Fun, Style and Glamour: Colin Cowie Inspires The Special Event Glitterati at Biz Bash 2011

Colin Cowie delivers an impressive keynote and delights the masses at Biz Bash 2011

I’ve seen his impressive work on T.V and in magazines.  I’ve heard Oprah Winfrey sing his praises.  Now, thanks to the Biz Bash team, I’ve had the opportunity to catch Colin Cowie’s latest keynote presentation at this year’s expo in Manhattan.  One word…  WOW!

Not only is his portfolio uber-spectacular, he’s got the whole James Bond accent and personality-thing goin’ for him too.  This is especially notable when Cowie describes all of his favorite things with the textbook pronunciation of things like “Du Jour.”  For my fellow fashionistas out there, you’ll be happy to know that he dresses the part as well.  Like my friend, Michael Cerbelli, he represents the total package.

Whether or not you share my man-crush, there’s no denying the quality of the content and wisdom that Colin shared with the packed house.   These were a few of his tweetable moments…

Gi Gi plays along with Usher on electric violin. A sensual and elegant JDM (Jaw Dropping Moment)

“Fun, Style and Glamour rule my life.”

“If there is anybody who fuels the party, other than the DJ, it’s the mixologist.  “

“Bring value back through customer service.”

“Deliver Proactive service vs. Reactive service.   Always be thinking what they could be thinking.”

“Nothing happens without great teamwork and communication.”

Set one another up for success.

“Passion is the fuel that helps us stand out from everybody else.”

Colin has launched a new empire called Colin Cowie Weddings.  If you are in the special events industry, you probably want to keep it on your radar, twitter feed and speed dial.


Maneesh Goyal & Robin Hall present the Big Idea Workshop to kick off the expo's educational programming

Rewinding to the first seminar of the day… Maneesh Goyal, President and Founder of MKG and Robin Hall, Vice President of Macy’s Parade kicked things off with “The Big Idea Workshop.”  They focused on brand building via ideation, propagation, amplification and ‘finessing the message’ once it’s out of your hands.  Maneesh, who was noticeably articulate and polished in his delivery, mentioned how he’ll sometimes just simply hop on youtube for inspiration.  If you heard some of his ideas, like a philanthropic take on My Super Sweet 16 or his Times Square Fashion Show, you went home after the expo and put “watch more youtube” on your daily to-do list.  Maneesh, like my friend, Jason Jani from SCE Event Group, stressed the importance of event capture so your brand can “live beyond” the actual event.

An incredible display of strength, balance and Wow from Traces opened the main stage

Robin Hall, who offered a healthy dose of laughter throughout his conversational contributions, gave our group of early risers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the world famous Macy’s Day Parade. Just the weather-related logistics, police and sanitation management, city permits, and dealing with the Mayor’s special event committee alone would be enough to scare away most producers… But the fact that Hall doesn’t really have to work with a budget while producing this event (which is pretty much unheard of), he keeps coming back to put together a magical day for the world to enjoy.

You’d think that Macy’s would be the gig that he enjoys the most or finds the most rewarding.  When in fact, Hall told us an endearing anecdote regarding a 100 year-old pipe organ from Philadelphia that he says is the “most gratifying” and “culturally significant” project he’s involved with.  Check out the Knight Foundation or Random Acts of Culture and you’ll know why.

A few tweetable moments from Maneesh and Robin…

“Newness is a requirement.”

Hall of Fame inductee- Cathi Culbertson from Forbes Media, with Biz Bash Editor in Chief- Chad Kaydo & Event Planner Extraordinaire, Marcy Blum

“You have to be in touch with what’s next in technology.”

“Be authentic, be humble, produce results and make it happen.”

Marcy Blum was definitely my favorite femme-power presenter of the day.  Her wit and wisdom shined through in the next seminar which highlighted the 10 Essential Characteristics of the Successful Hybrid Planner.  They included a proficiency in Sales, Customer Service, Concept Development, Scheduling, Staffing, Training, Marketing, Entertainment, Protocol, & Technical  Experience. Blum’s subject matter is what MMP’s success is based on… The versatility and diversification to produce and provide the entertainment for both social and corporate events.

A cool way to let your guests know that the reception has begun from Bongar Biz

Blum shared how her hybrid resume enables her to cater to a bride, bat mitzvah mother and corporate CEO all in the same week.  Although each client demands a specific skill set, many of the paramount variables cross over.  Things like, “thinking things through from beginning to end,” knowing how to design an effective “run of show,” and the importance of investing in your own team.  “They are your ambassadors.”

Marcy also mentioned a cool color detection app called LUPE.  Kinda-like Shazam, which is when you hold up your phone when a song is playing to get the name and artist… LUPE gives you the ability to record and identify a color that inspires you.  (Marcy shared how she saw an orange on a passing F-Train that she thought had some potential for a future event).

As a fellow ‘run of show’ creator and production time-line producer, I love the clause that Blum puts on her event agendas…  “This is just an approximate time line, this event will take on a life of its own and we’ll deal with it.”  Love it!

Book and Viewing Recommendations from Marcy…

-The Mind Map Book– by Barry Buzan

-The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence- by Thomas Peters

Scott Heifferman from encourages the audience to get "social." Literally.

-Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions– by Guy Kawasaki

The Thank You Economy– by Gary Vee (featured here on the MMP Blog earlier this year)

The T.E.D Conference: Ideas Worth Spreading-  (plenty of quality clips are available on youtube)

Rockin’ skinny jeans, kicks and a hoodie, Scott Heifferman, from, began his presentation by doing something very unique.  He actually got everyone to stand up, put their iPads and smartphones down, and talk to each for 2 minutes.  It was pretty funny.  Some people enjoyed the stretch, some people enjoyed the impromptu conversation, and some people actually froze up when they remembered the harsh reality that you can’t hide behind your screen forever… you need to be “social” to succeed in life.  And not just in the ‘media’ sense of the terminology.

