A Marketing Outsider Takes a Stab at #Events – A Tale of Persistence

There are a lot of things I love about DoubleDutch. The product, the people, the stocked fridges… for a girl from the deep south, it’s more than I ever imagined when it comes to a job. During my two years here, I’ve grown in ways I never thought possible. I’ve been forever changed for the better from my experiences with DoubleDutch.

Allow me to give you more insight.

The leadership at DoubleDutch is world class. I mean, these are REALLY incredible people. They truly care about the employees, our customers, and our community. That last one is where I get misty eyed. Of course, OF COURSE, a company cares about their employees and customers. But community? Naw. Sure, sometimes. But it’s often an afterthought and even worse, a PR move.

I’ve been encouraged (and at times challenged) in finding my purpose in life simply by being employed at DoubleDutch. The way I view the relationship between corporations and their communities has been forever impacted. Corporations have a responsibility to use their voice and their resources for good. That is something that we wholeheartedly believe in.

So when the idea to host a fundraiser benefitting Girls On The Run of the Bay Area featuring a panel discussion with our new board members and other powerhouse ladies (shout out to Kristina Shen, Sandy Carter, DoubleDutch CMO Emily He and Gretchen DeKnikker!), I was met with a resounding “Absolutely!” by our C-suite.

Everything that followed was a blur of planning, mixed with anxiety and a few tears, as I scurried around creating what would become “Nevertheless, She Persisted: An Evening With Fearless Women in Leadership”. I’m not in any way, shape, or form, an event professional. The task of executing an event among a team of event rockstars was daunting. Did you know that more goes into curating a panel than lining up amazing panelists and a moderator? I didn’t.

When we started thinking about the content and anticipated outcomes of the panel, Kristina, Gretchen, Sandy, Emily, and myself were all in agreeance on one thing: we wanted attendees to leave not only feeling inspired, but also with actionable next steps that could easily be put in place to progress personally and professionally. We felt that so many times we’d all attended events that while uplifting, left us asking “well, now what?”.

From there, we carefully worked backwards from our desired outcome. Through a series of meetings and pre-panel calls, we were able to curate a few main talking points that would undoubtedly resonate with everyone in the room. For me personally, it felt almost like cheating. Knowing I was in fact the target demographic, I had the sneaky pleasure of crafting discussions that spoke to me, with the thought that it would be heard and helpful by everyone in the room.

The day of the event was terrifying. My brain already tends to go “worst case scenario” for pretty much everything, so the queue of worries I lined up for myself was enough to drive anyone into psychosis.

And then something beautiful happened. People started showing up! And then more people started showing up! Over 150 people from all over the Bay Area filled DoubleDutch HQ to listen to our panelists speak about their path to leadership, eat tacos, and support a local charity. During the panel, I scanned out across the audience and was floored. People were captivated by the content of the discussion we so carefully put together. Handfuls of people were taking notes. I could barely hold back the tears (if you know me, this is not a surprise).

The variety of attendees is what stood out to me the most. In this day and age when everyone is so busy, it was something else to see how many different people found value in the topic and giving back to our community. One of my favorite attendees was a 97-year-old woman who read about the event in the newspaper and had been looking forward to it for weeks. She let me know that she was worried she would forget the address, so every day for a week she would write it down, trying to commit it to memory. She spent half of her day taking the bus, schlepping across SF with her walker, to make it to our event. I can only hope I’m half as dedicated to anything when I’m her age.

By the end of it, we raised almost $5,000 for Girls On The Run of the Bay Area so that they can continue their mission of instilling leadership, confidence, and healthy habits in girls from a young age. Now, more than ever, we have to come together to support these important initiatives.

The outpouring of support and interest in our event is the kind of thing that keeps me motivated. In a world so filled with the bad and ugly, it’s easy to lose your rose colored view of the your surroundings. It’s also easy to look the other way, to be so overwhelmed by all of it you just throw in the towel. Give up. It’s empowering to know there are still hoards of people, and companies, that are doing their best everyday to make a difference.

So with that, a huge “THANK YOU!” to everyone who attended and supported from near and far. It is my hope that you took something impactful from the event to keep you persisting against all odds.

Shameless plug (or as my marketing team calls it, “CTA”) check out my last blog about DoubleDutch Connect: our efforts to redefine human connection and inspire social change.