Social Media Trends

by in Best of the Web, Big Ideas, Event Design, News 

Digital marketers and #eventprofs alike can agree that our native langue is technology and we are fluent in social media. It should come as no surprise to you, dear reader that today’s consumers drive brand image – they are empowered to speak up and take part in the shared revolution that shapes and constructs product fandom, brand trust, and business success. In order to appropriately guide our clients, we must be well-versed in online communication because we are the connectors to the other side, between the corporation and coveted current and potential consumers. So please sit back, relax, and learn with us in our mission to unveil how to use social media trends to engage with your audiences.

  1. Live Streaming 

Human attention is a privilege because it requests your audience to allot special time for your message. With that being said, gathering the right event attendance in one, key location can be a little tricky. For some, flying to a sales conference hosted in San Francisco when you live and work in Chicago may not be the most convenient or realistic. What better way to engage remote audiences than through live streaming? Live broadcast videos allow coordinators to create an immersive and authentic story-telling experience with a personalized message. Think about it, it is the best way to amplify your event and content because you are reaching a target market of customers and employees who already “like” and trust the brand. It’s a great way to be all-inclusive and demonstrate that you care for the entire company, not just the selection of people who attend the event in person.

  1. Lenses and Filters

There’s a lot of interest surrounding the photo-sharing experience at events and conferences. Mobile apps like the renowned Snapchat and EventsTag help brands create 3D facial tracking lenses and filters that move and adjust to facial movements. It’s a modernized photo booth and Step and Repeat banner all in one without the set-up hassle, photographer, and plethora of props. Best of all, this trend is customizable. You can work one-on-one with designers who can help incorporate your logos and themes into one or multiple filter artworks. It’s an easy and engaging activity that can be made, printed, and shared by anyone on all social media outlets.

  1. Brand Influencers

Let’s switch gears a little bit here to exit the events and focus on brands physically on social media. We’re starting to see more and more “digital influencers” on outlets like YouTube and Instagram. You might be asking yourself, who or what is a digital influencer? Imagine the typical consumer, now picture that same consumer with an accumulation of mass followings across multiple social media networks. Much like a blogger, digital influencers build their following by focusing on a single expertise or niche like fashion, food, beauty and gaming. The influencer and his or her followers share a unified appreciation for said activities and build a fandom based on trust and amusement. Digital influencers drive real-time brand engagement and marketing initiatives because they are in front of the target audience. So, if you are hoping your brand obtains social media attention and presence, maybe consider contracting a digital influencer.

  1. Mobile Shopping

Multiple established brands like Kate Spade, JackThreads, and Macy’s are exploring Instagram’s recent mobile shopping update, which features taggable products that bring users to direct retail links for purchasing. It’s online shopping made easy, mobile users simply tap on the post to reveal products and their prices and then make the decision to act by utilizing the “touch to purchase” button. We’ve become so accustomed to wanting more products, information, and options in the moment, and this taggable little feature delivers desirable simplicity and immediacy. Furthermore, debuting this feature specifically on Instagram adds to the social shopping experience. Users can still comment and tag others like before, but now brands have the opportunity to use the platform to give product recommendations and take on global expansion.

This comprehensive list of notable social media trends is sure to grow as 2017 progresses. So, keep an eye out for new innovations that will help shape and mold the events and digital marketing industry, and if you discover something cool, send it our way. We’d love to hear from you!

FLIRT Stories: Part 3

by in Big Ideas, FLIRT Goings On, What We're Thinking About 

The end of 2016 is quickly approaching, but don’t go anywhere just yet because we still have five notable FLIRTies to introduce to you. We continued the interview process to discover motivation, career juncture, and ultimately, why FLIRT? Last, but certainly not least, we bring you FLIRT Stories Part 3:

norma-275Where in the world is Norma? New York, Starbucks, Orlando, a Cubs game, Cape Cod or is she out saving a squirrel as it desperately hangs onto a pink noodle in a pool? Known as wonder woman, not only for her ability to save animals in need, but also for her remarkable knack for seamlessly juggling roughly 700 projects while delivering superior customer service. Norma is responsible for producing events for multiple Fortune 500 clients all around the world, many of whom quickly become her personal friends. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Norma also doubles as an adjunct college professor and charitable animal rescuer. Her desire to assist those who are less fortunate is among Norma’s most endearing qualities. Well, that and her quirky puns and intelligent wit (*wink*). This experienced leader has a no-fear approach and air of humble confidence, both of which consistently earn her notable recognition from her clients, students, and fellow FLIRTies.