Give your guests something to talk about during the cocktail reception. A stunning beauty from Bongar

Scott’s site connects a gazillion people interested in the same thing.  Everybody from the Occupy Wall Street folks, to new moms, to anyone looking to stir up some community vibes.  He showed us a live feed of people posting and it looked like the national debt clock in New York City.  The posts just kept coming and coming and the number of users kept rising and rising.  You could really feel the energy of all that potential power whizzing by.

Tweetable moments from Heifferman…

“There’s something about face-to-face that’s really powerful.”

“In the 20th century, we over-industrialized and de-personalized.  In the 21st century, people are turning to each other.”

“The days of 1 guy talking to a bunch of people the whole time are over.  People are hungry.  They want to talk to each other. Think circles instead of rows.”

The Iceman cometh. Make your bar cooler than cool. Incredible detail from Mr. Ceido at Ice Sculpture Designs.

The expo floor was once again chock-full of display booths featuring some intriguing concepts and trends to share with your clients.  Some of my favorites are featured below in the encore gallery.  *Since MMP  has  such a dog-loving clientele, I want to give special mention to a handsome Yorkie, Schmitty the Weather Dog, who I met and fell in love with.   He has an upcoming fashion show at the New Yorker Hotel on February 10, 2012 to benefit the Angel On A Leash Foundation. 

It was great to reconnect with colleagues and ‘meet up’ with some new potential co-collaborators.   It was a pleasure seeing Cathi Culbertson from Forbes, Chenoa Johnson from The Patron Spirits Company, Tina Volz Bongar from Bongar Biz, Tammy Polatsek from Carmona New York & Co., Marc Posnock from Pink Inc. Design, Annette Naif from Annette Naif Events, Dyann Klein, Louis Sanders and Harian Silverstein from PropsnSpoon, Anabel Felix & Amanda Uhlein from Grosh, Alice Conway from Stratford University, Christina Berrios from Event Details, Inc., Alexandra Garvey from NYU, Dominic Francia, William Adams and Daniel McGurk from Classic Sportswear, Ivan Cordero from Heartland Brewery, Nick Saava from Dazian, Rob Necegra and Dennis Finnegan from Nice UplightsMaher Salem, Salaheddine Benyoussef, Yousesef Alaoui & Zineb Atouani from Moroccan Prestige, Kerri Galaton and Kellie Brielmair from The National Constitution Center, Richard Liebert and Craig Alexander from Atlantis, Caryn Oberstein from Wizard Studios,

Meteorologist Ron Trotta with Schmitty The Weather Dog & Marcello Pedalino

Mr. Ceido from Ice Sculpture Designs, Jigs from The London Candy Group, Alexis Ufland from Sparty, and finally, my study buddy for the day, Zi-Yun Ding a former opera singer Taiwan here studying event management here at NYU.

Special thanks to Richard Aaron, President of Biz Bash Media, and David Adler, Founder and CEO of Biz Bash Media, for their hospitality.  They provided me with press access and accommodations in one of the Javitz Center’s green rooms.    The whole day the V.I.P’s were talking about how important it is to make sure your guests are comfortable and happy… kudos to the Biz Bash team for doing just that.  See you next year,




Encore Gallery:

Related Posts with Thumbnails


10 Responses to “Fun, Style and Glamour: Colin Cowie Inspires The Special Event Glitterati at Biz Bash 2011”
  1. Mom - Tracy Gerney says:

    Your photos and text reviewed a very exciting and complex event.
    Am looking forward to coming back and exploring more of the references as well.
    Today’s treat was the 11/1/10 Philadelphia concert at Macy’s (Wanamaker Pipe Organ.)
    Quite a thrill experiencing it again this morning.
    Congrats on a piece very well done!
    Love, mom

  2. Annette Naif says:

    Thank you Marcello.

    That was very sweet of you!


  3. Hi Marcello,

    Thank you for the mention, we appreciate it!

    Please feel free to reach out to me if you need anything in the future.


    Dennis Finnegan

  4. Hi Marcello!

    Thank you for your great coverage at BizBash, as always.

    You’re the best,


  5. Dyann Klein says:

    Just a note to say how nice it was to meet you and thanks for the mention in your blog!!


  6. Marcello — it was great to meet you as well!!! great read on the expo recap — you really recapped it all! and thanks for the feature – the pic came out so cool. I will add the pic to my FB biz page and will include a photo credit to you. can I tag you on there – send me your FB page info to tag 🙂

    Talk to you soon! and looking forward to a future collaboration as well!

    Event Details, Inc.

  7. Marc Posnock says:

    Thanks so much, Marcello.

    Your enthusiasm and support is much appreciated.

    I will look forward to working with you sometime.

    > Marc

  8. Great recap! Thanks for the tag.

  9. Ding Zi Yun says:

    Hi Marcello!

    What a great article and pictures!!! It really brought back my wonderful time at the Expo last month
    and reminded me of all the important lessons from the industry speakers.

    There are many things we all know but sometimes forget to put into action.

    Thank you for your article and sharing! It was my honor to be your study buddy 🙂 you gave me so many great notes!! haha! I really learned a lot!

    Hope everything is going well to you and to see you on many events!! Can’t wait… 🙂

    Best Wishes,


  10. Alexandra Garvey says:

    Hi Marcello,

    My pleasure meeting you!!

    Fantastic recap of BizBash….thank you for the mention.

    I also look forward to a future collaboration.



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