Venue Perspective on the Pandemic with AEG
In addition to adapting to current circumstances, event organizers and venues must also consider upcoming guidelines and restrictions necessary to resume in-person events. Ellen Schwartz (General Manager, LACC), Carisa Norton (VP of Event Services, LACC), Kyle Robinson (VP, The NOVO), and Berenice Palacios (Director of Sales, The NOVO) join us to share their venues’ perspectives on the pandemic, including responses to lockdown, logistical adjustments, guideline adherence, and, ultimately, what it will take to reopen safely.
About the Speakers
Since 2013, Carisa Norton has been the Vice President of Event Services at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In this role, she leads the team responsible for planning and executing over 250 events annually. With nearly 20 years of experience in venue management, Carisa has been involved in events of all scope, size, and complexity, including the Grammys, Emmys, NBA & NHL All-Star Fan Experience, E3, Anime Expo, and the LA Auto Show. Prior to Los Angeles, Carisa held leadership roles at the LA Tourism & Convention Board, the Albuquerque Convention Center, and the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. Commitment to the partnership, strong trust in her team, and transparency in strategic expectations are among the “must-haves” she identifies for success. She holds the designation of Certified Meeting Professional from the Events Industry Council and Certified Venue Professional from the International Association of Venue Managers.
Carisa lives in Pasadena, CA with her husband and teenage son, where they enjoy hiking the beautiful trails of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Kyle Robinson is the General Manager of the Novo, a music and arts venue located in the center of the entertainment capital of the world: the L.A. LIVE complex. Kyle has been with AEG for 6 years, starting as administrative support at the El Rey Theatre and the Roxy Theatre, and later adding Sales Manager duties to his plate. He joined the Novo Operations Team four years ago, and under the brilliant direction of his previous GMs, has worked hard to cultivate his management skills and gain experience to position himself as their natural successor. Since officially adopting the GM duties in February of this year, Kyle has been working closely with AEG Presents upper management to prepare for the return of the live event industry.
Berenice Palacios is the Director of Sales of The Novo at L.A. Live, overseeing all of the event rentals and bookings, working closely with all types of clients. Berenice started working at The Novo in 2009 when it was still Club Nokia on their part-time guest services team while in college. She worked her way up to becoming the Guest Services Supervisor shortly before being promoted to their VIP Sales Manager in 2012, which handled all of the VIP Room rentals and bookings. Her experience working on their operations teams has been beneficial and very valuable to her and clients when it comes to working on their events. Berenice briefly moved to The Fonda Theatre as the Director of Sales before coming back to The Novo in 2017, where she continues to work closely with her team and clients to ensure their events run as smoothly as possible and exceed their client’s expectations.
Ellen Schwartz, General Manager for the Los Angeles Convention Center, is a dynamic industry professional with more than 40 years in the trade show and events industry. Schwartz has been part of the AEG team since October 2013 helping to lead the successful transition from public to private management of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Schwartz joined the team at the LACC as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, becoming the Assistant General Manager in July 2016, and the General Manager in July 2018. Prior to joining AEG, Schwartz served as Senior Director of Sales and Marketing for the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center/SMG. Prior to that, Schwartz served as Director of Sales for the Miami Beach Convention Center/SMG. Before heading to the facility side of the business, Schwartz was the Vice President and Show Manager for the Woodworking, Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair for over eight years and grew the show to over 300,000 net sq. ft. and 18,000 attendees.