announcements

Maria Keenan

What to Bring to a Conference (Or, what I forgot to pack. Twice.)

At the time of writing, I've been to two conferences in seven days.

Therein I've had the pleasure of acting as both one of the hosts and one of the attendees but, in the past, I've also been privy to the speaker lifestyle.

While I know that spending 10% of my week on a plane is pittance compared to the time some business people have to commit, I've learned that there are some creature comforts that go a long way when you're living out of a suitcase for work. 

With that in mind, I wanted to chronicle what I remembered to pack for conferences and what I didn't in a bid to give you some idea of what to pack for a conference, regardless of your role there:

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Annie Lowney

Hiring a Speaker 101: How I Curated the Admission Line-Up

When Maria approached me about writing a post on how I secured the speakers for Admission I looked at her blanky, “There’s no way I can get 500 words out of that.”

I thought, how can I write about something that feels very instinctive? We chatted about angles some more, which resulted in this piece. I hope that you get something from it. Feel free to reach out to me if you want me to expand on anything to do with hiring a speaker, or other event management advice.  

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Maria Keenan

Homeless Fundraisers: Why Painting Over the Problem Doesn't Work

Space is the most lucrative commodity in Dublin. 

For those of you who are not familiar with property in Ireland's capital, here are some statistics: 

  • There are approximately 9,846 homeless people in Ireland (June, 2018
  • There are 1,367 families with 2,894 children in homeless accommodation in Dublin alone. (July, 2018)
  • Four families became homeless every day in July of this year. 

But, as the situation worsens, there's yet another culprit set to ruin people's lives, and cause scenes of hair-pulling in council offices: allegedly, it's street art.

SUBSET are a collective of artists who've come to notoriety for large-scale murals and political art pieces throughout the city. 

Whatever your opinions on the sanctity of planning permission legislation (more on that later), the collective are due to host an exhibition called Grey Area at the end of this month. The event will be the latest in a series of homeless fundraisers by SUBSET who will be donating all proceeds to Inner City Helping Homeless - a fully volunteer-staffed charity that works with displaced individuals in Dublin.

I caught up with the individuals behind the project to talk about art, its absence, and the human condition.

When asked why the artists started SUBSET, they simply responded “to switch stuff up.”

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Maria Keenan

I Spoke With a Zero Waste Contributor to See How She Would Run a Conference

Béa Johnson is one of the most famous faces in the zero waste community. 

She's come to public attention over the past few years because of a jar. In that jar, she can put the entirety of her family's waste for an entire year, which she then chronicles on her website between posts about how she manages to keep their rubbish to a bare minimum.

A little while ago, I caught up with Béa over the phone to discuss her lifestyle, and how her methods could be applied by eco-conscious event organisers, something she has familiarity with, having presented at many events herself in the past. 

Here's what she had to say:

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Annie Lowney

Why Admission Downsized (And Why It Was a Good Thing)

Over the past five years or so it’s felt like everything has to be quantifiable to live. If the numbers don’t make sense, then you kill it. If you can’t prove your ROI, then why do you exist?

People whose motives are dictated by numbers and measurements are made uncomfortable by events. Events are expensive. You have to front load a lot of costs (the venue deposit is one example) before you even know whether your event will sell out. Basically, there’s a lot of risk. 

Admission started off with the goal of being a 200 person conference and, when ticket sales didn’t go the way we would’ve liked, we reduced it to 100. Then, when the sales were stubbornly erratic, we changed tack again. We downsized the venue and took the deposit hit.

In hindsight, it was always going to be a big ask to jump to a 200 person conference with our first marketing foray into the US market. In a lot of ways we went against our own ethos which is carefully considered growth. We were aiming for an explosion, and it didn’t work. Which is a good thing, as it allowed us to remember who we are and the brand direction that we want to go in.

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Maria Keenan

Events for Women (That We'd Actually Enjoy Going to) | Oct/Nov '18

It can be hard (and potentially ill-advised) to steer clear of all the bad news for women that's out there. Furthermore, it can make it overwhelming to put yourself out there.

While there are of course numerous events and conferences available to us where we can feel comfortable, safe, included, and appreciated, sometimes it's nice to spend time just networking, learning and celebrating with people who identify as women, and who have an understanding of the unique effects our gender identity has on our everyday lives. 

As such, here are some hand-picked events for women coming up in the last few months of 2018 that are there to connect us:

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Maria Keenan

Admission 2018: Some Key Quotes from Our Speakers and a Thank You

In September, we hosted our inaugural conference, Admission, in Chicago.

We wanted to bring together event organisers in the hope of sparking conversations through shared experiences. Having worked with organisers for some time now, we saw an opportunity to provide them with a platform to meet in person. With the packed schedules organisers often have, it can be challenging to make time to connect with industry peers. 

For those of you who couldn't join us, Admission was an intimate event featuring seven speakers who shared their triumphs and challenges from several collected decades in events. 

In the near future, we'll be sharing their presentations and some additional reflections and thank yous from an event that we were very proud of. 

But, in the mean time, to share a smidgen of what we got from the experience, here are choice quotes from our esteemed line-up:

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Maria Keenan

Event Management Advice from the Woman Leading Patreon's Events

Jane Kwett is the senior event marketing manager for Patreon. You might recognise her name from our post detailing why we've decided to host a conference.

Not only has she been an inspiration to us, she's touched the careers of many hundreds of event goers over the last 10+ years she's spent in events. 

The Patreon community is one of most inventive around, featuring artists and creators from all walks of life who build fan membership via the Patreon platform. Through ongoing funding, they are able to spend more time engaging their fan-base in an interactive way and continue to populate the internet with beautiful things that millions of people enjoy. Jane has the thrilling job of bringing the community to life by producing PatreCon and other live experiences. 

She'll be sharing stories of those experiences in Chicago at Admission, but first we wanted to catch up with her about her career, its highlights and what the creative community she's involved with means to her. 

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Maria Keenan

Creating an Inclusive Tech Scene | 5 Questions with Kim Crayton

Kim Crayton is a personal inspiration of mine.

She enables businesses to strategise towards growth by embracing inclusion in a meaningful manner that avoids pandering or buzzwords. Instead, she #causesascene, but more on that later.

Kim defines herself as the CEO (that is, Chief Encouragement Officer) for the marginalised in tech. Her work includes hosting events under the #causeascene banner, business consulting, and, most recently, joining us to speak at Admission.

I asked her a few questions to get a better understanding of why she does what she does, and what lies in the future for creating a more inclusive tech space:

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