Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays from The Hub!

Big, big thanks to all of our clients for making this year one of our best ever.
We have some really exciting things coming our way, so we hope you'll join us on Twitter and at Facebook for news and updates.
We hope you've had an excellent year, and can't wait to see what 2012 brings you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rewarding Your Clients

A twitter post from @smaxbrown had us thinking.
He wrote: "What if we spent more time building people up?"
That was it. But we spent a good long time thinking about it.
We spent a good long time being grateful for the many ways that we do build our employees up. After all, we give them autonomy to do their work, allowing them opportunities for growth (a good number of our employees start as interns and work their ways into other, more permanent positions), and giving each other and our clients ample ways to suggest room for improvement and to thank each other.
But there's a piece of the equation that service providers sometimes ignore. In this industry, we thank our clients in many different ways. We're in touch with them every step of the way, we make sure to treat the process with respect, we ensure we do as much as we can to meet their every need and anticipate their every want. But what do we do to show them that we appreciate them? In what ways can we reward them for their business?
We decided that the best option was a reward program. Now, clients of The Hub can earn points based on the events they plan with us. And if they want, instead of spending their points on the great products we have in the gift catalog, they can also donate their points to The Hub's chosen not-for-profit, ShelterBox USA.
There are many different ways to show someone you appreciate them. But in some ways, the best way is to let them decide how they'd like to be rewarded. We want our clients to not only be compelled to work with us because we're technologically advanced, green, and eminently capable of producing great meetings. We want them to work with us because they want to. And because they feel rewarded for doing so.
For more information about the My Hub Rewards program, go to, or call 1.877.TheHub1

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Interns Never Give Up

As we head into fall, we're reminded of one of just one of the things that makes summer so great here at The Hub: our interns.
In fact, our interns make working here great year-round, because we ensure that there's space on our team for interns year-round. Why? Well, because of interns like Rachael Pignotti, who joined us at the beginning of the summer and will be with us part-time during the fall.
Meet Rachel, one of our talented interns.

Rachael's a student at Temple University, from which she'll graduate in December. Her major, International Business and Marketing, put her on our radar, but it was her interest in sustainability in business that made us perfect matches for each other. She's an officer in a student professional organization at Temple called Students for Responsible Business, and she happens to manage green event planning for the group.
"The first thing that attracted me to The Hub is that it's LEED certified," she says, referring to our silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
But Rachael quickly learned that Hub Sales Director Stephanie Koch and CEO John New wouldn't let her work with just the aspects of business that she was familiar with. They set her to work on a critical side of business she hadn't yet been familiar with: web sites and Internet outreach for our clients. "This is such a great place to grow," she says. "I've learned so much over the past months, and these are things I was always going to have to learn anyway."
Rachael also works in an area of The Hub that's more germane to her position at SRB: marketing promotions. "I’m learning how The Hub likes to brand themselves, and I combine that with my ideas, and it’s been turning out really well," she says.
Part of that success is Rachael's dogged pursuit of sustainability in the meetings and events industry. "We're adamant about green here at The Hub, and making it a part of our company, but I'd love to see more companies be more aware of choosing places that are sustainable, like The Hub. Sooner or later, the marketing of that is going to be beneficial, if not critical," she says.
While Rachael identifies with all five of our Core Values, the one that's closest to her heart is Never Give Up. "I'm incredibly stubborn," she says, "Mostly to myself. I've had some opportunities to opt out of projects that I'm unfamiliar with, and I think it's important to just keep on working."
We agree, Rachael. We'll miss you when you graduate, but we're so happy we got to meet you.
For more information on interning at The Hub, click here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Revolution in Philadelphia for Event Camp Twin Cities!

Mindy Holahan, our business support manager and one of the handlers of our Twitter feed, was on-deck to experience the magic of Event Camp Twin Cities' Philadelphia pod. Here's what she learned about hybrid events.


A Revolution in the Meetings Industry? There’s a Room for That.

Two weeks ago, the meetings industry took a big leap forward. Did you feel it? That’s when the second annual Event Camp Twin Cities took place in Minneapolis. We hosted the Philadelphia pod in our Revolution room.

But wait! What's a "pod"? And how can an event in Minneapolis have anything to do with Philadephia?

