Named one of the Top 50 Smart Women in Meetings, Aryn Chapman is an accomplished event designer and producer. Her career began in theatre and film production where she honed her eye for detail and grace under pressure. Since then, Aryn has made a name for herself with her imaginative concepts, innovative themes and her ability to create unforgettable events. She now serves as the CEO and Founder of Ax3 Studios. Mrs. Champan’s favorite quote is:  “The world is flat right up until the day it is round.”

Q: You have created quite a number of unforgettable events. Can you pinpoint one of them? The one that you are especially proud of?

This is a hard question for me to answer. The events we do all hold a special place for me. The most challenging one recently was the AJC Global Forum 2018 in Jerusalem. There were some logistical hurdles; the time change, a shifted work week and of course language. At one point I was commuting to Israel monthly… That was tough, amazing, but tough. The cultural differences and biases were also at times difficult. All that said, we pulled off an amazing event that the participants are still talking about. It was an incredible experience and I would absolutely relish doing it all again.

Q: What is in your opinion a “must have” for a successful event planner?

The most essential thing every successful event professional must have is a positive, can-do attitude in all situations. I know it sounds corny, but no battery charger, project management software or lipstick is going to save you when all your plans start unraveling. The best and most powerful asset you have is your ability to creatively problem solve. You can’t do that if you are crying in your coffee or pointing fingers.

The most essential thing every successful event professional must have is a positive, can-do attitude in all situations.

Q: Your background is in theater and film. How does that help you in event management?

I started working in film production when I was 13. My first project was an Art Department Coordinator on a little film called “Dirty Dancing”. From there I worked in a lot of different departments and roles. The qualities and values it taught me are innumerable. The top three are high-level organizational skills, calm under extreme stress and pressure and intimate knowledge of what staff and crew need in order to succeed in their roles.

Q: How do you see the development of the trends in corporate event planning and production?

Trends in events are a funny thing. I love the “Top Ten Trends..” lists but I also think a lot of them miss the bigger picture. Overall I see a greater desire to have control over the individual experiences with a push towards more meaningful connections and more intimate face to face time.  It will not surprise me if in the next 5-10 years we see the death of the 45min speeches at a lectern and the deadly hour-long panel discussions. These will give way to more interactive, participant-driven sessions where we as planners create the space and ability to communicate with one another through apps, keep track of the metrics… oh and provide good food.

Q: You are the head of planning the world known AJC Global Forum for 7 years already. How do you see the development of the Forum in all these years?

We are very lucky to be apart of the Global Forum family. Over the last 7 years, we have participated in its growth of about 30% year over year. Ax3 has helped expand its scope and reach, even playing a vital role in it’s transitioning into an international conference. Last year it was in Jerusalem and next year we are going to Berlin. This year I am working with them on modernizing some of their session structures to make them more interactive and participant driven.

Q: If you could give advice to yourself 10 years ago what would it be?

The advice I would give myself is what I tell the young women I work with now. You have to jump off that diving board, you have everything you need, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just leap.

You have to jump off that diving board, you have everything you need, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just leap.

Q: What would be your dream event to manage?

The dream event is a multi-day, multi-tier program, with 10K+ participants that take over a downtown area, with a message of unity and hope.

Q: What keeps you motivated?

My motivation is my son. In this ugly world, we find ourselves, you can make something out of nothing and hold it to our values and ideals. Showing him that you can be the change you want to see.