Megan Biddix—Event Facilitator Extraordinaire

By: Heatherlynn Akins

When Megan Biddix first joined West Monroe five years ago, she came from a varied professional background. Having worked for an international travel company just out of college, where she paired leadership with teams, Megan also spent time as a teacher and coordinated events for the leading foster care provider in Illinois before landing at West Monroe. Though she started with internal events facilitation at West Monroe, she quickly transitioned to marketing and working with top-level clients coordinating, strategizing, and executing different styles of events, including West Monroe’s annual marquee events.

West Monroe is a national management and technology consulting firm headquartered in Chicago that helps clients “adopt, adapt, and use digital technologies differently and more effectively as it relates to what really matters within their specific industry.” Unlike other firms, they bring together multidisciplinary experts who have experience working together to deliver solutions for their clients. Megan is aligned to the Chicago headquarters of West Monroe, where she works to ensure high-quality, highly effective client-facing events are planned and executed.

West Monroe makes Megan feel like a valued member of the team, with keen insight into how to provide career equity, professional growth, and rewarding connections. “It’s exciting to be onsite with clients,” Megan says. “It’s personally rewarding to know you’ve created a seamless event for someone to simply arrive and enjoy, especially if you’ve created a space for busy people to leave feeling refreshed, educated, and connected.”


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Empowering the Homefront

Our Empowering the Homefront pilot program is here! Designed to empower and provide career support to military spouses, the program offers career kick-start prizes, including free resume makeovers and other career tools and support. Winners will be announced throughout 2023, so be sure to check out our Empowering the Homefront web page and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn throughout the year for more information and exciting opportunities.

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Did You Know?

Event facilitators can wear many hats. From moderating meetings to planning grand-scale client events, the best facilitators know that each day brings unique challenges and opportunities that require a great deal of patience and flexibility. Working to bring another’s vision to life means having confidence in your ability to communicate effectively and the impartiality to creatively realize someone else’s dream.

The best event facilitators imbue confidence, curiosity, humility, and flexibility, especially when working with diverse clientele. Every small business needs to host some type of event, whether it’s an office meeting, charity event, conference, or just participation in a convention or trade show. If your business needs to plan an event, and you know that it’s not in your wheelhouse, Powerhouse Planning can help. We have experts on hand who can help you plan and execute your best event ever. To find out how we can bring your event facilitation vision to life, check out our website or contact us today.

2023-04-04T10:05:43-04:00March 9th, 2023|


Social Media Tips & Tricks for a Successful Event

By: Julie Clark

Event organizers put a ton of thought and work into planning and preparing events: speakers, sponsors, venue, amenities, entertainment, and more. Whether virtual or in person, what can make or break even the most well-planned event? Attendance!

Creating a social media strategy to market your event is a must, and the quality and effectiveness of that plan can not only boost interest in attendance, but it can also attract sponsors, speakers, and the media.

Here are some easy-to-implement tips and ideas for your event’s social media marketing strategy.

Generate a buzz with hashtags. Hashtags will help you boost traffic to your event web page, create memorable branding and awareness, and help you tap into the communities and audiences you seek to attract for your event. Hootsuite has a helpful hashtags guide that will help you choose one perfect for your business and event.


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Etiquette for Event Facilitation

By: Meredith Flory

Putting on an event of any size is a giant undertaking for a business, particularly small businesses. Whether event facilitation is part of your business or you are creating an event for customer connection, professional networks, or philanthropic pursuits, there are sure to be a ton of moving pieces as the day approaches. From a small, one afternoon affair to a multiday conference, the event will represent your business both by how well things run and by how calm and professional you and your employees can stay under all the pressure. Here are three ways to show you respect everyone’s time and talents as you put on an event.

Stick to a Schedule

It’s important to be mindful of scheduling before and after a big event. It’s fairly easy to avoid popular holidays when planning but check for other possible conflicts. Major holidays for religious minorities are usually not federal holidays in America, but you may want to avoid them to show respect for your employees and guests. Also, are there other large events that may cause traffic issues in your city? Avoid dates for regional festivals and instead see how your business can play a part in those larger events. You will never avoid all scheduling conflicts for your audience, but working to avoid preventable ones is courteous and can help your event find more success.

Craft the schedule for the event thoughtfully. There are always unforeseeable challenges you cannot predict, but good planning will show you care for your participants’ time and help you keep calm when there are hurdles to work around. When planning, consider the following questions:

  1. Do guests have enough time in between sessions to get to each comfortably?
  2. Do you have capable emcees and moderators to keep speakers on task and on time?
  3. Is there a reasonable mix of time for speakers, interaction, rest, and networking?

 Treat Your Guest Speakers with Respect

Guest speakers at professional events are professionals themselves who deserve more compensation than exposure, whether the event is held locally or virtually or includes travel expenses. In particular, women and minority speakers often deal with not being compensated for their time and expertise. If you cannot afford a particular speaker’s fees, be professional and understanding if they say no, and if they choose to lower their fees or volunteer their time for a cause they feel passionate about, then show gratitude in other ways such as food and travel expenses, advertising, and reviews.