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“I was introduced to FLIRT by Paul Petan. We talked about technology, the industry, and I fell in love with his vision. Then of course when I met the team, I fell in love with them too.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Don’t do it,” she laughs. Norma continues, “I would actually say, don’t take things so seriously or personally. Events are meant to be fun, educational, and an experience for the attendees, so enjoy the creative. Learn all you can, have fun, and be graceful when things do not go your way.” She smirks, “It’s not brain surgery.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“The best memory, ooh that’s a tough one, there are SO many. I traveled with Pete and Paul to Atlanta to visit one of my clients. I was very new to the team and I was very new to traveling with Pete and Paul.” Norma continues, “The entire trip we laughed and had a great time. I would share more but, what happens in Atlanta, stays in Atlanta.”

  1. What was your favorite toy growing up?

She questions, “My favorite toy? I don’t think I really had a favorite toy.” (An intern reminds Norma that she gave the FLIRT staff tiny toys for the office Halloween party.) Norma continues, “It’s one of those things where I think kid toys should always be given as gifts, even as adults to stay youthful. As a kid I played with Barbies, Atari, Nintendo, kick ball…we used our imaginations and always had fun. It is always a reminder when I give fun gifts away that as we get older, we are still young at heart and we should never forget to have fun.”

kari_new_275In two words: Kari rocks! As manager and leader of production, she crafts creative teams and initiatives that meet clients’ needs each and every time. Kari is that really cool friend you’ve always admired, but are scared to be. She is a beautiful writer with a gracious soul and insane taste in music both new and old. We’re almost positive if Kari were given the chance to go on tour with Cheap Trick, she’d pick up and leave the office today. She is our fashionista, styling anything from a cool pair of Chuck Taylor’s to a thrift-store carrot-orange trench coat. She’s a foodie, groupie, and expressive leader—It’s just who she is and we adore her for it!

  1. How did you become a FLIRTie?

“I had been working with Paul and Pete Burns for 15 years. We decided to form FLIRT because we had a vision to start a company that had more strategic relationships with clients. We wanted to revamp the way we priced our services and also wanted to use some digital and experiential consumer marketing tactics with our corporate clients.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Find another career,” she jokes. “You have to really love working—It can be very demanding, but also very rewarding. Probably the biggest piece of advice is to be a good listener and a good writer [because] every aspect of the job involves writing.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“Oh my gosh. It’s hard to say,” she laughs. “We’ve had some great parties with friends, vendors, and clients. Certainly the Halloween Gathering where so many of the FLIRTies participate, and we’ve been to Sox games.” Kari paused and added, “The Creative Inspiration Lunches are really inspiring too and invite everyone to share creative inspiration and get to know each other.”

  1. If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?

“I would say my superpower is to find humor in everything, even if it’s not funny.”

michael-p-275If you hear a splash in the background of Monday morning’s conference call, it’s probably Michael fishing from his kayak (AKA “Lobster Dock”) in Maine. Michael is the creative engine at FLIRT, responsible for conceiving campaigns and experiences that excite and inspire audiences. Besides for being an expert designer whose digital graphics breathe life into ideas, this art junkie excels at large scale paintings that showcase the peculiarities in the wilderness, landscapes, and people of Maine. In our most poetic terms, Michael is an artist of the written words and painted canvas – a heroic combatant who is always up for challenging and leveraging traditional and nontraditional corporate communication.

