Tell us about your company's origins?
MAS Event + Design was started by Mia Choi and Sneha Bhatia, who worked together at another agency. Having seen both the best and worst of event production, they decided to start their own agency with the focus on producing the best events with the most beautiful designs. I worked for them previously as a freelance production manager and transitioned naturally once they started MAS. My background was in concerts and festivals as I started touring with bands when I was 19 years old. Mia and Sneha taught me about corporate events and I began to learn about a whole new world with different goals and aesthetics. When they asked me two years ago to join the team full time, I jumped at the opportunity. I have really enjoyed the transition and consider it to be one of the best business decisions I have ever made.
How has the events industry evolved since you began?
I think the technology boom in the last 10 years has not only made the experiences people have at events more unique, but also set an ever rising bar of standing out from every other event. I think it used to be a question of which event is the prettiest or the best catered. Now it's, which event did you experience something you have never experienced before? Were you able to share that experience through social media? I hear the same thing at every new event meeting, “What can we do that hasn’t been done before?” It is very exciting.
How is your company differentiated from others?
I am sure everyone answers this question the same way. The team at MAS just cares about the outcome of the event more than any other team I have ever worked with before. (See, I told you.) I have been in this industry for 25 years now. Many of those years spent as a freelancer for big companies. A lot of them with my own production company, hired by big name agencies. I very rarely saw the focus as clear as I have with MAS. The event MUST be visually and experientially unique, and MUST be produced flawlessly. Anything less is failure and unacceptable. The standards are very high here and while that is stressful because you can never say, close enough, it has stimulated my love for this career. Any idea we come up with, I know we can pull off. That is just fun!
What is the most exciting thing about today's experiential landscape?
Coming from the world of concerts where it is dollar driven and I started getting questions like, “How much more money can we make if we have 10 less bathrooms over the course of the festival?” Events are driven by experiences. The clients say “We are spending all this money, so what is the takeaway?” The return is the experience and that opens up a great client, producer, end user experience. We all have the same goal, make sure the attendee walks away impressed. With that focus, we get to do a lot of exciting things.
What are the three most important things every event must have?
1. Good crowd flow. If they can’t get easily to every part of the event, it might as well not exist.
2. Great catering. People go to a million of these things, so they know right away if the food and drinks are quality.
3. A WOW moment. Again, people go to a lot of these events. If there isn’t some part of the experience that really stands out, it gets lost in the sea of events. People have to be talking about this event at least a week after they go, or it was a miss.
What motivates your work life daily?
I love my team! I love coming into the office and seeing the people here. It is fun. I get to watch the younger members grow into great producers and I get to think about some really interesting ideas. Nothing is too far-fetched and that makes brainstorming a lot of fun. At the events, I love to look back at the finished product and know that not every team out there could pull this off.
What is your passion outside of the office?
Golf. My wife was a ranked tennis player when she was younger so playing tennis together was just frustrating. We both took up golf five years ago and we play every day we can with each other.