A hybrid event brings off-site participants into an on-site meeting and allows them to participate in the meeting. Off-site participants gather in a pod for real-time streaming of meetings that are going on at the home site. Guests can ask questions and give immediate feedback, just as if they were at the main conference. This year’s event had pods in Philadelphia, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Silicon Valley, and Hawaii.

All we needed was a steady internet connection, but we like to do things a bit fancier in the pods. Traci Browne of Red Cedar Publicity and Marketing organized the entire Philadelphia pod experience from top to bottom. Jeffrey Halligan from Dyventive made it so that the feed went both way: participants in Minneapolis could see us, as well. And we wired secondary monitors that allowed the pods to interact with each other (that led to some friendly competition, especially with the Silicon Valley pod).


Event Camp Twin Cities uses Twitter, and the hashtag “ectc11,” for better real-time discussion flow. Followers of the #ectc11 stream sent along questions and comments, and Emilie Barta, the virtual emcee, represents the off-site audience.

What makes Event Camp so special?

Event Camp Twin Cities is the first hybrid event lab—a conference specially designed for event professionals to experiment with technology and social media together, rather than risking failure with their own events. Failure was a welcome partner in the event: The motto for the event was “If we’re not breaking things, then we’re not innovating.”

In the Philly pod, we threw ourselves into the experiment. Some of the tools failed. We had some trouble connecting with the Facebook app that streamed the secondary sessions. We had moments when the incoming flow of information was more than we could handle. But overall the event was a resounding success. We learned how to better use social media to bring together people across the globe—and we formed new friendships with our pod-mates.

I missed it! Do I have to wait another year?

No! Event Camp Europe is this Friday! You can check out the full list of Event Camps here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yoga is for Corporate Types Too!

We've all felt the stresses of a madcap day practically ruin our evenings.
The Hub has a way of relieving that tension. For the past few weeks now, our CityView and Chemical Heritage Foundation locations have been overtaken by brilliant yogis as they work to relieve busy office workers of their everyday stresses.
That's right, our friends at Deliver Me Yoga have found a key to a happy, balanced corporate life, and they're demonstrating it at The Hub.
Co-founder Alice Dommert, who worked for many years as an architect before trying out life as a yogi, said she came to the idea that yoga is a critical part of the corporate life after seeing "too many bright people who couldn't manage their thoughts. Yoga is really about turning off the workings of the mind." Making yoga accessible to corporate types, she says, is critical, since personal responsibility for health is such a basic issue, and often gets ignored in the rush of a busy day.
Corporate serenity in our CityView location makes this the perfect place to lay out yoga mats.

With that thought, she and Sarah Hill set about finding a way to introduce corporate workers to a better way of living. Her first step was finding a space that would recall corporate life, and thus evoke a level of comfort with busy executives. The Chemical Heritage Foundation space, she says, was a ringer for its thoughtful design, and our CityView space struck a chord with her for its wide-open views. "I will only do yoga in beautiful spaces," she says. "It makes a difference when you’re trying to practice yoga, because a lot of it is about the environment."
We're happy she and Sarah found us.

Alice and Sarah, left and right, respectively, are partners in a new movement to bring yoga to all stripes.

Deliver Me Yoga holds two classes a week in our facilities. Here's the class schedule for the Hub, which runs through August 11. Drop in any time for $20.
If you can't make it to one of our classes, though, Alice has two really important tips she wants to pass on to you.
  • Breathe. In through the nose, out through the mouth, three deeps breaths. "You're not chanting, you're not using Sanskrit words," she says. "You can do this in a meeting. Just take the time, every few hours, to breathe."
  • Twist. Twist to your right first, and then your left. "This is really about squeezing the internal organs, and flushing them out," says Alice. "And don't forget to breathe."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hot summer deals--how hot are they?

