All entries tagged with “networking”

Testimonials Stream In From the Education Facilities Management Forum in Dallas, Texas

The Education Facilities Management Forum took place in Dallas, Texas on April 25 & 26, 2016. Feedback is streaming in from attendees already! Here's what they have to say about their Forum Experience:

"Forum did a great job! Positively was beyond my expectation! Love the layout, the best one I have been to yet!"
- Burleson ISD 

"This was my first time at an event like this format and it was great. I loved time with the companies without any pressure or sales pitch. All of them even said to just call and ask questions about anything. Great job by the Forum Events staff before, during, and after the event. Thanks!"
- CitySquare 

"The Forum was a great experience in allowing direct one-on-one contact with potential vendors. Having the opportunity to meet with several in a day with specific time frames made it much easier to get to the point and look at specific opportunities."
- Grand Prairie ISD 

"The one-on-one meetings with vendors allowed me to ask questions that pertained to my particular facility without interrupting or listening to others who had different needs than my own. The time allowed for these meetings was just right, enough to demonstrate the need for the product without it really being a sales pitch."
- Hendrix College 

"Very nice! Enjoyed the event. Well organized and the Forum staff were very helpful. Thanks for the invite!"
- Magnolia ISD 

"The ability to pre-select vendors prior to the event made my experience and met my organization's needs. Liked the schedule and format. Employees were friendly and helpful. As my district prepares for a new bond program, the contacts here were great. I also like it when companies bring demos of some of their latest products, as I need to see it and touch it to understand its capabilities."
- Spring Branch ISD 

[Event Recap]: Education Facilities Management Forum - April 2016

The Education Facilities Management Forum hosted approximately 532 one-on-one meetings at the Sheraton Dallas on April 25th and 26th,2016. Executives from companies including Burleson ISD, Cedar Valley College, Criswell College, El Paso ISD, Memphis University, Louisiana Community and Technical College System, The University of Tennessee, Westlake  Academy and the University of Arkansas connected for informative meetings with solution providers, seminars and networking opportunities.

Face-to-face meetings kicked off promptly on Monday morning and ran throughout the next day and a half, separated by meals and seminars. "The one-on-one meetings with vendors allowed me to ask questions that pertained to my particular facility without interrupting or listening to others who had different needs than my own. The time allowed for these meetings was just right, enough to demonstrate the need for the product without it really being a sales pitch," explained an attendee from Hendriz College. Speakers including Tim Grosse, George Belich and Dominick Armato led discussions on energy management, capital forecasting and operational efficiency.

Prime networking continued into the evening with a gala dinner and casino games overlooking the stunning Dallas skyline. 

After a fun evening, attendees reconnected on Tuesday morning for more face-to-face meetings and additional seminars, ending with a closing lunch.

For more information, or to attend future events, contact VP of Operations Rob Muise here.

The Education Facilities Management Forum Releases 2016 Seminar Program

Hires_Education_Facilities_Logo.jpgThe Education Facilities Management Forum offers limited complimentary registration to the Directors & VPs of Facilities at educational facilities. Registration includes a personalized event itinerary of one-on-one networking and seminars, meals and refreshments, a gala dinner and casino night. All meals and refreshments are included along with overnight accommodation at the Westin Park Central in Dallas, Texas. To register, click here.

How Dashboard Style Interfaces & System Analytics Are Increasing Operational Efficiency & Reducing Energy Costs

Learn about new tools in the building automation industry and how they have provided stake holders from the boardroom to the boiler room with the means to increase their understanding of how building assets are serving their organization and a method of managing and implementing reductions in energy usage and operational costs.

Sustainable Materials in Restrooms, Locker Rooms & Other Applications

Credits: 1 AIA Hour & 1 USGBC Hour 
This seminar takes an indepth look at the sustainable materials in restrooms and locker rooms. 
  • Gain an understanding of how High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) reduces environmental impact and ways it offers both initial and long term improvements to the indoor air quality of any project. 
  • Hear several examples of how responsible manufacture is a critical part of any product's life cycle assessment.

