Building the Most Badass Event in Logistics: The Manifest Story
Episode Transcript
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Location : Las Vegas, Nevada
Event Type : In-Person
Date : Feb 5, 2024 - Feb 7, 2024

In this episode of Everything is Logistics, host Blythe Brumleve welcomes Courtney Muller, the President at Manifest and Chief Corporate Development Officer at Connective, to talk about building the most badass event in logistics.

In the conversation, we cover the strategy behind building not only knowledge-based discussions but also experiences that bring out the conversation naturally among strangers–which is a major key when networking with folks you might not see all that often.

Have we mentioned Manifest has a puppy lounge? Because in case I haven’t mentioned it enough, it’s the best sponsorship dollars money can buy. And it’s also experiences like this that help to give you a peopling break so you can get back to the networking like you never missed a beat.

As someone who doesn’t go to ALL conferences but still attends a half dozen or so throughout the year, Manifest is one I haven’t and don’t plan on ever missing in the future. It sounds like they’re paying me to say this, but I mean it. This event is only going to get more popular and in demand, so with tickets on sale, better scoop them and get to work on the planning February 2024 ASAP (taking place the week before the Super Bowl–which is also in Vegas).



[00:01:37] Planning a successful logistics event.
[00:04:21] Planning events for 30 years.
[00:09:30] High-level event curation.
[00:10:19] Being the biggest doesn’t matter.
[00:14:25] Creating valuable conference bags.
[00:18:37] Pre-event speaker interviews.
[00:21:04] Supporting Podcasters at Events.
[00:25:16] Creative problem solving.
[00:28:25] Women’s lunch and gender diversity.
[00:31:06] Diversity in leadership.
[00:34:24] Stand up for yourself.
[00:38:14] Expanding event space.
[00:41:23] Building a better website.
[00:44:59] Event planning and sponsorship opportunities.


At SPI Logistics they have industry-leading technology, systems, and back-office support to help you succeed. Learn more about SPI’s freight agent program here. Make sure to let them know we sent you!

Digital Dispatch helps you speak confidently about ROI with a website built for your customers, prospects, and employees. With plans starting as low as $90/month, learn how you can take your website from good to great by visiting Digital Dispatch.

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of everything is logistics a podcast for the thinkers in freight. I'm your host Blythe Brumleve. And I'm happy to welcome in Courtney Muller, she is the President at Manifest, and the chief corporate development officer over at connective, and we're gonna be talking about building the most badass event in logistics of Courtney, welcome to the show.

Courtney Muller: 0:27

Thank you so much. And I appreciate you calling about us, because we certainly think it is.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:31

Hell yeah, I mean, I've been to them, you've only had two, I've been to both of them. And I tell people, you know, far and wide that this is my favorite logistics event, because it brings in, you know, for a lot of folks, I think they're so used to working in their silo. And when you come to this event, you can see every part of logistics right there right in front of you hear from some of the most talented people and some of the most insightful people in this space, I promise, you're not paying me to say this, I really genuinely believe this, about this conference. And so let's actually, let's kind of give the audience you know, for folks who may not have attended a show in the past, you know, we we just wrapped up the February event that took place, you know, you had about a year to plan for that event, the first Manifestevent happened, you know, close to two years ago. And with that event, you had about two years to plan for that one, because of you know, COVID, and everything got locked down, shut down. All that stuff, we all are very familiar with that. So as we kind of, you know, go into that second event that you guys had earlier this year, how much of the event sort of shifted and changed or how much of it was compacted, because you had a little bit shorter of a planning period than you did for the very first event where you had two years to plan for that one,

Courtney Muller: 1:49

I know. And really believe since Manifest was launched two years ago, having the two year runway was an amazing thing for us. Normally, you want to have probably 12 to 18 months when you're launching an event. So having the two years wasn't completely outside the window of what's normal. And given the climate at that time, and how people were just everybody was so messed up, you know, they didn't know which way it was up on the supply chain was going crazy. It feels like Lucky for us not only the timing of creating Manifest because the supply chain is so much at the forefront now. But also giving having those two years enabled us to really nail down the right speakers to have enough conversation with sponsors. And to make the event special that first time out. And you may remember, I remember very well that we had the Omicron wave come about a month before Manifest . And that threw everything into such a tizzy people were very concerned. And a lot of people thought we were going to cancel the show, I think some thought we should cancel the show. But we didn't we felt like we had to power through we had already been two years. The show was ready. So we went forward. And I'm glad we did. Because we feel that at the time, it did set the tone for that year. And now in 2023, really, people are back to events. So even more exciting to have the second event this year, in a year where people are really happy to get outside their homes again.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:15

