Beyond the Boardroom
Westwood Hills Nature Center Photo courtesy of Pete Sieger Photography

Beyond the Boardroom

Transforming events into unforgetable experiences.

TCB Insights logoIn an increasingly digital world, it’s tougher than ever to organize corporate events that leave an enduring impression. To stand out and engage exceptional audiences, local businesses and organizations seek innovation, creativity, and strategic thinking to redefine the corporate event landscape. Event planners, after all, know the significance of successful events when it comes to building critical community connections. Ahead, experts tap into innovative solutions—going beyond logistics and aesthetics to transform your next event into an impactful experience that fosters meaningful connections in the fast-paced modern era. Here’s how.

Karen McmanamonKaren McManamon
Business Development Director Discover St. Louis Park

Researching and coordinating fun, engaging, and organized outings can lead to decision fatigue. Simplifying the planning process starts with every corporate event planner’s secret weapon: a local Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). Most cities, such as St. Louis Park and Golden Valley, will have a DMO. No matter the size of your group, these nonprofit organizations are ready to assist with an array of complimentary services.

From landing on the right venue to deciding more specific details—are breakout rooms conducive to the format?— simply provide your event parameters, and we can help refine your choices, check availability, obtain pricing quotes, and coordinate site visits. St. Louis Park and Golden Valley offer nontraditional spaces to host your event, including a working winery and an eco-friendly nature center.

For events with an overnight component, a DMO works directly with hotels to find the right destination to accommodate your needs and assist you in securing room blocks. They can also arrange for off-site dining and team-building activities, such as a distillery tour or lawn bowling. Discover St. Louis Park offers an incentive program to assist with off-site meeting expenses as well as a transportation grant to help you get from point A to B.

Each DMO will have a website full of information on things to see and do in the area, and they can provide additional materials, such as destination maps and special offers from local businesses. Utilizing a DMO’s free services will help save you time and money!

The events industry is projected to grow to $1,552.9 billion by 2028, according to Allied Market Research.

Kate Setley

Kate Setley
Executive Director/General Manager Saint Paul RiverCentre

Savvy event planners can figure out 100 ways to get from A to Z, employing a few tricks and tools along the way.

  1. Collaborate! Partner with your venue. Chances are, your venue has seen thousands of events and may have unique ideas you hadn’t thought of, and own the equipment to bring your vision to life. If they don’t, it’s highly likely they know of a vendor who does.
  2. Surprise! Attendees love to leave an event with a story to tell or new content to upload to their socials. Think about small ways you can work in an element of surprise for your attendees. Whether it’s a unique take-home gift, a themed catering menu, or a surprise guest speaker (in person or via video), give attendees the opportunity to talk about their experience beyond the event day.
  3. Serve! Brainstorm ways to make your event purpose-driven. This will elevate the collective mood from good to great when people leave knowing they made a difference in the lives of others. This can be an on-site activity, an opportunity to donate, or a post-event service initiative.

St. Paul RiverCenter

Amy LeydenAmy Leyden
Marketing and Communications Director McNamara Alumni Center

When a corporate planner is researching potential vendors for hire, how can you determine whether a vendor arrives on time, works efficiently, and is composed of all-around nice people? The answer: Ask venue managers!

Oftentimes vendors arrive long before the client or planner does. The venue staff knows from experience which vendors arrive on time and which are notoriously late. Timeliness matters—a late arrival can trigger a domino effect on other work to be done, like a ceiling installation that needs to be completed before dining tables are put in place. A vendor’s late arrival or disorganization may be lost on a planner, who often arrives at the venue hours afterward.

Vendors may be on-site for most of the day preparing for an event. Venue managers can tell you who comes best prepared with their own equipment and tools, who keeps a safety-conscious environment, and who cleans up after themselves. Planners should select vendors who are well-liked by the venue staff (and vice versa!), as any successful event requires collaboration. We know vendors are asked about the best venues at which to host events, which is why the McNamara Alumni Center’s staff works hard to make an impression. We keep extra supplies and equipment on hand, strive to call vendors by name and thank them for their good work after a successful event.

Venue managers are well equipped to make recommendations on who is good, better, and best in the business. Tap into your venue colleagues’ knowledge, resources, and unique perspective when seeking vendors for your next corporate event.

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McNamara Alumni Center

Robert KraemerRobert Kraemer
Lead Membership Concierge Life Time Work, Downtown Minneapolis

With its floor-to-ceiling windows, array of meeting room styles, and indoor/outdoor seating, Life Time Work in Downtown Minneapolis was built with the goal to blend productivity, health, and collaboration, providing a dynamic environment for professionals to thrive. As companies increasingly move toward a fully WFH or hybrid work model, coworking spaces are scratching the itch for in-person collaboration.

In an effort to keep pace with the changing nature of work culture, the flexible floor plans at Life Time Work offer a space for every vibe—quiet nooks for focused work (room sizes vary from two to 12 persons), interactive settings (the 5th floor lounge fits 20–50 and is equipped to handle semi-private presentations or panel discussions), and the 7th floor patio is conducive for networking events. New to the format: A semi-private lounge that can be reserved for larger meetings and trainings. Coworking spaces are learning to operate like shape-shifters as work styles are no longer one-size-fits-all.

Life Time Target Center is a quick skyway walk away to help break up the day. Healthy snacks and beverages are always on hand to keep the momentum going. And boxed lunches are available via delivery upon request.

Guests and drop-ins are welcome on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memberships have tiered options, like the single Lounge membership where meeting coordinators have 24/7 access to the space, along with Wi-Fi and printer services. Life Time Work also has locations at West End and in Edina.

Life Time Work