Get Out of Construction Management Hell

This seminar helps facilities managers and owners finish projects under budget and ahead of schedule. Not to mention, helping them mitigate risk and protect their projects from litigation. MySmartPlans listened to the pleas of owners and facilities managers and found a solution to the headaches associated with managing and accessing project information. These issues include: Operations and Maintenance manuals, Warranty Information, Records, Drawings, Closeouts, submittals, plan rooms, and much more. Facilities Management now has a way to productively manage projects from bid phase to closeout for the next 50 years. This seminar takes client testimonials and turns them into relative stories and pain points that any construction audience can learn from. 

What We Need Is A Plan: School Security Gets Smarter

Learn how to:

  • Develop a sound, scalable security master plan
  • Assess threats
  • Manage and use the safety & security technology available and then make it work for you
  • Gain a brief & entertaining look at trending technologies in three markets: industrial security, cyber security and consumer electronics/commercial technologies

Tips for Achieving Capital Forecasting Success

Every part of your campus or facility will need repair or replacement at some point in the future. These projects can range anywhere from small work orders to multimillion dollar contracts. Learn about:

  • Long-range capital planning for capital decision making with confidence
  • Discuss the fundamentals of capital forecasting and the correlation between facility condition, asset life and student performance along with tips on how to improve your organization's efficiency and pull reports.

Mass Notification & Emergency Communications - When Seconds Matter

From catastrophic natural disasters to the threats college students face, there has been a heightened demand for effective, multi-layered emergency communications. This session will cover:

  • Integrated and interoperable Mass Notification platforms
  • Provide the perfect solution to instantly communicate to everyone – anytime, anywhere
  • Mass Notification Systems & their ability to send alerts and potentially life-saving instructions to unlimited communication devices, including voice sirens, indoor and outdoor speakers, digital display signage, text messaging, voice calls, desktop alerts, and email notifications.

Crisis Management & Planning for the Mobile Age

As professionals in the education and healthcare industries, your top priority is the safety of students, faculty, and staff. This seminar teaches:

  • How to streamline emergency response
  • How to keep your action plans relevant
  • Compares efficacy of paper safety plans versus mobile safety plans

A Case Study for Energy Management in Today's Education Environments

Energy management is essential for today's Healthcare and Education facility engineers and managers and presents an unparalleled opportunity for financial, operational, and environmental building performance enhancement. This workshop presents:

  • An overview of current innovative practices in energy management 
  • An indepth look at a Case Study examining energy management strategies and the actual energy efficiency results of a data/software management system at the Educational and Healthcare Facilities at Thomas Jefferson University.

Is Your Organization Celebrating Customer Service Week 2015?

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How do you plan to grow your business? With sales? Advertising?

You may be missing the one key factor that all thriving businesses are focusing on. Customer experience is becoming the most effective form of modern marketing with benefits including positive reputation, branding, credibility and inevitably, a healthy bottom line.

As part of this year's Customer Service Week, we asked our team members to reflect and share their most valuable tips for successful customer service. The Forum Events' Team offered some quality insight. "Always follow the Golden Rule," advises Kester Van Fleet, the Event Manager for the Facilities Management Summit, "treat customers and potential customers as you would like to be treated. Listen intently and respond politely." Event Coordinator Xavier Chance also adds, "The best tip I can give for the best customer service is to be yourself and be open to a myriad of personalities."

We're celebrating our organization's achievements this week, here's why you should be recognizing Customer Service Week 2015 too:


A typical company hears from 4% of it's dissatisfied customers. 


Source: "Understanding Customers" by Ruby Newell-Legner


78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor customer experience.

Source: American Express Survey, 2011


On average, loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase.

Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs


5-20 % = Probability of selling to a new prospect.

60-70 % = Probability of selling to an existing customer.

Source: Marketing Metrics

It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.


Source: "Understanding Customers" by Ruby Newell-Legner


News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.


Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs


It's 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.


Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs


For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.

Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs


3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.


