Specialist Spotlight: Josh Govier

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.

The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Josh Govier

Pronouns: he/him

Location: New York City

Happily Role/s To Date: Broadcast Clock, Video Engineer, Video Editor

Josh Govier Hero Image

Hey there, have you met Josh?

He is an audio engineer and videographer from New York. He has a strong passion for technology, the arts, and all of the places they intersect.

As a side hustle Josh fixes bikes and is very passionate about music. He plays the bass guitar and has played shows throughout NYC and the North East.

So Josh, what is your superpower?

I consider myself to be a very multifaceted person. I am very curious and I love to learn, because of this I have been able to serve a lot of roles within the production industry.

I have worked as a sound engineer in live, studio, and video environments, as well as working on the post production end. I have also worked on the video end as a camera operator and editor. One of my biggest accomplishments as an editor was working on a music video called “Cold Cold Coffin” by Dennis Dunaway, which went on to win several film festivals and was screened at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

When you're not working on a Happily production, what are you up to?

I have a lot of side hustles and hobbies, most recently I have gotten very into cycling. It’s a great activity to stay in shape, socialize, and for me it really helps with my mental health as well. I will be doing a bikepacking trip around The Finger Lakes with 2 of my best friends later this summer. I have never gone on a trip like this before and I am super excited!

Working on bicycles has also been a side hustle for me. One of the impacts of the pandemic has been a shortage in bicycles, I am very handy and taught myself how to repair bikes. First building some old mountain bikes and hybrids up for my family, and more recently for friends and neighbors. It has been very fulfilling to make old bikes ride as good as new, getting people back into the sport, and keeping bikes on the road and out of landfills.

What do you enjoy about the freelancer life?

I enjoy the freelance element of production as variety is the spice of life. Events have been a big part of my life for a very long time. As a teenager I was very active as a musician. My band played everything from local fundraisers and venues throughout NYC. I have always felt such fulfillment by bringing people together and bringing joy and entertainment to them.

After college I shifted gears to streaming concerts, and running live sound. Doing so has allowed me to meet so many incredible artists, make new friends, and travel to beautiful places. Working with different teams, tools, and environments keeps me on my toes and allows me to explore different opportunities and interests.

Shifting gears to more remote projects in this past year has allowed me to reinvent myself and really explore my passion for streaming which I have really enjoyed. I look forward to seeing how streaming will be integrated in hybrid events as COVID restrictions lift.

Which Happily production are you most proud to have been part of?

Out of all the projects I have worked on with Happily, I am most proud of the most recent, Herman Miller’s Virtual Pride. Editing on this project was a challenge as we had a lot of content to put together on a very tight timeline. I put in some long days which led to a really wonderful event which showcased many talented performers and artists from the LGBTQ+ community. Attending the virtual fundraiser was incredibly moving for me. It was so nice seeing people from around the world brought together by this event, as well as raise funds for Outright International.

What does your work day usually consist of when working on a Happily production?

When editing for Happily I like to get a nice early start to my day. I feel sharpest in the morning so I like to front load my work as much as possible. I start my day with a nice healthy breakfast and sit down at my desk. Once I have completed my first round of edits I will send those out to the client for review. At this point I like got get some exercise in and have some lunch. By the time thats done I fine tune the edits based on the feedback I have received from clients.

I’ve been working from home long before COVID so I have built out a really nice work space. I custom built a studio desk, acoustically treated my room and I have 2 nice big displays and a great pair of studio monitors that really immerse me in my work.

What makes you happy?

What makes me happiest in life is the wonderful people surrounding me: my family, friends, and my partner. They bring me so much joy through their humor, wit, and kindness. I sincerely appreciate their support of me to try new things and take risks. If it wasn’t for them I would not be where I am at today.

Is it coffee o’clock, yet?

Listen to Josh in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Josh from Tue 13th, July.

Josh Govier IG Live Gif

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

July 16, 2021

How to have DEI Discussions in the Workplace with Fatima Dainkeh

Fatima Dainkeh drops in to chat about the value of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) discussions, how trust in a workplace is built, and why DEI strategies are dependent on a virtual, hybrid or in-person model.

