, Adam Skuba, deserves major kudos for the caliber of Monday’s line up and the over-all production;  especially considering that this was only his sophomore effort.  Special thanks to Adam, the EPMEN team, and all the sponsors (NJ Wedding, Bride Live, Elegant Bridal, Hurricane Productions, Screaming Lunatic, NJDJN, Sherman Specialty, NAME and ADJA) for their hospitality and support.

See ya next year!

Thank God for Grandmas and Zappos! A Tour of Zappos.com

My group at the Zappos tour. Treat others like royalty, feel like family. I could live with that.

After reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s, The Thank You Economy, I was inspired to read Tony Hsieh’s, Delivering Happiness…  After learning about Tony and how his extraordinary company, Zappos.com, offered friendly tours of the corporate headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, I knew a field trip was on the horizon.

As a result of some logistical good fortune, I was in Vegas last month with a group of dear friends from the special events, entertainment and production industry who also wanted to see this Zappos Culture that we heard and read so much about, in person.    Zappos turned out be the real deal and left our many of our heads spinning with traces of wonderment and unequivocal WOW.

Zappos Culture Book

In the Culture book that each guest receives at the end the tour, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “The amount of happiness you have depends of the amount of freedom you have in your heart.”  To me, this quote encapsulates the Zappos.com mojo that fuels its uncharacteristically happy employees, appreciative customers and ridiculous numbers.  The Zappos team is given the freedom to make their workplace as comfortable as their living room, to be a little weird, to obsess over the customer- in a healthy way, to be inspired- not intimidated by the success of others, and to contribute beyond self through philanthropy and mentorship.  All of these core values, among many others, translate into daily WOW on a scale that was tough for a few of us to wrap our aspirational minds around.

Did you know it was possible to generate 12 million dollars in sales in one day?  Me neither.  Did you know that there’s a company out there that intentionally makes less profit each year so they can make the lives of their employees better instead?  Me neither.    And did you know that you can get paid to train for a job at Zappos and then get paid even more to quit if you don’t gel with the positive culture DNA that their looking for?  I did, because I read the book… but it was still impressive to hear it again nonetheless.

I'm not kidding, most of the employees looked this happy. It was so strange and beautiful at the same time.

I’ve learned a lot about branding over the past few years.  Zappos used to be known as a shoe company. Now, even though they still sell a gazillion shoes, they are known for their exemplary company culture and their laudable level customer service.  How does this happen?  When your employees feel like this… Here’s a Culture book excerpt from Stacy H., a six year Zappos veteran;

“Coming to work at Zappos is like going to visit Grandma’s house as a kid.  You are spoiled, you have fun and get fed.  At Zappos, we get fed so much that I am convinced that I will not lose any serious weight until the day I leave.  It makes me think about the letters people write when they have to leave.  Usually it is due to moving out of state, because, well, why else would you leave Zappos?  The e-mails are sent out to the entire floor to say goodbye to their work-family.  We typically throw a mini-happy hour for the person who is leaving and demand to see them back for visits.

This can't be right.

Our Zappos culture is more than just 10 ideas to live by, or a fun environment, or even happy customersIt’s looking at those around you, those you will never see but hear their voice on the phone, or read their words in an e-mail, as family.  When you can see the world in this caring light, you become a better person and the joy spreads.  The Zappos culture is paying it forward to everyone that comes in contact with us.  Our vendors, our employees, our customers, and even our tours get joy out of the experience that is Zappos.  Thank God for Grandmas and Zappos!”

If you have a trip planned to Vegas and like the idea of going home with more than you came with-  do yourself, your team and your organization a favor and set up a tour.

Special thanks to Jodi Harris and Andy Ebon for setting up a day filled with joyful experiences.

As Tony likes to say, “Live in The WOW!”

 

 

Encore Gallery:

Marco’s Walk-off Communion in the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian

Sean "Big Daddy" MckeeThis year, the Yankees debuted their new stadium to the delight of fans everywhere.  This year, the Venetian debuted their new Palazzo Ballroom to the delight of life-celebrators  everywhere.  So imagine how happy you’d be if you were Marco Siracusa, you’re a huge Yankee fan and you’re having your Communion in the Palazzo!

I Just Wanna Bang On The Drum All DayIt was only a year ago that Marco’s brother Gerry had his Communion at the Venetian, an event that was called a “Grand Slam” by all that attended.  Their parents, Gerlando and Nellie Siracusa, had a tough act to follow.  How do you create another unforgettable experience at the same venue for your other son?

Photo MontageSimple.  First, you start with a budget that would impress George Steinbrenner... then, the Venetian has the grand opening of their jaw-dropping new ballroom just in time for your reception, you add in special guest performances by DJ of the Year 2007, Sean “Big Daddy” Mckee, and professional percussionist, Howie Bongo, you set up Dance Heads, Rock Band Extreme, the Interactive Game Show, Wii Sports and a Yankee- themed Pitch Speed Cage, you make arrangements for a huge candy cart to roll out after the flaming dessert presentation, and you call us back to produce the event again. Like a 6-4-3 double play with Jeter at short stop, the team effort made it look easy.

CandylandThe highlights included Marco, Gerry, Uncle Joe and the Godfather, Joey D. doing a percussive jam session on the drums, Marco & Gerry performing a family favorite, the Burger Dance, and the custom photo montage that Gerlando put together. Setting up the projection screen in addition to the plasmas and utilizing the dance platforms as chairs for the kids made for an enjoyable theater-like experience.

Dance HeadsMarco’ s family is a lot like mine and many others who we have the honor to celebrate with,  they could have a great time with an old boom-box in the living room. However, when you combine an awesome crowd, with a first-class venue and exceptional entertainment, it’s like getting the call to move up from a t-ball  league to the majors.

Special thanks to Jeff & Jason for their collaborative-interactive efforts and as always to Dave, Jimmy, Adriatik and Carlos from the Veneitian for their hospitality and professionalism.

Encore Gallery:

Candy CartRock Band ExtremeHarry BongoYankee Pitch Cage

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