03 July 2019

Conference co-chair Shannon Martin builds excitement for TEA SATE - Seattle, Sept 2019

The TEA SATE conference cycle is underway for 2019, with TEA SATE - Seattle taking place September 26-27, plus a welcome mixer the evening of Sept 25, and an optional post-conference outing on Sept 28. The TEA SATE - Seattle theme is "Embracing Diversity."  #TEAsate

TEA Western North America Division Board President Shannon Martin of Color Reflections is co-chairing the conference with Nathan Jones of WhiteWater and Ian Klein of Vizir Productions. In the interview below, she gives her perspective on the unique approach of TEA SATE, how the three co-chairs are working together to develop the program and the many things to look forward to.

TEA SATE is the Themed Entertainment Association's signature international conference on Experience Design, bringing together the brightest minds and top decision makers exploring what's next in Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, and Experience in visitor attractions. 


"What are you waiting for?"

-- Shannon Martin, co-chair, TEA SATE - Seattle

Now that the call for presentations is closed what are your thoughts as you work to finalize the program?

We three co-chairs met in Los Angeles to go over all the presentations and discuss what might be the perfect blend of diverse topics. The submissions did not disappoint. It’s difficult to describe the feeling you get when you read some of the thoughts and ideas that come from our members. It’s truly magical! After several hours of intense and enjoyable discussion, we had a great sense of where this was going. We are excited to bring an insightful, entertaining, and diverse set of topics to TEA SATE this year.


What do you bring to your role as co-chair of TEA SATE? 

I like to think I bring the social sparkle, Ha! And the regional connection. it seemed to be a perfect fit with our Division's efforts to expand the presence of TEA in the Pacific Northwest. Our Board is rich in connections and knowledge in the Seattle/Vancouver area.


What would you tell someone who has never been to TEA SATE, to encourage them to attend?

What are you waiting for?

Best and brightest in the industry, amazing city, tons of networking, education, perspective and opportunities you just can’t get anywhere else! That’s TEA SATE - Seattle.


Ian Klein of Vizir Productions is a
Seattle Native and one of three co-chairs
of  TEA SATE - Seattle.
Read Ian's take on the conference.

Tell us about the theme, "Embracing Diversity" and how it will be expressed at TEA SATE - Seattle.

When the three of us first met to talk about the theme of SATE Seattle, it just appeared; we were all thinking about the same thing. “Diversity”. It really couldn’t be more perfect right now with the city we are in. Inclusive experiences, team diversity, community spaces, rights and representation. We wanted to bring this topic to the forefront. If the discussions aren’t a bit edgy and a little out of our comfort zone, then we haven’t done our job! 

I would add, be careful of your preconceived notion of this topic/theme. Even if you are familiar with TEA SATE, you will find it worth your while to come to this TEA SATE.  We are covering all aspects of diversity in relation to SATE. There is so much we can all learn and take out of this conference. I am excited to share what these industry experts are experiencing and the challenges they are addressing.


Conference co-chair
Nathan Jones of WhiteWater
is based in Vancouver

What kinds of networking opportunities will there be?

So many networking opportunities - networking is one of the great benefits of TEA SATE and of being a TEA member.

You'll want to come early, and stay late! The conference proper is Thurs-Fri, Sept 26-27, but it's bookended with other activities. To start things off there will be a TEA Western North America Division Welcome Mixer Wednesday night Sept 25th at FareStart. FareStart is a fantastic, non-profit organization that provides culinary training for disadvantaged individuals in the community. We will get to hear a little more about this organization and enjoy some of the wonderful food and drink provided to us that evening. (Shout out to Hotopp for being the first to step up and sponsor this event - you guys are rock stars!) I still can’t talk much about Thursday and Friday night… but it’s going to be an experience as we get to know Seattle a little better. Plus there will be a special, optional ticketed event we are planning for Saturday (Sept 28). If you plan to be in town and really want to take advantage of seeing the city with your peers, this will be the trip for you! Keep your eyes peeled for more information in the coming weeks. 


There is a lot of excitement around having TEA SATE in Seattle because of its mix of iconic attractions and its world’s fair legacy. Will the conference program help delegates connect to these things?

Absolutely! That’s really part of the magic of SATE. There are so many great experiences planned for this group. Attendees will get to explore some major attractions while learning about the history of this great city. The conference location is based right in the heart of the Seattle Center, featuring many structures built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. We are excited to have a conversation about World’s Fairs and the impact it has had in this community. From Seattle Center to Pike Place and Pioneer Square, this conference is going to be non-stop.


The number of co-chairs varies from one TEA SATE to another. This conference has three. What's the magic in three?

The more the merrier, right? I have to say I can’t imagine doing this without Ian or Nathan. Both have so much to offer when it comes to their own backgrounds, and the ideas they have about creating opportunities for education and professional development within our industry, and bringing diversity to the table. I am learning so much from these two and am so grateful for the experience. We are a great team and I think you will see that in the conference setting and topics we put forth. You will have to be there to see for yourself! 


As long as we're on the number three, name three things, tangible or intangible, that everyone should bring with them in order to make the most of their participation in TEA SATE – Seattle.

A smile, an open mind and for goodness sakes don’t forget the business cards!

In all seriousness, it's such a great place to really get to know and support one another. I count myself incredibly fortunate to be playing this role and to be part of such an astounding group of people. So be sure to smile, say hello and introduce yourself! You are going to consume a ridiculous amount of information in two days, be sure to keep an open mind to all ideas and thoughts. It just might open some doors for you that you never considered.

Enough said!


Posted by Judith Rubin



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