Networking

Monday | October 19

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: EXCLUSIVE ‘HAMBURGER UNIVERSITY’ TOUR: INSIDE MCDONALD’S NEW HEADQUARTERS

In 2018, McDonald's relocated their headquarters from Oak Brook, IL, to Chicago's trendy West Loop neighborhood in an effort to improve performance by getting employees closer to customers and the trends impacting their business. In this guided tour, McDonald’s will pull back the curtain and invite you to experience the new HQ for yourself, specifically the training and event space, lovingly called “Hamburger University.” Get a glimpse into how and why McDonald's prioritized creating this immersive experience that mixes digital and physical moments. Learn about the new narrative that was crafted and interactive technologies that were used to bring it all to life. Get a better understanding of how one of the world’s biggest brands is banking on employee experiences to drive business. World-famous fries will be served! (Note: The tour will begin at 11:00. Pre-registration required. No walk-ups will be accepted. Badge pickup at McCormick Place is required. Transportation will be provided.)
4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

FIRST-TIMER HAPPY HOUR

Come get your hang on with fellow first-time attendees and chat up one of our EMS superfans to get the scoop on what to do, where to go, what not to miss and how to get the most out of your Summit experience.
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

OPENING RECEPTION

Grab a drink, reconnect with colleagues and get ready to experience… Activation Land: The EMS Partner Experience. Forget everything you know about the traditional exhibit hall. Activation Land is the industry’s only curated playground for experiential ideas. And it’ll be your official meet-up place for drinks, snacks, fun and networking throughout the Summit. Step inside and explore, play and imagine the possibilities. Discover new event technologies. Find the right production partner. See the latest experiential products and tools in action. Get inspired and make connections that will elevate your next event. And do it all with a cocktail (or mocktail!) in hand. We can’t wait to see you. (Admission to reception included with EMS registration.)
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

TECHTOURS

Grab a pair of headphones and join us for one of our small-group, curated “TechTours” of all the most cutting-edge technology partners in Activation Land. Check back for more details on how to sign up.
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: BASEBALL NIGHT AT WRIGLEY FIELD

Grab a friend, some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and take in a beautiful spring night at one of America’s most iconic baseball stadiums: Wrigley Field. Watch the hometown Cubbies take on the Milwaukee Brewers. Grab a beer and a hot dog, network with EMS attendees and end the night with a few new industry friends—and maybe even a fly ball. Cost: $50. (Pre-registration required. No walk-ups will be accepted.)
7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

EX AWARDS GALA AND '80s AFTER PARTY

The first, best and longest-running awards program for the experiential industry is heading into its 18th year—‘80’s style. Lock up your DeLorean, grab a California Cooler and join 600 of the world’s best marketers as they get rowdy and celebrate the best campaigns of the year. Festive ‘80’s attire encouraged! Cost: $375 includes dinner, awards program and after-party. VIP tables of 10 also available. Note that an Ex Award ticket is not included in any attendee/speaker registration and must be purchased separately.

Tuesday | October 20

6:30 AM – 7:15 AM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: MORNING YOGA AND MEDITATION

Start your day a little sweaty and a lot more centered while you get to know other EMS attendees. Professional yoga instructors will guide you through a combination of postures and poses to help you stretch and strengthen. We’ll end with a quiet meditation to help you forget your inbox (for a few minutes, anyway). All skill levels are encouraged and welcome. Cost: $15. (Pre-registration required. No walk-ups will be accepted.)
6:30 AM – 7:15 AM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: SCENIC 5K RUN OR WALK

Join other EMS runners—and walkers, too!—for a few miles of networking. All fitness levels are welcome on a scenic, 40-minute run while taking in Chicago’s picturesque skyline, lakefront views and downtown architecture. Not a runner? Opt for a group walk instead. Group stretch starts at 6:20 a.m. in the Hyatt lobby; group leaves at 6:30 a.m. Cost: $10. (Pre-registration required. No walk-ups will be accepted.)
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

COFFEE BREAK AND ‘DOGGY DECOMPRESSION’

Grab a coffee, chat up fellow attendees and meet with the industry’s best experiential partners in… Activation Land—the industry’s only curated playground for experiential ideas. And don’t forget to stop by our official EMS Doggy Decompression Zone for a quick hug, slobbery kiss or photo op. All puppy visits support Sit, Stay, Read, a Chicago-based organization that uses dogs to help kids learn to read.
12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

BRAND X LUNCHEON FEATURING SEPHORA

Be a part of one of the event industry’s greatest community development programs, the Brand X Challenge coproduced with MAS Event + Design and Sephora. This national student design competition is produced to raise awareness for the experiential sector among college students from 100+ schools. This year students were challenged to design an experiential activation for Sephora. Come see some of the action from Brand X, get a taste of the submissions and then watch as we present the winning campaign and crown the actual team live on stage. Get ready to cheer on the next generation of experience creators!
3:15 PM – 3:45 PM

COFFEE BREAK AND ‘DOGGY DECOMPRESSION’