Absolutely. And I think that there's a certain level of of being the leaders in this space that you have to take that first step that somebody has to throw that first big event and that needed to I mean, I'm from Florida, we you know, our you can make an argument that we never actually locked down a lot of conferences. A lot of conferences are actually taking place in Florida because you know, technically we were you know, open for business. So as a Floridian I was gung ho about going to the conference, I don't care, you know, make me take a test make me you know, vaccine, all that I don't care, I just want to get out and travel a little bit. And obviously, with all of the people that did show up to that first one, you guys made the right decision. And you know, it ended up being a very successful event to the point where folks who didn't go to that first one heard all about it, and then hopefully they were at that second one. And so for you in particular, if we could back up for just a second, how did you first get involved in planning events? And that how did you get to where that next level of planning these large scale events? Yeah,

Courtney Muller: 4:18

yeah, so I've been planning events for about 30 years. I've been in the industry a really long time. I started as a salesperson selling booths. I'm scared to admit, like 30 something years ago, and I've worked for large global tradeshow organizations for most of my career. So the events I've planned in the past are actually much much, much larger than manifest. And we have designed to grow manifest into a I mean, it's already a global event, but we want it to be an industry leading event, which means it will grow larger. And I think having the experience that I have with larger events, running them scaling them, it's helpful to manifest and it's helpful to the team because I am the only one on Have a team who has this big event experience. Most of the people, many of the people that we hire at connectiv Don't come from the event industry. And the reason is, is that our model is different. And, you know, I came in with a lot of preconceived notions about what an event looks like. And I had a lot of learning to do, because the connective model is, it's, it's different. We're trying to create a sea level experience, we spend a lot of money on every attendee, to make sure that they feel not only taken care of at the event, but that they've been able to take advantage of every opportunity to meet with people, and to have the experience that's going to provide the ROI, and the fun, you know, and the engagement that's going to keep them coming back. And I don't think a lot of event companies take the time to really think about that attendee experience the way that we do.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:50

Yeah, it's definitely evident in it, because it when I've been there, you know, I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, because I'm trying to talk to as many people as possible, get, you know, podcast recordings, and just shake hands, kiss babies, obviously, stop at the puppy lounge. So with all of that, I know I have that going on. But then I see you walking through and you look so calm, and pulled together. And just, I don't know how you do it. So how do you manage that sort of, you know, in conference craziness? Yeah, well,

Courtney Muller: 6:21

it's, um, I have to say, I've just been doing it for a long time, you know. And honestly, Blythe, if you're going to be running events, you have to be calm, because there's so many things that are thrown at you that you don't think about. And if you're going to get freaked out, every time someone says, oh, we have a problem over here, or I see a red flag or whatever, you're, you're going to drive yourself crazy, and you're not going to be able to deal. I actually, I'll tell you a quick story. I've worked with a guy who shall remain nameless, but he was worked for an association partner on an event I was running years ago. And whenever we got on site at the show, he would start at the time we have radios, you know, he'd radio me and be like, we got a big, big problem over here. Big problem, someone dropped the ball. And during the three days of the show, I can't tell you how many times he said we have a big problem and somebody dropped the ball. And it was like, that is so dramatic. For whatever situation you're talking about right now, and I knew it was always the boy who cried wolf. So you know, you just you gotta roll with the punches. You gotta roll with everything when you're on site at an event and I'm obviously scheduled down to the minute um, so I do try to leave a little time to just walk the floor and like you say speak to people say hello. Um, but generally speaking, we're just running around trying to make sure everything's going well.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:36

I mean, you're obviously you're doing a great job of it because I was just, I remember being running around like crazy at this last one. And you're just you're walking through and you've looked so just calm and collected. I was like, wow, she really like has it all. I mean, they you must have everything just planned down to the tee in order to be able to just walk around and be just calm and I just was really I really admired seeing that because you took time to talk to several different people when obviously you have a ton of things to do and I'm sure there's a lot of things going on so you really handle a lot of those fires well if you were dealing with fires I did not get that impression because it really was I was like well looks like told myself I

Unknown: 8:18

need to calm down. Exactly. She's running the event and she's fine.

Courtney Muller: 8:24

Well, amazing team behind me. Obviously this making all the magic happens, so I'm just super lucky to have them.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:31

