Michael Friedman, Managing Partner - March 22, 2021
A Women’s Empowerment Event: A Case Study
In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a minute and reflect on our favorite event that Meet Virtually produced in 2020. Of the 100+ events Meet Virtually produced last year, this one had us smiling from ear to ear from start to finish. And it just so happens that this event was designed by women, for women, and featured a whole cast of incredibly talented women that made it so special.
In an initial brainstorming meeting, PepsiCo tasked Meet Virtually with coming up with a Women's themed, year-end celebration for their Women in eCommerce (WinE) group. This is a team of approximately 150 professionals located across the country. We came up with an idea to create a live Broadway experience featuring actors who played the Schuyler Sisters from the Broadway sensation, Hamilton. The concept was to delve into the complex characters they played on stage, and learn about their personal journeys off the stage.
Before The Event
Before the event even began, the attendees were in for a treat! Care packages arrived to each of the registered guests that they could enjoy during the performance. The packages contained sweet treats as well as a reusable wine tumbler. Those gifts were made possible by Gracious Goodies and Ask Charlie, two women-owned businesses that were responsible for procuring, producing and kitting the items together into a wonderful presentation and handling all the logistics.
The event began with brief opening remarks from the client host, highlighting their tremendous successes throughout the year as a group. A toast using their branded wine tumblers was a nice touch. The group was ready for their entertainment!
To kick things off, guests were shown a pre-recorded video that was edited together of the three performers they would soon be introduced to. They were collectively singing and harmonizing their character’s part to The Schuyler Sisters theme song. As the final note punctuated the end of the song, guests must have known they were in for a special evening.
Guests were next met by Betsy Werbel, their event host for the evening who would guide them through a conversation and additional live song performances with the three actors. Betsy introduced Syndee Winters, Hannah Cruz and Aubin Wise and the show was underway. Over the course of the next 35 minutes, the three spoke about how they each carved out space for themselves in the Broadway community, breaking gender and racial norms. They discussed the differences and overlap between strength and femininity, and shared thoughts on how their own personal styles played into their Broadway journeys to the Hamilton stage.
After about 10 minutes, Betsy invited Syndee to sing a song live and she performed an incredible rendition of Satisfied. As soon as the song was finished, the event chat box was flooded with cheers. People seemed genuinely awe-struck. Betsy and the rest of the actors took note of the chat too. Questions began to enter the chat box as well, and Betsy invited members of the audience to unmute themselves and ask questions directly to the actors. One question from the audience brought to light that Aubin had performed in Hamilton while she was seven months pregnant! Another touched on how these actors were not in the original cast of Hamilton, and what it was like to have to fill the shoes of a previous actor performing that roll. All of the actors had really inspiring words throughout the night, but when Syndee said “Lin[-Manuel Miranda] wanted to give us a story that we could make our own. It’s powerful to have allies like that.”, it felt like the whole message really connected. They weren’t filling shoes for anyone! They brought their own.
After two more breathtaking song performances of That would be Enough and Helpless by Aubin and Hannah respectively, the show was beginning to wrap up. As the show closed, more audience reactions and appreciation consumed the chat box, and the client host claimed it was her highlight of the year! The event started at the top of the hour with 147 attendees and by the end, the audience had actually grown to over 160.
Happy Women’s History Month ☺
As event producers, we aspire to reach perfection in every event, but sometimes certain ones just have a little extra magic. All the elements just line up in a special way. This was one we’ll remember for a long time, not just because of how well it connected, but because it proved that Virtual Events could be every bit as engaging and powerful as any live event.
Raise a glass to the INCREDIBLE women in our industry and to the inspiring women of Broadway who made this event possible – and may there be more of them tomorrow.