A Year in Review | A Message from the CEO

It’s almost time to throw confetti in the air + pop that bottle of bubbly! (If you know me well, you know that champagne is my favorite cocktail!) With continued growth at our company, new opportunities to engage with + some learning lessons along the way, we are positioning ourselves for an exciting 2023. Before the clock strikes midnight + we turn the calendar to 365 opportunities to make a difference, I offer you my year in review of all that we accomplished together. Cheers to another incredible year. You were good to us, 2022. 

OUR TRAVELS

Spending the first week of the new year in Charlotte, North Carolina with our team during our semi-annual retreat was the perfect start to 2022. Each year we host two multi-day team retreats, one in January + the other in July. These are hosted offsite at various locations, whether they are local or out-of-state so that we can focus on company strategy, team building + simply just “be” together. This is such a valuable part of the growth of our company + we look forward to this time. But we really look forward to when we have an opportunity to travel together! 

Photo approved for use by The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa | Scottsdale, Arizona

After our team trip to North Carolina, our travels took us to host event planning sessions in Texas + then we spent time with clients in sunny Arizona for a multi-day conference + in Florida for board meetings under the beautiful bright skies + pretty palm trees. Our Dream Builders also designed + planned a fundraising dinner in Chicago, in addition to event’ing in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa, Massachusetts + Tennessee. It was quite the year for traveling across the country for our clients, all while making a difference through events. 

GUEST ENGAGEMENT  

Trends in corporate + non-profit events over the last year have moved more towards giving their attendees something good to talk about after the event ends. This doesn’t necessarily mean an insulated water bottle or Bluetooth speaker (while they are nice gifts). They crave experience + engagement. One that leaves a lasting impression beyond the four walls of the event space. One that creates chatter at the water cooler the next day at the office. 

Photo taken from The Blue Ball at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Sioux Falls

This year, our events integrated various ways to engage guests at another level including an on-stage shopping experience, a live cooking show, a tequila tasting, a poolside social hour, dinner in the desert under the palm trees, a pizza making party, first-hand experience with a robot + conversations with professional athletes, celebrity entertainers + more. Think about what you can create to increase guest engagement at your upcoming event! Challenge yourself to think outside of the box – it works if you work it. Trust me.   

VIRTUAL + HYBRID EVENTS 

With the evolution of events over the last 33 months, we continue to design and plan virtual + hybrid events. (They are here to stay!) With some, we are coaching them to continue with these models because of the success rates, engagement + reach of their audiences across the globe. With the various virtual + hybrid events that we hosted this year, almost 30,000 attendees joined us from nearly all 50 states across the United States + 16 countries. 

I personally had the pleasure of working alongside platform developers from Brazil, Saudi Arabia + other parts of the country to create + manage a custom virtual event platform for one of our clients. What an experience! 

CHALLENGES 

While there are many reasons to be grateful for our growth, we also have encountered various challenges throughout 2022. Our industry continues to come up against supply chain concerns, labor shortages for some of our event partners + venues across the country, as well as limited availability of dates at some venues. With events being put on the back burner for over a year with the global pandemic, this forced date changes to be pushed out several years. The Hyatt Regency that we work with in Orlando shared with us that some events had to be moved out for 3+ years to find similar date availability. We’re experiencing the same locally with some of our events as well – not being able to find the same dates + date patterns because others moved into those spots from a few years back. If you’re one of these events that I referenced, be patient. Your date + location will be back.  

DREAM BUILDER EXPERIENCES 

An important part of our company culture is building experiences for each other at The Event Company. We spend so much time focused on curating experiences for our clients at every event, that we have worked to be intentional about what we create for our team members. 

After our last retreat, we formed a Social Society where team members dedicate time to designing experiences for our Dream Builders which includes in-office birthday celebrations tailored to our Dream Builders’ favorites. From Victorian tea parties with queso + burritos to beer tasting birthdays + even all things lemon all day long! Additionally, the Social Society helps to plan quarterly outings, other in-office experiences like our holiday pajama movie day that include massages on-site, a hot chocolate bar + much more. 

Photo taken at the Dream Retreat at Loft on Phillips in Downtown Sioux Falls.

Another area that the Social Society focuses on bringing to our team is overall wellness! After learning more about the CEO Pledge for Physical Activity, an initiative of the Physical Activity Alliance, from one of our clients, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, I committed our team to join this movement + sign the pledge. We have been intentional over the years about integrating wellness into the workplace through walking meetings, yoga + meditation sessions + different challenges. In December, we kicked off a wellness challenge that includes not only physical fitness but also meditation, mindfulness, stretching + strength. Our Dream Builders are encouraged to get active in one (or more) of these areas mentioned an average of five times per week. For those that meet these goals, their name will go into a drawing for a new Apple Watch. It’s been fun talking about the challenge in our weekly team meetings + to catch up about what each other is doing to keep active. At our retreat in January, we’ll select the winner of the challenge. 

If you or your team is interested in joining  the CEO Pledge for Physical Activity, you should! The Pledge is part of a social movement to make physical activity + healthy movement a cultural norm in the workplace. You can learn more + sign the pledge here.

Or, if you have a fun employee experience that has enhanced your company culture, please share it with me! I’d like to learn more about it. There is always room to incorporate new ideas into the workplace for the health + wellness of all employees. 

WHAT’S NEXT 

As we prepare for our upcoming retreat in just a few days, I am personally looking forward to celebrating what each + every one of these women brings to our team. We are in such a unique position with all that we offer our clients at The Event Company + we continue to create more efficiencies with our processes + plans. This makes us even stronger for those that we serve across the country. 

After having planned over 425 events in 21 different states throughout the last nine years, I am excited to see what 2023 brings as we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary since launching The Event Company. The impact that our team of Dream Builders has had on this industry +  the events that we serve is beyond what I could have imagined. We dream big. We work hard. We make it happen. 

Soon you’ll see our team debut some new things, so stay tuned. The journey to celebrate ten years comes with some fun surprises along the way + I’m excited to have you along with us. 

Cheers! 
Addie Graham-Kramer
Founder + CEO