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Courtney Muller: 9:30

Yeah, so interesting. You asked that because again, I think manifest is a different kind of event. And we do strive to be very, very high level and we take a lot of time in curating our audience. And on the bigger events I've worked on in the past, we were kind of more interested in just broadly attracting a lot of people, whether they were tire kickers, or you know what I mean? And the difference I see here it manifests is well we are going to grow the event. We're going to grow it carefully. And we're going to grow it with the right people and the right as sponsors and the right content, and we're not going to grow it for the sake of growing it, I mean, I'd rather have maybe fewer people. But as long as they're all still the right people, because the last thing we ever want to be is a show where people are just showing up, they've got a free pass from someone, and they just showed up, and they're just kind of walking around, and they don't really have a purpose. So what I have learned from some of those other events is being the biggest doesn't always matter, you want to be the best. And the best means you're attracting the most influential people in the industry. And you know, once you get that group of people in the industry, then the others want to follow the other influential people want to follow. So I would say, based on what I've seen in the past, and what I see with connective and how we're trying to grow manifest, that we want to be the CES of logistics, but I don't see us ever being that big, because I think when you're that big, you do lose something, there's, it becomes overwhelming to the attendee, and then you end up having kind of siloed events. I know that ces actually has like kind of a logistics and supply chain. I don't know if it's an area or some content. And we've now heard many organizations saying, I'm not going to go there anymore, I'm going to come to you because you're focused on what I do. I'm just so little tiny fish in that huge pond over there. So as much as we say we want to be the CES of logistics, I think we mean it more in terms of we want to be as influential as CES. But I don't envision us ever being I mean, I think it's like 80,000 people that go to CES Oh, wow, something crazy like that. I don't see that. You know, I really don't I don't see us ever being that big. Um, but I would like to see us take over Vegas a little bit, that'd be fun.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:39

A little more than you're well on your way for sure. I mean, if it, if anything is, you know, I guess a hint towards the future. It's definitely you're at the Paris on the first one. The first event you are at Caesars for I'm on the second one. And there and I from what I will get into next year's event in just a minute. But it next year, you're obviously going to you know, improve wherever you see fit. And it's probably going to be a near bet or probably coming in the near future that you will be taking over Vegas and competing with, you know, the likes of the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl that are going on there. Now, what are some of I'm curious, what are some of the I guess the hidden details behind planning an event like manifest because manifests is part of connective and connective hosts, I believe, for signature events, and the manifest is one of those events. So so when you're planning something like manifest, what are some of those, I guess, hidden details that go into the process of it?

Courtney Muller: 12:35

Mm hmm. Well, there's just I have, we have an amazing ops team. And because they work on all the shows, they're able to really perfecting their craft. And we feel like it's, it's about the types of things that are going to get people excited. So we don't just sell booths, we sell activations, as many of you see, I mean, this year, we had, you know, the rose ale Day, which I just absolutely love that Seco amazing. The puppy Lounge is obviously everyone's favorite. But we had the beer garden, you know, we had the coffee, I figured it was called Coffee depot, something like that we had an arcade, we take a lot of space off the floor to have the meeting area in the center of the floor. So all of these things are to make sure that people feel engaged and entertained, and that they're able to network with anyone at the show in the easiest way possible. So we provide that meeting center at the center of the floor, so that people do have that place to meet. And obviously everyone has access to the app weeks before the show. So we encourage people to make meetings before they ever get there. But you'd be surprised to know how many phone calls take place, when we're just designing the activations. I mean, we saw so many different iterations of the Rosae all day activation, you know, and our CEO of connective J, he is just so particular. And he gets on a lot of these phone calls, and he makes suggestions. And he really gets in the weeds of what the show is going to look like when we get on site. I'm sure you notice the branding, the video, we have an amazing video guy, he spent so much time doing all those videos, just that we're on the main screens. And we just we we don't leave any detail on thought of I think compared to most event companies, we care about the experience a lot. I'll give you an example to the team stuffed all the bags this year. So we literally spent Monday, five and a half hours in a room, all of us stuffing 3000 conference bags was a lot. And we were saying we were looking at the things that were going in and there was like two fun things. And after the show, we're like, you know, people come to the show. And if they have kids, they're looking to get tchotchkes for the kids. So what if we encouraged anyone who has an insert to purchase a tchotchke from a list of things we provide that might be the best thing to go in the bag. Oh, and we're going to provide them with that list and all the companies they can reach out to and what the costs are. So we're gonna make it really easy for anyone who's going to insert in the bag to provide us with something that the attendee is going to open the bag and look at and say, oh my gosh, my kid is going to love this, or I love this. Because we want what's in there to be valuable right now you go to a show, you get a bag, often you see them in the garbage things are just and that's heartbreaking. So if we're going to do it, we want it to be something that's meaningful to people that they're going to go home with. And I don't think any other show has ever thought that way. And that's a minor detail, what's going in the bag. And now we're going to take our time and our effort to work with every sponsor that has something and guide them and make sure that they get the most out of their investment as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:38

I love that because it creates a conversation, it creates that and I think this is what you know, Pam Simon, who also executive chair for manifests, as she had mentioned that she loves to create these different, you know, sort of conversational experiences that you can have together with someone else. And it's not necessarily like a sales meeting or a PR meeting that you're setting up weeks in advance. It just happens to be another like a perfect example. I was in the one of several times I was in the pub. And I was surrounded around surrounded by all these like just adorable dogs. There's another woman in the same area. And she's doing the same thing. We actually connected a few weeks after that, and she's now a podcast sponsor for the show. Never met, but we we actually secure. We wave to each other from the other side, just you know, connected over the puppy lounge experience. Yeah, and she got my name from somebody else. And now we're working together. So I wasn't forced, nothing like that. And so those are the kinds of just different, you know, experiences that you can have a shared relationship with someone or a shared experience with someone half that develops into that relationship with them sort of

