August / 21 / 2017

Open Creative Flow

Focusing on your own creativity can lead to greater professional success and more personal fulfillment. The Expo Group Level5's EVP of Creative Michael McCauley presented these stories at the TSNN Awards Executive Conference to help simplify where a soul in search of creativity should focus.

When you reach an optimal creative “flow” state, the ideas come naturally. Here's how McCauley suggests you get in that flow state.

  1. Obey Your Hunches: Learn the power of these hunches, where they come from and how to maximize them. There is great mystery in hunches and more going on than you might think.
  2. Build Cathedrals: Think higher by assigning greater meaning to the work.
  3. Seek Your Daily Inspiration: Engage the heart to jumpstart the mind.
  4. Get into Flow State: Techniques to turn off the left-brain to let the idea generating right-brain flow.
  5. Be OK with Intangibles: It’s ok not to know all the answers or solve all the problems in one attempt. By simply talking around the issues/challenges, the right brain is quietly working overtime and will ultimately get there—if you let it.
  6. It’s Not an Accident: Great ideas happen for a reason, you just don’t know it yet.
  7. Creativity is Currency: In the age of AI, enhancing personal creativity is one of the key marketable skills in a future with more and more artificial intelligence permeating home and work life.
  8. No Naysayers: Keep the know-it-all attitudes OUT of brainstorming.
  9. Brainstorming CAN work, but most often DOES NOT. Why it does not work and how to optimize brainstorming!
  10. BE PRESENT! Stop being a slave to your mobile device, engage, open heart and mind to others…the ideas are all around you, don’t miss them by being consumed by your device.

Everyone loves a good quote! Tweet some of these to serve as witness to your creative quest.

“Key to creativity…immerse yourself in your subject matter, love, honor and above all, obey your hunches.” --Leo Burnett

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” --Albert Einstein

“ Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” --Socrates

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious."  --Albert Einstein 

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.” --David Lynch

“If the idea does not scare you…it’s probably not that good.” --Lee Clow

“Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.” --Dee Hock

“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” --Dan Stevens

If you missed the presentation, check out these titles for inspiration.

Social Physics – How Good Ideas Spread  by Alex Pentland

Flow: The Pyschology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil

Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford

Inside the Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg

Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink


Michael McCauley is a 20-year industry veteran, Michael has led creative teams on unique projects for national television, cross-channel media and in the world live entertainment programs. On the communications front, Michael has been the driving force behind major creative programs for some of today’s most high-profile brands including: Target, VW, Intel, American Express, 3M, CBS Television and IBM.

August / 17 / 2017

Toby Purdy Tapped for CSO Role

Toby Purdy Becomes Chief Sales Officer for The Expo Group

Irving, Texas – August 17, 2017 – The Expo Group announced today Toby Purdy has joined the company as Chief Sales Officer.

“Growth at The Expo Group is a constant. We are accelerating at a fast pace as the market moves to overcome the status quo and understands we can solve their challenges with compelling experiences and investment in growing client revenues,” says The Expo Group President and Chief Operating Officer Randy Pekowski. “Toby is the right leader for our growth and customer strategies. I am excited about what we will achieve together in the years to come.”

Purdy’s experience ranges across family-owned firms and Fortune 100 companies. He brings a mix of expertise in trade shows and events, including a significant tenure at Freeman, along with proven leadership performance at brands such as Frito-Lay, Greyhound Bus Line and Borden Dairy.

“I am excited to join such a dynamic and well-respected organization that has been built on values and people for over 25 years,” Purdy says. “Corporate brands and associations face new challenges in the competitive landscape, and I have an unwavering commitment to the customer journey and ensuring we steward their brands through all aspects of our business.”

Purdy will office from The Expo Group headquarters and can be reached at 972.580.9000. Learn more about how The Expo Group is investing in innovation to drive revenue here and meet the rest of the company’s servant leaders, too.

About The Expo Group
The Expo Group is a trusted exposition, exhibits and events partner that invests in clients to help them grow attendee, sponsorship and exhibits revenue by creating compelling experiences from ideas to design to execution to results. The company has headquarters near Dallas with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin/San Antonio and Washington D.C. Learn more at and contact Dana Freker Doody at 972.580.9000.

August / 7 / 2017

Event Marketer Partners With The Expo Group

Event Marketer Names The Expo Group as Exclusive 2018 Event Services Partner for Experiential Marketing Summit and EventTech

Leading event strategy, design and production company becomes official provider of event services at the experiential marketing industry’s top two leading conferences and trade shows.

AUGUST 7, 2017, NORWALK, CT - Event Marketer, the world’s leading content resource on event and experiential marketing, announced that it has retained The Expo Group to serve as the exclusive event services partner for the Experiential Marketing Summit 2018 and EventTech 2018.

