By Brenda Matamoros
In the theater, the fourth wall refers to the invisible wall between actors and the audience. Breaking the fourth wall while acting on stage means directly addressing the audience with the intention of making a personal connection.
That idea behind that connection is the mission that Jeff Guberman and Carvie Gillikin instill into the aptly named Fourth Wall Events, their meeting and event design, production and management company headquartered in New York with offices in San Diego and is certified as a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender business enterprise.
In addition, Fourth Wall Events has the luxury of having its own 17,000-square-foot scenic fabrication warehouse where talented tradesmen and women transform drawing board concepts into tactile reality. By keeping design and production in-house, Fourth Wall Events creates more cost-effective and integrated solutions that are on-brand for the client.
With a degree in marketing, Gillikin’s business skills help him navigate clients’ wishes and capture the messages that companies wants to convey. “When we meet with clients, we ask questions, then listen, then ask more questions. We listen to the buzzwords they use and the level of passion they portray,” he said. “We take that information back to our team, and the magic begins.
“Our goal is to help the clients deliver their messages and achieve their business goals for the events, whether the messages are directed to internal employees or to clients,” Gillikin said. “One has to remember that no corporation schedules a meeting or event just to schedule a meeting or an event. They have a business goal to achieve, and that business goal has to be woven into the program [from] start to finish.”
For instance, if a corporation is going through a merger or changes direction, it may have a reduction in staff. The business goal then becomes to maintain morale. “The message has to be energetic, positive and comforting,” Gillikin said.
In cases of annual incentive trips, the company will want to reward their top performing employees with an all-expense-paid trip that, in some cases, welcome a guest. The message becomes one of appreciation and gratitude.
In addition, there are the team-building events Fourth Wall produces around the world that have a philanthropic component to them. For example, it regularly delivers “Build-A-Bike” programs for corporations. During these programs, attendees gather in a room for an unknown exercise. They are then given instructions and a time frame for putting together bicycles that will later be given to deserving children from the local area. Fourth Wall has produced this event in the U.S. and Portugal. “It’s really a moving experience when the children come into the room to receive their new bicycle, bicycle lock, backpack and, of course, helmet,” Gillikin said.
With more than 10 years experience, Fourth Wall Events is an award-winning agency providing its clients with experienced project managers, technical directors, designers and artists who are savvy in meeting and event design, production and logistics management.
The company has grown from two employees to more than 30 in-house employees and now has offices in San Diego. “The thing that differentiates us from most other companies similar to ours is [that] all of our project managers, creative designers and technical directors are full-time salaried employees that have a vested interest in the success of the program,” Gillikin said.
With such resources, Fourth Wall has the ability to travel as far as the Persian Gulf, Portugal and all over North America to produce corporate events and create innovative meetings for the top corporations in the world.
“Clients come to us and stay with us because they can trust us,” Gillikin said. “Being able to work with such creative professionals every day is really a dream come true. We have the ability to make a significant impact on people’s lives every day, and that’s just awesome!”