Courtney Muller: 16:52

and you by the way, you agree Sharky, right up there in the front at Nellie was up on the balcony. I'm like, Oh, my God, grace, and like just ran to the front and grabbed a table and talk about badass. That was a badass move, ladies.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:10

We have to give a I guess a shout out to I'm blanking on his name. I'm so sorry. But he is the founder of 53 Ventures, he actually helped us secure that table. Because what happened at the first conference at ludicrous is that there were so many people trying to get to the front, you know, we kind of got a little squished on during the first conference at the first event. For the second event, we went in kind of with the plan that we wanted to kind of spread out just a little bit so we wouldn't be so smushed. But the the gentleman at 53 Ventures he brought over a table and put it right behind us. So we created just a perfect viewing experience for everybody that was in our group. We got the front row we got the table, it was it was fantastic. I highly recommend, you know, securing your table if you can for a cost a little things. No, no, we had just mentioned, we kind of briefly just just mentioned talking about Pam, and one of the great things that I love about this conference too is that you're releasing your record, Pam is it you know, she's in charge of a lot of things. But one of her bigger focuses that I noticed is she's recording interviews with a lot of the the significant speakers, and the panelists that are coming to the event are going to be presenting at the event. So I'd love it because it gives sort of that insight, that sneak preview of the content that's coming and the insights that you can learn because I think for a lot of folks, they might not know who some of these people are, to be able to hear from them ahead of time, I think goes a long way. How much of that is a conscious choice for manifested to preview that?

Courtney Muller: 18:41

Well, it actually started in that long two year cycle we had, you know, we kept being questioned, you know, should we do an online event, should we do a virtual event should we be doing something as we had up to this in person event and we all collectively decided we don't want to do a virtual event because virtual events give you a certain taste. And and we wouldn't want anyone to think that that's what we were. So we decided not to do that. But we did decide at that time, very early on. The pan has a talent. She's a true industry Maven, she knows it inside and out. She has a ton of relationships. She's great on camera, she loves to present and it just felt like the right thing to do to start this fireside chat series. So she was doing chats with influential people in the industry even before we knew what our content was going to be. And then as you say, it just kind of morphed into being it's a promotional vehicle now for the show, you know, but we also do introduce some people throughout the year who are not speaking at the show. We try to mix it up a little but generally speaking, it is going to be the speakers that will be highlighted in manifest. So I think it's become a nice co brand of ours, her fireside chat series and we actually have renamed it now we're calling it manifest insights. Because we had quite a few interviews done on site as well. I did a few on site and Actually, Sarah burns, Humphrey did a few for us on site. So we're calling them all manifest insights now, and that will be the new name moving forward.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:10

And I think too, with a lot of because I actually got on camera with Sarah Barnes Humphrey, she's obviously a legend here in the supply chain podcasting space. I think she's one of the first if not the first women to start a podcast in all of supply chain. So she's a legend in that regard. And with a lot of the different content offerings that it's not just before the show, but it's at the show to you guys to have a full, you know, camera crew that's walking around Sarah, I think was part of that, that can't recruit that was walking around getting insights from folks. But then you also it was really, really cool as a podcaster to have access to the podcast, the official like manifest podcast booth, it was sponsored by Maersk. And so we were able to, you know, sort of schedule off a little bit of time in order and it was so helpful to the creators in this space with just just exploded since, you know, 2020. How, I guess, how did that come to fruition for planning a special area just for the Creator?

Courtney Muller: 21:07

Yeah. So I, I honestly, I really mean this blog. I love all you guys. I think all you podcasters are incredible, because you've all started from nothing, and created something out of nothing. And I just have so much respect for that. So I actually made it my mission this past year to get a number of podcasters at the event, and to create this podcast booth and have it sponsored. And it works out well because Maersk was doing this big announcement with port of Ashdod. And they were really into it and loved that. So it enabled me then to just keep inviting podcasters. And to support them in that way to give them a space to record because it's coming back at us in a very positive way, obviously. And I've said to the team, I want to do two studios next year, because I wanted to give everyone more time. And there's more people who didn't get time in the studio. And so next year, we'll probably have two studios, but we're also going to have a couple of meeting rooms where crews or anyone, any member of the media can go in set up and conduct interviews, I'm really hot on having as many members of media all types of media there as possible. I think people get excited when they see you guys, you know, and then you're recording. And then those recordings are happening throughout the year. And I just think it's so great for manifests, and I love supporting all of you.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:24

