As an agency, supporting your surrounding community is crucial - especially during difficult times. Learn how Yes& gave back to their network with Women Veterans Interactive, a non-profit in need of virtual event production support.
As a business, it is essential to get involved with your surrounding community. This kind of engagement is a win-win situation—it not only helps broaden your connections and helps your fellow organizations flourish, but also promotes your own employees’ satisfaction. Being offered a chance to participate in extraordinary causes elevates your employees’ best working qualities and skill set, reminding them that they are appreciated and valued as contributing members of your agency.
Yes& jumped on the opportunity to give back for these exact reasons this past Veterans Day, when a locally based non-profit organization, Women Veterans Interactive (WVI), reached out seeking assistance with virtual event production.
Women Veterans Interactive
According to Ginger Miller, WVI CEO, the nonprofit’s mission is to “meet women veterans at their points of need, through advocacy, empowerment, interaction, outreach, and unification”—in short, AEIOU. “It’s so simple that a baby can remember it!” Miller jokes.
Founded by Miller after a tough transition following her military service, WVI strives to provide women veterans with resources to get them back on their feet: financial assistance, small business development initiatives, and homeless women veterans programs. The organization is event-based, having held conferences and taken smaller-scale events on the road, inspiring women veterans across the country. When COVID-19 struck, however, operating through in-person events proved difficult.
“It was a stretch for us,” Miller admitted. WVI’s popular annual Women’s Leadership & Diversity Conference was fast approaching and the organization knew women veterans needed to be inspired during the pandemic. “It wasn’t a want, it was a need,” Miller said.
Yes& Steps Up to the Plate
A couple of weeks before the conference, Miller needed a producer for their chosen virtual platform. Yes& immediately came to mind—Miller attended an AFCEA Bethesda conference last January, and was impressed with Yes&’s event production capabilities and how well its team worked together.
Miller contacted Yes&, knowing the company was capable of doing amazing things, especially within the virtual space. A meeting between the Yes& events staff and WVI six days before the conference resulted in an interactive platform and an easy-to-navigate landing page. A hard-working team created a plethora of necessary virtual event components, such as developing preparation sessions for the conference’s speakers, a schedule for volunteers, and an immersive virtual experience for attendees. Employees had an opportunity to share their gifts outside of their usual, traditional duties, and were able to contribute to something much bigger than themselves.
A Virtual Accomplishment
The 2020 WVI Women’s Leadership & Diversity Conference received glowing reviews. Every participant stayed from beginning to end, and partners swore it was one of the best of many virtual events they attended throughout the year. WVI was also humbled to receive a generous donation of $10K right after the conference.
Since the conference’s great success, WVI intends to continue producing virtual events to allow women veterans who cannot attend events in the Washington DC. area to participate fully—without having to pay for a plane ticket or hotel room. For WVI, the COVID “pivot” was a game changer, and a hybrid approach will be part of the annual conference’s future.
The Impact of Community Service
Seeing the success that the 2020 WVI Women’s Leadership & Diversity Conference gained was an inspiring experience for many at Yes& who were part of the voluntary production team. They saw that their time and effort was valuable, and that it produced spectacular results. With the addition of company-paid activism hours that they can use for time doing service, staff members will have a deeper sense of gratitude that they are part of a company that recognizes their talent and goes out of their way to let them shine through social action.
Miller emphasizes that agencies and their employees should give back, especially for causes that they believe in and have a major impact on society as a whole. “When you’re running a small organization, it’s hard to juggle a budget that you have and still make an impact, especially when you’re a one-woman show,” she said. Miller was surprised by the level of service and advice Yes& provided. “I felt like we were a paying customer. It was a very humbling experience for me… I was extremely grateful that a well-known agency would take pride in helping out. It takes a lot of work to do what I do every day because we are underfunded and unsupported. But when one gets the support of a company like Yes& that says ‘we love the work that you do, and we’re going to help’ —that makes a huge difference.”