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Episode 94 / March 25, 2024

Mastering encore-worthy event entertainment with Makenzie Stokel and Channing Moreland

Tune in to hear EVA cofounders Makenzie Stokel and Channing Moreland discuss the crucial role of entertainment in enhancing event experiences and share strategies for selecting impactful speakers and delivering innovative activations.

In this episode, Host Rachel Moore brings together Makenzie Stokel and Channing Moreland, the cofounders of EVA, to explore the transformative power of entertainment in event planning. Delving into their unique roles and the genesis of EVA, an online marketplace for booking vetted entertainment, Stokel and Moreland share their expertise on selecting the right speakers and the impact of out-of-the-box activations that leave lasting impressions on attendees while advocating for the infusion of fun and interactive elements that connect deeply with attendees. 

For these EVA founders, engagement and entertainment go hand in hand in elevating the event experience. By aligning entertainment choices with the event’s goals and themes, they provide valuable insights for event professionals looking to captivate and inspire their audiences.

Here’s what you’ll hear about in this conversation:

  • Why entertainment and speakers should be woven into the fabric of event planning from day one
  • How customization and interactivity are essential to creating memorable and personalized activations
  • Ways to streamline finding and booking entertainment using tools like EVA

Mentioned in this episode


[00:00:09] Rachel Moore: Welcome to Event Experience by Bizzabo, the podcast where we bring the best and brightest Event Experience Leaders together to share stories, tips, and lessons learned from creating some of the world’s biggest events.

I’m Rachel Moore, your podcast host. 

Our guests today put the “E” in Content, and in this case E stands for Entertainment. Makenzie Stokel and Channing Moreland are the co-founders of EVA, and they share all the reasons why entertainment should be a first action rather than an afterthought when planning events. They also bring some truly out-of-the-box activation ideas into the discussion, so this one’s a must-listen for your Event Experience success. Let’s get into it!

[00:01:08] Rachel Moore: Across from me on microphones. I have a special experience for all of you today because typically I have a singular guest on with me in the podcast for Bizzabo.

[00:01:17] But today we’re speaking to two cofounders of the same company. I’m really excited to welcome Makenzie Stokel and Channing Moreland, cofounders of EVA. Welcome both of you Channing and Makenzie, to the podcast.

[00:01:31] Channing Moreland: Thanks for having us.

[00:01:31] Makenzie Stokel: Thank you. Excited to be here. 

[00:01:34] Rachel Moore: Yes, we’re excited to have you as well. I obviously only have provided your names just now, but Channing, I’ll start with you is we’d love to hear a little bit from both of you what is your current role as cofounder?

[00:01:45] Give us a tiny bit of background and then your current kind of world as the cofounder of EVA and Channing. I’ll toss it to you first. 

[00:01:52] Channing Moreland: Absolutely. So it’s pretty funny because when we first started it was really our lawyer saying, Hey, we know you’re cofounders, but what are you both going to be doing here?

[00:02:02] We need to better understand. And Makenzie and I just always said, Hey, at the beginning, let’s just get things done. But it’s funny how much our roles have really become true to what we put down on paper at the very beginning. And Makenzie will obviously speak for her, but I’m so grateful for our partnership because really where one has strengths, the other that balances the other’s weaknesses.

[00:02:21] And for me, I really gravitate towards the more sales business development side, really building partnerships. I also work on the investor relations side and just really thinking about that kind of growth of the team and where we’re going next and where all my weaknesses lie I’ll let Makenzie fill in on what she is fabulous at.

[00:02:42] Makenzie Stokel: Not at all. No, I focus on the product as well as marketing and really building, getting user feedback, building the product pipeline based on what both sides of our users are saying, and then working a lot with Channing and sales to know who to market to, where to market, what markets we’re going into next.

[00:03:06] Rachel Moore: Nice. And then describe EVA a little bit to us too, because obviously we’re in the world of events and we talked to a lot of different people from companies and they do different aspects of events. What do you all tap into with EVA?

The role of entertainment in event planning

[00:03:17] Makenzie Stokel: Yeah. So EVA is an online marketplace that connects private and corporate event planners with vetted entertainment that they can book. So we make the process of booking speakers, music, roaming entertainment, comedy, all types of entertainment, make that process really easy for those clients to book online.