And I think it helps it's such a brilliant marketing play that no other conference has done in this space. It's it's kind of mind boggling that nobody else has, because you have access to all of these independent creators, so why not partner with them? Why not work something out to where, you know, you can take advantage of these people that are already there all in one spot for a few days, but that handful of which will leaders in the space,

Courtney Muller: 22:49

all of them, not all of them, but so many of them, and they all want to be interviewed, you know, they want to get out there too. So it just increases the opportunity for everyone. Heck yeah, and

Blythe Brumleve: 23:00

I think too, so So take me to, you know, sort of the week of you know, we kind of talked about, you know, sort of your, your, your aura that you're walking around the event with it's just just gives off that calm vibe. What about you know, sort of the How are you handling the mid crisis moments, the the event moments, you have a whole team that's just, you know, sort of put putting out fires, and it's almost like, you know, you go to Disney, and it's a bunch of cast members, like just hiding the stuff that's going on the bad stuff that's going on to create that magical experience. How are you guys getting it done like Disney? Yeah.

Courtney Muller: 23:35

So it is I mean, we have obviously a ton of people that work at connected that come on site to the show. And everything is planned so much ahead of time that we you know, when fires do happen? Often they're not too big. I mean, one of the worst things that happened this year was it was really cold on Tuesday night. And you know, you don't need to state that in Vegas, really. And we had the party outside and it was just like, dang, how, how are we going to make sure people are comfortable we so we had as many heat lamps as we could. And we were kind of scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out other things we could do. But at the end of the day, we just had to deal with cold as did all the attendees. You know, we hate that but that was kind of out of our control and frustrating. Um, so yes, but I would say we do have people behind the scenes. I mean, we noticed for example, on our video, that big video that was up that we had missed a sponsor. So we had our video guy you know, behind the scenes like redoing the video to add the sponsor in and just little things like that. Sometimes we relies on a speaker card and one of the rooms that we've got the wrong speaker. I mean, it's we're pretty meticulous. So it doesn't happen that often. But you know, nobody's perfect. And obviously things are gonna happen. And like I said before, we've all just learned to roll with the punches and just support each other. That's it like like I said the guy somebody dropped the ball. We would never say that. Never. You just there's a problem. You fix it and you move on and right. That's how we deal Yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:58

Hey, I think that that's definitely the right move to take like no, it pointing fingers is only going to make the problem bigger. So just knock it out, get it done somebody step up to the plate and get it done. What needs to be done?

Courtney Muller: 25:10

You remember, you remember, actually the year before when we had the line going into the opening party? And oh, you did not like that at all. So we started handing out drinks.

Unknown: 25:21

Which was an instant, like, just immediately like, Okay, we're good. Everybody's fine. It was like, What

Courtney Muller: 25:27

can we do? What can we do? And I was standing with a group of us. Oh, what if we give them drinks? It was like, yes, yes, let's do that. Let's do that. So, so

Blythe Brumleve: 25:35

smart. And that's, that's one of the great things that I love about this event is because those things do come up and you don't really, you might have thought about it for a hot second, like, oh, the line does look long. But then you're distracted. Because you're somebody's coming by you, you and bam, we're coming by with free drinks you yourself. Were coming by with free drinks, which I think is a better show,

Courtney Muller: 25:57

too, by the way, it was so

Blythe Brumleve: 26:01

what about for this year's event? Do you have a favorite moment of the show?

Courtney Muller: 26:05

Oh, my gosh, that's a really good question. Um, I do. And I have to say, my J, our CEO, he's very particular, you know. And like, sometimes I'll say to him, you know, I just really want to make you happy. I want I want you to be satisfied with my work. And he said to me once Well, I'm never even really satisfied with myself. So I know, I was like, Oh, he said, so you know, he's always gonna kind of want more. But that's all good. Because he's such a good man. He's brilliant. I adore working for him. But sometimes it is hard to get him to agree to things. And one of the things that he was a tad skeptical about in the beginning was the women's launch. So after this year's event, he, we came to our team dinner, and he had a bottle of crystal waiting for me to say, congratulations on an amazing show. And I you were right. And I was wrong about the women's launch. And you know, that was a really big deal for me, that he would admit that. And he knew I love crystal. I mean, who doesn't it's like the most in the world. So the fact that he had a bottle at the team dinner waiting for me, it was just it was an amazing and very, very unexpected moment. But outside of that, I would have to say the women's lunch, I would, it was my favorite. I love it. I love it when the audience starts talking, and we start getting those just amazing anecdotes. Katie date was incredible. Alice Marie, just so honest, you know, some of the things they were saying, I just resonated with me. And I know they did with everyone in the room. And I really am proud of that event. Because again, I don't think other shows are doing that type of thing. They're not having a hard conversation about gender diversity, they're not, you know, they're not digging in on these things that really matter to a lot of people. So the lunch for me is very personal. You know, my story, you know, I've been running women's events. For years, I created a women's group in our industry association, and I just, I feel passionately about the topic. So the fact that I'm able to bring other people into a room to talk about it for an hour, and then it gets so much attention just fills my heart with joy. And I look forward to doing it every year.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:25

And that is one of the more like a pivotal moments for me to you know, go to comp logistics conferences for years. And then to go to the women's lunch at manifests and to see this surrounded by women, that I never even knew this many women were in the industry. And it's grown so significantly

Courtney Muller: 28:45

because it has no it's great, but I'm so sorry about the dog. Oh, no

Unknown: 28:52

worries, you gotta roll with it. Right.