Source: American Express Survey, 2011


This blog is part of Forum Events' recognition of Customer Service Week 2015. We recognize the excellent work of our employees and the importance of their everyday successes and dedication to customer service as part of the Forum Experience.

Customer Service Week is an annual weeklong recognition of customer service designed to boost morale, motivation and teamwork, reward frontline reps, raise companywide awareness of the importance of customer service, thank other departments for their support and remind customers of your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Be sure to thank your customer service peers this week as we celebrate Customer Service Week 2015 from October 5 - 9.

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Marketing Your Biggest Asset: YOU!

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Every day you are critiqued on your presentation. Your presence on LinkedIn, your Facebook profile picture, the posts that you ‘like’ and the links that you share. While you’re busy marketing to the masses on social media, in email communication and through your website, you could be missing one very key platform: Yourself.

A key component of networking is in-person communication, and while the focus is often on online outreach, your face-to-face persona and presentation are often your biggest asset. Simon Sinek explains the importance of this in his TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” He suggests that people don’t buy into a product, they buy into the leader. With software for improving your post outreach, ads to boost your followers and engagement analytics, there's no specific tool to help you, as a person, improve – how can you upgrade your most human asset? Here are a few tips to help you market yourself:

1.      Become Magnetic.

Professionals should aspire to attain magnetic qualities to attract the attention of valuable colleagues, employees and customers. Traits of a magnetic person include authenticity, confidence, eloquence, energy, motivation, an active listener, well-versed, optimism, imagination, and a sense of humor. As a magnetic person, you are a role model and someone that others enjoy being around – people turn to you for assistance and advice because they respect and trust you.

 2.      Identify your expertise and then project it into the world.

Know your value and be willing to express it. Find an area that you excel in and then become an authority on the subject within your circle. For example, if you are an e-marketing guru, let your friends and coworkers know by offering to help or by making suggestions. Before you know it, people will come to you for advice and you will truly build your value among your peers and within your organization. By identifying and expressing your value, you will have more of a presence and will become highly respected and easy to remember.

 3.      Be the best version of yourself.

In-person communication is very reliant on presentation and a first-impression is made in fractions of a second – like many top selling products, your “package” is often your most valuable asset. Have you invested in your professional image? Are you healthy and positive? Are you well-versed on current events? Can you hold a strong conversation? To attract others, you must be the best version of yourself. If you are constantly aspiring to improve, you will inspire and attract others.

 4.      Know who you are.

Not to be confused with knowing your value, knowing who you are helps you build strong talking points and create a stand point on most topics. Self-awareness requires you to understand the factors that positively inspire you to achieve something substantive and relevant every day. Your thoughts, beliefs, work ethic and attitude become your personal brand and are increasingly important as you connect with other professionals.

Seven Tips for Appointment-Based Events

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Appointment-based events challenge a traditional trade show in the sense that your presence matters. While sitting across from a potential client or solution provider, your interactions are vital to build a working relationship that will benefit you both. Event organizers work diligently to make meaningful introductions with the potential to build future business relations – we make the connection, the rest is up to you. Here are just a few tips to make your networking at these events a success:

1. Attend Your Meetings!

You wouldn't sign up for speed dating, and then stand up your date, so attend your business meetings as though your love life depends on it. Standing up a potential client or solution provider is not only rude, but it’s also a bad representation of your company. At an appointment-based event, you are meeting face-to-face with elite business professionals – a quality meeting like this is rare and deserves attention.

2. Ditch the Sales Pitch

Appointment-based events are a ‘no-hard sell’ zone. Networking at these events is primarily about building relationships rather than immediate sales. People do business with people they like – get to know the person you could potentially work with and their company, then pursue a working relationship.

3. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is key when meeting new people, especially in a business setting where you are learning about their company. The more you ask, the clearer vision you will have, and even more importantly – the better conversation you will have! The more you learn, the better advice and solutions you can give and as Joshua Krane, the CEO at Ciplex says, “If someone likes them [your ideas], chances are they will hire you to execute them.”