Fatima is an expert on how to consciously foster a workplace culture as it relates to topics around racism, sexism, gender identity and the intersectionality of social identities. She's a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) facilitator and uses storytelling as a tool and platform for individuals and groups to connect with one another.

We recognize that our workplace is our microcosms of the general society, right? And so whatever is happening in our world is probably also going to be showing up in our workplaces. One of the main issues we're helping to solve is ‘why aren't workplaces working?'

Fatima Dainkeh, Learning and Development Manager, She+ Geeks Out

Fatima is here to really think about how people communicate with each other and the ripple effects those interactions can have

Fatima is the Learning and Development Manager at She+ Geeks Out, which is based in Massachusetts. They take a holistic approach in providing education and support for organizations to build a strong foundation of diversity, equity and inclusivity within their workplace.

She created a short film, Stories of Black Motherhood (2018). It centers around three mothers in Boston as they talk about the ways in which their lives have been affected by race, class, and gender, and how those topics also influence their feelings and fears about motherhood and the healthcare system in the US.

Fatima received a Master of Public Health in Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation and Evaluation (CAPDIE) and Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

For the complete discussion watch Fatima on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for a teaser into some of the topics they touch on.

Some quick bites from Fatima

On being a diversity, equity and inclusion facilitator and what it means

I've been doing facilitation for close to a decade now, and so for those of you who aren't familiar with facilitation work it's basically a way to create space for folks to discuss any issue.

I specifically focus on diversity, equity and inclusion related issues and that's what I do at She+ Geeks Out and so part of me being a Learning and Development Manager is to critically think about what do our current programs look like, what's the content that we're offering, and how is that supporting not just individual contributors or our community members but also our client and companies. And so one of the key things we do at She+ Geeks Out is really thinking about how do we abolish inequity in the workplace?

We recognize that our workplace is our microcosms of the general society, right? And so whatever is happening in our world is probably also going to be showing up in our workplaces. One of the main issues we're helping to solve is ‘why aren't workplaces working?’ Why are they not working specifically and especially for marginalized identities or folks with marginalized identities. And what can we be thinking about, what can we be doing, what can we be changing to make sure that we're not just creating an inclusive culture, but we're also using an equity lens.

So what do our policies look like? Who's being supported, and who's not? Are we using language unintentionally or intentionally that might be making some employees feel marginalized? These are the questions that we help clients and companies answer and then provide them tips, tools and strategies to begin changing that culture.

On She+ Geeks Out, how they are expanding our understanding of gender and what the + means

When She+ Geeks Out was founded a lot of the work was supporting women in tech and tech adjacent. And so what would it look like to support these groups of people who are in tech spaces but aren't feeling as included or feeling like they're the only?

She+ Geeks Out has evolved to not just support women but anyone who identifies as a woman. But also really expanding beyond the binary when we talk about gender, right? And so She+ that plus is saying like ‘hey this is how we started out foundationally and we have expanded our understanding and idea of gender and are including brave and safe spaces for folks who might identify along the spectrum to come into our community events and spaces because we know that if we work on one type of inequality - like gender inequality - there's still so much more to do. We talk about this from an intersectional standpoint so we can't just talk about gender inequality without talking about homophobia, without talking about transphobia and racism and so forth so that plus really is bringing those concepts together and really you know highlighting intersectionality.

Fatima Dainkey Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

Image: Fatima Dainkey. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi.

On how DEI discussions differ for a virtual workplace

It's not the easiest to facilitate virtually, it's not. Because we are talking about topics that are both personal and professional and when we're talking about identities or topics, like, privilege, power, oppression - it's sometimes hard to see what's happening behind the screen. Sometimes videos aren't on, sometimes you don't know someone's actually paying attention and I'm saying that to use that lens as a way of thinking about just working virtually in general, especially if you weren't working virtually before.

And so one thing that we've been thinking about as it relates to culture and how it's changed over time, it's first building trust, right? We often talk about trust being a key component to creating and maintaining inclusive workplaces and if you just started working somewhere and let's say you weren't part of the company until after they became remote, it's really hard to build trust with your manager or to even build trust with your colleagues.

