Hey, East Coasters, guess who’s back? This guy. Well I was, but I’m gone already 🙂 This professional emcee and corporate entertainer just wrapped the four-day 2022 Xylem Reach Conference in Washington, D.C., where I also had the pleasure of catching up with my college buddy, David, and spending time with my eldest brother Gene and his family.
Here’s what made my second Xylem Reach Conference so special!
Round Two of the Xylem Reach Conference
While you might not be familiar with them by name, you’re definitely familiar with Xylem by trade. Xylem is a leading water technology company committed to creating innovative solutions to meet the world’s ever-evolving water, wastewater, and energy needs. The Xylem Reach Conference occurs once per year to bring together more than 1,200 utility professionals, industry analysts, and trade consultants from around the world.
I had the fortune of serving as the hybrid emcee for Xylem last year as well. The 2021 Xylem Reach Conference had programming specifically for both live and virtual audiences that occurred concurrently. This year, partly because Xylem has moved its global headquarters to Washington, D.C., we were fully in-person.
The purpose of this year’s Conference was to deliver educational content designed to take attendees — and their respective utility — to the next level. Conference sessions that occurred over the four-day event included Learning Labs, SPAN business meetings, Distributor sessions, and of course, a virtual tour of the new Xylem headquarters!
What Elements Set This Year Apart?
One of my favorite things to do after I’ve wrapped an event is to consider which elements set it apart from the rest, like awesome keynote speakers or a one-of-a-kind location. Given my time as the hybrid event emcee for Xylem last year, I thought it would be fun to compare what made the 2022 Xylem Reach Conference truly unforgettable.
1. A Different Role for Speakers
Keynote speakers are an event component that can seriously elevate a conference, especially a multi-day affair like the Xylem Reach Conference. During last year’s hybrid event, speakers delivered two separate presentations to the live and virtual audiences, and both audiences tuned into the conference app for the main session.
This year’s conference focused on two keynote speakers instead, and what I found particularly effective was the choice of speaker personalities. Up first was Mark Shulman, a drummer for massive performers like Pink, Foreigner, and Billy Idol. Mark’s a friendly face on the circuit, so it was awesome working with him for Xylem Reach, getting to hear his drum skills, and watching his high-energy, motivational keynote.
On the next day, H.G. Chissell took the stage to discuss the utility infrastructure and how different verticals of water, gas, and electricity could work alongside one another. As a more data-driven and analytical speaker, the juxtaposition between H.G. and Mark made for a super entertaining and engaging keynote component at the 2022 Conference!
2. A New (Historic!) Location
Last year, myself and the Xylem team hosted the Reach Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, one of my favorite cities for events. This year, we set up shop in the newest Xylem global headquarters, Washington, D.C. The best part? We went from one historic city to another — especially with this year’s venue, the Washington Hilton!
The Washington Hilton is home to the annual White House Correspondents Dinner as well as the National Prayer Breakfast, and we hosted our conference events in the very same room! Aside from the fantastic layout and vintage paintings of the venue, the atmosphere really solidified that you were in the heart of D.C.
3. A Unique Corporate Experience
If I thought that the combined virtual and in-person corporate experiences were stellar last year, consider me blown away by the experiences this year! The 2022 Xylem Reach Conference did something I’d never seen before, but absolutely cannot understand why… Xylem brought in rescue puppies for attendees to cuddle and play with!
That’s right, the 2022 Xylem Reach Conference partnered with Wolf Trap Animal Rescue to bring in a bunch of the cutest, fluffiest puppies I’d ever seen. As a true win-win-win scenario, Wolf Trap received much-needed exposure, the puppies got a whole lot of love, and attendees had a blast! It was the talk of the town during breaks.
4. An Ongoing Client Relationship
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love when clients become friends! That’s exactly how I feel about my contacts, Kim and Alex, and now Carolina, Brook, and the Xylem team. It was wonderful to rejoin the Xylem Reach Conference for the second year in a row, especially now that we’ve they’ve trust in me as the professional emcee.
Any event emcee will tell you that the first gig with a client is always a bit nerve-wracking, from learning new names and faces to proving your worth as a corporate entertainer. This year, the vibe was a lot more casual. I was even able to add value as the emcee with some strolling entertainment at happy hour one evening!
Back to the East Coast for this Event Emcee
The 2022 Xylem Reach Conference was special for a myriad of reasons, but I do have to point out one that’s near and dear to my heart — it was an East Coast gig! As a Philly-born event emcee, I love being back on the East Coast for conferences. And as a Georgetown alumnus, it was fantastic to be back in D.C., exploring Dupont Circle and riding the metro. I graduated back in 2005, so it felt very reminiscent and nostalgic to be back for sure!
Not only that, but I was also able to squeeze in time with friends and family back on the East Coast this trip! I got to hang out with David, one of my five college roommates who I only see at our annual reunion, and grab dinner with him and his lovely girlfriend. Later that week, I saw my oldest brother Gene, who lives with his wife and kids in Damascus, Maryland. We hit the Rio Lakefront for dinner and to feed the ducks, it was fantastic!
While I always discuss just how much I love my ability to travel as an event emcee and corporate entertainer, it’s weeks like these that prove just how many perks my job truly has. I know for a fact that I would not have been able to see David or Gene until another major holiday, but there I was, smack dab in their cities! This trip was the ultimate way to combine work and play, especially after playing with puppies at Xylem Reach!
How Will You Set Your Next Event Apart?
Between historic venues and never-been-seen corporate experiences, there are tons of ways to elevate your next event. My best advice for a top-notch conference? An event emcee, of course! A professional emcee like myself not only helps facilitate the agenda and keep the event moving smoothly, but they also create dedicated moments for audience engagement and interaction that make for a truly meaningful, unforgettable conference.
Ready to set your next event apart from the rest? Send me a booking inquiry today!