Larry and I had always talked about the idea of working together. When he and Helen opened that first Titanic store in Boston in 1998, I had no idea where they were headed. A couple years later, I was heading “there” with them—and, in 2000, we hatched the notion of marketing our Purpose (i.e., our brand promise) to cultural attractions. With no “permanent store” partnerships but with a ton of passion, creativity, integrity and some nice results from exhibit stores, we began telling the e|n story. Some people listened but, generally speaking, they were reluctant to “give up control” of retail.
Then a few people took a chance on us…forward-thinking people like our wonderful partners at the Shedd Aquarium, Indianapolis Zoo, New York State Museum, San Diego Aerospace Museum, Chicago Children’s Museum, COSI and many others. We began with a very simple premise—to build an enduring enterprise! Well, I guess only time can make that judgment. However, I can say emphatically that we have outstanding people with sound principles and pure intentions. We operate compelling stores and take care of the guests who shop in them. We are relentlessly committed to exceeding the expectations of every one of our partners. Our team’s passion for these principles is real! So, we’re on our way…it has been quite a ride and, whenever judgment day may come, I like e|n’s chances to have built an enduring enterprise.
aka “The Marketing Guy”
Event Network is a perfect professional and personal fit for me. Professionally, I am presented every day with new challenges that drive my ingenuity and skills. There is never a “dull grind” here at e|n. We’re always on the move! Personally, I enjoy our people immensely. We are a fun, capable, and creative team. The energy is always up; and it feels great to go to work everyday. And we are partners with some of the most exciting venues in the world!
Vice President of Information Technology
What initially brought me to Event Network was the desire to run a retail store as part of a great cultural attraction. Then I found that Event Network was as passionate about building successful partnerships as the company was about retail. Partnerships take many forms--between the store director and the partner contact, between the store director and the store support center, between the store director and the team members. Building relationships requires determination, creativity, and imagination--and I enjoy being challenged by the entrepreneurial atmosphere. Working on creative solutions to build our business keeps me going! Event Network is a great match for my key strengths!
Chicago Botanic Garden
6 years ago I took a job that I thought would be a transitional one.....Gift Shop Manager at COSI. I had recently left a company I had been with for over 12 years that had just filed bankruptcy. I was in a pretty good position financially, so I thought, “I’ll just find an easy and steady job to get me through until I find a new career with an established retailer.” 6 years later, I found one.....just so happened it was the same one. Who would have thought cultural attraction retail could get so big, so exciting, and so challenging so fast......7 or so partners when I joined in 2002 and now we have 50 or so partners. Every day I get to work with a passionate group of folks that can argue and debate, yet still have fun. What I like most about this job is the variety of partners, venues, fellow team members, and guests that I get to interact with every day.
Each day I wake up and am excited and motivated to look at how we did yesterday as a company, how we will do today, and how will we do tomorrow. I am always excited to hear of potential new partners and when we beat out the competition and win a new partnership. I feel a huge sense of pride in Event Network......nothing beats winning!!!!! But, most important to me is when we get great feedback from our Partners, Patrons, and Fellow Team Members. At the end of the day, that's who pays our bills and gives us a reason to wake up in the morning. I feel privileged to be a part of the e|n journey.
EVP Event Network Europe
After twenty years in retail ranging from small mom and pop stores to large big box retail and every imaginable type of organization in between, this was by far the best move. In all of my past positions the talk of being empowered and having unlimited support was just rhetoric…ultimately overshadowed by company politics. I can say proudly that e|n is different. I truly am empowered to do what it takes to make the Florida Aquarium store successful and have the resources to back me up. I can proudly represent e|n to our venue partner and work hard to enhance the guest experience every day. Most of all, I have the trust from my support center team to make the key decisions to drive the business every day—decisions that that can only be made by a qualified leader who is physically in the store and working with our guests and partner every day. I only wish I had found this company years ago. It truly is home.