And so what can we do virtually is really think about ‘what can we have conversations about during our one-on-one meetings? For example, what does it look like to have check-in? I know it's so easy to jump into business and say ‘okay what have we done? List all the tasks. Check them off’ And I always say, okay sometimes you might not have an opportunity to check-in, but if you do and when you do, do so, because there's so many things that can be happening in our personal lives that we're not aware of and because we're not in person and because body language is sometimes hard to take note of virtually.

It's so important to take a step back, even if it's five minutes, to say ‘hey, how are you doing? How's it going? What do you need support with?’ and so forth.

On why people are trusting brands more than the government these days

Part of trust is also holding ourselves accountable when you mess up and what we know is that that hasn't always been the case within government structures - at least for folks who have marginalized identities and so when that has happened over time and nothing has been done or we don't feel like adequate measures have been taken, you can see how people begin to look at corporates or businesses because perhaps they feel like the language feels inclusive they've been really transparent about their commitments.

We saw that since summer of 2020 a lot of companies have committed to anti-racist practices. I think there was a recent article that came out this year that said ‘hey let's do a check-in and check on all these companies that said they were going to do x y and z. Let's see how much they've done so far?’ So building trust a lot of times people say you have to earn trust, right? But also you have to show what you're doing and when we think about doing these workshops or supporting our clients one of the things we say is being very clear and intentional with the language right and so whether that's verbal you're just having a meeting virtually or you're typing up that email or you're responding to a social event or unrest that's happening in our society. I'm gonna be able to trust you because I know that one you're paying attention, you care and so these are pillars of trust where it's like, ‘okay you care about who I am as a being, at least, and I'm seeing that messaging.

On her short film, Stories of Black Motherhood

I work with an awesome company named Envision Productions and basically I was in grad school focusing on maternal child health and really looking at health inequities. And being in the classroom hearing folks say ‘hey black mothers or black birthing folks are dying and their kids are dying’ is a lot to take on as someone who identifies as a birthing person but also as a black woman.

And so I wanted to really dig into the data. We always talk about the numbers and it feels so generalizing and it makes black folks look like a monolith and it's like ‘what's the story’, right? What's actually happening within communities? What's supporting, you know, black birthing folks? To support their children and family and what's not supporting them? And so that's sort of what I wanted to get into and using storytelling as a tool to really amplify those voices because they're always there. And so I’m just a really strong believer of ‘what questions are we asking folks?’. And the mothers in that video were so amazing and being open and sharing their experience of being a black mother in Boston.

On why it’s so important to really consider what a change in workplace model (virtual, in-person or hybrid) means for employees and how to best handle a transition

We have to ask ourselves ‘who is benefiting from going back to the workplace? And who's benefiting from a hybrid model? And who's benefiting from a virtual model? And let's be fair, virtual workplaces have always existed before the pandemic. Folks have been figuring out how to develop and build and maintain awesome cultures in virtual workplaces, so it's not brand new - it's been done, it's possible. And if you find that you weren't virtual and you're thinking about going back into the workplace, the first question that we often ask is ‘can you, sort of, first check in with your employees?

I have been in contact with so many of my friends who said ‘hey, we just got a message from the company that said we need - we're going back to work next week, there was no discussion about it or, at least, with my colleagues or with my friends, it was just like made at the top level and there was no transition.’ It was, like, 18 months you've been out of the office, next week you will start and you'll be in the office five days a week...

You just don't do something for 18 months and then drop people in and expect everything to go back the same. We are social creatures and it takes time for us to build habits, so if we've been, sort of, getting used to virtual working and we are parents, we're caregivers, we're trying to figure out what's happening in a virtual world. It's going to take time to be just as effective if we were effective virtually and to feel like we can engage in that in the workplace.

So one thing we say is ‘what does it look like to have a soft transition?’ Meaning ‘okay, can we do a quick survey? Or, a really, you know, focus group? And to just see who wants to go back and who doesn't. If we find that most people are around the hybrid model, well, let's do a soft transition maybe - twice a week people can come into the office.

On a hybrid workplace model and how to facilitate inclusion and engagement

There's so much to consider and I'd say, you know, for the hybrid model finding ways to make sure that people still feel engaged. One of the things that a lot of companies talk about, especially if they were remote before the pandemic and then they became hybrid later, is that the virtual group doesn't get as much love.