“We could not be more excited to start working with The Expo Group’s team,” says Jeff Fortmann, Event Marketer business director. “We will continue to expand our events in 2018 for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors—The Expo Group will play a key role in it all.”

A leading producer of shows, exhibits and events, The Expo Group will provide to Event Marketer a blend of Strategy, Design and Delivery services to create compelling, memorable and shareable experiences for EMS and ET attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. The Expo Group and EM will partner on such initiatives as:

•  An Audience Journey-Centric Experience Strategy spanning inventive session types, innovative digital engagement and engagements that take place beyond the event venues

•  New Multi-Audience Experience Design elements featuring immersive experiences that engage attendees in new ways

•  All-new Innovative Supply Chain Management components that streamline how exhibitors and sponsors will activate before and at both events.

 “We’re thrilled to be working with Event Marketer. This represents a unique opportunity to drive significant innovation across the experiential industry,” says The Expo Group President Randy Pekowski.   “Our entire team is going to enjoy helping EM innovate at the industry’s top two conferences and expos.”

Founded in 2002, Event Marketer is the world’s largest content resource on event and experiential marketing—the brand’s portfolio serves more than 100,000 Fortune 1000 marketers and includes Event Marketer magazine,, the Experiential Marketing Summit, EventTech and the Ex Awards. Event Marketer is owned by Access Intelligence. Learn more at

The Expo Group is a trusted exhibition and events partner helping organizations grow their attendee, exhibitor and sponsorship revenue through the design and execution of unique, compelling and memorable experiences. The company is headquartered in Dallas with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin/San Antonio, Orlando and Washington D.C. Learn more at Learn more at:

August / 3 / 2017

Exposure Podcast August 2017

Welcome to the August 2017 edition of the Exposure Podcast from The Expo Group produced and hosted by Dana Freker Doody and Todd Carruth. 

Dana and Todd talk with "disruptor" Stuart Ruff-Lyon, VP of Events and Education from The Risk Management Society and one of our newest The Expo Group Show Manager of the Year honorees. 

We also learn "Where In The World" Dana has been for the last month and where she's going next.  Plus we find out about another disruptor in our industry writing a new book. 

If you want to listen to this episode (or any previous episodes) right from your computer, click here. 

To subscribe on iTunes, please click here


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Please share this podcast on your social media networks by clicking on any of the social media icons below.  And we would be pleased if you could take a moment and review our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. 

Questions about the podcast? Contact us at rethink (at)  

August / 2 / 2017

The Expo Group Digs In With APWA Snow Show

The Expo Group Digs In with APWA Snow Show

Irving, Texas – Aug. 1, 2017 – The Expo Group has been selected as the General Services Contractor for the American Public Works Association’s North American Snow Conference.

“We wanted a true partner that would help us beyond taking and fulfilling exhibitor orders. The Expo Group’s creativity and consistent focus on how to improve both the attendee and exhibitor experience will elevate the APWA Show for Snow,” says Brenda Shaver, APWA Manager of Meetings. 

APWA’s Snow Conference will be May 6-9, 2018 in Indianapolis with about 2,500 public works and transportation professionals discussing the latest developments in winter maintenance, training for emergency situations and kicking the snow tires on new products and vehicles.

“Our team is excited about the opportunity to help APWA drive up its service levels and create a more meaningful experience overall for attendee members, exhibitors and sponsors,” says Randy Pekowski, The Expo Group’s President and COO.


About APWA
The American Public Works Association ( is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 29, 800 members involved in the field of public works. APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy and the exchange of knowledge. APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, has an office in Washington, D.C. and 63 chapters throughout North America. 

About The Expo Group
The Expo Group is a trusted exhibition and events partner that helps organizations grow their attendance, exhibitor and sponsorship revenue through the design and execution of unique, compelling and memorable experiences. The company has headquarters near Dallas with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin/San Antonio and Washington D.C. Learn more at or contact Dana Freker Doody directly at 972.580.9000 x1644 or

August / 1 / 2017

Webinar - Transforming The Live Experience

Looking to breathe new life into your live experience? Learn how to craft more engaging programs by following a proven methodology developed by The Expo Group Level5 experts that includes: - Design - Story - Meaning - Empathy - Sympathy - Play.

Using actual case studies, info-graphics, videos and more, this free webinar promises to be an engaging, thought-provoking and educational hour on Thursday, September 14 at 1pm Eastern Time. 

Register here but hurry, seats are filling fast! 


August / 1 / 2017

August Celebrations 2017

Congratulations to these employees celebrating birthdays and anniversaries in August and September. 

July / 25 / 2017

ICX Summit Provides Insight into Interactive Customer Experiences

by Training & Development Manager Tiffany Tinsley

Interactive customer experiences are important in driving today’s retail success. This mantra holds true in the realm of trade shows, as well. People (translation: attendees) are demanding more: more interaction, more stimulation, more personalization, more value.