[00:03:38] Rachel Moore: Excellent. 

[00:03:39] I’ve got some get to know you questions, so these should be fun. And Channing, I’ll go to you first with this. What are your go to on the ground event day shoes? What are your favorite pair to wear? 

[00:03:49] Channing Moreland: My Everlane white sneakers.

[00:03:52] Love them. Comfy. I’m a sneaker with a blazer kind of gal. 

[00:03:57] Rachel Moore: Excellent. Makenzie. How about you? 

[00:04:00] Makenzie Stokel: Also white sneakers. My Air Force Ones. I feel like can’t go wrong. Love a pair of white clean sneakers. Gotta have the flat shoes of course, but keep it fresh. 

[00:04:11] Rachel Moore: One of our prior guests, they were saying something like, thank God sneakers are like fashion forward now.

[00:04:17] You’re totally at the height of fashion. So thank goodness for that. 

[00:04:20] Makenzie Stokel: Thank goodness is right.

[00:04:23] Rachel Moore: All right, Makenzie, to you first with this one. What are you listening to, watching, or reading these days that you cannot put down?

[00:04:30] Makenzie Stokel: Oh, love it. I’m reading a book called Mastery by Robert Green where it really is just talking about how important it is to find that one thing that you’re really good at and stick to it. And you probably have known for your whole life, what that thing is, even if it’s just a skill, like being a really good communicator, just continuing to own that and not feeling the need to become a jack of all trades, but being like, this is my thing and I should stick to it.

[00:05:00] And here’s like examples in ways of how you can. So I’m loving that book. And then for music, I will say the Sacred Souls is a band that has a new album out. Incredible. They are killing it. I love them. 

[00:05:14] Rachel Moore: Nice. Very good. Good recs. And then Channing, how about you? 

[00:05:17] Channing Moreland: Okay. So I am a puddle over, I finally just watched Love on the Spectrum and I know I’m like so far behind, but it was just incredible.

[00:05:28] Music wise, I am listening a lot to Fred Again. Love him. He’s coming to Bonnaroo. I’m excited. Little Tennessee shout out. And then reading. Y’all, I wish I was reading something like personal growth, but I’m in the Sarah J. Moss universe and loving it. So that’s where I’m at right now. 

[00:05:49] Rachel Moore: Hey, remember, it’s not all about business. Sometimes it has to be, so it’s all good. For either of you is there a particular social post or a piece of media or even a hot take about events that you found interesting lately? 

[00:06:03] Channing Moreland: Ooh. I think what’s been really interesting to see, it goes along the line of getting people back into their play, getting people into interactive.

[00:06:10] A lot of people are writing about gamification right now and how do we do it? And that’s been interesting. We’ve gotten to talk a little bit about that too, in certain circumstances and we’re seeing more and more of it. 

[00:06:21] Rachel Moore: Nice. How about you, Makenzie? 

[00:06:23] Makenzie Stokel: Maybe a hot take, obviously, everyone’s trying to use AI, learn what that means for them and their company.

[00:06:30] And I don’t remember where I saw this, but it was almost just like a, calling out the buzzword of, Hey, yeah, we’re all trying to use AI. We know it’s a big deal, but like learn what that actually means for you and your company and how it can be applied and how, like how important it might be to you instead of just saying it or even building AI within your product before really knowing what value it might bring.

[00:06:58] So I think that really stuck with me. We are like, do the same thing. We’re like, Oh my gosh, let’s build five new features like an AI feature that could help users do X, Y, Z. And of course it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves. So we always try and bring it back and say, okay, what real value does this bring right now?

[00:07:17] Does it help our current clients? And if not, maybe it’s not a huge priority at the moment. Of course, these things are like very important and we always want to be ahead on technology, but really doing our research maybe before building things. 

[00:07:30] Rachel Moore: Appreciate that diligence too, because yeah, I feel like AI, you’re right.

[00:07:33] Let me figure out a way to put AI into my keywords anytime I can, but yeah, figure out what does that mean, and how’s that going to play out? It’s been an interesting ride with AI and will continue to be, I’m sure. 

