Keynote Speaker Chef Alan Bergo Nominated for James Beard Award (2022)

Great news out of New York City! Yet another Melibee Global food speaker has been nominated for a James Beard Award!

Congratulations to Melibee Global Speaker, Chef Alan Bergo for this incredible nomination for best instructional video for The Wild Harvest.

Chef Bergo has joined fellow James Beard winner, Chef Michael W. Twitty, and James Beard nominee Chef Meherwan Irani with this nomination.

To learn more about booking Chef Alan Bergo for speaking and consulting engagements, click here.

Here is The Wild Harvest, which was nominated for Best Instructional Video:



Tips for Engaging Virtual Event Participants During the Omicron Variant

Just when we thought we were good to go, the omicron variant decided to show up at our programs and events. Without an invitation no less!

So how are we handling this latest twist of the pandemic?  With agility, that’s how.

At Melibee Global Speakers, we continue to monitor the ebbs and flows of the pandemic and continue booking speakers through it all.  Agility allows us to flex as needed to keep our speakers and your conference/training participants safe.  For now (Jan. 5, 2022), most event planners and speakers are opting for virtual engagements. For anyone who would like to postpone events, we are doing so as asked. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and communicate any preferences/changes to our clients.

Meanwhile, how can we spice up the virtual space to keep people engaged? Here are 3 tips:

  1. Keep it interactive: Throw out questions regularly to encourage focus and interest in the screen and topic.
  2. Bring Back Break out Rooms:  Have participants talk in break out rooms directly after keynote talks to reflect and process the learning.  Have them conclude with a short list of how the information can be used in smaller teams, too.
  3. Move:  Have a yoga/stretching person at your virtual gathering to lead movement between presentations.  Participants can opt to turn off their cameras while they stretch and breathe during these periods if it makes them feel more comfortable.

Remember, this variant will pass and eventually, life in person will resume as we once knew it. Meanwhile, we’ll keep making a whole lot of lemonade out of some variant lemons!

In person or virtual events? THAT is the question!

Omicron? Delta? Delta Plus+ ?  It is the stuff that event planners’ nightmares are made of!

Now that we’ve gotten over the initial shock of an actual GLOBAL PANDEMIC (it is still surreal – right?!), flexed our agility muscles to a new level as event planners, and coached our speaker talent through the new norms, we are again being tested by the Omicron variant.  Should we or shouldn’t we proceed with our gathering? Should it be in person? Virtual? Postponed? Something else? It is a BIG question.

Here are THREE considerations for event planners:

  1.  Contracts – how flexible are your partners/vendors?  Ideally, they are thoughtful about covid and eager to retain (or establish) a relationship with you by being as flexible as they can with their contractual obligations.  Asking questions about how they’re responding to the ongoing pandemic is key here.  Aim to work with partners who are not going to charge you unnecessary fees in light of the pandemic – e.g. travel/airlines that will move flights without penalty, hotels/conference centers that will shift dates easily, etc.  You’ll want to minimize cancellation fees wherever possible by aiming to shift dates forward – even if it is a constantly moving target because of the unknowns. Bonus tip – hold off on food orders – those are nearly impossible to avoid cancellation fees for. You likely can ADD an order once you know that the event is a go in person! (In our case, Melibee Global Speakers aims to provide first in class speakers and flexible service for you to ensure safety. This means that if covid is toying with your plans, tell us and we’ll shift along with you whenever possible.
  2. Ask your audience – poll your prospective audience to find out THEIR comfort level with an in person event. You may find that they’re eager and ready to be in person under certain circumstances or you may discover that they’re simply not ready to face the unknowns of this new variant yet. You won’t know, however, until you ASK.
  3. Consider people with health considerations – while there is a huge push for vaccinations, there ARE people who simply cannot have them for various reasons that don’t need to be disclosed to others. When deciding to move forward with an event, consider how you will include these participants if you’re requiring double vaccinations to attend in person. One alternative may be to require negative PRC tests for in person participation.

Covid is so complex. Covid+event planning requires us to use our logistical, operational, creative and detailed planning skills at a unprecedented level. I hope the tips above are helpful as you continue to navigate these waters.

If you would like to know who on the Melibee Global Speaker roster is open to in person vs virtual only at this stage of the pandemic, please be in touch and I’ll be happy to provide the scoop!

Keynote Speaker Updates: Nov 25, 2021

So much GOOD has been happening with our speakers. Besides them being booked from corporate to college gigs (virtually and in person) well into 2022, they have some professional updates that are worth a share:

  • Culinary historian Michael W. Twitty recently spoke about his faith (Judiasm) at a major tech company. One of the Sr. Engineers took the time to send me a quick email singing his praises: “The event today was amazing, Michael is such an engaging speaker!”  That he is!  Many don’t know that Michael is a co-founder of the Muloma Heritage Center, a not for profit (pending) that is an educational, culinary, and pastoral destination in South Carolina exploring the African Atlantic influence in American culture and its contribution to American cuisines. If you are keen to donate to a great cause, this is one!
  • The brilliant medical historian and cultural commentator, Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, can be seen in the new documentary The Business of Birth Control.
Deirdre Cooper Owens, PhD being interviewed about medical racism.
  • I’m finally reading Alan Bergo’s new book called Flora, a mix of foraging information, cooking frameworks, and recipes. It is truly outstanding!  Here is one of Alan’s recipes that was recently published in The London Economic.
  • Did you know that Jennifer Hamady, voice coach and psychologist to a range of people including Grammy award winning singers AND Fortune 500 executives, writes a blog for Psychology Today? Here is her latest post.