In this world that values experiences over products, L’Occitane en Provence is designing boutique-style stores to focus on the experience – not the product. Paul Blackburn, vice president of concept and design, construction and merchandising for L’Occitane en Provence recently shared at the ICX Summit  last month that customers increasingly want to interact with the products and participate in demonstrations by “product ambassadors” while visiting with their friends.

When designing the New York flagship store, L’Occitane en Provence prioritized establishing a community where clients felt comfortable enjoying themselves and could relax with their friends. Standing firmly behind the belief that an increased customer experience generates higher profits, L’Occitane designed their flagship store with interactivity as their main goal. Blackburn pointed to a Bain and Co. Survey that states “80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience. Yet, only 8% of customers believe these companies deliver a superior customer experience.” This alarming discrepency exemplifies the importance of tailoring the interactive experience to the customers.

Following L’Occitane’s example, smart event and meeting planners are focusing on the customer’s experience, striving to inspire, engage and transform.

The strategy was reinforced at ICX Summit by Marriott’s David Kepron, the vice president of global design strategies – lifestyles brand. Kepron spoke about several factors that drive the customer experience.

  • Developing “places not spaces” – A space can be anywhere, but a “place” is something special. Designing places that focus on the customer experience is key. Spaces that encourage people to interact with each other, or the products being demonstrated, awaken our emotions and senses. They create lasting memories and become special “places” in our minds.
  • Ritual Participation – When we go through the process of participating in a familiar ritual, the very act of doing the ritual gives us a sense of meaning. The ritual elevates the event in our minds, and makes us feel like we are part of something larger than ourselves
  • Playtime - Play is at the foundation of who we are. It allows us to learn about empathy and understand emotions. Playtime makes the experience true and authentic.
  • Storytelling - Humans are innately creative. We make stories that, in turn, make other things. If you make a story while experiencing an event, the art of telling the story makes the experience more important and personal. Create places that allow your audience to participate in writing the story – not just observing it.

A selfie station is an example that incorporates all the above. Attendees gather together to take selfies at fun locations throughout the event which establishes the event as a place – not a space. Next, the ritual of going through the selfie process (posing, taking the picture, uploading the picture to social media) elevates the event in their mind and serves as “playtime.” It is fun! By participating in the selfie ritual, the attendee is now participating in, developing, and sharing the story. The event has now become an interactive customer experience that the attendee will not forget.

The Expo Group’s Think-Feel-Do-Keep-Share methodology for strategic event design aligns with both these ICX Summit presentations. In following L’Occitane and Marriott’s lead, placing the customer experience at the forefront should be the driving force in designing your next event.

Images provided by Paul Blackburn's keynote address and ICX Summit.

July / 24 / 2017

The Expo Group Show Manager of the Year Awards Honorees Chosen for 2017

The Expo Group Show Manager of the Year
Awards Honorees Chosen for 2017

Irving, Texas – July 24, 2017 – Four show managers have been selected to receive The Expo Group Show Manager of the Year (SMOTY) award for excellence in serving their attendee and exhibitor communities. Since 2000 The Expo Group has honored unsung heroes committed innovation and service.

“The Expo Group SMOTY awards program is one way we give back to the industry, and we are proud to honor people adopting new ideas and creating change,” says President and COO of The Expo Group Randy Pekowski. “These honorees are not our clients, they are simply show managers doing great work that should be recognized.”

The 2017 The Expo Group Show Manager of the Year honorees are:

Tier I, 1 to 200 booths: Jennifer Wishart of SmithBucklin

  Tier II, 201 to 500 booths:Stuart Ruff-Lyon, CMP, DES of The Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc.

Tier III, 501 to 1,500 booths: Christine Salmon of Diversified Communications
   Tier IV, 1,501 or more: Tom Carbott of MHI

SMOTY awardees are known for their commitment and drive. They pay attention to the details that create an awesome show experience, leading the SMOTY judging panel to select them from among the nominees.
The crystal SMOTY obelisk trophies will be presented Aug. 22 during the TSNN Awards event in New Orleans. In addition, The Expo Group will donate $500 in each honoree’s name to the preferred charity. Since 2000 the SMOTY program has resulted in more than $75,000 donated by The Expo Group and matching funds honoring individual winners.

For more information about The Expo Group SMOTY Awards and to learn about past winners, please visit

About The Expo Group
The Expo Group is a trusted exposition, exhibits and events partner that invests in clients to help them grow attendee, sponsorship and exhibits revenue by creating compelling experiences from ideas to design to execution to results. The company has headquarters near Dallas with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin/San Antonio and Washington D.C. Learn more at or contact Dana Freker Doody directly at 972.580.9000 x1644,