Courtney Muller: 28:56

What I also love about the women's lunch is the men, obviously, all the men that show up. And it's it's fantastic.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:04

And that's another key point that I wanted to bring up because you actually you encourage men to control this event too. Yes. Which is great. What What What's the reasoning behind inviting men to you know, essentially, quota women's space?

Courtney Muller: 29:17

I know, I know. You know, it came about the first year we had Luanne Abrams, who was the CEO of CEO X company that tries to elevate women, CEO jobs, and Meredith Singletary, who's the Head of Diversity and Inclusion for DHL, and we were on a call talking about lunch. And I think Meredith said to me, are we inviting the men? And we sat there for a second. We were like, yes, we're inviting the men, because the men, they play a huge role in this and without their participation and continuing to educate them. Things are never going to change. So we decided we're going to invite them in. So I currently send an invite to everyone at manifests a personal invite inviting them to lunch and it's so awesome because I often get notes Back for men saying, Are you sure this was meant for me? And I always say, Yes, it was absolutely meant for you, you are welcomed at the launch, I encourage you to come your whatever you have to add is so important. And we really want men to be present. And they do they show up. And I don't see them showing up at other women's events like they do at manifests. And that makes me really proud of this industry.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:23

And there was a special moment to during that this year's women's lunch is, you know, several men got up, there was a q&a portion of it. And I want to say two different men got up to ask a question. And both of them were so extremely grateful that they could be there. And then they were also asking how they could, you know, further, I guess, make a welcoming environment in their own companies, for women in their own companies, which I thought was incredible way of just that thought process of the men having that thought process. Yes,

Courtney Muller: 30:57

yes, it was incredible. And I have many men approached me after lunch and say, they're so cute too. Because they'll say, Oh, I've worked so hard to have diversity and leadership, and here's the things I do, and they're proud of it. You know, and so I love it when the men get up and talk and so other men are hearing that and thinking, I can do the same. And, you know, that's hopefully just little changes everywhere, it all makes a difference. And then I think to

Blythe Brumleve: 31:21

it, well, it's an important conversation to have, it's it's not, you know, sort of, you know, we're recording this in the middle of March is Women's History Month. And it's an important conversation to have, because it's not just, you know, on women, it we have to involve men in the conversation as well, if we want to really, you know, be collaborative, and you know, grow each other together. And I think to wit, during, you know, I'm gonna get a little personal here. But during that talk, and during this discussion, you know, there was a moment where you had said something to do, and I'm paraphrasing here, but you had said something to the effect of it's also, you know, we invited men here, but it's also on a lot of women to collaborate and look out for other women as well, because frankly, a lot of women can be bitches when it comes to supporting other women. I actually had, you know, a, when you were saying that it's resonated with me so much, because it was just a short time before that, I was on a call with three other women. And one of them was a client, one of them was her her assistant, and the other one was a PR rep. And this PR rep I had never worked with, but she was talking down to me in the meeting, she was practically scolding me during the meeting. And I was so just taken aback, because I'd never been spoken to like like that in a meeting before. And I just couldn't believe that it was happening at the hands of like another woman, I'm like you're supposed to be, you know, supporting other women. You know, this wasn't an opportunity, in my opinion to be scolded. And I was almost more mad at myself later on for not standing up for myself. And so you would had a certain point portion of that the end of the women's luncheon that you were going to allow people to ask for questions. And that was going to be my question is how should I have dealt with that situation, I didn't want to get up and sort of air my dirty laundry in front of a whole crowd. But here I am on a podcast.

