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Behind the Scenes of Appian World

Emily Emily Casanova

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Appian World 2022 in Florida this April had so many great moments. You could feel the energy in the room and the stories of how people connected with others keep coming in. If you were not able to attend or are looking to watch a session you may have missed, you can view all of the event session recordings here.

To pull back the curtain on the planning of the event, we talked to Emily Casanova who leads her small but mighty Events Marketing team that organized Appian World. 

How did it feel when the event all came together? 

It felt like a big family reunion — with (a lot of) hugs, smiles, and even some happy tears! So many of us were meeting in person for the first time. You could look around and see the excitement on peoples’ faces. This energy carried through the entire week.  

During the opening keynote, I looked around and realized that I had not seen this many people together at a conference in three years. That is a long time! Seeing how full the room was and feeling that energy was a powerful moment. I felt proud and excited for what our team had accomplished.

A big highlight for me personally was getting to meet Malala before her keynote session. She was everything I imagined her to be and more. 

Were there any surprises that came up during the week? 

No matter how prepared you are for an event there will always be unexpected obstacles that pop up out of nowhere. 

For example, right before the morning keynote on day 1, the escalator broke. This required 1,400 attendees to use 2 elevators in order to access the keynote room. Talk about a stressful moment! But everyone was so happy to be there and people saw this as an opportunity to catch up with old friends or meet new ones while waiting.

Behind the scenes there are so many things that come up last minute, but that is par for the course. The team is flexible and always ready to pivot at any given point throughout the event.

How was the planning experience this year compared to the past two virtual Appian World events?

Planning for a virtual event versus an in-person event is very different. Appian World in March 2020 was scheduled to be at the Diplomat in Florida. Of course we had to pivot to be virtual, but that made this year’s event even more special for our team.

After making the pivot to virtual in 2020, we were tasked with planning a virtual event in four weeks. This was a very challenging time as virtual events were new to me, to Appian, and to the entire events industry.  We were one of the first big virtual conferences in spring of 2020 and it paid off with more than 4,000 attendees tuning in from around the world. Looking back I am proud of what we accomplished and it made me a more well rounded event planner! 

In 2021, Appian World was also virtual and although it was a success with a solid turnout, we found there was less enthusiasm from attendees compared to the previous  event. Virtual event fatigue is real.

I think I can speak for most by saying we are all thrilled to be back in person and back to doing the work that we love! 

What was the most rewarding part of the event? 

The days (and nights) are very long leading up to Appian World and watching all of our hard work come to life is hands down the most rewarding part for me. I walked away feeling so proud and lucky to have such a strong and dedicated team working alongside me. Shout out to Katherine Miller, Mallory Livingston, Christina Grau, Tara Burwell, and Christa Zeladonis for their amazing work on this program, none of this would have been possible without them!

Additionally, it is pretty inspiring when you take a step back and look at the various teams across the organization that are involved in the planning and execution of this event. Every single person within the Marketing organization touches this event in one way or another. As our CMO, Denise Broady, always says “it takes a village” and that could not be more true when it comes to planning Appian conferences.

What do you hope people left the Appian World week feeling? 

An overwhelming sense of connection.  Connection to the Appian Community and to the possibilities that Appian can bring to their organization. And most importantly, I hope people left the event feeling inspired. 

Next year’s Appian World program will be in San Diego on May 1-3. It will be here before we know it so mark your calendar now!


Written by

Emily Casanova

Emily is the Director of Events Marketing at Appian.