Event 360 family, Event 360 alumni, current and former client partners, and industry friends: what a year! We finally made it to the winter holidays—where time spent with family and friends, recharging our batteries, and stepping away to reflect are typically the focus. This year, we’ll see family and friends through a screen, batteries are drained much more than normal, and stepping away from reality is much harder.
When looking back at 2020, I’m frequently reminded of the posts on Instagram captioned “Instagram vs. Reality”. This year was supposed to be full of hope and impact for our nonprofit partners and the missions they serve through live events. In reality, it often felt like the manifestation of a Pinterest fail on a worldwide scale…a year that felt like trying to get our collective kids to take a photo with Santa only to have them scream uncontrollably and leave us with no photos for the holiday card.
While our “holiday card” for 2020 doesn’t have the same curated, Instagram-perfect photo, our sentiment remains true now more than ever before: We are grateful for you, and we wish you and your family all the best for the upcoming year. We can’t wait to work alongside you as you work to achieve your mission.
And you know what? We miss you. We miss live events. We miss our Event 360 family. We even miss some things we didn’t think we’d miss, like TSA lines, early morning call times, and sore feet at the end of a long event day.
Instead of trying to glaze over the “Reality” and focus on the “Instagram”, our team shared very real, raw answers to “What I miss most about events” and “I’ll never complain about _____ again”. While we’re sad, we’re also brimming with hope that we’ll get to bring the spirit of live events—and all that comes with it—back again very soon.
Happy Holidays, everyone. Be well.
Tim Brockman, President & COO
Be it the sense of accomplishment on participants faces or the joy of watching a live show, I miss the sense of providing entertainment to people.
Mike Murphy, Executive VP of Event Production
What do I miss about producing events??? EVERYTHING. I miss planning the work. I miss guiding a team towards a goal. I miss eliminating obstacles and finding answers to them. I miss customizing the logistics for a particular event. I miss innovating the processes and procedures to be more efficient. I miss the camaraderie with the team, vendors, and volunteers in building the event. I miss the arrival of participants, the music, the stories, the sponsors and the t-shirts.
And I REALLY miss the payoff, which is watching participants light up at the experience. IT’S TIME TO GET BACK TO WORK.
Janelle Benuska, Field Operations Coordinator, Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival
I miss the irreplaceable feeling of camaraderie when people come together, in-person, as a TEAM—including our on-event production team, the volunteer teams that come out to support the event, and the teams of participants who bring their energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the organization’s mission. It’s palpable from all angles, and while a virtual experience is still an experience, that feeling truly cannot be replicated in a virtual environment! And with full honesty, I can say that everything that happens on-event is part of the magic—both good moments and struggle moments—so I am hard-pressed to think of anything I would or have ever complained about!
Joann Buckley Collins, Senior Copywriter
I miss getting out of town and getting to see another city. I was never a fan of business travel before, but now I wouldn’t mind spending an evening alone in a hotel room with bad room service and getting to bed early so I can set my alarm for an ungodly early hour.
John Diesel, Data Warehouse Manager
I realize that I may have a different viewpoint than most as an IT professional—but after 25+ years working on and with events of all types, what I miss most is seeing the impact each event has—seeing the number of people involved, the people impacted, and the donation flow going to beneficiaries. It is why I have worked in this industry for so long and why watching those numbers drop is so heartbreaking.
Molly Fast, Local Operations Director
I’ll never complain about early wake-up calls again. I know I’ll just be so happy to be back doing the work I love with the people I love that I’ll spring out of bed, bound down to the hotel lobby and smile my way through the day. (Someone please remind me of this when I have my first super early wake-up call of the event season!) I also miss the pace of event work. Whether it’s supporting a participant, zip-typing signage, charging IT equipment, or doing a FedEx office run…there’s nothing like the variety of the work we do while out on event. Mostly, I miss the people—starting with our incredible Event 360 family, our supportive vendors, and our collaborative clients, and being inspired by the unbelievable participants who make the work we do possible. I miss seeing all of that incredible humanity and teamwork play out in front of my eyes.
Jake Geiger, Account Director
I miss the adrenaline rush of load-in and event morning, the soft crackle of the radio, and laughing and working hard alongside my Event 360 family.
Irina Gelfand, General Counsel
I thought I’d never say this, but I miss reviewing jurisdictional permits. It’s the first stage to bringing an event to fruition and somehow the paperwork is missing in my life.
Jennifer Hagan, Account Director
I miss being at the event and working with the team. We have early mornings, long days, and late nights, but when you work with a great group of people, it never feels that long. There is just something special about being on the event that is hard to explain. Lots of hard work, but it never is without a lot of laughs and a true feeling of accomplishment after a successful event.
Cyrena Hillyard, Director, Creative Services
I never thought I’d miss the questions participants ask. There are always so many questions, but it’s really incredible to see how engaged our communities are and how much they care about the events and others involved, even the staff. I can’t wait to be out there again and help someone have a great experience.
Tisho Jessop, Fundraising and Support Coach
I miss hugs from participants! Our 3-Day community is one giant family, and I treasure all of the relationships I’ve built with our walkers and crew. I can’t even begin to count how many hugs I get on a typical 3-Day weekend! That physical contact is always such a powerful reminder of how bonded we all are and how much we love spending time together, working for a shared goal.
Lisa Matuszewski, Associate Donations Manager
The rush of participants arriving the morning of the event is always a bit stressful at the registration tent I typically work, but there’s also a great energy. I miss that energy and excitement of a ton of people arriving to an event in the early morning.
Patrick Riley, Vice President, Account Directors
I miss getting on an airplane. I feel so restless staying in one city for months on end. I miss the adventure, eating the “when in NYC you have to grab a slice” and seeing my friends around the country.
Jes Schneider, HR Manager
What I miss most about events is traveling as a team and meeting the participants. As a company, we’ve been remote, as Tim would say, “before ‘remote’ was a thing,” so being able to come together on location is awesome. And while we work tirelessly behind the scenes to support our clients, the participants live for these events, and their energy is palpable.
Jillian Schranz, Director of Business Development
I never thought I’d miss TSA security lines. After traveling two to three times a month for years, I will never complain about airport security again. Well, maybe not never…
Slade Thompson, Account Director
There is a special excitement, balanced with anxiety, that comes when an event is about to welcome its first participants and you are still doing last minute preparations. You want everything to be just perfect at the start of the day. Of course, after 17 years I know it won’t be perfect, but I still strive for it. That feeling of relief when you get through those last stressful moments and say “We’re ready. Let’s go.” is what I miss the most.
Matt Tremback, Controller
I miss traveling. Waking up at 5 a.m. to catch a flight is a bit nerve-wracking but well worth it when you’re in an unfamiliar city with familiar faces.
I miss literally everything about events, from the lead-up stress and ungodly early morning arrivals to hugging folks with happy tears in their eyes to the post-event “we did it” moments!
Katie Zupancic Wymer, Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing
I miss standing by the finish line watching participants’ faces as they cross it with their teammates. No matter how many times I stood watching the finish line at any event I staffed over the years, the grit, triumph, teamwork, and support at that single spot will give me goosebumps forever. I also secretly miss the punchiness of laughing with our Event 360 family after a very long, successful workday—that feeling where you can’t remember or explain why something is funny and only the other people who experienced it with you at 4 a.m. “get it”…and also can’t help but laugh.
Readers, we want to know…what do you miss most about producing events?
Katie Zupancic Wymer brings a strategic vision to event marketing and recruitment with a focus on peer-to-peer fundraising events. Through digital and traditional marketing strategies, she focuses on maximizing new participant acquisition and increasing returning participant retention for our partners.