Courtney Muller: 33:15

It's, that's the type of experience you should share. So the other women hear that and say, Oh, wow, I think I've done that. And maybe I should never do that again. I mean, that's just, it's just, that story blows my mind, I just absolutely despise that story. And I don't know who this woman is, but I want to take her out to the shed out back. word with her.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:38

Yeah, and I mean, I certainly appreciate that. I think it was just more for like myself, like, I think of myself as like this very, you know, confident person who, you know, can try I tried to connect with everyone. But then when that situation happened, I felt like a shell of myself and I, I that was one of those nights where like, you just lose sleep, and you think of all the things you should have said, and you needed to say but, you know, ultimately, you know, sort of long story short, you know, the the service that I was going to be offering to that that person ceased that night, daily right after the client, and my business has done nothing but grow since then. So it was a do

Courtney Muller: 34:16

not reach out to her after and say, I'm not sure why you felt it was appropriate to speak to me that way or anything like that.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:23

No, I didn't and I should have and now that I even think about I just I did it and I just you know she she did reach out a few weeks later and asked if we were going to continue working together and I politely declined. So I think she kind of got the hit, she got the message. And that's hopefully the message came across. I just wish you know, it's just one of those moments, you know, where you're kind of like you think about it like when you're in the shower and you see what you had those shower fights.

Courtney Muller: 34:51

So, so true.

Unknown: 34:54

I've never lost a shower fight, but God helped me if I'm on the actual call.

Courtney Muller: 34:58

I know. I know. Oh my gosh, this like your head is so clear after situations like that, when you're in it, you're just like kind of angry.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:06

Yeah, I that's I think I was just more I wasn't necessarily I was a little angry, but I was just so mad at myself for not standing up for myself. And so that's where I think that it really is. And that's where your your message really rang true for me sort of bringing a whole certain full circle is that we have to sometimes check ourselves as well. And look for those opportunities, I think sometimes we can just be so tunnel vision on to what we want to achieve that there are other women out there that we could be noticing, and that we could be putting up them up on a pedestal as well. And that's, you know, part of why I have this show is to sort of elevate other women as well and elevate their voice to, and I just, you know, side note, thank you for doing the same thing for other women in this space. So as we kind of, you know, talk about, you know, we wrap up the past events, and you know, we got the current event that's coming up in 2024. Tell us a little bit about the planning process that's going into that, you know, any kind of, you know, sneak peeks of any kind of agenda items or anything like that you got in the works that you could share with us. Yeah, sure,

Courtney Muller: 36:11

I will, I will absolutely talk about that. But one other highlight, I just must mention Blythe was that my turn on the show. And she was at the Women's lunch. And she was she was there, she works in the industry. And she hasn't been one of my shows since she was like 11. So there wasn't like the one moment with my daughter, maybe when I called her out at the launch, but just having her there was a very rewarding experience all the way around. And she got to see me in my element, which she never gets to. So that was fun. And she's so proud to be a woman in supply chain. She really and I, I we both inadvertently got into the same industry at the same time, which is just incredible, and a happy surprise that happened in our lives. So having her there was amazing. And she plans to come again next year. So I'm very excited about that awesome. About next year is my daughter's coming again.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:07

That's amazing. And she gets to see you like in your element and hard at work. And she probably be made afterwards. She's like, wow, my mom's badass.

Courtney Muller: 37:17

She said that someone came up to her at the show after the woman's lunch and just looked at it really quickly and said, Your mom's a gangsta? And watch. That's awesome. I'm like, I don't know where that comes from. But that's pretty hilarious. Actually. That's

Blythe Brumleve: 37:32

awesome. Good for her and YouTube for being able to, you know, sort of, you know, share in that moment together so she can get a firsthand view of everything amazing that you guys are doing within this industry. Yeah, yeah, it's

Courtney Muller: 37:44

been it's been so fun, and I can't wait to do it again. So for next year, we are back at Caesars forum again. But we have the whole building this time. And we only had half the building this year. It's crazy. And there was a firefighter show going on. At the same time, you probably noticed them walking around. Here. I did

Unknown: 38:01

hear rumors from a lot of the women at the conference and there was a firefighter function.

Courtney Muller: 38:06

Exactly. And so they were still kind of milling around when we were starting, but it's not going to be the case next year, we have the building to ourselves. So the expo hall will be doubled the size. Wow. Yeah, it's going to be huge. We're still working with how to lay out the show in the space because there's actually four ballrooms at Caesars forum. And no one would have even known that, because we were using the closest ballroom to where you come into the facility. So you don't even realize how much space there is down at the end. And we will be using most of it. And the beauty of that is we're gonna have a ton of meeting rooms. So meeting rooms will be available for sponsors if they want to purchase them that type of thing, which we did not have that opportunity this year. And as I said before, it means more space for the media, which I love, just opportunity to provide people with some space that they might need. We once again on our prix de we'll be doing a maritime import symposium. We are going to do keep a half day of programming around sustainability on the Prix de and the third thing that we're going to add next year is an intermodal half day workshop. Basically, we're still talking about a few others, we'll see. But we're doing those three for sure. And we have four tracks of content during the event, but we're probably going to push it to five tracks in 2024. There's just so many people we want to get on stage. There's so much to talk about. You know, there's just there's a lot so we're good problems to have up to five tracks. Yeah, and then there's going to be even more choose from which will make it even harder but that's okay again because we record everything and everything is available post show for people to view anyone who was a ticket holder for people to view we just launched we just opened ticket sales a week ago, and we have our hotel link already available. The big reason being Super Bowl is the Sunday fall Only manifest. Woohoo. So if it's even possible, Vegas may be a little busier than this year, it was busy this year. But we have secured plenty of hotel rooms for all of our guests. And I'm not too worried about hotel, but I am encouraging people book early, get your flights early, because the prices are only going to keep going up. And I still say to people book your hotel early because our block, it may fill up, we may run out. And right now, you know, it's March, it seems like there's so much time and there is but you know, months start ticking away and you forget, whatever. So we really are encouraging people to book early. And if you're gonna have a party or a dinner, check it out. Now. The NFL is all over town. And you know, we want to do our closing event at the Brooklyn Bowl again. Right now the NFL is holding like three venues and they're deciding next week, they might drop the Brooklyn Bowl. So we're just kind of waiting. But that's the type of thing that's going on. So just big encouragement to people to book early anything they're thinking about. We've got all our bases covered, like I said, with hotel and our big events. But with smaller events, it might be a little bit challenging. And I hate to say that, but it's just the way Vegas is.

