By: Abbie Peterson
Kool & The Gang was onto something when they released the chart-topping hit “Celebration” in 1980. A song dedicated to feeling good, coming together, and taking a moment to truly “celebrate good times.” The almost five-minute song isn’t about celebrating only when it’s convenient or after your busy event season is over. Kool & The Gang take those sweet minutes to urge us to celebrate right here and now. No excuses like “I’ll celebrate when life slows down” or “We’ll just celebrate at the end of the year.” As event professionals, we can get so swept up in all the planning, managing, and production that we easily overlook those moments to celebrate our teams before and throughout the process. When in reality, there is so much to celebrate along the way! Events are hard work. Let’s reframe our minds to find those sweet moments that make it all worth it. A team captain called you back and had an engaging conversation? CELEBRATE! Your team just finalized the event layout? You just hit a big fundraising milestone? CELEBRATE!
We recently asked a few Event 360 staff members why and how they celebrate their teams throughout the year. (and while you’re reading, don’t forget to play our Celebration Nation playlist!)
“Working in a management/leadership capacity in a virtual environment since 2004, I learned very early the importance of celebration and recognition. I never want anyone on my team to question how I feel about their contributions and accomplishments and make a point regularly to make sure each person on my team knows how much I value their knowledge, experience and contributions. I like to switch things up when celebrating. This year, I’ve taken to sending a hand-written thank you note at the beginning of each month thanking each person on my team for the specific things they did that went above and beyond the call of duty.” —Molly Fast, Director of Fundraising and Development
“A GREAT team is essential to the success of a GREAT event. Celebrating or motivating your team during the entire event process from recruitment through execution works to build confidence and strength in the team for the work ahead. A celebration that sticks out in my head is from August 23, 2015. We had bad inclement weather, lightning, and thunderstorms through the night, at the Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day. We had to move all the participants from the campsite to a high school where they slept for the night. What a huge process and so tiring for a team that was already exhausted by day two of the event. Here we are in the high school lunchroom celebrating at 11 p.m. with pizza we bought for the team to thank them for all the work. This team would move mountains if they had to. 😊” —René Tamayo, Event Operations Manager
“It’s important to celebrate your team year-round from the small things like a thank you email, text or call, to the big things. We recently implemented a new rewards program called “Hell Yeah,” using a system called Bonusly, where everyone in the company is allocated 100 Hell Yeahs to give to any other team members and those Hell Yeahs can be redeemed for gift cards or charitable donations. Recognition is always very important from your manager and the leadership of the company, but it also comes in many different ways from all of our colleagues. We know we’re supporting each other every day, on event, at our desks or out in the world having an impact.” —Cyrena Hillyard, Director, Creative Services
“Celebrating the team helps everyone feel seen and appreciated for their energy, effort, and contributions. We are a company that is chock-full of self-motivated, passionate achievers, and while doing meaningful work for organizations we care so much about is certainly rewarding in and of itself, it’s made all the more worthwhile when our hard work is noticed and celebrated as a team. One of my favorite celebrations/traditions is the “Path of Glory” we do for new team members staffing their first events. I won’t share too much about it to give away any spoilers, but it’s definitely a meaningful way to celebrate and connect to the origin of Event 360.” —Janelle Benuska, Crew & Volunteer Coordinator
“I think it’s important to celebrate to boost morale and motivation, particularly before and during an event! During the recent PanCAN PurpleStride event in D.C., a teammate and I celebrated emptying the storage unit with an impromptu visit to Milk Bar’s Logan Circle location.” —Meredith Parker, Event Production Manager
“Molly, our sweet team leader, is the very best at celebrating and LOVING our team and I treasure the way she has helped us celebrate working hard. She continues to sprinkle us with love to make us feel appreciated, valued and supported. Her ability to surprise and delight our team is something I admire about her. Molly does this with her handwritten notes she sends us each month or a Starbucks gift card she sends the morning of an event. She has a magical way of always being by our side and lifting us up to help us shine bright.” —Amy Schwager, Crew & Volunteer Programs Coordinator
Do you have any cool, unusual or fun ways that you celebrate your team throughout the year? Let us know in the comments!