[00:07:44] Everyone we’re recording this right as South by Southwest in Austin is entering its wrap up phase, but so you’re all in the thick of it right now. You talk about somewhere that’s got a bunch of entertainment happening for folks.

[00:07:56] It’s great to be able to speak to you as your, little bit set apart from that right now and joining me for this podcast is awesome. 

[00:08:03] Channing Moreland: Yeah. 

[00:08:03] Rachel Moore: Our listeners obviously run all kinds of events. Our audience of event planners run the gamut, whether they’re, preparing the smaller, more intimate events and experiences to something a bit larger. 

Optimizing event engagement through entertainment 

[00:08:14] As event planners everyone listening to this podcast, we use the word content for a variety of event components.

[00:08:21] Can go everything from social to web to the actual things happening on the screen or on the stage. How does entertainment factor into a total event. And do you find that our event profs out there remember that it’s an option? 

[00:08:35] Channing Moreland: Rachel, I love this question because we’ve really gotten to work with so many incredible event professionals and have seen entertainment play in all different facets of events. And there, of course, what’s exciting, especially with the technology that we’ve built, is we can be a last minute. Oh, crap. Like I need to add something option, but we really see the value of the event expand and enhance when you’re thinking about how entertainment can add to your event at the beginning. 

[00:09:06] When we see event professionals think about, Oh, how do I want to create an experience? What kind of culture do I want to derive from this event? A lot of entertainment plays into that. What kind of experience are you setting for your attendees? And so I do think it’s such an important factor into the content that you’re building.

[00:09:23] And it’s not always remembered and we see a big difference in events that are versus not. 

[00:09:28] Rachel Moore: Yeah. And I’m curious about that too, because I think a lot of times businesses, obviously when you put on an event, you have a bottom line, right? What you want to get out of the event.

[00:09:37] You want to get out revenue. You want it to figure in that way. So a lot of times it can probably feel a little bit easier for them to say let’s put the content out that’s going to matter to us generating leads. Maybe forgetting the whole feely part of it, the touchy feely part that people want to actually feel something that maybe your content can’t accomplish for you.

[00:09:55] Are you finding that kind of helps bridge that divide in some ways with entertainment? 

[00:10:00] Makenzie Stokel: Yeah, absolutely. 

[00:10:01] Makenzie Stokel: I think entertainment really is the way and even under the entertainment umbrella, activations or more experiential things, all of that, we tie into entertainment. And I think that is really where people can connect more and it is potentially harder to track ROI on things like that.

[00:10:22] But I do think whenever we’ve done surveys for big events, the entertainment portion is often the most important part of a lot of people’s experience at an event. And so I think we see time and time again with our clients who continue to come back and book different types of entertainment that it really is important for their attendees.

[00:10:42] Rachel Moore: Excellent. Let’s dive into the realm of speakers for a bit. I’m curious to discuss this with all of you because I know there’s all kinds of chatter around speakers. There’s challenges to trying to get the right speakers or trying to get, diverse speakers and, whatever your lineups looking at, and also the benefits of enlisting speakers, I think we just talked about entertainment.

The power of choosing the right keynote speaker

[00:11:03] Do you get someone who’s a celebrity whether or not they may necessarily have a tie in to what the content of the event is? Are you just going for a name or are you going for someone who’s relevant? I know I just talked about a couple things there. What are some of those challenges and benefits that event planners should be mindful of when they’re planning their agendas and their speaker lineup?

[00:11:24] Channing Moreland: Yes, you bring up a great point on there is this pressure to bring a name or bring someone that’s maybe going to have influence in the creator economy, but are they really driving value for the actual event’s purpose? And something that we see is when you find that speaker that really aligns with their message, it’s game changing for the event.

[00:11:48] And so what we try and do is find speakers that are going to go that extra mile to really speak what we call the company’s language. Because if they’re pulling ties in or connecting the dots of what that company’s theme is for the event, or, giving actual lingo of that event, the crowd is just like mind blown.

[00:12:07] And that’s for more internal, really making sure if it’s an external like customer event or more just a conference, making sure it really ties in, I think, with the messaging and the theme that can be huge benefits that also can create big challenges. If you just kind of book someone for the name and it leaves people wanting more and not getting what they want.