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“My little brother, Paul Petan, asked me to join Kari, Pete and himself to launch FLIRT years ago. I had moved to Maine many years before for a novel full of reasons. Working ‘remotely’ back in Chicago and seeing my family is important, so I quit my job and jumped ship to give it a go. I had worked with Paul on and off for 25 years and as his older brother his job path followed mine, so I sort of opened doors, introduced, blocked and he ran with it. At the time of starting FLIRT, I was coming off 10 years in a very intense ‘consumer experiential agency’ as a Chief Creative Officer with clients like Nike, Sony and jetBlue who sort of demand better than good work. My goal was and is to bring that creativity, inspiration and intensity of great work to the somewhat safe and predictable world of ‘corporate communications.’ I fight this battle everyday, but it’s a fun fight.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Events and the expectation of ‘corporate events’ is shifting as technology, lifestyle, culture and the workforce shifts. An event can happen on Snapchat in your underwear or in a crowded big ass Hotel ballroom with lights, stage, sound, projectors and a bunch of people forced to sit in often uncomfortable chairs, but the common core is to make the event an experience that’s human, fun, personal, relaxed and comfortable. Removing roadblocks and all the stress and keeping the experience flowing with the ‘guest’ (attendee) at the center of it all. When do they feel rushed? When do they feel overwhelmed and when do they get it and when they do not get it! Plus, we need to ensure the Rally Cry is embraced and the key messages are in the language, image and tone of voice that the audience will rally around and support. If you’re aspiring you might have a degree in anthropology and psychology. That is what I tell people (who listen,) it is about orchestrating an inspiring human experience, but understanding what that means. Sadly, we often get blinded by ‘over listening’ to our clients, those few at the top with the corner office. Listening too hard to the obvious or as I call it the ‘laundry list’ often leads to an average experience—they tell you what to do, you write it down, you produce it, so do you want to be a waiter or the chef? We sometimes forget the guest in order to ensure the guy paying us, the ‘big-shot,’ is happy—That is the business, but you must also pay attention to the humble attendee, the WORKER BEE. The real skill is being able to ensure the C level clients’ ‘list,’ fits our guest mindset, the timing is right, and that the guest is open minded and willing to listen to the ‘message’—That is not easy. It is often about creating the right environment, the right attitude and the right tone of voice.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“I loved the Happy Birthday Video sent from FLIRT this year, loved it, it meant a lot to me. I work remotely so it is not easy to build memories over the phone or Skype. I spent the first 13 years of my early career (punk kid) as a Creative Director for corporate communications doing what FLIRT does now and always on the road on show site, but now I do not go on the road at all, Thank God. BUT, it’s the road trips and being with the team on show site where the lasting fun memories really happen, when things go wrong and when things go right.”

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?

“Ernest Hemingway & William Faulkner.”

“Both men are giants in the literary world. Hemingway is a man I have patterned my ‘life around’—I need to be outdoors, hiking, on the water, in the woods, lying in the grass, fishing, writing and painting, or I turn into Charles Manson with a migraine headache. I’m a painter, but I also love writing and a few great writers—The art of the word on the page, the story, still blows my mind when done at this level. Both men drank, where ruff, where extraordinary individuals misunderstood. You meet them when you read their work, you can hear them think, drink and laugh inside the borders of a simple sentence.”

“Second runner up for meeting in history if it’s PARTY would be Picasso and Andy Warhol! I would love to be in Picasso’s studio on a good day in Spain, and he would not need to talk. Andy is my hero. Both men knew how to use ‘media’ and craft an ‘image.’ Picasso did it first, but Andy created a brand out of tin cans and cardboard boxes. Love it …”  

jamie-275It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, it’s Fake Clark! Much like the real Clark (the loveable Cubs Mascot) Fake Clark is a superhero that can dance like no other and has the ability to incite joy and happiness in all Chicago 2016 World Series fans, even appearing on TV! Fake Clark also has a secret identity—Jamie Proctor. As our videographer extraordinaire, Photoshop wizard, and FLIRT Ambassador of Fun, every project that crosses Jamie’s desk it met with precision, speed and a bit of humor mixed in. When Jamie isn’t turning meeting and event videos into highly effective communication tools or whipping up corporate awards at the blink of an eye, she’s beating everyone at a game of Euchre or pranking her fellow FLIRTies.  

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“Craigslist.” (Blunt and honest, we like it, Jamie!) “Well it’s funny, I found it on Craigslist one afternoon, I applied, and then the next day the ad was gone. Later, I found it again linked from a temp agency.” She chuckles, “I guess FLIRT was told the temp agency had worked with me before, but really I just met them.” What drew her in was the way the ad was written, “It was so witty, funny, and creative—just in that I knew it was a company I would fit in with.”  

