Lisa Block, formerly the vice president of events at the Society for Human Resource Management, has moved into the meeting consulting space. As of April 2019, she is the executive vice president of conference strategy and design for Velvet Chainsaw Consulting. Block had a long career with SHRM, planning and innovating with the association since 1991. She’s an accomplished and influential planner, earning a lifetime achievement award from the Professional Convention Management Association in 2013 and Changemaker recognition from MeetingsNet in 2014, among other honors. As she prepares to take on her new role at Velvet Chainsaw, we asked her a few questions about her career in meetings and the evolution she's seen in the field.
MeetingsNet: Looking back over your years planning conferences, what has changed for attendees and their educational experience?
Lisa Block: I think attendees have developed high expectations of organizers to deliver an event experience and takeaways that provide significant value and return on investment. When I first started, it was a lot simpler. The whole concept of the event experience wasn’t understood.
MeetingsNet: Meeting design is evolving. Can you name a design strategy that you’ve been happy to see go by the wayside?
Block: I was never a fan of the virtual trade show fad. The fact that these events have morphed into more robust virtual components within event apps makes more sense for the attendee. I’m also not crazy about formal banquets, after-dinner speeches, or long award presentations.
MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Block: I am not nostalgic and don’t believe in the good old days. I had a long and fruitful career at SHRM precisely because we grew, changed, and seized opportunities to innovate our events.