4. Listen!

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Listening on both sides of the table is effective in identifying needs and finding solutions. As Megan Duckett of Sew What, Inc.? said, “Not every communication is an opportunity to blow your own business trumpet. Sometimes you may find yourself sharing information about another company or service that you have heard of.” Listen, learn and find solutions.

5. Relax & Enjoy the Experience

An appointment-based event is a less stressful environment. You are not overwhelmed by booths and numerous representatives, it is an intimate and luxurious experience designed so that business executives can have productive and quality meetings. These events are also jam-packed with other networking activities, all of which take place in a beautiful venue. Enjoy it – because a month down the line, when you reconnect with your new contacts, you will have a shared experience to build the foundation of a fruitful business relationship.

6. Smile!

The energy at these events is electric – a positive attitude and approachable demeanor is vital! Again, people do business with people they like – so be likable, polite and have meaningful meetings – whether you think there’s a business relationship to be had or not, a positive representation goes a long way!

7. Follow Up If You Say You Will

If you tell someone you’re going to email them, email them. If you say you’ll reach out to them via phone, call them. From beginning to end, leave a lasting impression – make your attendance work for you and follow up with your new business connections promptly. 

So You're Attending Your First Forum...

Think of the last trade show you attended. Now subtract the huge exhibition hall, the miles of walking, the petty expenses, the numerous, useless introductions and the free pens. At an appointment-based forum, we cut through the you-know-what and give executives the most productive and efficient format for connecting and learning about solutions they are currently sourcing.

Attendees of an appointment-based forum are stationed comfortably at their own table. They are given a personal itinerary of meetings with solution providers they have chosen in advance and seminars they have opted for. Throw in a high quality pool of personally-invited executives and luxury networking opportunities, and you’ve got the most productive day-and-a-half of the year.

Sounds interesting, right? Here are some tips to optimize on your first appointment-based experience:

Attend Your Meetings!

Scheduling is the foundation of any appointment-based event. Should one attendee fail to show, major behind-the-scenes matchmaking has to take place. This is why we value our attendees highly and do everything possible to ensure the day runs smoothly. Attending your meetings is key to a successful event and leverages your networking opportunity. We understand that life happens – which is why we can work with you to build a flexible schedule around your professional needs (conference calls, late arrivals etc.).

Ditch the Sales Pitch

Appointment-based events are a ‘no hard sell’ zone. Networking at these events is primarily about building relationships rather than immediate sales. People do business with people they like – get to know the person you would potentially work with and their company, then pursue a working relationship.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In an appointment-based setting you are allotted a 30-minute meeting with solution providers on your schedule. For high quality meetings, we advise you to ask questions about available solutions. Should you need more time to discuss the product or service, you may connect with the solution provider during free time.

Listen! Listen! Listen!

Listening on both sides of the table is effective for identifying needs and finding solutions. As Megan Duckett of Sew What, Inc.? said, “Not every communication is an opportunity to blow your own business trumpet. Sometimes you may find yourself sharing information about another company or service that you have heard of.” There are numerous opportunities to share your knowledge and to learn from others at a forum – including seminars. These are conducted in an open-discussion format, where attending executives are able to share what they know to innovate and find solutions to common industry problems.

Relax & Enjoy the Experience

An appointment-based event is a less stressful experience for networking. There are no overwhelming booths or hounding representatives – just intimate, one-on-one meetings for executives seeking new solutions. Taking place in an intimate and luxurious setting, these events are packed with networking activities including meetings, seminars, after-hour activities, meals and receptions.

Do Your Research

In any networking environment, it always helps to research beforehand. Whether this means skimming through the LinkedIn group to see who’s attending, or reading up on some industry news – you will definitely reap the benefits. The best way to make a great first impression is to know your stuff and break the ice by acknowledging your peer’s successes (we advise looking over press releases or following a company on social media).

The Art of the Follow Up

After making connections at the Forum – it does no harm to follow up. Stay true to your word, should you have asked a provider to give you a call, take that call when they make it! Remember that this event’s main purpose is to develop lasting business relationships and follow up is key. In your event program, you will receive the contact information of every attendee and solution provider– it does no harm to reach out to the connections you feel are beneficial.


