6 Questions...with John Tisdale

6 Questions...with John Tisdale

November 24, 2019 by: Paul Treanor and Stephanie Selesnick

IAEE announced the 2019 Award Winners and the Southwest Chapter is delighted to announce four are from our region and will be honored at Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas. We will leave the formal profiles of each winner to IAEE HQ and instead, focus on their personal stories and anecdotes of their work lives. Third in this four-part series is John Tisdale, winner of the Chapter Merit Award.

SWIAEE - What’s your job – what kinds of responsibilities do you have in your day-to-day work life? 
John - As an entrepreneur I wear a lot of hats so every day is different. My job ultimately is to steer the ship, develop our platform and make sure that our team is managing the day-to-day demands and expectations of our customers. I am blown away by how much our team accomplishes each day but so much of our success stems from how hard we work to empower our team to do what they think is best for our clients. It makes managing a team much easier when you surround yourself with people who are confident in themselves.

SWIAEE - Why do you volunteer? 
John - Having served on the BOD for the past three years of our charity, California Family Life Center, I have a deeper understanding how much the organization relies upon the money that we raise and the opportunities that it provides.  That makes the decision to volunteer an easy one.

SWIAEE - What’s your best client night out (like the Hangover and you may change the city and names to protect the not-so-innocent)?
John - Too many to recall but there was one night in San Diego where industry legend and friend Wayne Crawford took over the PA and stereo on a bus from shuttling attendees back to the hotel from the opening party. Wayne led a sing-along of epic proportions with the highlight being a raucous chorus of ‘Livin' on a Prayer’ with everyone singing at the top of their lungs. I still tell that story and to this day and I’m amazed at how many people say, “Ohhhh man...I was on that bus!”. That was the moment when I knew this was the industry for me!

SWIAEE - What’s the craziest golf moment? 
John - As much organization as we do preparing each year, there are always a few situations where you never know what is going to happen! One year we had a Helicopter Ball Drop which really fired up the crowd. The setting was epic as the Helicopter flew in at sunset with the beautiful golf course and Pacific Ocean as a backdrop to pour hundreds of golf balls onto the green. When the dust settled, SWIAEE's own Tom Gattuso’s golf ball landed in or nearest to the hole for the win. In a show of class, Tom donated his portion of the winnings - around $1200.00 if I remember correctly - directly to the charity.  Stuff like that makes all of the hard work worthwhile.

SWIAEE - Who are your mentors? What’d they do for you?  
John - One of my closest industry friends and mentors was my dear friend Terence Donnelley who we sadly lost this past summer. Terence was like ‘Yoda’ for the industry who knew a little bit about everything trade show related and was adored by everyone who ever had the chance to interact with him. He always listened and provided in-depth feedback on whatever situation you presented him. I miss our friendship, conversations and the good times (many involved closing down the bar) that we shared.
SWIAEE - What’s the craziest event job you’ve ever had – one that you were “voluntold for” – not your normal everyday crazy.  
John - The craziest event job that I ever held was my first job out of college. I worked for a Promotions Marketing firm in Atlanta called The Botsford Group. I think I was making like $17,000 a year and I felt like a millionaire! One of our clients was Mentos - also known as The Freshmaker! In 1998 we planned and executed a 10 city concert tour around the US where local bands were encouraged to submit their entries for an opportunity to play notable venues in each of the 10 cities. The best part - and remember that this was 1998 - is that everything was done online. The voting for the bands, promotion of the events and even live video streaming of the concerts from each venue - all online. The culmination of the promotion was a concert held in the world famous Melkweg in Amsterdam and yours truly (twist my arm) had to go over and make sure the event went off without a hitch! I was 22 years old, just out of college with a Corporate AMEX in Amsterdam. The entire promotion was a success and definitely the craziest job I ever had!

View all Blog

Our Sponsors

Executive Sponsor


Classic Sponsor


Website Sponsor

ASP Events