Each month we profile one inspiring individual who is raising the bar in the meetings & events industry. Read on to learn why Caryl, Founder & Creative Director of ROAR Events, is our February 2021 #Eventprof of the month.
I am so excited to be featuring Caryl Lyons from Roar Events as our February 2021 #eventprof of the Month. Caryl and I first met in 2013 when I was in-house running event marketing at Taulia. Taulia was sponsoring Coupa’s user conference Inspire, and I couldn’t help but notice how insanely well-produced it was. Their brand’s story was woven intricately throughout the space. From the music, lighting in the keynote room, the swag, to the food & beverage – all of it was so on point.
At Taulia, we were about to launch our first-ever user conference, Taulia Connect, so we were in the market for a production company. My boss and I went on the hunt around the venue to figure out who produced Inspire, and that’s when we met Caryl and her husband, Scott!
The rest is pretty much history. Caryl and I went on to produce two Taulia Connects (some of my favorite events I have ever worked on). And, after I launched Dynamo, we also worked on one of Roar’s client events together in Nashville – another phenomenal experience!
Throughout the years, Caryl and I have become more than just friends. She’s an inspirational figure and someone I still willingly joke, “I want to be when I grow up.” I even used her educational product, the Roar Playbook, to train my team at Dynamo.
For all those reasons and more, I am so happy to call her our February 2021 #Eventprof of the Month. I know you’ll enjoy learning more about this Hawaii-born, ex-Californian, newly Texan boss lady, and who knows, she might just inspire you the way she’s inspired me throughout these years!
Here are 10 questions with our February feature, Caryl Lyons.
1. What initially drew you into the events industry?
The real start was when I moved to San Francisco on a whim. I was in publishing, and that brought me into events. The internet was just being born, and tech publications were booming. I started out in Tradeshows, Sales Meetings, and Editorial Briefings, and then it expanded to worldwide events.
2. What’s a day in the life of Caryl like?
I recently relocated to the Dallas area from the Bay Area, so right now, it’s filled with site visits, networking, and client meetings. Even though ROAR produces events all over the world, I really enjoy getting to get to know the city I’m living in as well.
3. How do you feel your role helps advance your company’s overall goals?
I started ROAR 15 years ago. My goal has always been to produce memorable events for the attendee while ensuring my clients reach their goals. I also love to push the envelope on events. So, when the client is up for thinking outside the lines, that’s a bonus.
4. What is your favorite venue you have worked in, and why?
This is a tough one – I like so many. I love the Four Seasons Brand because they are so innovative with their catering and willing to try anything. Four Seasons Hualalai and Rosewood London are my absolute favorite properties!!
5. What was your biggest event fail, and how did you overcome it?
HA! My biggest fail. Back when I was the events director, I had someone do a site visit for me because it was an international program, and I couldn’t do it in person. The documentation that we received from the hotel wasn’t correct, and we discovered on day 2 of the program that the airwalls were put in incorrectly and didn’t close the way we needed them to.
The hotel brought in a construction crew and opened up the walls. They had never used the airwalls and didn’t realize it was done incorrectly as well.
Bottom line – always do a site visit.
6. What is your absolute favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is when the stage is set, music is on, the doors have just opened, and you begin to see the expression on guest’s faces. The energy is undeniable. And then…VOG says to take your seats, and you hand the show over to the director….lights go down, and they roll their video. AH! It’s the best.
7. Where do you see the events industry going in the future? Any trends?
That’s a tricky question with covid. Who thought this would last over a year? I know that people want to start meeting again. We are creatures that crave interaction, and I think it’s safe to say that we are all over Zoom.
I do think we will adopt a hybrid model for a little bit. For a while, events will be more regionally based and then slowly grow. As bigger cities start to re-open and allow for meetings and events, time will tell what will happen.
Either way, I’m excited about the mad rush of events that are headed our way.
8. Do you have a favorite book or podcast you would recommend to fellow event professionals?
My favorite book of all time is Fascinate by Sally Hogshead. Every event professional should read it. It’s about making your brand fascinating. And, a fascinating brand comes from being different. No one wants the same thing, especially when it comes to events. Different is better than “better.” And, “better” is boring.
For podcasts, I really enjoy listening to Donald Miller of Storybrand. He wrote a book that I read as well. Mine is filled with post-it notes and notes within the margins – a good sign of a worthy read!
9. Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me: interior design, magazines, award shows, art, even book covers. I also get tons of inspiration from weddings, and then I corporatize it for our events.
10. Any advice for #eventprofs just getting started?
Meet as many people as possible. Understand your market and get to know the hotels and venues. Also, identify the types of events that you want to produce. You don’t have to produce everything under the sun. Do what you love and focus on that.