San Jose McEnery Convention Center Celebration
The San Jose McEnery Convention Center was unveiled last weekend after completing a $130 million renovation. We sent Managing Editor Courtney Ray to check it out and this is what she found.
Team San Jose had a lot to celebrate last weekend: The recently completed San Jose McEnery Convention Center was unveiled as attendees of the opening night gala, “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II,” enjoyed having their pictures taken on the orange carpet and drinking carrot-inis, a nod to the famed cartoon bunny and his favorite meal. And joining in the celebration was the new Team San Jose CEO, Karolyn Kirchgesler, who started in the role a few weeks ago and was thrilled to be part of the center’s reveal.
Guests could also try the Idea Tree, a new piece of interactive artwork that sits in front of the center, by standing in the sound booth beneath the sculpture and whispering ideas. Those ideas are wirelessly transmitted to the canopy and reassembled into an “ambient soundscape,” which can be heard from underneath the artwork.
We were also treated to lunch with Kirchgesler. She said she’s excited to be part of the organization and to enjoy the beautiful weather in San Jose after arriving from Minnesota, where she was the president and CEO of Visit Saint Paul. She also described the focus of the convention center on new technology as a nod to San Jose’s status as the capital of Silicon Valley. The updated convention center added 125,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space, which now totals 550,000 square feet.
The following morning, the traditional ideas of how to organize and plan meetings were “shifted” after a presentation by Chris Gasbarro, chief creative officer of C3 (Creative Community Connections), at The Tech Museum of Innovation. He discussed how to shift perspective as an event planner to look differently at what attendees most need and want from an event and how to give it to them in new and innovative ways. His examples included taking breakout sessions outside and giving attendees a more hands-on approach in deciding exactly what those breakout sessions will be.
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