'Laissez les bons temps rouler' is a Cajun phrase that means 'Let the good times roll,' and that is exactly what the Deloitte Digital team did at this year’s Collision conference in New Orleans!

Billed as “America’s fastest growing tech conference” and created by the team behind Web Summit, in its two years of existence Collision has grown to nearly 20,000 attendees from more than 100 countries. Attendees included CEOs of the world’s fastest growing startups and the world’s largest companies, alongside leading investors and media.

This year, a small team from Deloitte Digital joined in the fun, including our CMO Alicia Hatch, our Chief of Markets Nidal Haddad, Global Design Director Nelson Kunkel, and our Global Social Lead Alex Garcia, who all made the trip to the Big Easy to participate in this exciting event.

Day one: Mentor Hours, socializing DD style, and lots of gumbo

Our presence kicked off on Tuesday with Alex representing Deloitte Digital as a part of Mentor Hours. Mentor Hours are a series of 15-minute meetings between high-level attendees and startups, where the startups get one-on-one advice on starting, growing, and scaling a successful business. Who better to talk about this than Alex, who, along with Alicia, started Banyan Branch—a business so successful it was ultimately acquired by Deloitte!

Later that night, Deloitte Digital, led by our Chief of Markets Nidal Haddad, hosted a dinner for 300 Collision speakers and media at Marché in the historic French Market of New Orleans. With sweeping views of the Mississippi River, the charming French Quarter, and the downtown skyline, Marché was the perfect venue for kicking off Collision. We had a blast meeting everyone and sampling local specialties – like Gulf shrimp, boudin, and gumbo…and more gumbo…and then some more.

As everyone headed out into the French Quarter for Night Summit, the responsible ones among us (ahem) headed back to prepare for the big day ahead.

Day two: Creativity, data-driven marketing, C-suite leadership, and some sage advice

Our Collision presence centered around the Creatiff/PandaConf stage—Collison-speak for “creative and marketing.” Deloitte Digitial Global Design Director Nelson Kunkel kicked off the agenda on this stage, serving as emcee for the morning speaking engagements, which featured execs from Adobe and Mozilla, among others. Alicia Hatch gave an energetic and exciting talk on “Unlocking Creativity: It’s Not Just for Advertisers,” and dropped her personal knowledge on how all parts of a business can tap into their creativity – not just the marketing departments.

Later that morning, Alicia joined Chip Paucek, CEO & co-founder of 2U, and Joe Lazauskas, Editor-in-Chief of Contently, in a lively panel on data-driven marketing moderated by Jeremy Goldman, founder of Firebrand Group. Chip, Joe, and Alicia discussed the never-ending onslaught of performance indicators and marketing metrics— and how to decipher which ones are really important to your business without getting bogged down by the volume.

We had the pleasure of heading over to Center Stage in the afternoon to see our friend and colleague Larry Quinlan, CIO of Deloitte, join Karen Walker, CMO of Cisco, as they discussed “Leading from the C-suite.” Larry and Karen shared their own personal stories and gave the audience sage advice on what leadership looks like in successful companies. Larry gave us some of our favorite advice of the day: “Never be afraid to fight, but do it in a way where you can go have a beer with that person afterwards.” (We wrote that one down and underlined it twice.)

All in all, it was a successful event for the Deloitte Digital and Deloitte team on the ground at Collision. It was a well-organized show with a stellar list of speakers and an endlessly fascinating roster of talks and panels to attend. It’s definitely on our list of conferences to watch, so keep an eye out for us next year!