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“I would say learning is the best thing—Learn as much as you can by experience and from your surroundings. When you guys (interns) come, listen, get in on meetings, understand what people want from you and figure out how to work with each other. Listen, learn, and uhh…love. Listen to your coworkers, learn from them, and love everything you do. You’ll never work a day in your life if you love it.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“I think my favorite memories involve creating fun videos with the FLIRTies. We’ve done a Cheap Trick performance, a Halloween film, our Happy video –  I love sending the videos out to everyone and making them laugh, especially the other FLIRTies who are out on the road at shows.”

  1. If you could change a movie’s ending, which movie would it be, and how would you change it?

“Noah would ditch Allie from The Notebook (2004) to pick me up in Chicago. We’d fly back to Seabrook Island, South Carolina on his private jet and be seen enjoying a bottle of wine and assortment of cheeses in his canoe on the lake as the screen fades to black.”

lyndaLynda is our newest FLIRTie – full of energy, confidence, and spunk! This competitive Latina is always down for game of cards and is eager to knock out weaker, less-skilled opponents (AKA Paige) to take her card-gaming skills to the next level. Don’t be intimidated though! Lynda is an absolute sweetheart, always willing to lend a listening ear or run a quick errand to CVS in Chiberian snow or unseasonably 60-degree sunshine. When she’s not answering the phones or befriending building, catering, and FedEx staff, Lynda is an elated newlywed at home with her two (soon to be three!) beautiful children. We’re so happy Lynda joined our staff and hope you enjoy learning about her as much as we have!

  1. Why did you want to become a FLIRTie? What do you think so far?

Lynda smirks, “I was voted Senior Class Flirt in high school so this union was truly meant to be!” She continues, “To be honest, I came across the opportunity by chance. To prepare for my interview, I read through FLIRT’s website and Paul’s Think Positive mantra had me at hello, and then when I got to reading individual FLIRTies’ bios, I felt an instant connection to the team. I fell in love with every character/person online before I actually met them, which is odd for me to say since I’m the only FLIRTie that doesn’t engage online with any kind of social media.

“I adore these folks and I think they like me too,” she smiles. “There are a lot of different personalities here; a lot of people from different backgrounds. I’m excited to see what I can learn from these guys for years to come.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Gosh, after being in this industry for nearly 15 years, there’s so much I’d love to say—Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, share your ideas no matter how big or small and always pay attention to details. Details are important and really matter in this industry whether you’re servicing clients or dealing with each other internally in the office. Details are always key.

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT so far?

“Oh my gosh,” Lynda laughs. “A week before I started the job, I was invited to the Halloween Gathering and I got to see the FLIRTies display a fun side of themselves. Afterwards, I was invited back to the office for a beer, which was awesome.”

  1. What would you do if you were invisible for a day?

Lynda thinks while putting her hands together mischievously. “I’d probably go into the supply room and drink as much wine as I can until pass out.” One intern jokes, “Where’d all the wine go?

We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from all of our brilliant FLIRTies—Thanks for reading along!

FLIRTcasting: It’s The Holiday Season

by in Around Chicago, FLIRTcasting, What We're Seeing 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been listening to Christmas music nonstop on my morning commute, in the office, and well everywhere in between. One song in particular has struck my fancy; aren’t you curious as to what it is? Alright, no need to whine, Santa is watching after all – It’s Andy William’s “Happy Holiday” of course, an anthem to all things merry! My version differs, for it goes a little something like this:

We have a big, fun FLIRTcasting up on the blog

With lots of activities for you and for me

So leave a comment or like for good ole’ FLIRT

Written on social media

Pretty catchy, right? Keep on reading to see how many winter activities you’ve accomplished this holiday season!

Cloudgate Carolingcaroling

Grab your scarf, mittens, puffer jacket, and hand-warmers for caroling at the Cloud Gate – This Friday (12/16) from 6-7PM! You don’t have to be gracious singer; you just simply have to enjoy spreading some holiday cheer alongside Chicago’s local choral groups. Perhaps even Mr. Santa Claus will make a guest appearance, delighting the inner child in all of us. Afterwards, feel free to take a twirl on the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park equipped with frosty views of the bean and Chicago’s staggering 69-foot Norway Spruce Christmas Tree.