Make sure your communication with speakers is clear and concise. Be upfront about payment, expenses, scheduling, expectations, and any other details they need to make decisions and preparations for your event. If you are asking presenters to attend any tech rehearsals or meetings, make that clear during negotiations and have your team prepared to run each in a timely manner.

While unavoidable issues happen, your team needs to do their best to respect the time and talents of presenters and attendees. Make sure names and biographies are read correctly and assign a point person whom speakers can contact in case of any issues with timing and technology.

Work After the Event

Your event is not over at the end of the day. There are thank-you notes to send, invoices to pay, and feedback to collect and analyze. While you want to give your employees and volunteers time to relax and decompress afterward, in the days following the event, make sure to do any necessary follow-up while the event is fresh in people’s minds. Expressing thanks and listening to feedback in a timely manner will show that the success of the event was important to you and will provide important information when planning future events. Processing payments quickly will help you develop continuing relationships with vendors, locations, and speakers.

For more tips, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn this month!

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“I love my Powerhouse team! They have a vast team with unique skills that honed into exactly what our nonprofit was needing to get started. Their experienced team did remarkable work with my recent grand opening event. We met weekly to strategize and plan out our event with drafting press releases, contacting vendors, marketing collateral, designing social media ads and signage. You name it, they thought of it! It is a true pleasure to work alongside these talented ladies. They are truly invested in supporting our mission. Many of the Powerhouse team volunteered their own time to help our grand opening be such a successful event. I believe the success of my event was due to the dedication and hard work of the Powerhouse team, and for this I am truly grateful.”

– Jonnah Buchanan, Executive Director, Launch Learning Preschool

Launch Learning is a nonprofit early childhood education program that offers a balanced approach to purposeful play and guided education, leading to a lifelong love of learning. In addition, Launch Learning offers unique opportunities for parents to learn and work alongside educators to create a strong community that lays the foundation for joyful learning and academic success. Launch Learning’s ultimate goal is to encourage families to become vibrant, contributing members of their chosen communities to build a brighter future for all.

2023-04-04T10:06:08-04:00March 9th, 2023|


Redefining Support for Military Kids

By: Julie Kirchner

With April being the Month of the Military Child, it feels significant to raise awareness of an incredible volunteer-run nonprofit organization providing experiences to help change military kids’ lives in a positive way.

Several Powerhouse team members recently had the privilege of meeting Sommer Houser, founder of Salute the Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing and supporting military kids through free weekend camping adventures.

What truly captivated our hearts was learning the story that inspired Sommer—a civilian—to begin a nonprofit journey that would impact so many military lives to come.

So often, we hear stories of incredible veterans and military spouses working in support of the military community. It is rarer that we take a moment to recognize civilian heroes who reach beyond the limits of their own experiences to help support and uplift military children and families.

What’s the inspiration behind Salute the Kids? What inspired your focus on military kids and families?

Since 1998, I worked in the nonprofit field focusing my efforts on issues including domestic violence, child abuse, mentorship, and youth leadership. In all of these efforts, I had the opportunity to work with the military community.

While working for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Fairbanks, Alaska, I had the opportunity to mentor a military child. While I had developed an appreciation for the military community through my work and personal friendships, this was the first time I personally got to know a military child and see life from her perspective. As a dual military family, her parents’ deployments overlapped by three months, and she was referred to the program for mentor support while her grandmother stepped in as her and her siblings’ primary caregiver.

As a civilian myself, with limited knowledge about the intricacies of military life, I was shocked to learn that both parents of a military family could deploy at the same time. I was inspired by this family’s grit, resiliency, and openness to reach out to their community for support, but I was mostly inspired by this incredible military kid. This sweet, brave girl was navigating middle school, enduring both her parent’s deployments, and preparing for an upcoming PCS (permanent change of station—or move to a new location) in the near future. Her load was heavy. She carried a lot at the tender age of 13. I wondered, does the civilian community know these kids exist and how they are truly serving our country too? Do people know what these kids and their families do for all of us? Do people know what they go through? From that point on, a passion and interest in military kids and the connection between the military and civilian community continued to grow in my heart, and Salute the Kids was born. (more…)

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As we are getting more and more back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, the return to in-person events is happening with greater and greater regularity. If you have gone on an event hiatus over the last few years, need a refresher on how to plan in-person events, or just want to learn more about event facilitation, check out some of these online resources.

Need to get started on planning an event, but don’t know where to start? Check out Enhance Entertainment’s article on what event facilitators do and how to choose the right one for you.

Still working with hybrid event conditions? While the event facilitation world seems to be returning to either fully in-person or fully remote events, some just aren’t there yet. SessionLab’s guide can help you with all the practical tips and information you need to plan your next hybrid event.

Want the top tips for planning a successful event? Check out the Brighton School of Business and Management’s Top 10 Tips here.

Want more? Powerhouse Planning can help. From free resources, such as planning for conference attendance, to full-scale event facilitation services, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today for more information.

2023-04-04T10:06:32-04:00March 9th, 2023|