“Hipp’s Notes on Tenacity”

Fifth Third Bank Summit

By: Tara Guenthner, Owner & Creative Planner

In the fall of 2019, we were contracted to help Fifth Third Bank organize their Technology, Media & Telecommunications Summit in the unbeatable Napa Valley, California. The multi-day event was complex in its schedule but seemed without-question-achievable.

The client selected a historic 5-star hotel property offering high-end farm-to-table dining experiences and wonderfully luxurious accommodations. Given the hotel’s premier star-rating by Forbes Magazine, we looked forward to experiencing exceptional service and delighted in the prospect of producing an event with such a partner.

With two months to produce the event, the planning began. In short order, everything that could have gone wrong, did. We wrestled sicknesses, CA wildfires, a canceled site visit, a less-than-helpful hotel contact, technical issues, power outages, and the complexity of moving our guests to a new property within 24 hours of their arrival. What we anticipated to be a busy, relatively straight-forward planning period quickly converted into one where taking “two steps forward and only one step back” felt like a success.

As the obstacles continued to greet us along our path, we were pressed to continuously regather our wits by way of Hipp battle tactics:

1. Keep your head down and keep finding ways to get over, around, under, or knock through the walls that appear to halt your progress. Sometimes, hours, on top of more hours, with a dollop of hours and a hearty side of resolve are required. When your work gets “undone” by unforeseen circumstances, it can be unbelievably daunting to start over. Get after it.

2. Lean on those with whom you have made good relationships and ask for help. With the SOS signal fired, a few of our partners emerged to hop over each bump with us. A fellow HIE teammate, a printer, a winery, and a shuttle partner were all “game changers” in our pursuit of mobilizing this event to the finish line. They were all pleased to go the extra mile when asked for special assistance.

3. And, sometimes, all you can do is laugh! We are grateful to Fifth Third’s Tara Riordan (our primary client contact) who gave of her time and her energy to partnering in the execution of what ultimately became an incredibly successful event. Tara’s ability to be both reasonable and full of laughter in the face of unrelenting hurdles lightened our load and motivated us to the end.

Maintaining our “two steps forward” pace, we managed to meet the finish line (while the sun set over the castle of the beautiful Castello di Amorosa) with smiles, a renewed understanding of the power of tenaciousness, and client glee.