For more information on Forum Events and the industries we are in, visit and register online for an event in your industry.

Kicking Off 2015 With A Successful Summit!

The first Training & Development Summit of 2015 is marked as another great success. Testimonials continue to pour in following the summit which took place in Los Angeles, California last month with more than 70 registered delegates including Activision Blizzard, Inc., ArcelorMittal, Kimpton Hotels, MGM Resorts International, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Panda Restaurant Group, Technicolor, The Walt Disney Company and Wells Fargo in attendance.

Extracurricular networking activities were also a fun, productive way for attendees to network and connect! During the evening gala dinner and casino night, both sponsors and delegates met over meals and again at roulette tables for a more laidback experience.Following registration on day one, the main ballroom where one-on-one meetings were held was thriving, with Child Development, Inc. saying “[It’s] nice to have one-on-one conversations about the products/services and our needs.” While each attendee was given a personalized itinerary, their meetings were separated by industry seminars and networking break outs. During the time between meetings, attendees also browsed a sponsor lounge which is designed for sponsors to showcase their services, “Having exposure and having the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what is not there [in my current practices] is very helpful,” said one director of The Walt Disney Company. 

The Training & Development Summit seminar program was packed with industry hot topics, including a seminar led by author of Just Listen, Mark Goulston, MD and CEO of The Goulston Group and Goulston Group Productions. An interactive favorite led by Alan Fine, a renowned trainer, speaker and performance expert, was “You Already Know How to be Great,” which emphasized the power of focus in numerous partner activities. Entire classrooms left each seminar with a greater understanding of their field and how to improve.  

“I found the event staff to be fabulous and accommodating. The location was also a great choice and the event structure, simply genius!” said Kimpton Hotels. The Summit took place at the Pacific Palms Resort, a recognized two-championship golf resort which was the perfect blend of luxury and outdoors aesthetics!

Attendees left the Summit enlightened, refreshed and prepared to tackle upcoming goals!

“This event was amazing and I am grateful we had the opportunity to participate!” - National CORE. 

Short & Sweet: Effective Team Building in Seconds

Team building is a proven method to boost morale and develop better communication in the workplace, however a 2012 study revealed that some team building activities may actually be counterproductive because they inflict peer embarrassment or test employee comfort levels. While growing franchises like Dunkin’ Donuts, Anytime Fitness and Subway are heavily spending on team building activities, you don’t have to break the budget to build morale. We have composed a list of activities that can easily be incorporated into a weekly business meeting or regular regroup.

No. 1: Back-to-Back Drawing

Have a problem with communication? Need to explain the importance of better directions? This is the game for you! Pair off your team and have each person in the pair sit back-to-back. One person will receive a picture of a shape, the other will receive a pen and paper. The person with the picture of the shape must describe the shape without actually saying what it is while the other person draws it. When finished, each pair should compare their drawing and consider how they worked together and where they could’ve communicated better.  

No. 2: A Truth & a Lie

This is the perfect activity should you have newcomers or if you want your team to welcome a new employee. Go around the room, introduce yourself and say one fact about yourself and one lie. The group then has to identify which is the truth and which is the lie. This is a great ice breaker and encourages group communication and creativity.

No. 3: Opposites Attract

This game is perfect for a team that’s just getting used to one another and is effective in just two to three minutes. The group is given a list of characteristics, and then instructed to find people that have different characteristics to them. For example, different gender, different height, different marital status, etc. This is an informal way to break down perceived barriers and encourages easy conversation.

No. 4: Tooting My Horn

Have you had a bad day? Is your team going through a tough patch? Has a team member just been let go? This is a great way to remind your team that they are valued and a vital part of an organization. The group is separated into pairs and then each player has 15 seconds to tell their partner ten things they do well. Each person then has to make two lists: one should be a list of ten things they do well professionally, and one list of things they do well personally. The goal of the game is that they should put these lists in a common place where they can re-read the lists and remember just how worthy they are! According to a study, after 21 days of reading the lists each day, the person will have a greater sense of confidence and pride.

