Fulcrum is two full days devoted to business education for the professional balloon decorator

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Schedule of Activities

Monday, January 9, 2023

Monday, January 9th

Decor Prep – Starting at 10:00 AM – Concludes ???

Anyone interested in assisting with preparing entrance decor, stage decor or table centerpieces  is welcome to join in the fun. You must be registered for the event in order to take part in these activities.

PLEASE NOTE: this is going to be a very casual process and not a formal instructional-oriented event. We also have no idea how long this process will take place, since it will be based heavily on how many show up and how much work there is to do.

Group Outing to Bandana’s BBQ – 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

All interested should meet in the hotel lobby at 5:45 PM

Restaurant is next door to the host hotel, so plan to walk – those who are concerned about walking on uneven or potentially snow covered ground should consider driving or sharing a ride to the restaurant.

Costs associated with this outing are NOT part of your registration fee for Fulcrum, so everyone will be expected to pay their own expenses.

“TMI” Live Broadcast – 8:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Join the FLOAT Network’s own Theresa “T-Money” Harding as she broadcasts her weekly show live from Fulcrum. The show airs live in the “FLOAT the Convention” Facebook group, so take a moment to share a smile and a few words with the viewers at home!

Welcome Casual Mixer – 9:00 PM to ???

One of the St. Louis Airport Marriott’s favorite attractions is the ridiculously comfy central lounge in the hotel. So after dinner, feel free to come and hang out with other Fulcrum attendees, enjoy a cocktail and make some new friends!

Costs associated with this gathering are NOT part of your registration fee for Fulcrum, so everyone will be expected to pay their own expenses.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Tuesday, January 10th

Registration Opens – 7:30 AM

Before the event officially begins, make sure you stop by the Registration Desk to pick up your welcome packet and badge. No one will be allowed into the panels without showing their badge.

Opening Remarks – 8:55 AM

Before the panels begin, join Fulcrum’s producer, Steven Jones, as he shares a few brief remarks about the event and reviews the thoughts of the day.

“The State of the Industry” Panel Discussion – 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM

Featuring: Various representatives from major balloon manufacturers

Oh, what a time we’ve had over the last few years. As rough as it’s been on all of us, the manufacturers have not been immune to these problems as well. Representatives will speak on updates regarding production, shipping, possible new products coming out and updates on products we’d like to see back. Questions will also be taken from the floor as well.

PLEASE NOTE: Representatives from Anagram, Balloonia, Betallic, Gemar, Globos Payaso, Ellie’s Brand, Qualatex and TufTex have all been invited to participate. We have no control over which manufacturers will send representatives and which ones will not.

“Emancipation Through E-Commerce”  Panel Discussion – 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Featuring Jill Shortreed, CBA, Patty Sorell, CBA and Jeff Kelly

Websites aren’t just online portfolios…they can also be a vital selling tool when it comes to order collection. Join our experts as they discuss how e-commerce has changed their businesses, as well as special insight from Jeff Kelly from AssetLab, the balloon industry’s largest website provider.

“There’s No Place Like….Home?”  Panel Discussion – 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Featuring Dori Saypol, CBA, Steven Jones and Kathy Buell, CBA

At some point in everyone’s career, you start to think about life on “the other side.” Maybe you’re home based, looking to get your business out of the house. Maybe your workshop based thinking about retail, or perhaps you’re retail considering scaling back. Whatever your inner monologue, join our expert panel as they share their insights with you.

“Here We Go Again…Another Recession…” Panel Discussion – 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM

Featuring Tammera Hollerich, CBA, Pilla Guadalupe, CBA, and Patty Sorell, CBA

When it comes to everyday life, balloons are a luxury purchase. So what should you do when the economy turns south and spending slows? These three experts have survived more than a few downturns, so join them as they help prepare you for the inevitable.

“The Fulcrum Feast” – 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

As part of your registration to Fulcrum, join your fellow attendees and panelist for a casual dinner provided by the catering team at the St Louis Airport Marriott Hotel. No specific dress code is required, just be fun and friendly as we break bread together in the spirit of community.

Fulcrum Balloon Jam – 8:00 PM to ???

Maybe you’re a skilled twister, or you don’t even know how to make a pinch twist…it doesn’t matter! Just pack some 260s and a pump in your suitcase and join in the fun! Get together with other balloon friends and start twisting…whether you’re a seasoned weaver or have never made a three-twist dog before, all are welcome here!