Ah, summer in the city. It's one of our favorite seasons for many reasons--Center City Sips, al fresco movies, and great summer sales.
But we also love it for another more quotidian reason--we use it as a big excuse to reward our clients for being just that--great clients.
Sure, we think Christmas is great for gift-giving, and spring is the season of renaissance and flowers, but what better time to remind our clients how happy we are to have them than the season of long days, outdoor barbeques, and general good feelings?
We like incentives in our office, so to celebrate the dog days of August, we're giving an iPad to event professionals who book $6000 or more with any of our three locations. Yes, really.
And, in keeping with our commitment to corporate social responsibility, we're also offering not-for-profits a chance to discover one of our favorite Philadelphia institutions, the Chemical Heritage Foundation. For $65 per person, in the months of July and August, NFPs can get to know our facility there, and our services.
To learn more about both of these summer offers, you can call The Hub at 1.877.843.4821

How do you reward your clients?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stay Awake and Limber: Tips from a Pro

We've all been there: cramped in a chair for hours on end, getting information we know is valuable and important. But when we get up, our bodies protest, and with good reason--we weren't made to sit for hours on end.

We all know what this feels like. Read on to see how to make it better.

No one knows this better than Norma Jean Frumento, a former dancer with The Philadelphia Dance Company and one of The Hub's talented sales staff. We asked her to come up with some tips from her considerable store of experience on staying limber during long meeting days.
Norma Jean still teaches ballet in New Jersey, where she lives with her two teenage daughters and her husband, and she's active in Pilates, yoga, and Zumba. So trust her. We do!
  • Since we all hold tension in our shoulders and neck, the traditional head roll is a keeper. Drop your head down in front and roll slowly to the left and right and back.
  • For shoulder and upper back: Interlock your fingers, turn your palms outward in front of you, and stretch your arms out as you round your upper back. Move gently from right to left. You can do this standing or sitting.
  • While sitting, extend your legs in front of you till straight. Now flex your toes up to the ceiling. This is a great stretch for calves and hamstrings! For an extra stretch, lean your upper body forward. (Be careful not to fall off the chair!)
  • If no one’s looking, touch your toes, knees, or whatever you can reach with relaxed knees (don't lock your knees, and don't bounce). Just use the weight of your upper body to get the max stretch.
Meeting planners, it's a good idea to work in a stretch period, or a break where folks can take part in some gentle stretches like the ones above. They'll help to keep meeting and conference attendees from falling asleep, and that's a good thing for all of us.

What are your best tips for staying awake and limber during meetings?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Friendly competition

Recently, we had a terrific reception at our CityView facility for industry insiders.

We invited our colleagues in the events industry to take a look at the changes we've made to our facility and to talk to them a little bit about how we can support each other.
Some might call it a ballsy move. After all, some industry insiders are the ones with whom we directly compete. But the reality is, more knowledge about each other's facilities can only benefit the entire industry as a whole. Our facilities, for instance, are all wired for virtual meetings, so that if another events facility is packed and needs help handling a conference, we can do that for them, easily.
But we didn't think of this reception as being particularly ballsy. We just thought of it as the right thing to do. After all, we're all colleagues in the same industry. Why wouldn't we look for ways to help each other out?
When was the last time you did something unexpected for your industry?

Monday, February 14, 2011

EcoMonday: A Valentine's for the Earth

Valentine's Day is lovely. But there's one quick thing you can do today and all the rest of the times you feel like sending someone flowers. Ask if your florist carries fair-trade, organic flowers.
The Rain Forest Alliance has an amazing set of facts about cut flowers and ferns that makes for good reference. You can find it here.

And if you're looking for a good place to buy cut flowers that are responsibly sourced, guess what? You don't need to look any farther than 1-800-FLOWERS, which responded within 72 hours to a push from to not only publish their flower sources, but to offer a selection of fair-trade sourced cut flowers and ferns for Mother's Day.

Yes, you know, Mother's Day. The holiday that celebrates the other love of your life.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hub Friday: What are your Keystones?

One of our rooms in our CityView location is called the Keystone Room. Why? Well, Philadelphia is sometimes called the Keystone state, sure, but what's that mean, really?
A keystone is the critical piece in an arch that holds the weight of the entire structure, allowing it to stay strong and up.