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

holidaymagicDeck the zoo with more than 1 million twinkling LED lights in Brookfield’s 35th annual Holiday Magic. See the enchantment zoo-wide all month long and enjoy multiple activities including a 41-foot talking tree, model train display, Christmas carolers, ice carvers, and photos with Santa and the Mrs. If all of that holiday cheer has yet to woo you, you also get to sing to the reindeer, big cats, and bears, oh my! “See the lights, Feel the Magic, Continue the Tradition” at Brookfield Zoo.

Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest


Finish Christmas Shopping

Wrap Presents

Bake Christmas Cookies

Enjoy Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest!

winterwonderlandAdd Chicago’s biggest indoor winter playground to your weekend to-do list! Why not bring the whole family and enjoy 170,000 square feet of rides, giant slides, 15-foot snow tubing hills, and the Chicago Blackhawk’s ice skating rink. It’s a great way to stay warm and toasty hidden away from the Chicago cold; yet, still enjoy Father Winter’s glorious activities!

Joffrey’s The Nutcracker

joffreyLet’s be real, who hasn’t had visions of sugar plums dance in their heads? Whether you have or haven’t, go buy your tickets to Joffrey’s new Nutcracker, performing all month long at the Auditorium Theatre. This reimagined ballet with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon celebrates Chicago’s mysterious 1893 World’s Fair through the playful eyes of a child, an electrifying spin on the classic fairy tale about a little girl who goes to the Land of Sweets.

21st Annual Christkindlmarket

12-16-2010--Holiday Lights--Christkindlmarket Chicago celebrates 15 years at Daley Plaza (November 24-December 24)--The traditional German Holiday Market hours are 11am-8pm Sunday through Thursdays and 11am-9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The market features food, shopping and entertainment. The final day closes at 4pm on Christmas Eve. Chicago Sun-Times photo by Tom Cruze--

Mm…do you smell the inviting aromas of sausages, Strudel, and Glühwein, a traditional German holiday market hot spiced wine? Why, that’s enough to please the pallet and warm the soul, especially in the North Chicago Pole. Check out Chicago’s largest open-air market inspired by a Nuremberg, Germany market that was founded way back in 1545. This special holiday exposition brings cherished German and European traditions whilst welcoming an international flair and new cultures each and every year. After indulging in the large assortment of savory food, drinks, and treats, complete your shopping experience by meeting and greeting the other vendors. Perhaps you might even come home with a few cuckoo clocks, beer steins, and hand-painted ornaments!

New Year’s Eve Festivities

chitownrising2017 is just two weeks away! With that being said, have you made plans to ring in the New Year? Chi-Town Rising embarks on its second annual celebration along the Chicago Riverfront between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. This year’s party will feature activities on the Chicago Cultural Mile, live entertainment, and of course a dazzling fireworks display alongside the beautiful Chicago River courtesy of Navy Pier! The countdown will commence with the Rising Star ascending 36 stories up above the Hyatt Regency Chicago’s West Tower, but don’t worry if you can’t make it to the party, NBC 5 will be broadcasting the event live.navypier

Why not finish this off with a song and dance? Check back next year for another edition of FLIRTcasting!

Happy Holiday

Happy Holiday

May the calendar keep bringing

Happy Holidays to you and luck in Q1 2017!

FLIRT Stories: Part 2

by in Big Ideas, FLIRT Goings On, What We're Thinking About 

The first edition was such a smashing success, so why not continue the fun? The FLIRT staff is full of many influential and creative minds – Each and every FLIRTie contributes to the final production. Us interns continued our research to discover motivation, career juncture, and ultimately, why FLIRT? Ladies and gentlemen, vendors and freelancers, event profs of all ages, please put your hands together for FLIRT Stories Part 2:

fflan_headshot_resizedNeed lederhosen? Francie is your girl. Need to talk to the embassy? Francie can hook you up. Need to Fedex a felt cowboy hat from Chicago’s Alcalas to Dallas,Texas? You better believe Francie has got you covered. No challenge is too big or too small for this cool nerd who glides around the office with her remote control Star Wars BB8. Francie is our Production Assistant in charge of everything and anything from packing our PA kits to cutting and sizing thousands of nametags for FLIRT’s renowned international travels. Just give this girl a lime La Croix and she can conquer the industry.

