We talked to Jeff Guberman of McVeigh Global Meetings and Events about how the firm has been creating monumental events before and during the COVID times.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jeff Guberman: These have been interesting times! Thankfully, we have stayed healthy. My family has enjoyed staying close to home and spending quality time together. It has made me appreciate my family on a new level. I have truly treasured this.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded McVeigh Global Meetings and Events
Jeff Guberman: I am a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. My background is in theater design, which grew into TV, music, and events. In 2004, I started Fourth Wall Events, an event management company. Our clients included IBM, Verizon, Estee Lauder, and many others. In 2010, I founded Dynamic Drape and Décor, a scenic fabrication and drapery rental company. In 2014, we sold DDD and started Formset, a nationwide scenic rental company. This was acquired in 2016. That same year, my partner Carvie Gillikin and I acquired Discover New York and Beyond Times Square, combining them into a single company under the brand Beyond Times Square.
In 2018, we merged Fourth Wall Events with Worldtek Events, a San Diego based conferences business owned by private equity company, InfoCommerce Partners. Together, we acquired McVeigh Associates. We combined all three businesses under McVeigh Global Meetings and Events. MGME is a global leader in the meetings and events industry. Our business is divided into three areas – Life Sciences Meetings and Events, with a specific acumen for regulatory compliance, Corporate Meetings and Events, and International Conferences, where we manage the profit and loss of an event.
How does McVeigh Global Meetings and Events innovate?
Jeff Guberman: We have two levels of innovation at MGME. As a company, we first innovate on a corporate level. Our business relies on managing large sets of information and turning them into one-of-a-kind experiences that help our clients solve business challenges. We innovate in our process and procedures to create efficiencies, ensure absolute accuracy, and give our clients the data they require. This innovation is the science of our business. For each individual event, there is a different level of innovation. Here, our innovation brings art to every experience. We use the latest technology in unique ways to engage, educate, and motivate our attendees to achieve success for our clients. MGME is a strategic partner to clients, custom designing every experience based on their brand and business needs.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jeff Guberman: The meetings and events industry has been hit hard by COVID. MGME developed special expertise in virtual events. We partner with our clients to pivot their live events to virtual and solve the same business challenges in a new way. We do not recreate a live event virtually. Instead, we reimagine the event in a whole new way. We temporarily reduced our team’s size and fully expect to bring them back together as soon as possible. We also reduced our real estate footprint and cut costs while maintaining the sales and marketing presence we have invested in.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jeff Guberman: We had to make many difficult choices – especially in reducing our headcount. It has been extremely hard to impact our dedicated and talented team in such a way, but it was essential to the success of our business. The lesson learned: act quickly and decisively. It is extremely hard to act when surrounded by uncertainty, but this is the most crucial time to act. We also learned the value of transparency with our team. They can handle hard truths. No information is far worse than upsetting information.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and McVeigh Global Meetings and Events in the future?
Jeff Guberman: This is certainly a stressful time. For me, I prioritize the things that keep me balanced to excel at work. This means equal parts of the exercise, time with my family, and time alone.
In the future, I see our company having grown considerably. Our team is doing an incredible job of organically growing our existing clients and adding new clients. MGME is also growing through acquisition. We will be one of the largest companies in the industry.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jeff Guberman: MGME has different competitors in each area of our business, as our industry is very segmented. We excel when we focus on incredible customer service and laser focus on our client’s business goals, all executed in a creative experience. Our team consistently reevaluates and enhances our virtual and hybrid services to ensure we stay in the game. This includes 2D and 3D virtual events and tradeshows, sponsored webinars, and HCP speaker meetings.
Your final thoughts?
Jeff Guberman: I am extremely optimistic about the future of our company and industry. MGME is primed for success in a post-COVID world. Companies today need to focus on their core expertise and adapt to the world we live in today while preparing for the future.
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