Pennsylvania's nickname dates back to the early 1800s, partially because Independence Hall is where the delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence; partially because of its central location in the 13 original colonies. It's a clear indication of the state's importance.
So yeah, we named the Keystone room for Pennsylvania. But we also named it for some other keystones: Our employees.
Recently, The Hub had its 4th Quarter Outing and Awards ceremony. We use these outings (they happen four times a year, natch) to celebrate our employees, who are our real keystones. We spend our time enjoying each other's company, and we make sure our Stars of the Quarter and of the Year get their just rewards.
This quarter, our awardees are Star of the Quarter Stephanie Koch, who's our new Sales Director. Our star of the year is Serena Butler.
Star of the Quarter Stephanie Koch

Star of the Year Serena Butler

These employees are true exemplars of our staff. But each and every member of the Hub staff is a keystone in and of his or her own right.
How do you recognize your keystones?
For more photos from our 4th Quarter Outing (it was a blast!) click here, and like our Facebook page!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hub Friday: Core Values

...Oh, boy. Today's Hub Friday post is going to be a doozy, and it's pretty close to home. We're going to explore another core value today. It's "Take Action." There are three core parts to this particular value. They are:
  • We solve our clients’ problems before they know those problems exist.
  • We never assume that something is “someone else’s responsibility.”
  • Do something besides nothing when problems arise.
Why are we focusing on this core value today? Well, we noticed an anomaly in The Hub blog today: We somehow skipped EcoMonday this week. We don't know how it happened. It was just a blip, something in the scheduling or something. It might seem small, but to us here at The Hub Twoffice, where we handle such things, it seemed a big problem.
So what are we going to do? Yes, we spent a fair amount of time feeling embarrassed. And then we wondered if we could blame the operating system, or whatever. But then we realized that the solution is to put one of our core values into play.
Take action. For us that means taking responsibility. And then it means taking steps to make sure the problem doesn't happen again.
It could mean something like revisiting our responsibilities when the time comes for review, or maybe just something as simple as redrawing our priorities and carving out time check that our posts will go out on time.
Either way, one of the key parts of this core value is owning up to the mistake in the first place, and acknowledging the problem.
So we've done that. And now, we can solve the problem.
We love this value. It allows us to take responsibility for whatever comes down the pike.
You don't have to be a hero. Just take action.
What's your best tip for anticipating problems?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hub Friday: Core Values

Brrr. It's so cold outside that we want to hunker down under a big down comforter with a detective novel and cup of tea and not move for a couple of weeks. At least until the temps climb into the upper 40s, anyway.
Hub Friday today is about our first core value, "Never Give Up."
We think winter, with its never-ending adversity and short, dark days, is a good time to explore this value. What does it mean to us as a conference facility and as event planners?
  • There's always a solution. If a problem pops up, we don't stop looking at it from all different angles until we find a way to solve it.
  • Stay positive. Because we know there must be a solution somewhere, we don't consider letting ourselves wallow too much when a hitch pops up. We think it's wasted energy.
  • Team effort wins every time. We lean on our co-workers, our extensive collective knowledge, and good company spirit to do find the solution.
What does this core value mean to you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

EcoMonday: Greening Your Skiing

We are totally taken by the snow.
And we saw something lovely recently at the Philly Green Blog, where there was a good informative post about greening your skiing. Cos, you know, skiing can be very hard on the environment.
Downhill skiing requires snow grooming, and electricity for ski lifts, and new poufy clothing, and all sorts of other things (you didn't think the trees on your favorite ski hill just managed to grow in run-like formation, did you?) that might be unsavory to the green-minded.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Check out some green ski areas. Here on the east coast, Smuggler's Notch in Vermont and Jiminy Peak in New Hampshire boast high marks for their sustainability records: Smuggs' boasts some great sustainable architecture, and Jiminy's built a wind turbine to contribute to power. If you're aiming to ski outside of the east coast, take a look at Sustainable Slopes, the National Ski Areas Association's charter for the greening of skiing. It'll tell you which areas are in compliance with the initiative.
Consider alternate activities. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are two truly green activities that require very little by way of equipment and travel. Any existing wide-open area, like a park or a golf course, is open for both of these activities if there's enough snow cover. Pluses include a higher rate of aerobic activity and a fatter wallet: both of these activities are free.

Recycle your togs. As our pals at Philly Green Blog say, Patagonia's Common Threads program can and will recycle your used clothing. But you can also go one step further: repair a popped zipper instead of buying a whole new coat. Buy merino wool underlayers and socks from a company like SmartWool, which practices sustainable harvesting. (Merino wool is a natural fiber that'll keep you warm even when you get sweaty.)