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“It’s kinda complicated. I started here as a freelancer in March answering phones, doing miscellaneous research, and helping with odds and ends. I went on site for programs earlier in the year and helped with a project in late 2015. Then I officially became a part of the immediate FLIRT family in late October” (of this year … woo! Go Francie!)

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Patience. Make sure you have your ears on at all times, too. I’ve been surrounded by this industry since I was very little. Eventually, as I began my career within this industry I’ve learned that listening is key and being patient is paramount. You learn a lot in the small moments. Ultimately, and this may sound cliché, never giving up is probably the best advice I can give you.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“I think of brainstorming for the decoration elements of a smaller event (with some of the other FLIRTies). Brainstorming and teamwork—Seeing an idea come from nothing and the ultimate end result was very cool to experience and really fun to be a part of.”

  1. If you could time travel, where would you go?

She chuckles, “It’s a toss up. Either the late 1500’s Renaissance England or the near future where all of our technological advancements have reached what we see in superhero movies.”

What would you do?

Late 1500’s: “Just a normal day, find some fun clothes, go around, and people watch.”

Near future: “Get a job with Tony Stark (Iron Man) and play with all of his cool toys.”

pete-candid-275If he’s reading this we just want to say, Hiya Pete! Serving as Creative Director, Pete is forever thinking about concepts and campaigns that excite audiences. Sometimes after hunkering down for hours in his office trying to crack the code on an idea he’s been working on, Pete will make a grand exit out of his office yelling, “HEY EVERYBODY!” (while everyone is busy on the phone or with clients) and energetically shares what he’s been working on.  

  1. How did you become a FLIRTie?

“I had been working with Kari, Michael, and Paul for over 15 years and realized we were four people who shared the same mindset on client service and creativity. So we decided to start our own agency that reflected our unique spirit.  We chose the provocative name FLIRT, and never looked back.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Know your client and know your client’s audience. When it comes to creative you really have to focus on two things, the strategy and message and how it’s delivered, and then the POV of the audience. What is the audience thinking now, what do you want them to think tomorrow, or a year from now? You discover what emotions the message triggers and then create an experience that is memorable and your message gets through the clutter and makes an impact.

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

Pete thought for a moment (he’s had so many good ones). Finally he said, “I don’t know if I have a best memory, I really enjoyed when we started and there was 6 of us in a tiny two room office. What I always remember is we’ve continued to partner with many clients since day one.  As we’ve grown, we’ve seen them grow not only in the size of their events but also in the success of their organizations. That’s awesome!”

  1. Who is your favorite cartoon character and why?

“As a character, I have to go with SpongeBob SquarePants for so many reasons.  My favorite animator is Hayao Miyazaki. He’s a great storyteller who brings humor, emotion, and something for all ages in his films.” Totoro is his favorite, but he also like Princess Mononoke.

View More: needs to take a plane, train, and automobile to get to the workplace. You’ll know she’s in town when you begin to see our Chicago office decorated in licensed Buckeye merchandise. DiAnna is an Account Manager responsible for helping clients overcome corporate communication challenges and creating solutions to resolve them. DiAnna’s unique and personally relevant perspective comes from her years of experience in the industry and as a client. When DiAnna isn’t working locally or out maintaining the “Ohio Office,” you can find her in a comfy hoodie cheering on her four girls at their extracurricular outings.

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“I was a client! I spent 10 years at Cardinal Health in their marketing department and I was in charge of the marketing and communication for their large annual customer trade show and sales meeting – FLIRT was my vendor partner. After I left Cardinal Health, and took a bit of a sabbatical to figure out how to function and get through life with four little girls, Paul, Kari and Pete kept in contact with me and let me join in several brainstorming meetings – I was hooked and knew I had to be a FLIRTie…I’ve been a full-time team member since 2011 – but I’ve been a FLIRTie at heart for much longer than that!”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Keep your eyes out for great shoes! Stylish, yet comfortable – when on-site – there is an incredible amount of walking and time on your feet. Oh, and remember that Vegas is fun…the first 10 times…but after that, forget about it!”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“Office Christmas Party 2012.”

  1. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

“Spent 10 days in an RV with my hubby, 4 kids and mother-in-law traveling 1500+ miles to explore the Grand Circle. Crazy, but fun – would do it again in a heartbeat!”