I hired Larry out of college to help build an export company that I was operating under the Price Club umbrella of businesses. Larry was "green" (in the old sense of the term); but very focused, self motivated, and determined. It's hard to believe that was almost 20 years ago! Through a lot of creativity, long days, a variety of merchandising related businesses (admittedly, some were rather nutty), nail-biting, and much "spousal support", here we are today. I am very proud of Event Network for not only being a great business, but for the values that the company foundation is built on and that we practice everyday. I appreciate Larry's leadership, and I love the opportunities e|n creates for others. Watching people grow so immensely is very gratifying. We are incredibly fortunate to have attracted so many talented, dedicated, and motivated people and I truly believe it is the key to our success and long term growth.
EVP of Product
We opened for business the first week of July, 1998. We were the “Titanic Exhibition Store” in a tent the Seaport District of Boston. It was the first time RMS Titanic, Inc. had presented their own exhibition, and expectations were high. While our small team was committed to exceeding them, we had far more energy and passion than experience and retail expertise.
The weeks leading up to the opening were spent puzzling together the 3,000 square feet of store infrastructure, jimmying the point-of-sale system to make it work, and trying to get our arms around over $1 million (yes, at cost) worth of Titanic merchandise. We didn’t rest much and tensions flared more than a few times, but, as is generally the case, it all worked out. Per capita sales were twice as high as anyone had imagined possible, the nucleus of our team began to feel like family, and we learned. We tried something new daily—many times hourly—and we kept getting better.
While the bottom-line results for our young company were not spectacular in Boston, they were good enough that we were able to keep playing. We stayed in the game and moved the store, along with the exhibition and much of our group, to St. Paul, Minnesota. There we kept improving and taking chances, continued to exceed expectations, trusted and looked out for each other, and remained committed to quality.
So, as many ask why we are so passionate about our values, the response comes easy—it is all we have ever known.
President and Co-Founder
Celebrating 6 years with e|n, I am still enthused to be a part of this culture. My enjoyment has been watching my e|n family grow. Not only in partnerships but also in how we run better businesses in this field of cultural attraction retail. It would be easy to use the “tried and true” tools of big box retail. But we don’t. We recognize the need for new tools and improving those new tools. We think differently and we run our businesses on entirely new level of accountability. The fact is, cultural retail is a model all its own and e|n has the knowledge of how to properly grow that business.
Each day that I come to work, I do not ask myself: “What is my store going to do today?” Instead I think, “Have I done my part to support my e|n family today?” You see, working for e|n means working for each other. We celebrate our success as one family and we champion each other, as well as hold each other accountable. Having support from the SSC team enables me to be a successful Store Director. Given the freedom to think outside the box in running my own store has allowed me to achieve new heights in revenue growth. The opportunity to get involved in new store/partnership transitions has made e|n more than a job to me. I am really part of something.
Science City at Union Station
What first drew me to Event Network was the chance to work in some of our nation’s finest cultural attractions. What has kept me with Event Network to this day is my team and partner team at Lincoln plus the ability to put my entrepreneurial skills to work. I appreciate the incredible support staff we have at the Store Support Center in San Diego, and the overall people-first culture of the company. My partner expects great things, and EN consistently exceeds those expectations. Our goal is to make sure every guest has a positively unforgettable experience. Event Network allows me to run my store so that will happen on a daily basis. It is a pleasure to come to work every day, knowing I am making a difference in the lives our visitors.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
To best appreciate my e|n story I would have to take you back to my first meeting with Larry Gilbert. I was working in a high stress environment for an employer that unfortunately treated its employees more like a number then an asset (not the best environment for a human resources professional to be in). Larry had reached out to me and wanted to schedule some time to speak about an opportunity with Event Network to lead its Human Resources efforts. Not being able to leave the office during normal working hours I asked Larry if we could meet after work. Larry’s response, “I make it a point to be home every night to have dinner with my family, but that he was available any morning before work.” This is unfortunately not something that you hear very often and a priority that seems to have been lost in current corporate America. This intrigued me even more to meet with Larry and to learn more about Event Network and its opportunity. Through my initial conversation with Larry and then subsequent conversations with the rest of the leadership team, I learned of an organization that valued its team members; an organization built on pride and passion; an organization that invests in developing its team members; an organization that consistently strives for greatness, and one that is forward thinking with its philosophy on wellness and work/life balance… a human resources professional’s dream organization.
