An Interview With Leigh Dodson King
An Interview With Leigh Dodson King

Vice President of Operations for Encore Live

Encore Live is a one-stop-shop for planning, managing and executing corporate and private events. They offer complete event management and production through site selection, talent buying, marketing, day of execution and everything in between. We spoke with Leigh Dodson King, VP of Operations for Encore Live, to learn more.

AM: Tell us about your background; what led you to work with Encore Live?

LEIGH: I grew up in Georgia and made it to Encore Live by way of Southern Methodist University. I am a proud Pony and worked for President and Mrs. George Bush in several capacities. I first worked in the Bush’s personal office on scheduling and correspondence requests and later worked with the Bush-Cheney Alumni Association as we geared up for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

After working on the dedication, I became more intrigued with live events, and through a mutual connection, I started up a conversation with Walter Kinzie (CEO of Encore Live) that ended in me joining the EL Family as a project manager for the Academy of Country Music Awards Lifting Lives Gala. With my love for country music and my newfound passion for live events, it was hook, line, and sinker for this girl!

 

AM: Why is experience so important today in delivering a message and changing behavior?

LEIGH: People aren’t drawn to lectures or speeches; people want to be captivated. They want to be a part of something that connects them to others and leaves a lasting impression. When they come together with a group of people – old friends and new friends – and leave feeling changed, even if just in a small way, that is the measure of a great event. It’s our job to create these experiences!

 

AM: What is Encore Live’s greatest strategy as they look to solve problems through experiences?

LEIGH: Our people and their minds. We have to place the right minds in the room and work hard to create a top notch vision for an experience, and once we have that in place for a project, we are set up for success. We work hard to produce incredible experiences, not just parties or events. We work to bring all 5 senses alive through innovation and one-of-a-kind experiential concepts.

 

AM: What are some of the most memorable “experiences” Encore Lives has created?

LEIGH: One experience comes to mind from just this year. We threw a private party in Cabo for 150 people. It wasn’t just a really fun party on a beautiful property with great views and delicious foods w/ impeccable cocktails, it certainly checked those boxes, BUT from the moment you pulled onto the property, the windows in your vehicle were cracked and you could hear the distant sound of a mariachi band and smell the ocean.

As you approached the porda cache, you began to see the mariachi band, and they continued playing and walking alongside your car till you got out. You were greeted with stunning floral arrangements that smelled magnificent, a delicious cocktail made just for you, and a hostess who gave you an overview of your week in Cabo and escorted you to your room. Every detail was covered. As you walked to your room, there wasn’t just music in the distance, there were live performers placed in all of the pockets along the way to remind you how wonderful your stay in Mexico would be. Each night consisted of vibrant décor, unparalleled hospitality, and surprise entertainment from around the world – incredible bands, fire dancers, and more. People tasted, smelled, saw, heard, and felt something new and different at every step along the way – they truly EXPERIENCED something that has never happened before and will never happen again.

To add to the above, we put bands together that had never performed together in their lives. We put dancers together to create performances that had never been seen. And we tasted dishes and added our own flare every step of the way. It wasn’t simply the party that the guests will remember – it’s everything they experienced from the start of their trip until they returned home.

 

AM: What is on the horizon for Encore Live?

LEIGH: I have so many thoughts surrounding our future, but to keep it somewhat direct: we are currently one big happy family, and I think by 2020 Encore Live will officially have several entities operating underneath it. I think corporate conferences and experiences will stand on its own. I think our talent buying department will have grown long legs and be on its own, operating separately from EL. And I think CONVRG will have 2 shows, one domestic and one international. I can’t wait to see the team(s) continue to grow, and I can’t wait to see the experiences we create for so many people we have yet to encounter. The future is bright!

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