Finding new adventures, reading bedtime stories with her sweet girlies, cozy sweaters, crossing items off the seasonal ‘Baker fam bucket list’ and anything outside.  These are just a few things that make this delightful lady smile. Besides being a math, science and excel genius on the side, Ellen is our very own Executive Producer, AKA the Queen of Production. No meeting is too big or too small, dear Ellen here will produce them all! When she’s not on client calls, traveling to video shoots or producing events, Ellen is a fabulous photog, exercising her sharp eye for the perfect shot to capture her most favorite subjects – friends and family. She’s a proud mom and dedicated FLIRTie who is always willing to lend a helping hand. If you take away one thing about Ellen, let it be her immense warmth, beautiful smile and giddy laugh.

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“Paul went to the same church as my aunt and uncle; they’ve known each other for years. One day they were talking about their careers, exchanging ‘What do you do?’ questions back and forth. He told them he was an account manager and they said, ‘Oh, you’ve gotta meet our niece.’ The rest is history.”

“I met Paul in December 2002 and before that, I never even knew this industry existed.  He created a position for me with the intent of training me to become an Executive Producer and that he did.  I learned from the best…working alongside Kari, Pete and Andy as well.  After Paul left to start FLIRT in 2008, I was laid off shortly after…while I was on maternity leave.  It was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to freelance for FLIRT among many others, learn more about the industry, spread my wings and grow as an Executive Producer.”

Ellen freelanced from 2008–2015, and working for FLIRT was always a priority. “They were my go-to,” she says. 

“I’ll never forget when Kari called (in early 2015) to ask me to join the FLIRT team full-time. I instantly started crying.”  Ellen smiles, “It was very humbling and touching. This is where I belong. This is home.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Patience and flexibility. Paul was a very good listener. He taught me to keep my mouth shut and to just listen. It’s funny I’m saying this because Paul was the last person to keep his mouth shut, but when it came to listening to clients’ needs, there was no one better than he. I remind myself of this constantly.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“Just walking through the door to my other family,” she giggles. “I mean, c‘mon, what other company sends group text messages to each other outside of work? And no, I won’t share what those are!”  Ellen continues, “I do think of when my girlies would come in with me for visits on our ‘downtown fun days’ —They’d love to go see ‘Mr. Paul’ and sit on his lap. When this new office edition was finally complete the girls would smash their faces on the glass doors in the fishbowl and blow faces.” Ellen smiles, “Oh man.”

  1. If you can only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which song would you choose?

“Hmm, ‘Best Day Of My Life’ by the American Authors because it’s happy and you should try to make every day the best day.”

We hope you enjoyed hearing straight from some of our brilliant FLIRTies—check back next time for the exciting third and final edition!

FLIRTcasting: Online Resources for Learning Web Development & Design

by in Best of the Web, Big Ideas, FLIRTcasting 

We are stepping into December, which means we are not far from 2017! Have you had a chance to think of your new year resolutions? Well, learning something new is always a beneficial goal to set for a new year and for event professionals (or aspiring event professionals), web and design are always good topics to learn about. These areas are essential parts of events. I mean, can you imagine an event without a website or branding? You may not have direct interest in becoming a developer or designer, but having more knowledge on these subjects will make working with designers much more smooth. Plus, it’s always fun to learn!

Here are some online resources that provide fun and efficient ways to learn about web or graphic design:

Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a non-profit organization created by Salman Khan. It has a wide variety of subjects to learn such as math, science, economics, history, music and of course, web design! For learning about web design, Intro to HTML/CSS is the go to course. It has more than just videos, it also offers activities, and even games! The best part, it rewards you with badges upon completion.

Code Academy
In comparison to Khan Academy, Code Academy differs in that it is specifically for learning how to code. It offers coding classes in 12 different programming languages including HTML, CSS, Java, Python and more. For learning HTML & CSS, it provides step-by-step instructions and an online editor, so you can learn and practice at the same time. offers video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business. Compared to the two sites above, is more project-based, meaning you can watch videos on certain topics that you are interested in, while the above two sites offer more of a step-by-step process.


If you can’t find what you are looking for from the sites above, of course there are many other websites that provide lessons. For instance, YouTube can be a go to when looking for a quick/free video tutorial. The growing use of technology and the internet has made learning easier and much more accessible. So really, there are no excuses big enough to stand in the way of your new year’s learning goal!