[00:12:25] That can be a really hard thing to try and fix on the back end. 

[00:12:28] Rachel Moore: Yeah. I would imagine. Do you find that you have to like, also sometimes working with event planner who may be getting influenced by the C suite, in saying, no, but go for that. And they’re like, yes, but we should do the, do you all have to consult on that quite a bit?

[00:12:44] As far as like saying, let’s help y’all navigate this choice. 

[00:12:47] Makenzie Stokel: All the time, definitely. And it is, it’s hard. Sometimes people really do have a set vision on what it is that they’re looking for and they really want to run with this theme or run with this specific person. What we can always do is just show them other options or show them what’s possible.

[00:13:02] And a lot of times they do end up changing their mind because of something maybe they didn’t think about or realize was possible beforehand. But that’s what we’re always trying to do is just at least give everyone options. At the end of the day, choice is yours, but here’s some other things maybe you didn’t think about.

[00:13:18] Rachel Moore: It’s nice that you create that kind of like marketplace or is that kind of what it’s like where people can get in there and say we know we want these particular options or these particular characteristics. And then you’re just like here’s a buffet and you can pick what you want.

[00:13:31] Makenzie Stokel: Exactly. Yeah. Event planners will create an event with all of the tags that they might be looking for. So if it’s music, they would be genres. If it’s speakers, they would be topics or themes that they may or may not already know what they want. Or they can be super broad and just say this is the date of my event and this is my budget and this is the location.

[00:13:50] You tell me what’s available at what price point and what might be cool. So we get that a lot too to where we can have lots of entertainers who maybe they would never have even considered booking, start to apply, and they’ll get the ideas that way. 

[00:14:03] Rachel Moore: Yeah, and I like what you say, too, about trying to align the speaker as much as possible with the event.

[00:14:07] I’ve worked at companies too, where you go to the handler or whatever of the celebrity in question. And then you’re pretty much at their mercy, depending on how big the name is. I would venture to guess that a lot of our listeners are like, Oh my God, if I had to go talk to the agent for, I don’t know, Mindy Kaling or someone like that, I wouldn’t know what to do, and you’re supporting that by saying let’s make that relationship a little bit easier for you to access and have access to this person, right?

[00:14:34] Channing Moreland: Absolutely. And that’s actually one of our core values with our company is technology with heart. We always want to streamline with tech, but we’re event professionals from the forefront and we understand this is a very relationship based industry, especially events meets music and entertainment and that live events industry.

[00:14:54] And so for us, we’re really those trusted advisors behind the scenes. And we come in, we really help curate for those larger programs, but we’re using the technology to make sure it goes much faster and easier along the way.

[00:15:07] Rachel Moore: That sounds like a big relief, like I said, you can get a little fangirl and starstruck when you’re like talking about some of these bigger names too. 

[00:15:17] Ad Intro: We’ll be right back with more Event Experience after the break.

[00:15:07] Ad Copy: From backstage to the spotlight, the Event Experience podcast by Bizzabo gives you a front-row seat to the event industry’s most captivating stories. 

Want to get more out of each episode? Visit — that’s B-I-Z-Z-A-B-O dot com slash podcast — for show notes, transcripts, links and resources mentioned in each episode, and more. 

The Event Experience podcast by Bizzabo – where events become unforgettable experiences!

[00:15:07] Ad Outro: We’re back with Event Experience to learn how hyper local and niche speakers can add value to events.

[00:16:08] Rachel Moore: Say we’re talking like a more hyper or hyper local event or something a bit smaller, but someone still wants to get some kind of, a speaker that has some notoriety. Do y’all work on that level too? And still find a lot of value when you’re able to place those kinds of speakers in those kinds of events.

[00:16:23] Channing Moreland: Yeah, it’s actually one of my favorite things to do is really us finding the hyper localized speakers or influencers that can really make an impact in that community that they’re in. And so with our platform, we’re able to find and discover those acts, which is really exciting. And it usually is more tailor made for that city, which is fantastic. So we absolutely work on a hyper local level in that way.

