Richard Bliss, Kent Erickson, Ron Hovsepian, Marc St-Arnaud
You can read Richard's regular blog at http://gwbliss.blogspot.com
This week was GWAVACon 2008 in San Diego. It was the 9th GWAVACon worldwide that GWAVA has presented and the 4th here in the United States.
When putting on an event of this size everyone works extremely hard. The GWAVA Marketing team went without sleep for several themselves making sure that everything went as smooth as possible. In recognition, I want to publicly thank them and recognize their efforts.
Thank you to:
When you have a team this size everyone contributes. There were a lot of moving parts for this event and I pushed the team hard over the weeks leading up to GWAVACon and the four days of the event itself. Here is a overview of who the team is and what they do for GWAVA Marketing:
Christina Bliss - She is the Director of marketing and handles all aspects of the event. Every detail, every action, every task, comes under her review and responsibility. The entire team, including myself, report to her during GWAVACon for our guidance and direction. She works harder than all the rest of us combined and has an amazing capacity to know every single detail of the event. And I mean every single detail. How many portions of dessert, what time the first meeting starts, how many hotel rooms are sold, what is the status of the shipment of items from the distributor for the giveaway. The list goes on and on. This event is hers entirely.
Greg Johnson - Greg was flown in from Utah. He handles the primary logistics of the event concerning Audio Visual, Power, Internet, Vendor booths, Novell needs, anything and all things concerning the technical aspects of putting on the event. He arrived early, rarely slept, and continued to adjust to the changing needs of the conference. He handled all session schedules, printing, speaker preparation, and vendor support.
Lauren Day - Lauren handled registration lists, housing, travel, and the many details of billing. She worked the spreadsheets, determining for Christina the number of attendees each day, even to the detail of each hour. Helping with the planning for meals as well as traffic flow for session changes.
Christian Heselhaus - Christian was flown in from Germany to both assist and learn. Christian traditionally handles all things marketing in Europe and was responsible for being the point person for GWAVACon Berlin. Here in San Diego he was able to help Greg, Lauren, and Christina as another resource for all the demands that are put on the team in the course of the event. He was able to analyze the execution of the San Diego event and take back his experience to Germany to ensure GWAVACon Berlin is a success as well.
James Hopkins - James was flown in from Utah and was double-booked as both a Support person from GWAVA’s vaunted support organization, as well as a member of the GWAVA TV crew. James has a technical background in support but a passion for photography and video. You can always teach skills like photography and videography but you can’t teach passion. James’ passion made him a perfect resource to handle a wide range of tasks for the successful launch of GWAVA TV. This included filming and capturing photos from the event.
Linda Marshall - Linda flew in from Montreal and is the creator of the GWAVA bug as well as the graphic designer behind the GWAVA look and brand. Working closely with Christina, Linda and Christina have built GWAVA into the most recognizable brand in the GroupWise space as well as a distinct brand around the world. At GWAVACon, Linda was on-hand to provide design support for last minute changes and updates, to contribute to success of the registration process and to interact with the rest of the team.
Cammon Randle - Cammon flew in from Utah. Cammon is the production manager for GWAVA TV. He oversees all of the video content, video and audio technology and runs the team to produce GWAVA TV content. With GWAVA TV this year, a new layer of complexity was added to the overall GWAVACon event. GWAVA TV required the involvement of cameras, sound, computer graphics, Internet broadcasting, interviewing, scheduling and production.
Lorri Randle - Lorri flew in from Utah. Lorri provides expertise on the New Media side of GWAVA TV and GWAVACon. She set up and monitored Twitter accounts. Works the online blogs and podcasts. She drives the adoption of the new Web 2.0 technologies by GWAVA to continue to provide new and innovative ways of delivering the content of GWAVACon.
Dave Olson - Dave is local to San Diego, based in La Jolla. Dave is the primary videographer, providing technical expertise on film, camera work, lighting and sound. He handles some of the technical presentation as well as creation of online video material for GWAVA and GWAVACon.
Maggie Bliss - Maggie flew in from Utah. Maggie operates in an internship capacity but has the technical skill on filming, audio, lighting, as well as extensive computer editing skills with Final Cut Pro on the Mac.
John Chilson - John flew in from Oregon. John handles all aspects of the PR side of GWAVA, GWAVACon and GWAVA TV. John oversaw all interviewing for GWAVA TV as well as collaborating with Lorri on New Media outlets. He handled all press releases leading up to the event as well as post-GWAVACon releases. He also handles all traditional media, newspapers, magazines, and television.
The GWAVA Marketing team looks large, and it is for a company of our relative size, but the team is also virtual. Many of the team members met for the first time at GWAVACon, having only exchanged emails, phone calls, and skype messages before meeting in person. Now that GWAVACon is over, the team disperses and each person begins working on their own set of tasks that may include the entire team, but most often will only include one or two members.
Working as a virtual team is hard. Only meeting people once or twice a year in person and then working with them through phone calls, emails, or skype messages makes it hard to coordinate. It has taken GWAVA five years to reach a point where the entire team is comfortable in their roles and can operate as a team, spread out across the globe.
Also, most of the team are not “employees” but virtual members who contract out their services. This aspect of the team adds an additional level of complexity that takes a lot of time to make work.
JITTS - Just in Time Teams
The GWAVA Marketing department is what I call a JITT. A Just in Time Team. We work with each other on a continual basis but only come together when needed for a specific task or project. This includes a major event like GWAVACon or BrainShare, but it also includes doing a small video, or a product document, a web page, the launch of a new product, or any of the many tasks associated with a marketing team.
The GWAVA Team has worked hard over the years to overcome the friction that occurs from not working closely together on a daily basis. Trust and mutual respect are built up over time to enable the team to perform at a very high level.
Linda Marshall is the principal owner of Grafik Communications in Montreal (www.grafikcom.com)
Cammon Randle owns CopperRain (www.copperrain.com)
Lorri Randle is a consultant for New Media (www.mediajoltz.com)
Dave Olson is owner of Legacy Videos (www.legacyvideos.com)
John Chilson is with the PR Agency Mobility PR (www.mobilitypr.com)
Even though each of these individuals come from different companies, they are not treated like, nor do they feel like outside vendors. They all realize they OWN their portion of the project or event and are as much a part of the team as any other member.
If you are looking to grow and organization, I would encourage you to look at the model of JITTS. Of finding likeminded people who are passionate about their work and are able to work well in a very non-traditional environment.
It is what makes GWAVA continue to have such success as GWAVACon.
Disclaimer: As with everything else at Cool Solutions, this content is definitely not supported by Novell (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).
It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.