By Jesse W. McDaniel 

It’s easy to get lost in the technical components of what we do in this industry. Timelines are exact, deadlines set in stone, and tasks require precision. We take pride in streamlining communications, spending hours creating new activations, and building exciting routes for our participants. Our call times are early, travel itineraries long, and workdays even longer. And since being strategic is integral to our success, it can be easy to get caught up in the more structured elements, so much so that we forget to smell the roses. Although Event 360 isn’t producing any events on Valentine’s Day this year, if you peel back the top layer, all of the events that we produce spread and exalt commitment and celebrate love at its most selfless.  

“I love witnessing the anonymous acts of kindness that happen so often during an event. Whether it’s the inspirational sign on the back of a porta john door or the heartfelt signatures on the promise flag and remembrance tent, the community’s quiet strength always shines through.” Meredith Parker, Event Production Manager 

Love is all around during our 3-Day weekend. You see it between participants, you see it between staff and participants. Love is on display in many ways. Hugs, slowing your pace to stay with a walker who may be struggling a bit, helping a walker into a shuttle van, the countless signs supporting participants along the route, cheering for that last walker coming in to raise the flag. LOVE!”  Heather Snyder, Programs & Participant Support Coordinator 

There are plenty of symbols associated with Valentine’s Day, including hearts, flowers, chocolates, and, of course, Cupid – the divine matchmaker. From the outside looking in, it may be difficult to see the parallels between your average Event 360 teammate and a cherubic god of love at first but, ultimately, we devote ourselves to the same sacred work. Behind every pop-up tent and piece of signage is a person with a story. From the college student running their first 5k in memory of their grandfather, to the daughters spending another year tackling 60 miles over three days with their mother. There are friends reuniting after months or years spent apart, and coworkers teaming up outside of the office in these shared spaces. 

“I feel most loved on event when someone includes me in a food run. When I’m hot, tired, and sweaty and someone asks me if I want a sandwich or a Diet Coke it makes me feel like they’re seeing how hard I’m working and that I need to stay hydrated (read: caffeinated) and fed! I feel like they really care about me to make sure my needs are taken care of while on event.” Danie Klein, Programs Coordinator 

The causes behind our events, whether it’s breast cancer research or HIV/AIDS healthcare, transform them into demonstrations of love that enrich entire communities. The fundraising, physical strides, and emotional/mental strength needed to see these events through to the end fall upon our participants and their supporters. But the orchestration? Well, that falls to us. And in that regard, we act as a legion of Cupids, except we’ve traded our bows for site layouts and arrows for zip ties. For all of the attention to detail we relish employing, event professionals are artists too. We know how to facilitate connections between total strangers. We can read a room in seconds and often anticipate people’s needs before even they do. We laugh with those who laugh, and cry with those who cry. Whether for a few hours or days, we do our best to curate environments where individuals can honor those to whom they’re closest and honor themselves.  

“From the teenage cancer survivor blowing bubbles with the younger patients, to the folks who just walked 60 miles giving up their seats for others, to the participants who bring cookies to the staff on every event they attend; I see love everywhere on the events I am privileged to staff.” Ann Love, Event Production Manager 

“In the realm of peer-to-peer fundraising events, love shines through acts of tenderness, care, and community, where participants and staff unite in celebration of humanity’s boundless capacity to uplift and support one another.”  —Stephanie Hamm, Sr. Human Resources Manager 

We’re disciples of efficiency and effectiveness. It’s our hope that every event that we produce is better than the last, and operate with a robot-like meticulousness to make this a reality. But tenderness, the very root of what we do, is arguably an even greater necessity. We’re fortunate enough to have an all-star staff comprised of individuals who know that kindness and care aren’t secondary to our efforts, but critical components. So, while we may not be cherubic or descendants of a Saint Valentine himself, we’re still moved by our love of people, and inspired by people devoted to loving others. And that extends far beyond one special day in February. 


Jesse W. McDaniel

Jesse joined the Event 360 team in 2021 following a career in the worlds of editing, development, and fundraising. As Creative Services Coordinator he tackles everything from communications trafficking and project management, to copywriting and overseeing niche deliverables. A jack of all trades, master of none (…ok, maybe two or three), his favorite experiences allow him to wordsmith or make meaningful connections with our amazing participants. When he’s not city-hopping during event season, he enjoys composing music, penning nonfiction, traveling, and spending time with a good book. 


 

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