[00:16:52] Rachel Moore: I think a lot of event professionals one thing they hope the speaker will get is not just a draw, for, Hey, we want people to come attend our event because they see the speaker or the speakers are going to be there. What do you all know about like the expectation of like speakers, you’re going to have them be in a event and, have the message of the event.

Speakers and promotion: Enhancing event visibility 

[00:17:11] Is there anything around like how that speaker might also help promote the event. Is there stuff in place for that? Or is it like they show up, do their thing and, hopefully effectively on message, but then skate away? Or is there promotion stuff involved there too? How important is that for an event planner?

[00:17:25] Channing Moreland: Yeah, it’s interesting you bring that up because it really gets determined in that offer process, which we can help walk people through that. Typically it is if they’re going to be a keynote or just a standard speaker, it would be the, Hey, we’re coming in and giving the speaking. Maybe you do a book deal as well, where everyone gets a book as well, signed from them, but it would be pretty standardized.

[00:17:46] But the great part is what a lot of people don’t know is those are the things you can ask for on the front end. If you want them to be involved on the promotional aspect, you want them to maybe engage in a meet and greet or a VIP experience or a moderated talk after. Those are things you can ask for, and that’s what’s great.

[00:18:03] It can be bespoke. You can work it for your event. And they, as soon as they know the details, they want to work with you to figure out how they can be a part of it.

[00:18:10] Rachel Moore: That’s great. Yeah. And I think that’s maybe something our listeners may not realize. Like I mentioned too, if you think you’re getting starstruck, I should just give them whatever they want and be happy.

[00:18:18] They’re just going to be at my event. It’s wait a minute, business transaction. Let’s see what we can do here to get the most mileage out of having those speakers.

[00:18:27] Channing Moreland: I do think the culture of corporate events and the entertainment community is really shifting and we’re excited to see that.

[00:18:35] I think people think, Oh, they might not want to do this corporate event. No, they love them. This is a huge part of their business and this is a great way for them to connect with the real community. It’s a great additive revenue stream for them. Absolutely the right ones will want to work with you and make it incredible, which is what we love to see happen.

[00:18:55] Rachel Moore: That’s encouraging, especially for our listeners. It does help that power dynamic, I think, to where they’re not just thinking, Oh, this is like the last thing they want to do. No they like this. This is revenue for them. Like we said, it’s a business transaction, so it can be a mutually beneficial one for everybody.

Unlocking out-of-the-box activations for events 

[00:19:12] One thing that people like to wow in their events with is out of the box activations.

[00:19:17] So we can all think about traditional activations or it’s yes, let’s have a, a, a. What do you see, what’s winning these days when it comes to out of the box activations? What do you see, what’s winning these days when it comes to out of the box activations?

[00:19:47] Makenzie Stokel: I find that things that can be really customized per person or interactive somehow, so like we have someone that will do like a high fashion sketch of you at the event. They’ll make you look like a really cool, like you’re wearing some like high fashion outfit and it’s a take home that you can have of yourself or Scentology bars where you get like a custom scent based on your aura. Like embroidery with like your name on it or like we have an artist too who can take requests on the spot and then mash up all the songs of people that have have requested a song and he’ll do a mash up of everyone that people have just thrown out.

[00:20:29] So stuff that like people can actually get involved with is super fun. Or something that’s got their name, got something custom to them that maybe is different from their next person that got something does really well. Those are super fun things.

[00:20:42] Rachel Moore: I would imagine that too because I can tell you this right now and everyone, maybe I’ll share a picture of it on my own LinkedIn.

[00:20:48] We have a whole wall of the sunglasses that I have brought home from events, the swag where it’s just take, cause I’ll always take a free pair of sunglasses. I live in one of the sunniest states in the United States. But how much more impactful is it then to get something where it’s like, Oh my gosh, I got something nobody else has cause it’s custom to me. Do you have some other examples too of like you were talking about like drone usage and stuff like that. What do you all see with that kind of stuff?