Blythe Brumleve: 41:14

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Courtney Muller: 43:29

And right now we're really in our talking phase, I call it we spend months just talking to people, and making sure that the content that we're pulling together is relevant, timely, we always leave some till the very end, because you know, things come up at the end of the year, you want to make sure to get something in about that. But we won't really start sketching out an agenda until the summertime. Right now we're talking to people we're inviting people we know we want on stage. And we'll start kind of figuring out how to put them all together. A few months down the road. We launched our sponsorship sales last week, but a month earlier than like maybe not a month, maybe three weeks earlier than last year. So happy about that we do take a lot of time after the show, to consider what we want to do again, and what we want to add to make sure the experience continues to maintain at the highest level possible. And since we are we do have double the space next year, we have to be creative about how we use the space and where the entrances are and where people are going for sessions and the one to one meeting lounge all that we're taking a lot of time to figure out the best layout. So working on that right now. I'm talking to partners again, you and I are all set really happy about that. But want to keep inviting more, you know, again, more media. We want to get a ton more shippers to the event. We had a good number this year, but you know, everybody wants to see more shippers. So we're going to be focusing on that as well. And in fact, we have a new person coming in who's going to be focused on that effort. I can't say who that is now, but I'll be able to say next week and I'm so excited about this individual. So more to come on that. But we're just really, the whole team feels energized. And like I said, excited to do it all again. And get back to that moment, you know, where you walk through the door at Caesars forum, and it's just to see everything. After working on it for years, just incredible experience. And we're looking forward to the next 11 months of planning.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:27

I mean, you deserve a giant pat on the back. I mean, I'm sure you probably don't have enough time to enjoy the pat on the back, because you're right back to it with next year's event. And for folks are for as we sort of wrap up this interview, where can folks you know, is, first of all, is there anything else that they should know? And then second of all, where can they go to, you know, buy the tickets, you know, get the hotel room, lock that in immediately, and then reach out to you? If if it maybe there's any sponsorship opportunity?

Courtney Muller: 45:54

Oh, absolutely. They can reach out to any of us. I'm coordinate and connected with ce o n n e c t IV, with no But the company website address is mana. It's ma N i F e dot S T. So it's manifest, but there's a dot between the E and S T. And you know, it's funny when we were first launching the show, we had an argument about that, you know, if we're not Are people gonna have a hard time finding us and all that I'm actually glad now that we did what we did, because I like having the web address that we have. Yeah, so a little bit different. Yeah, tickets are on sale. Now. Hotel Mike is live. The prospectus is live. So anyone has interest, just get in touch with the team.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:40

Like yeah, and you also have one of the best email newsletters in the game as well. So I will give you all that shout out for that. And I'll link to everything in the show notes. And then that way, it makes it super easy for folks to reach out and check out you know, past events and all that good stuff. Courtney, great conversation for the usual Oh, much. Thank you for coming on. I'm happy to have this conversation. I'm happy to have you know, this friendship with you. And really, I'm a big fan. And I think you got a fan for life for me. Yeah,

Courtney Muller: 47:09

same here. Yeah, so thank you, Blythe. Really appreciate it.

Unknown: 47:15


Blythe Brumleve: 47:21

I hope you enjoyed this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers and freight telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. If you liked this episode, do me a favor and sign up for our newsletter. I know what you're probably thinking, oh God, another newsletter. But it's the easiest way to stay updated when new episodes are released. Plus, we drop a lot of gems in that email to help the one person marketing team and folks like yourself who are probably wearing a lot of hats at work in order to help you navigate this digital world a little bit easier. You can find that email signup link along with our socials and past episodes. Over at everything is And until next time, I'm Blythe and go Jags

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.