So if you're not going into the office it's, like, you're missing out on the water cooler conversations or you're not being able to hang out with your colleagues. And so how can you merge that? How can you do games online, for example. And then have, like, in-person so that folks who are comfortable going in-person can do so, and folks who aren't or have other priorities, can also engage. So there's so so much to consider. I just think it's really important to get a pulse with employees first before making a decision like that.

Want more on this topic?

Here are links to resources and podcasts mentioned in this Happily Live:

July 14, 2021

10 Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Press Event

You’ve got something to present to the world, so let’s happily get it out there.

A press event or press junket is a chance to announce, to communicate, or to promote whatever it is your business would like directly to local, national and international journalists, reporters and media outlets.

Recently we produced a webinar to release and discuss the findings of the American COVID-19 Vaccine Poll to national print and digital media outlets. At your leisure, you can read more about that case study here.

Even as the possibility of in-person events begin to appear on the horizon, going virtual with a press event has everlasting advantages.

'10 Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Press Event' Happily

Here are some real pros to producing a virtual press event to keep in mind.

1. Reach a wider amount and scope of media outlets

Your event can be attended by or shared with all media outlets that you need to target; local, national and international. There are no limits to where they are based.

Also, we love the accessibility that online events allows to smaller, community based and start-up digital or print media outlets.

2. A shareable recording is as easy as pressing a button

With an in-person event generating a quality video of the event - a video that you would be proud to send to the media and out into the public - will likely require hiring a videographer and will take time to be edited.

With a virtual event, the recording is done and ready the moment that event has ended. This means you will have it instantly to share in an email blast as a reference to attendees, and to anyone who could not attend live.

3. Little time commitment means journalists are more likely to tune in

The fact that journalists can tune into your virtual event from anywhere and that they don’t necessarily have to turn on their camera, means it is easier for them to find the time to attend live. A lot of people in the media are time poor, with rather busy daily schedules, and them having the option to multi-task can be welcomed.

4. You can have a short runway to the event

The planning and pre-production stage of a virtual event can be much more condensed than an in-person event. This is dependent on the complexity and scope of the virtual press event, of course, however, at Happily we know how to hustle and bring together an event asap.

5. Any keynote speakers, staff or experts can participate from anywhere across the country - or the world

You can curate a diverse panel of guests to contribute, as no travel is required for them, and they would have to commit less time to the event.

6. It can be a private or a public event

Depending on how you would like to gate or divide the event, there will be a way to do it in the digital space. For example, there can be a separate viewing platform for media outlets to allow them to interact and submit questions, and have a platform for the general public to enter and view the live broadcast.

7. A Q&A session can be robust and ordered

If you would like to have a Q&A element to the press event, there are various ways that can be produced depending on your needs. For example, a simple way is to have a chat box function in which journalists and media outlets submit a question, and they can be answered systematically at the end. Or we could craft a process to allow them to submit a question verbally with their audio and camera switched on.

8. They are economical, scalable and highly customizable

Just like any in-person event, a virtual press event can be as basic or as dynamic as you need it to be - or as your budget will allow. It can be a fully branded experience; from the registration roll-out to the event itself, and to any follow-up correspondence. We can keep it real simple and use Zoom as the viewing platform, or we can build a fully custom microsite for attendees to watch the event.

Pro Tip: When we say we are experts at event planning, we mean every aspect of it that you can think of - including marketing, registration, experience designers, IT security - so if you have a concern or need extra help in any area, just chat to us about it.

9. Going virtual does not mean you miss out on anything

Together we can craft a run of show that has all the elements that you need - maybe even more - for a press event.

We’re talking graphic presentations, video presentations, a pre-recorded message from someone who can’t attend, panel discussions, an open Q&A session, private interview breakout rooms with media outlets - whatever other element you need, we can find a way to make it happen.

10. The event can be translated live

Having any event translated into multiple languages and/or American Sign Language live during the broadcast is a must for accessibility and reaching more communities - and countries. If your press event needs to reach multiple language groups and audience, then that progress is straightforward when going virtual. We have a blog post all about the ways to have a spoken language translations, and another one for ASL translations.

July 6, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Arthur Kozlovski

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.