[00:21:15] Makenzie Stokel: Yeah there’s the, like a drone show where even many a drone can come together and make the logo or make a phrase that maybe has to do with the event where it’s an actual show that you’re watching. Or they can have one or two drones at an event that are, like, handing things to people, or there’s a bartender that uses a drone, and the drone is actually the mixologist, where it spins around and is actually pouring the drink for the person. So there’s like lots of cool, different stuff that we’ve seen with drones, which is super exciting and fun. And of course it, yeah it’s always just bring something new as far as technology.

[00:21:54] Rachel Moore: Yeah. And definitely creates that wow factor. And like I said, I would be having my phone out filming it, to be like, look what I’m seeing.

[00:22:00] But that’s the, it sounds like the money shot. That’s what you want when you’re like trying to just create that memory. And even better if it’s something where they can take it away with them and people will be like, Ooh, ah, about it. These are great ideas too, by the way, cause it’s helping our event planners.

[00:22:15] All right, I’m going to make what might be an older movie reference. So hopefully people can forgive me. A wise man once said, are you not entertained?

[00:22:23] And that is from Gladiator, by the way, that was Russell Crowe. Thanks. But keeping audiences and participants engaged at meetings and meetings, we’re talking about meetings. It that’s like a superpower, like asking someone, Hey, just, Let’s go viral on social. Oh, of course. Sure. If I could do that, I probably wouldn’t need to work for a living.

[00:22:41] How can event planners keep attendees engaged and activated today? And that’s a tall order, a tall question to ask y’all, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

[00:22:50] Channing Moreland: I love where events are going with this question in mind, because

[00:22:54] Channing Moreland: I think our world has been through so much hardship, especially in the past couple of years.

[00:23:01] And I think now we’re coming into this season where event planners and companies are really starting to say, how can we have fun? How can we let them really connect? How can we provide authenticity? I’ve been hearing a lot of questions of how do we get people back into their inner child? I love it. I’m a little woo myself.

[00:23:21] And so I love that people are thinking like, how do we get people really back into their fun? And so that has been a really exciting time to be with letting people play with giving, entertainment back to them in a fun way. So I think that is a big part of how to be thinking about it. It doesn’t all have to be business.

[00:23:40] It can be about connection. So we’re trying to help rethink that. And sometimes it takes some partnership to think through those and just really hear and listen to what people are wanting.

[00:23:50] Rachel Moore: That’s a really good point. We talked about business wanting bottom line results, revenue. Of course that stuff’s important, but it really does feel like a common thread we’re thinking through here is this is about, can be about feelings and it can be about remembering there are humans that we have involved in this event or this meeting, and that it’s okay to spend some time and money on tapping into that. Because the value is going to return. Now, does that mean that someone’s, Oh I just saw that drone show. I’m going to immediately click on a, form. Maybe not, but it certainly can be part of that funnel, right? It can be part of the whole interactivity and and That demand generation.

Event ROI and entertainment: Measuring the immeasurable

[00:24:28] Channing Moreland: Yes, as much as we talk, like we were saying earlier, as much as we talk about this creative deeper connection, we also do love to tie that to ROI when we can, because we understand there’s a bottom line and we have to think about that return. Maybe we can link it in the notes of the podcast, but there’s two really interesting industry reports that recently came out. The Event Incentive Index was one of them and it was talking about how we are seeing more and more that creating culture connection, providing entertainment and events is directly relating to more sales, more employee retention, greater ROI of the event. So it’s really interesting to start to see that being better defined.

[00:25:10] Rachel Moore: That’s a great point. You brought up something great too, because I know people, if you’re thinking like, yes, I’m going to go spend five figures on getting a name, a celebrity or someone, a speaker, or this other entertainment package as part of my event, does that directly contribute to my revenue.

[00:25:25] Maybe not, but they’re going to want to know what the KPIs are now. How am I going to see a return on that investment? But I love that there, there is, science out there. There’s research already being done to say, Hey, there, there is a value to this, but that might be one other question too.

[00:25:39] When you’re asked to deliver like a KPI or, say, Hey, Okay. If we’re going to use you all and if we’re going to get this person to speak at our event how are you demonstrating that ROI to be that planner?

[00:25:51] Channing Moreland: As the world is rapidly evolving on what, how to track ROI, what data we can track. So that’s always a place to keep growing, but we at least really try to better first understand the demographic and what their ideal return of the entire event is before we even go to a Mindy Kaling, really understanding what’s the purpose.

