Sandy Espinosa: Event Strategy Planning for a Diverse Audience

ACAMS Today sat down with Sandy Espinosa, ACAMS’ event program manager, to chat about her strategies when planning international conferences and her sources of inspiration.

Espinosa is a special events’ professional with over 15 years of experience. While earning her bachelor’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Espinosa began organizing events in her community to pay for college expenses. After graduation, she focused on fashion merchandising and product development for the national department store groups of Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue Inc. under Target Sourcing Services, a division of Target Corporation.

Prior to joining the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), Espinosa managed nationwide marketing and trade events for Condé Nast’s Brides  local magazines and its companion site Brides.com  while completing her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Columbia University. She then transitioned to planning integrated marketing and educational events for Condé Nast Digital. In her current role, Espinosa oversees conference producers whose daily duties include research, content development for programs and on-site management of the ACAMS portfolio of international events. She began her career with ACAMS as the international events manager and subsequently progressed into the role of program manager. As program manager, Espinosa executes and assists in the development of event growth and direction by establishing and maintaining rapport with leaders in the anti-money laundering community.

With an eye for attendee experience, an ear for wish lists and the expertise to bring it all together, Espinosa has established herself as a passionate, forward-thinking and go-to producer within the events department at ACAMS.

ACAMS Today: When planning an upcoming conference, what does a typical day look like for you?

Sandy Espinosa: It looks like blocks of blue have taken over my calendar with meetings and planning calls! Our days are spent finalizing speakers for sessions, reviewing presentations for the conference, working with the marketing department on upcoming email campaigns, working with the logistics team for on-site coordination and of course launching the next conference.

AT: ACAMS will produce 11 conferences between 2019 and 2020. How do you create a content strategy for such a diverse audience?

SE: Content strategy is discussed between Kieran Beer and the events team months in advance. In addition to looking at what our current conferences cover (or are scheduled to cover), every conference has a task force assigned to it. Our conference writers conduct extensive research and work closely with our task force members to learn what the industry wants to hear.

AT: What has been your biggest takeaway from planning conferences for professionals in the anti-financial crime (AFC) field?

SE: My biggest and most rewarding takeaway is knowing that I am part of the global fight against human trafficking. Every conference teaches me something new and at the same time, I become aware of human trafficking. I love to share my awareness with the non-AFC people in my world; and so, little by little our army gets bigger in this fight.

AT: Where do you like to find inspiration and fresh ideas for an upcoming event?

SE: Conferences for meeting planners are a great way to see what is trending, how it was accomplished and whether or not these ideas would work for our audience. I also love to look at non-traditional avenues for inspiration. For example, lifestyle blogs, global hot-spot coverage, world news and the culinary scene.

AT: What do you enjoy doing when you are not planning events?

SE: I love food and I love to travel. I especially love eating my way through new cities and exploring the city’s speakeasy bars.

Interviewed by: Stella Miranda, editorial assistant, ACAMS, Miami, FL, USA, smiranda@acams.org

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