Special Guest: Gerald Griffith

This week Anne talks to the founder and executive producer of VOAtlanta – Gerald Griffith.  The 2018 conference had just under 700 attendees and he’s expecting 2019 to completely sell-out! We talk about his strategy for success, his business philosophies, and his experiences organizing the biggest voiceover ‘party’ in our industry.


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. VO Atlanta started in 2013 and has grown to become the largest voiceover conference in the country.

  2. Gerald’s original vision was to be a drivable resource for people in the southeast.

  3. VO Atlanta has a central theme each year so there’s always a key point that every presenter can come back to as a start and end point.  2019’s theme will be ‘Refresh’.

  4. The conference will be the last weekend in March 2019.

  5. Time is crucial when planning a gathering as large as VO Atlanta. You have to know when you’ll have your audience’s attention and when they are able to invest in the event.

  6. Presenters at VO Atlanta are very accessible during the conference so that attendees can interact with them all weekend.

  7. Ultimately it’s up to an attendee to create their conference experience and decide what is right for them.

  8. In-person learning is different and more robust. Conferences are a great way to build your network.  

  9. Some people come to voiceover events just to meet and mingle with colleagues they have never met face to face.

  10. VO Atlanta participates in many charitable efforts including an annual scholarship.

  11. VO Atlanta is a family run event with over 200 hours of learning.

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Check out VO Atlanta’s Website
Recorded on ipDTL


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Anne: Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m you host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my VO BOSS bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby, how are you?

Gabby: Hello, hello!

Anne: We have a special guest today.

Gabby: [in goofy fan voice] I know!

Anne: Very well known to many, many people, founder and executive producer of the huge conference that is VO Atlanta, welcome to the show Gerald Griffith. Thanks so much for joining us!

Gabby: Yayy!

Anne: Woo-hoo!

Gerald: Thanks for having me.

[Anne and Gerald laugh]

Gerald: That was so formal. It was like we’re opening a city hall, city council meeting, or something.

[Anne laughs]

Gabby: You’ll see that as the show progresses, we become less and less formal. So it’s ok.

Gerald: It’s ok. It’ll speed up at some point once your espresso kicks in.

Gabby: Exactly!

Anne: Exactly. So Gerald, I have to say, Gabby and I go way back with you from, Gabby even further than me because Gabby, you were at the very first VO Atlanta in 2013, correct?

Gabby: Yah.

Anne: And I met Gerald in 2014.

Gerald: Gabby, Gabby was actually my first outside of the Atlanta area presenter in July of 2012 at the Hampton Inn here in downtown Atlanta.

Gabby: We could have never in a million years –

[Gerald laughs]

Gabby: I think projected this success and how much it’s grown, and what it’s become.

Anne: Oh my gosh.

Gabby: I mean, ok, last year’s conference, or this year’s conference, I should say, 2018, how many attendees?

Gerald: Just under 700.

Anne: Woo.

Gabby: Holy cow.

Anne: That’s a big party, Gerald. Wow. That is big.

Gerald: Just a few friends, you know? Just a few friends.

Anne: Well, listen, I’m just gonna say that those [laughs] – anybody that knows me out there knows my little group, my little VO Peeps group. And I’ve hosted events at my house. Ok? And nothing compared to close to 700 people. So I know, Gerald, how much work it takes to put on an event, at least in the scope that I did. But I cannot imagine what it takes to put on the VO Atlanta conference. Tell us a little about how that all got started, and you know, what was your mission in the beginning — and wow, it’s just grown so much – and what your plans are for growing it into the future?

Gerald: [laughs] Getting started, the idea was pretty simple both with the meet-up and with the initial aims of the conference, was to basically be a resource for the Atlanta area. And when I did the conference in 2013, it was to be a drivable resource for people in the southeast United States. And you know, having done the meet-up here which focused on local people, it was one of those things where everything seemed to be far away, you know California, New York, Chicago, somewhere. So I say, “well, there’s obviously people in the southeast too, so why not have something that people can drive to?” I literally had a map on the wall, and I used one of the online tools to measure out how, how far somebody could get if they drove say six hours. You know, I drew a big circle, and that was my target audience in my mind. Seems so far away, removed at this point.

[Gabby laughs]

Anne: And now you’ve got global attendees.

Gerald: The circle feels like an exclusion zone. Like fewer people come from that circle than outside of that circle, but that’s, that’s how it all started. I remember that first year, we had one person attended from Bermuda. And I was so pumped up. I was like, “Oh my God.” I sat there and stared at the screen a little bit. “Bermuda? Wow! This is awesome.” And since then I think we’ve probably had well over 20 different countries represented, and on average we do somewhere between 13,14 different countries each year that come out. This year we had people from 40 different states, including Alaska.

[Gabby laughs]

Anne: Wow.

Gabby: I got to ask you, Gerald, every year, every conference, you have a theme. And the theme is woven through the entire event. It’s, it’s always, everything comes back to that central theme. What kind of prompted you to do that? Where did, where did that come from? Is that part of the corporate background? What, how did that transpire?

[Anne laughs]

Gerald: Me, corporate?

Gabby: Nah.

Anne: No, not at all. [laughs]

Gerald: Yeah, well, I think it’s one of those things where people need something to kind of go back to, particularly when you bring in presenters who all have difference experiences, and difference background, and different approaches. You want to have something that serves as a starting point that no matter what they’re teaching, no matter what they’re bringing to the conference, they can sprinkle this one thing in there somewhere and tie it into other sessions or other happenings at the conference. And so having a theme of some kind is, is really an integral part so that people can have something to rally around as, as an underlying thread throughout the event.

Gabby: And what is the 2019 theme?