Grab a coffee, chat up fellow attendees and meet with the industry’s best experiential partners in… Activation Land—the industry’s only curated playground for experiential ideas. And don’t forget to stop by our official EMS Doggy Decompression Zone for a quick hug, slobbery kiss or photo op. All puppy visits support Sit, Stay, Read, a Chicago-based organization that uses dogs to help kids learn to read.
3:45 PM – 5:00 PM

WOMEN IN EVENTS ‘WINE & LEARN’ MIXER

This year’s annual Women in Events get-together focuses on helping young women who’ve been displaced achieve their dreams. Grab a colleague and spend some meaningful time supporting GirlForward in a hands-on care kit building session benefiting girls ages 14 to 21 who are preparing for the next step in their educational journey. Connect with old friends. Meet some new ones. Hear moving stories from the girls of GirlForward. And get inspired to make a difference in the lives of girls everywhere. (Function open to All Access Pass holders.)
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

FIRST-TIMER HAPPY HOUR

Come get your hang on with fellow first-time attendees and chat up one of our EMS superfans to get the scoop on what to do, where to go, what not to miss and how to get the most out of your Summit experience.
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

HAPPY HOUR

The EMS happy hour is always a who’s-who of event marketing. Reconnect with old colleagues and meet new peeps—grab a cocktail and enjoy great conversations with your industry peers. Only EMS brings together more than 1,000 elite event marketers at our networking events. This is a “can’t miss” opportunity to trade business cards, meet with new product and services suppliers and just plain “hang out” with the industry’s latest and greatest. This is the last major networking reception of the Summit so don’t miss it. (Admission included with EMS registration.)
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

TECHTOURS

Grab a pair of headphones and join us for one of our small-group, curated “TechTours” of all the most cutting edge technology partners in Activation Land. Check back for more details on how to sign up.
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: THE OFFICIAL EMS NETWORKING DINNER

The famous (and sometimes infamous) EMS networking dinner is baaaaaaaack. And this year we’re heading to neighborhood fave Café Bionda for a taste of their five-star Italian dishes. True story: Some of the industry’s longest-running collaborations started at the EMS networking dinner. So get your tickets today. This event will sell out. Cost: $125, includes family-style entrees, salads and dessert, two drinks and a whole lot of fun.
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: WOMEN IN EVENTS SUPPER CLUB

Our popular national peer-to-peer dinner series for industry women is back—and this year we’re taking the party to the sky. Join us on the 22nd floor for a “ladies’ night” full of fun conversations, industry networking and a delicious dinner at one Chicago’s premiere rooftop locales: VU Rooftop Bar, 133 E Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616. Cost: $145 includes dinner and two drinks. Seating is limited. (Open to those who identify as women. Pre-registration is required, no walk-ups will be accepted).
9:00 PM – 11:00 PM

EMS LATE NIGHT, POWERED BY PRG

Get ready and mark your calendar for the ultimate late-night attendee experience. PRG is hosting this year’s EMS after-party! Join us Tuesday, May 12th from 9–11 p.m. for this one-of-a-kind event where art meets cutting edge technology. We’re transforming Revel Motor Row, a city landmark rich in Chicago history, into a fully immersive party experience. Enjoy food, cocktails, music, and entertainment. Walking distance from McCormick Place, attendees looking to connect will be able to take networking to the next level! (Free to attend for registered/badged attendees. Pre-registration required.)

Wednesday | October 21

6:30 AM – 7:15 AM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: MORNING YOGA AND MEDITATION

Start your day a little sweaty and a lot more centered while you get to know other EMS attendees. Professional yoga instructors will guide you through a combination of postures and poses to help you stretch and strengthen. We’ll end with a quiet meditation to help you forget your inbox (for a few minutes, anyway). All skill levels are encouraged and welcome. Cost: $15. (Pre-registration required. No walk-ups will be accepted.)
6:30 AM – 7:15 AM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: SCENIC 5K RUN OR WALK

Join other EMS runners—and walkers, too!—for a few miles of networking. All fitness levels are welcome on a scenic, 40-minute run while taking in Chicago’s picturesque skyline, lakefront views and downtown architecture. Not a runner? Opt for a group walk instead. Group stretch starts at 6:20 a.m. in the Hyatt lobby; group leaves at 6:30 a.m. Cost: $10. (Pre-registration required. No walk-ups will be accepted.)
8:00 AM – 9:15 AM

ADD-ON EXPERIENCE: WOMEN IN EVENTS BREAKFAST CLUB

Brand new this year, we’re bringing our popular Women in Events Week “Breakfast Club” roundtables to EMS. Pick from one of three small-group discussions—Creativity and Innovation, Career Building and Confidence, or Crafting Killer Campaigns—and participate in a lively, candid conversation with other industry women, all moderated by an industry expert. These chats are where the magic happens, ladies—so sign up now before the seats fill up! Cost: $65. Includes breakfast, coffee and mimosas. Space is limited to 10 women per table.
12:45 PM – 1:45 PM

NETWORKING LUNCH

Grab a “Snack Map” and step into Activation Land one last time for a culinary journey filled with tasty snacks, yummy desserts, sensory experiences and other food-based adventures.