[00:26:13] Then from there, once they’ve decided, okay, I want X, Y, Z we’re really trying to understand what will the post event recap response survey be from attendees. How can we be asking these questions to make sure that we understand how it went in their opinion, what they liked, what they hated?

[00:26:30] Did they feel like there was a real connection to the message? There’s more of like subjective things, but we’re trying to get more and more dialed in on that as we grow,

[00:26:41] Rachel Moore: Obviously we’re all after data all the time and it’s always changing and growing. So that’s something amazing to look at.

[00:26:46] Speaking of activations wanted to give you all the opportunity.

[00:26:48] Is there one specific activation or entertainment or speaker that you’d like to call out where you just crushed it?

Spotlight on successful event entertainment collaborations

[00:26:56] Makenzie Stokel: So hard to pick just one. Maybe I’ll talk about some of the music side, maybe Channing, you can talk about speakers, activations, but. One of my favorite artists to book is NI/CO, that’s N I slash C O.

[00:27:11] They’re awesome. It’s a guy girl duo, and they just absolutely kill it. Both have some of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard. It’s pop R& B, and they can do anything for different clients, and can totally customize a set. And then someone else, Carl Wachner as the other artists I love and would recommend for companies because he’s the one that will take the songs and do mashups totally customizable, super fun, always does a really great job.

[00:27:42] Rachel Moore: And Channing, what about you? What about activation entertainment or speaker that you’re like nailed it that time?

[00:27:47] Channing Moreland: Yes. I. Oh, it’s so hard to pick, but there is a speaker I’m especially loving right now, especially thinking about trying to really think about diversity initiatives.

[00:27:58] And I just feel Denise Soler Cox is the most amazing. She really focuses on the theme of belonging, which I think is such a big concept right now for where, communities are at. And it’s an incredible story. You’ll have to go check her out, but she actually created a film to really talk about as a Latino woman, the diaspora of that and feeling of belonging. And so she’s just incredible. So she just continues to nail it for us.

[00:28:27] Also just people are wanting interactive right now. They’re wanting experiential. They’re wanting to feel connected. And so even like small things, like we have this really cool resin art by Anya.

[00:28:38] She brings these beautiful flowers and people can pour resin and create these incredible coasters or frames or, and it’s just a fun kind of unexpected thing for someone to make at an event and it really gets them into their creative side, so much, but those have been ones that I’m really loving right now.

[00:28:55] Rachel Moore: Love all of those. Wow. Again, popping ideas into the heads of our event planners who are listening. This is great.

[00:29:01] Easiest question of all for you all where can our listeners find and follow you online? Makenzie, I’ll take you first.

[00:29:08] Makenzie Stokel: My personal Instagram is at KenzStokel. Our company is at book with EVA.

[00:29:16] Channing Moreland: And I’m at Channing Moorland. Nice and easy.

Skillup with Makenzi Stokel and Channing Moreland

[00:29:30] Rachel Moore: You get a supreme SkillUp segment today with not one but two suggestions from Channing and Makenzie to level up your event experience.  

[00:29:40] Makenzie Stokel: Probably stay open minded, I think, as much as possible.

I think, like you said, you can very easily get creative burnout. It happens. Like we have to keep being creative in this space and keep finding new things all the time. So it does become really easy to know, okay, I’ve booked this five times, 10 times. It works really well. Let me just keep booking that. Makes my life a little bit easier.

I always try to stay open minded and keep looking for new things because it, it does keep changing. Trends keep changing, new people come in and are exciting and interesting to book. So I always try and stay really open minded and would recommend that for any other event planner as well.

Channing Moreland: Wow, I really align with Makenzie there. I think I would say too that just finding those partners that you can really trust for them to take off that workload. I am always amazed how much event professionals have. To do and have what’s going on.

It’s literally a million things a day and finding those people to delegate, to remove that stress anywhere you can. I would just recommend always being open to that as well, because I really hope that would make a big difference in the day to day.

[00:30:53] Rachel Moore: Thanks again to Makenzie Stokel and Channing Moreland for joining us on Event Experience, and thank YOU for listening. 

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