Passionate entrepreneurs and ESP Presents co-founders Matt Woodburn and Sarah Neukom collaborate to craft experiential events.
ILM+E: What are your backgrounds in the industry and how did you come to establish your production firm?
MW: I opened a recording studio with a friend, which became a kind of production house. We started to explore experiential marketing creating an event for a liquor brand where we could incorporate music, DJs, sound, lights, video—all of the things I love. After that, I was hooked.
SN: I started working with campus events in college, but my first job out of school was in nonprofit fundraising at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where I planned large internal fundraising events and became very cause-driven knowing I could create experiences that could make an impact.
MW: We love creating experiences for people, so the path to launching ESP Presents was a natural one. We’re event producers at heart.
SN: Event producers with a love of hospitality!
ILM+E: As designers of experiential events, how do you stay inspired and keep your creativity flowing?
SN: We really work to become an extension of our clients, try to learn everything we can about their cause or the objective at hand and we always find inspiration in those core goals.
MW: Deep diving into those goals takes us on our own little journey and through that process of discovery we’re able to brainstorm fresh and exciting ideas.
ILM+E: In just a few years, ESP Presents already has some impressive events under its belt. What have been some of the most memorable?
SN: This is our fifth year running The Kennedy Forum. We’ve been with the event from the simple idea of a half-day summit and have built it from the ground up. Through some amazing connections and relationships it’s become a national event focused around support of mental health equity.
MW: We’ve also produced the After Dark at the Modern Wing event series for years. From the first event, which included musicians, performance artists and video projection of classic, iconic pieces of art that had been animated on a massive blank canvas, we’ve worked hard to make sure each event feels completely new and different.
ILM+E: What are your plans for the future of ESP?
MW: We’d love to work more with the fashion industry. The amount of creativity encouraged in the industry makes for an exciting challenge.
SN: And big picture, we’d like to keep growing to help us support those purpose-driven brands and organizations that inspire us. We’re also developing additional verticals like ESP Cares, which will help clients reach their fundraising goals, and we’ve opened a new event space (read more on page 13). Ultimately, we’re always on the lookout for new opportunities, ways to support groups that we’re excited to be involved with and create new experiences.
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