I have worked for many different types of organizations…big, small, public, private…but I never had the honor of working with an organization that “gets it” as much as Event Network does. Over my years with Event Network my initial impression has not only held true but has evolved into so much more. Our culture has always been the cornerstone of everything we do. Even with the team member count increasing more then 500% we have never lost sight of who we are. We have intentionally kept our culture intact with our rapid growth by the ways of initiates such as the Culture Council and wellness programs. We have invested a tremendous amount of time and money into the development of our team members and there is no end in sight. I am proud to represent Event Network to potential new team members and support our current team. This is what gets me excited every morning… to be able to come to work and be a part of this amazing family.
EVP of Talent Development
I was a GM for BJ’s Wholesale club and had been working for them for a very long time. I was running a $32 million store and running 10% increases. I was also working 70 to 80 hours weeks every week to achieve standards that were acceptable to me. After doing this for a little over a year I was burnt to a crisp. After several conversations explaining my concerns for my store I was told that I RAN A TIGHT SHIP AND THAT “WE” WEREN’T GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING. The following week I gave notice.
I decided to take some time off to get to know my kids and wife, and after about 5 months a friend of mine who was working for e|n called and asked if I wanted to work until I found a” real job” somewhere. He explained that the company he was working for had just received a contract with the Philadelphia Zoo to run their retail operations. I am not going to go into details nor am going to say there haven’t been some bumps since I have come to e|n, but here I am…. 4 years later running the largest Zoo operation in our company with what I think is perhaps the best partnership within the company. So what’s kept me at this “interim job” so long? It is hard to put it into words our “ONENESS” and the feeling that I truly run my business…most of all, though, it is the feeling that we really care about each other as a family. When you run big box everything is cookie cutter. When I came to e|n, I was amazed to learn what autonomy we had. It has been a great experience developing a relationship with my partner team and encouraging it to blossom. I look forward to many years here and helping our company continue to grow.
When I was looking to return to retail management from an extended maternity leave, my focus was on the family. What environment could be family oriented? Event Network certainly is. We’re supporting venues that invite families to spend time together. e|n even operates their company as an extended family…ever attend an en event? It’s a family reunion. That crossed over into our partner relationship. We’re an adopted family within their own family. Ever attend a venue management meeting? They often remind me of family get-togethers. Everyone has a distinct personality but equally passionate about their venue (family.) Our stores reflect that. e|n is an entrepreneurial company and encourages directors to run stores as our own business. We provide store support as opposed to a corporate dictatorship. However, it’s the family feeling that really keeps us together.
Ever since the first day I walked in to my interview at Shedd Aquarium, I knew this was a great company to grow with over time. Over the past 5 years, I have had the best retail experience and training. I enjoy going to work; sometimes I think it can’t be work because I have so much fun! Every day is different. I just moved from Chicago to Phoenix and was able to stay with e|n (at the new Children’s Museum) and experience another exciting and new e|n place to work.
Children’s Museum of Phoenix
I came to work for Event Network because I have a passion for museums and children. Working at an iconic attraction is a real conversation starter; it’s great to see people’s faces light up when you tell them where you work. I also feel that we are all having a positive impact on our communities. Each and every day is different and rewarding, but I have decided to make EN my lasting career due to the awesome culture that we have as a group. We really are one big family and the opportunities that EN offers around the country and world are amazing!
Pacific Aviation Museum
I like working in a store that offers an experience you can't get anywhere else. I take pride in creating that experience.
Chicago Children’s Museum
I like working for Event Network because, whether you are a guest or a team member, you are treated like family.
Chicago Children’s Museum