What is furry, green and beloved by fans the world over? The Phillie Phanatic, of course! You don’t need to be a baseball fan to know and love this playful mascot. In fact, Forbes magazine rated the Phanatic as one of the most recognized mascots ever. From his “whammy,” a finger-shaking hex, to his “whomp,” a hula hoop-style shake, the Phanatic knows how to woo a crowd. It’s what makes Tom Burgoyne, the man behind the mask, love the job so much.

“The Phanatic never gets down and never has a bad day ... even when the team is down. We can learn a lot from him,” says Burgoyne, who first donned the costume as a back-up in 1989 and has been the full-time Phanatic since 1994. Burgoyne and three back-up performers average 800 events per year.

Burgoyne recently teamed up with Dillon Marcus after meeting the company’s co-founder, Evan Marcus, at a local event. The two began talking and realized that the Phanatic’s message isn’t limited to baseball fans. “We wanted to explore the link between the love fans have for the Phanatic and how that is applicable to companies,” Burgoyne says. “Don’t you want that kind of love for your company and/or brand?”

The result? Burgoyne’s Loyal, Loving Fans for Life, a full-day leadership workshop for up to 35 participants. It is held in the stadium’s executive dining room and comes complete with a tour of the ballpark (though Burgoyne’s workshop can also be booked for off-site events). His stories of life as the Phanatic are entertaining and insightful and range from misfired hot dogs to sentimental fan stories, but they weave a theme of brand loyalty throughout all of them. “The stories are different and not the same ones you’ve heard in other workshops before,” he explains. “Be a better person. Enjoy life. Spread the love. It’s about professional goals, but these are universal themes.”

Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.

 

In the wake of COVID-19, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) set out to provide planners with up-to-date intel and sound advice, appointing Dr. David Nash, founding dean emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health, in the process as its chief health advisor. Dr. Nash and Kavin Schieferdecker, senior vice president of the CVB’s convention division, share how the partnership came to be and its potential lasting impact.

 

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?