What are your favorite tips for staying active and green in the winter?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hub Friday: Day of Service

In our company, service is very important. It's equally important in Philadelphia: Every Martin Luther King Day, Global Citizen launches a Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, in honor of the late great Reverend.
At the Hub, we honor our employees' desire to serve. Employees can take two paid days off per year to serve in a charity of their choosing. We regularly share volunteer opportunities around the office, and our staff participates in cleanups of Philadelphia-area parks.
It's all an extension of one of our core values, Care with Passion.
How do you encourage your employees with care?

Monday, January 10, 2011

EcoMonday: When does green make sense?

We've been turning this idea over in our heads: When an industry feels the need to go green, what is its biggest roadblock? What is its biggest impetus? The event planning industry is on the cusp of getting some green standards. APEX/ASTM is working hard to produce a set of standards that will cover everything from Audio/Visual to Food and Beverage. But hey, you say, it's 2011. In a time when everything from the car industry to the toy industry has environmental standards, why is the event planning industry just now getting around to this?
Part of it is the complicated nature of our business. And the other part is a question of whether the chicken comes before the egg: Is it the folks in our industry who have driven the need for a set of environmental standards? Or is it the leadership who's assessed and determined the need?
Either way, we're glad it's happening. But it does raise the question of how change really happens: Does it happen because our employees and the people behind our companies decide that CSR is critical to our company's health?
Or does corporate leadership need to step up and make it a point to lay down the rule?
We tend to think it's a mixture of both: If you don't give your employees ownership, or pride, in an idea or thought, then they'll never get behind it.
And if company leadership seems to be just following a trend for popularity's sake, well, that idea's not likely to go far either.
What are your favorite examples of trend-setting done right?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hub Friday: Looking the Part

It's Friday!
In some workplaces, it's Casual Friday, but not here at the Hub. You'll see our sales staff in suits or some other business outfit (it's not unusual to see Bill and John, our president and CEO, respectively, walking around in 3-piece suits). We all wear name tags, all day.
Our service staff, who are a big part of making sure meetings and events go smoothly, follow a pretty steady dress code: We provide them with a black Hub button-down shirt, to be worn tucked in over a black T-shirt and black slacks, and with a black belt.
The whole look is topped off with a name tag and finished with closed-toe black shoes, flat-heeled, of course, because our staff needs to be able to maneuver, and stilettos do not allow for fast maneuvering.
Why have we chosen this look, and why do we not have Casual Fridays? For us, it's a simple answer. We have business people in and out of our facilities all the time, so we want to make sure they know they're in a place that takes their business seriously.
And when businesses use our facilities, we want to ensure that they know there are people around to help them make their events successful. So we give our service assistants uniforms that make them pop: their clothing says, we hope, "Hi! I'm here to help."
The name tags are around for the exact same reason.
What are your thoughts on Casual Fridays and dress codes?

Monday, January 3, 2011

EcoMonday: Ecofriendly snow removal

We were walking the Hub hound (yes! we have one of those!) when we noticed something heartbreaking. He was picking up his paws, one by one, until he was gimping about using only two paws at a time. Turns out, there's been a lot of ice and snow around, and the municipality's answer is a lot of salt. That burns our hound's feet, and potentially worse (we can always put booties on the hound), it gets into the groundwater and kills off plants. Not good.
So we did a little research, and we found out about some green snow removal options.
  • Rock Salt alternatives: Calcium Magnesium Acetate. It's "about as corrosive as tap water," which means it's not as hard on bridges, concrete, or the environment. And it's biodegradable. Sand and wood ash are good alternatives, too.
  • Electric snow blowers: Still not good, but better than gas snow blowers. Lower emissions, just as much snow-blowing power.
  • Just shovel it: Nothing better than a little exercise. Of course, if you're really not willing to shovel, you might want to consider something like the Wovel. Heck, why not? After all, a person's got to get to work.
Which reminds us: Snowshoes and cross-country skis make great traveling implements. In the aftermath of one blizzard we used our snowshoes to get to our office. We were the only ones there, but never mind that.