The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Arthur Kozlovski

Pronouns: he/him

Location: New York City

Happily Role/s To Date: Technical Director, Timekeeper, Associate Producer

Arthur Kozlovski

Hey! Do you know Arthur?

With over 10 years of experience as a director for event production, Arthur's work focuses on collaborative and community-driven initiatives.

He is also the Founder and Operations Director of Community Bread, a queer-owned livestream and resource platform for marginalized artists aimed to offset economic hardships caused by the pandemic.

So, Arthur, what is your superpower?

I would say that I am great at facilitating collaborative environments in which teams can objectively communicate through any obstacles that we may encounter, collectively.

Do you have a side hustle?

I founded and run Community Bread, a livestream & resource platform dedicated to queer & marginalized artists aimed to offset economic hardships caused by the pandemic. Together with my two partners, we’ve been able to raise over $20k for struggling artists and LGBTQ+ charity orgs across the world over the past year.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride is not bound to a single month, but to our collective existences as we share our stories, our struggles, our victories and come together to celebrate the beautiful world and the vibrant people that help shape it.

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

The Door Dash IPO launch was the most challenging and exciting project that required creating, managing and ensuring 20 live experiences happened simultaneously and flawlessly over the course of one hour. This required careful planning to account for all possible variables that could affect each stream and virtual room, in addition to training and managing teams and talent across the country. It was incredible to watch it all come together so smoothly!

How would you describe your working style?

My approach to working with many different teams is always to facilitate a level of trust and transparency amongst the groups I am involved with. Every individual comes from a different background and provides various skills, and in order for a project to be successful, we must all work together and be honest with what we can and can’t do. There is always a way to provide support if everyone is clear about their capabilities and limitations. Communication is key!

What makes you happy?

What really makes me happy is watching people explore, create and share their visions, especially in collaborative ways which produce something much more special than if it was created independently. I believe that the magic of our existence is sharing the joys of life, and facilitating these collective initiatives is what truly brings me joy.

Who else needs a coffee?

Listen to Arthur in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Arthur from Tue 22nd, June.

Arthur Kozlovski IG Live GIF

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

June 25, 2021

5 Tips for Planning Group Travel in a Post-COVID World

We have many hats in our collection at Happily, and one of them is VIP Travel Experience Extraordinaire.

When you’re paying for your attendees to fly into your on-site event you want every little detail to go smoothly. The way we see it, the invitees' experience of your event begins the moment they receive the invitation, and every interaction after - including getting there - reflects back onto the overall event experience.

We are talking about a Happily team booking flights, making custom itineraries, arranging for under 18 travel, international travel, ground transportation with door-to-door pickup, hotel check-ins, and we can even build a special web application just so we can keep travel plans updated.

We’ve managed VIP travel experiences for some big deal companies, such as YouTube, H&M, and TikTok’s Make Black History Summit 2020.

5 Tips for Planning Group Travel in a Post-COVID World Happily Blog Post

Here are some quick tips for arranging group travel as we ease into a new normal post-pandemic

1. First of all, make flying-in optional.

Not only are some people still not ready or able to prioritize work travel, you’ll be reducing carbon emissions by up to 97%. For flights you can’t avoid, we always book non-stop to reduce carbon and calculate our emissions to offset those in our Happily Forest.

2. Create clear criteria for where you feel safe to host your group.

For us at Happily, this means 70% of the city is fully vaccinated. Also that the venue has comfortable outdoor spaces, with clear guidelines on entry and exit.

3. Put extra care into communicating your safety protocols.

Create a dedicated space online to publish COVID safety requirements and updates local to the area, your venue, and your program. Use plain, even fun English to prepare folks to get temperature checks, wear masks indoors, and using hand sanitizer.

Mask Examples Happily

4. Buy travel insurance that includes COVID coverage (even if people are vaccinated).

This might sound extra, but we recommend it. Ideally, your travel insurance covers COVID related health expenses, flight changes and delays, and all the stuff that travel insurance should cover. (Pro Tip: book well in advance for that flexibility.)

5. Don’t bunk up.

In the (g)olden days, we used to save some money here and there by putting two staffers to a room, two guests in a car ect. and it just does not work out that way anymore. If you’re going to spring for an all-expenses event, just go for it.

June 22, 2021

A Trip Into the Immersive World of NOWHERE

We live for experiencing the latest and freshest tech in the events space!