No. 5: Have a Ball!

This is a fun game for a sales environment and can boost energy levels in an office. Use a ball, and agree upon a particular event, maybe a sale or a common question. Each time someone makes a sale, they throw the ball to another team member as a signal of success. This generates team acknowledgement of a particular event and connects team members.

As you can see – just a few moments can generate an upbeat and changed atmosphere. Team building exercises, while they sometimes have a negative connotation can be short, sweet and equally effective – all while not breaking the bank.


Surviving an Appointment-Based Event Alone

“Even high achieving, apparently extrovert people find it difficult to get into the habit of initiating face-to-face encounters, often using time poverty as an avoidant excuse.”

The thought of attending a conference alone can be daunting. When you add up the pressure of making introductions, hearing pitches, walking through thousands of busy booths and collecting business cards, these events can be exhausting. The need to network is a vital part of business though, yet one in four professionals say they do not network at all, even worse 40 percent of professionals say they would like to network more often, but just don’t have the time. Attending an appointment-based event is the perfect solution to concisely meeting with relevant providers, concentrating up to 30-meetings in just a-day-and-a-half – better yet, there’s no hard sell and no awkward introductions.

Attending an appointment-based event by yourself is simple. Unlike a typical trade show, you are given a pre-arranged itinerary of meetings. Everyone has a reason to be at the event and to meet with you, making all of your appointments relevant and meaningful. Here are some tips to survive attending an appointment-based event alone

1. Be honest when completing your profile

The most crucial step to organizing a Forum is the matching process. In order to ensure everyone has a productive event, the matching process takes into account any upcoming projects or needed-services. This information is used to connect you with solution providers who can actually assist you in meeting your company’s goals. An honest profile means more beneficial meetings and better expert advice.

2. Manners Cost Nothing

At an appointment-based event, you don’t have to worry about the anxiety that surrounds making an introduction. Everyone has a place to be at a Forum, and so each person’s time is valuable – it’s as simple as meeting with someone in your scheduled time and having a conversation. Remember to be polite and courteous, have a real conversation and make a valuable connection.

3. Be Open When Meeting Your Peers

Part of the fun with appointment-based events is the networking activities that separate the full days of meetings. During the networking breakfasts, lunches, the Gala dinner and casino evening, you will casually meet peers from your industry. Be open to hearing about their company and their suggestions. Every piece of knowledge is up for grabs at an appointment-based event and a connection could turn into an opportunity down the road.

4. Navigate the Room

Throughout the two days, you will meet hundreds of attendees. To make the most of an appointment-based event, challenge yourself by separating from your typical group and meet with new professionals. A good example is sitting at a dinner table where you know no one and initiating a conversation, or adding to a topic at a seminar. Be friendly, be open and be approachable.

5. The Staff are Your Best Friends

Every member of the Forum Events team is dedicated to making the attendees feel at home. If you ever feel you are out of your comfort zone, or want to make a connection that you are not scheduled for – don’t hesitate to let a staff member know. Throughout the networking activities, staff will be seated and mingling also, so if you have any questions – be sure to ask.

By scheduling up to 30 appointments over a-day-and-a-half, we eliminate the adversity to time excuse for not networking. The concentrated appointment-based strategy for connecting professionals provides opportunity for expanded knowledge, new business and potential career advancement, all in an intimate and informal setting, perfect for a lone ranger to attend.

Speed Dating Can Work for Businesses, Too!

There’s something oddly human about sitting across the table from someone. Maybe it’s the line between their brow, and their hunched shoulders that scream a lack of confidence or the attention... More »

7 Tips for Appointment-Based Networking

Appointment-based events challenge a traditional trade show in the sense that your presence matters. While sitting across from a potential client or solution provider, your interactions are vital to... More »

Chicago Summit Success!

  XpertHR meets with a delegate attendee from DePaul University at the Chicago HR & Employee Benefits Summit.  The HR & Employee Benefits Summit successfully... More »




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