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Two Minutes with Ariane Coldiron

PRG’s new senior vice president, corporate events comments on the industry’s need for measurable ROI and changing meeting-design strategy.

After more than nine years with Freeman, Ariane Coldiron has joined event services company PRG to head up its corporate events division. The industry veteran, who has also worked for Jack Morton, InVision Communications, and TBA Global Events, will report directly to PRG CEO Stephan Paridaen.

We asked the new senior vice president, corporate events to share some of industry experience and insight:

MeetingsNet: Live events are back, but observers see changes from the pre-pandemic landscape in terms of budget, attendee expectations, programming priorities, staffing, and other elements. What do you see as the biggest difference in the events you’ve been involved with before and after the pandemic?
Coldiron: Events of all kinds are experiencing a huge post-pandemic resurgence driven by people generally wanting to return to in-person interactions and reaffirming the significance of face-to-face as one of the most important channels out there. But companies are being much more cautious with budget. Simply attending an event is no longer sufficient. There needs to be measurable ROI to justify the cost of the trip, and attendees especially are looking to organizers to help provide this. Attendees are also seeking more meaningful engagement, leading to the increased importance of experiential activations in event programming.

MeetingsNet: What is the most challenging part about delivering engagement and return on experience?
Coldiron: Acknowledging the growing demand for experiential and personalized engagement, organizations face a substantial challenge delivering these outcomes in a meaningful way, all while adhering to budget constraints. The abundance of customer data provides valuable insights into preferences and expectations. However, the main hurdle lies in effectively leveraging this data to create custom event experiences for attendees. Striking a balance between personalization and respecting privacy boundaries poses a significant challenge in meeting the evolving needs of our audience.

MeetingsNet: Meeting design has evolved over the years, largely for the better. Can you name a meeting design strategy that you’ve been happy to see go by the wayside?
I’m thrilled to see the departure of the traditional/standard conference room setup! There are so many different formats and more exciting designs that lend themselves much better to audience participation. Throughout my career, I've attended numerous keynotes and breakouts, and the ones that left a lasting impact were those that actively encouraged, enabled, and welcomed my input and participation. The move away from the standard conference room has undoubtedly improved the overall meeting experience.

MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I spent a significant part of my childhood growing up in Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

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