So Happily was keen to explore the new virtual venue platform, NOWHERE. And firstly, any gamers reading are gonna love this one, and feel at home in this universe.

A tagline of NOWHERE is ‘experience online events with real life feels’ and that is really what is going on; it is a platform to connect in immersive 3D worlds that prioritize face-to-face conversations, and re-creating in-person interactions in a digital space.

For a quick visual intro to the world NOWHERE, watch this video.

Is NOWHERE a new platform?

Yes - it is brand spanking new! As a company they are still in their beta stage. They are open to feedback to continue to develop, build and refine the platform for the needs of event professionals and the events industry. So, we are eager to watch it grow, and flourish as a product.

What are the basics to get started?

There are no apps to download, it is all web browser based, and hosts and guests can find all they need at urnowhere.com. You create a ‘space’ with a ‘station’ (venue) and you can pick a templated ‘environment’. Similar to Zoom, you can invite people as a guest, or as a host.

Check out Sarah Shewey, our Happily CEO and Founder, explore NOWHERE with some of our specialists.

How many templated environments are there?

Currently there are 6; Blackbox, Cherry Clouds, The Base, Arco Santi Vaults, 6th Boro, Golden Pines. All the environments seem to be built with a certain type of event in mind (eg. a presentation, a reception, a party...).

Everyone has their own ‘Orbit’.

There are no avatars here. Your live video is streamed into a little pod-esque shape, like a wondrous floating head, and this is referred to as your Orbit. When a first time user is invited to a NOWHERE space, they will fill out an ‘Orbit Card’, which is basically their profile, with all their contact details ect. These ‘Orbit Cards’ act as digital business cards that are collected and stored away when you interact with someone.

NOWHERE has spatial audio. But what is spatial audio?

Just like in real life, the further someone is from you, the less you hear them. This happens in NOWHERE too. If you move your Orbit away from someone or a group of people, the less they can hear you, and the less you can hear them. At the same time, it does well to create that ‘conversation buzz’ of a room, and be able to approach a group engaged in conversation.

The rim around a person's Orbit will light up when they are talking, and there is a 'God Mic' function that enlarges a person's Orbit and has them clearly heard by all, no matter where the audience is in the environment. This allows a 'keynote speaker' feel and brings the focus to a person/s within the group.

Can you broadcast a video or share a screen in NOWHERE?

Yep! It will project into the sky like a hovering cinema screen for all to gather around and look up at. In NOWHERE this is referred to as a ‘Movie Screen’. It includes audio sharing which you can customize the audio range as ‘Near’, ‘Global’ or ‘Far’. Please note, only the host has access to this feature.

Can you alter the mobility of your Orbit?

Absolutely. There are some basic Mobility Settings that allow you to increase or decrease the speed in which you can move through the environment, as well as the speed in which you can turn around.

Some random notes to keep in mind.

  • You can have multiple rooms / environments, however, currently there is a capacity of 25 people / Orbits per room
  • Audio interactions are a priority in NOWHERE, and there is currently no text chat function
  • Brand customization of an environment is limited

Some quick uses for the NOWHERE platform that we think will be awesome for virtual events!

  • Breakout rooms and small group experiences (due to the current maxim of 25 people per environment)
  • Presentations
  • Watch parties
  • Receptions or cocktail parties
  • Concerts
  • A Happily Hour
  • The gamification-feel will be ideal for targeting a Millennial and/or Gen Z audience

June 16, 2021

5 Tips So Your Team Can Thrive With a Short Runway to an Event

At Happily we pride ourselves on our ability to hit the ground running, to assemble an A-Team and execute an amazing event with a week (or even days!) notice.

In the events industry short runways are not ideal. The clock is ticking, the pressure is on, and stress levels in the team can rise.

However, having a client come at the 11th hour is a reality, and just part of our job as event professionals. Keeping the team in sync, feeling confident and constantly checking stuff off the to-do-list is always vital, and never more so than in times like these.

Diary with 'make it happen' text

We have some general tips for any team producing an event with literally no time to spare.