“Kickin’ Back with Lisa Mack” Live Broadcast – 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Another one of the FLOAT Network’s hosts, Lisa McIntire, will be broadcasting her weekly show live as well. So either show up as one of Lisa’s various guests on the show or log in to the Zoom call and be ironic! However you want to “kick back” is fine with Lisa!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Wednesday, January 11 

“The Future of Organic Decor” Panel Discussion – 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM 

Featuring Gaby Rivera, CBA, Gaby Gonzalez, CBA, Cody Williams, CBA and Adrian Winfrey 

Organic decor is definitely here to stay, but with so many professionals considering the style as overdone or now unoriginal, what might the future hold? Our panel of experts weigh in as to the directions they think organic decor might be heading in, as well as sing the praises of this style that reinvigorated the balloon decor industry. 

“Simplification Through Automation” Panel Discussion – 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM 

Featuring Flavia Oleniewski, CBA, Brian and Christina Getz and Todd Neufeld 

Whether it’s order taking, inventory tracking or contracts, whenever you can automate a system it saves you time and money. And our panel of experts have found all kinds of ways to do just that! And Todd Neufeld, one of the creators of “Manager Sal”, chats about the ins and outs of digital contracting. 

“The Price is Right….or Wrong…” Panel Discussion – 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM 

Featuring Tammera Hollerich, CBA, Jill Shortreed, CBA and Rachel Porter, CBA 

Everyone has their own opinion of what the “right price” for something is, and these ladies are going to share their thoughts on this subject with you. In an era where so many seem to be running a “race to the bottom” it’s time to take a hard look at your pricing to determine not only what you should be charging but where your pricing can take your business. 

“The Working Wonders” Panel Discussion – 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM 

Featuring Ronnie Johnson, Debby Levi, CBA, Stephanie Marquardt and Lisa McIntire 

Rounding out our event are FLOAT’s own original panel discussion group, the hosts of the FLOAT Network’s “Working Wonders.” Join the ladies of FLOAT as they discuss a myriad of topics and undoubtedly take the conversation in a dozen different directions as they reflect on the past year that was in the balloon world. 


PLEASE NOTE: Speakers subject to change – Please check back here for updates

Frequently Asked Questions

What is “Fulcrum”?

Simply put, Fulcrum is two full days devoted to business education for the professional balloon decorator. Over twenty (20) different experts in a variety of fields within the world of balloon decor will speak as part of eight (8) different panel discussions on a variety of topics. And you will be able to ask questions live to the panelists at the end of each session during our question and answer sessions.

What recipes or techniques will be taught at this event?

None….this is not about how to make a pretty garland or showing you how to create the latest trending design. There are plenty of other people out there to assist you there. No, Fulcrum is focused solely on the design of your BUSINESS. Each panel is specifically oriented towards ways to increase your sales, to streamline your labor and help you be more profitable. Some of the most successful people in the balloon world don’t know every twist technique or double stuff combination…they just know how to sell, how to streamline and how to best serve their clients. THAT’s the info you REALLY need to build a strong and resilient business.

Will this be a virtual or in-person event?

Fulcrum will be taking place LIVE and in-person at the St. Louis Airport Marriott Hotel just outside Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is! Yes, this is the former home of the FLOAT Convention when it was still held in St. Louis. 

There are no plans to offer this program as a virtual event. Everything is going to be in-person, but we are happy to make arrangements for those concerned about social distancing to be placed in the speaker gallery where they can feel comfortable and still take part in the content.

How much will it cost to attend?

If you register on or before December 31st, then you’ll only pay $249 for this amazing two day conference. On January 1st, 2023, the price increases to $325.00 and will only be open until January 7th for new registrations. After that date, all access to Fulcrum will be closed for new registrations. No walk-in attendees will be accepted. 

Premium members of the ALOFT streaming program will be eligible to save $50 off the price of their registration fee as long as they use the proper coupon code when registering and do so on or before December 5th, 2022. After that date, the discount code is no longer valid.

What is included with my registration to Fulcrum?

All attendees will receive a welcome packet, access to all eight (8) panel discussions, a ticket for the “Fulcrum Feast” group dinner and access to the Fulcrum Balloon Jam on Tuesday, January 10th. Plus, FLOAT events are always good for surprises…

Why the name “Fulcrum”?

FLOAT’s original plans for our January two-day event fell through, so we had to….dare we say it….pivot into another effort. Well, an alternate word for pivot is “fulcrum,” the apex point where force is applied to a lever in order to raise a load. And since FLOAT is all about rising to the occasion and helping you rise in your business, Fulcrum was born