1. Begin meetings with some lightheartedness

When there is so much that needs to be done, we know there is a temptation to get ‘straight down to business’. However, whether it is an in-person or Zoom meeting, consciously spending the first couple of minutes with positivity and casual conversation will really boost morale, and strengthen the bond of the team - and having a team that is a ‘united force’ is exactly what you need.

You can check-in with the wellbeing of each of your team members, tell a joke, get them to smile, make some general chit-chat - just whatever feels natural and appropriate.

2. Conclude meetings with some gratitude

When people feel appreciated, and that all their hard work is being seen, they feel good and that confidence will spill over into the project. So, sign off meetings with a sincere ‘thank you’ to the whole team, and with a few words of motivation. It will go a long way, and ignite a sense of pride in their work and the feeling of ‘we are in this together’.

3. Make sure you get the right people for the job

When you have to ‘hit the ground running’ with the pre-production of an event, every hour needs to be spent moving the project forward. You need a seasoned team where each member works with initiative, has strong problem solving skills, and knows exactly what they are doing. Pick each member based on their experience, their ability to get stuff done, and who you know can handle some pressure. Which describes every Happily team we build for a Happily event, actually… ;)

4. Have as many conversations in real time as possible

Emails are important, of course, and so many will be sent and received during these days leading up to an event. However, don’t make that the only form of written communication that the team has with each other. Emails are not always the place for those quick and informal questions, queries or conversations that need to happen when moving swiftly, and with instant replies.

Platforms that we love to use for the team to instantly message are Slack and Discord.

5. Have transparency about each person’s roles

There is no time for confusion about who is doing what in the team. Be as clear and open as possible about each team member's tasks, and their responsibilities for all to know. A basic spreadsheet of this information can be a great source for people to know exactly what is expected of them, and who to go to for what, if they have a question, or need something.

June 15, 2021

8 Ideas to Shake Up a (Long) Virtual Summit

Sometimes a virtual summit that spans many hours and multiple days can become, a little, well, ‘too much’ for an attendee.

Whether the content is a little dense, the topic a little heavy, or it’s all just a lot to take in, our minds need a little lightheartedness to stay engaged. (And you don’t want your attendees leaving their desks to find that moment for themselves...)

Crafting ways to keep your audience ‘right there with you’ is key to the success of an event, and one of the best ways to achieve that is to give their brains a break sometimes, and have a little fun. By a ‘break’ we are talking about a short 10 to 20 minute segment in between items (eg. in between panel discussions), or to commence and conclude the day.

There are many ways to add a little ‘break’ to your run of show, and they should be personalized for your virtual summit. The best breaks are entertaining, maybe a little quirky, align with the purpose of your event, and would directly connect with the general interests and profile of your audience.

Vlada Karpovich

Here are some quick ideas from previous Happily events that you can adapt, or use as inspiration.

1. A moment of mindfulness

A guided morning meditation can be a great way to bring your attendees together ahead of a day full of content. Meditations can come in many forms, such as a classic verbally guided meditation, through breathing exercises, or through the sound of singing crystal bowls. We have a menu of talented mindfulness experts and artists that we work with if you are looking to include something like this.

(GIF below) With a DoorDash event, we had ‘Waking up with gratitude’ with Sophia Li for a quick intro to gratitude journaling and writing prompts. Moments-of-Gratitude GIF from DoorDash

2. A game of ‘Never Have I Ever’

This popular game format is a perfect way to adapt the ‘never have I ever’s to your audience with quirky and specific things that only they could relate to as a collective.

(GIF below) For example, we recently included a ‘Never Have I Ever: Breast Cancer Edition’ for the Young Survival Coalition Summit and it was a big hit! YSC GIF 1

3. Getting that heart rate up

There are endless options for including a break that is a little higher energy, to get your attendees to their feet and shake out any restlessness. From classic workout classes, belly dancing, salsa, hip hop, or just a moment to dance along to some classic hits, we can bring to the table a teacher or DJ to make it happen. Dance class GIF from YSC

4. Bring some (virtual) stand up comedy

How about a comedy night to conclude the day? Having a comedians that understand your audience, or perhaps can relate to them, is an absolute bonus.

(GIF below) For example, the YSC Summit had an all-female line-up of comedians, some of whose lives had been touched by breast cancer. Stand-Up-Comedy GIF from YSC

5. A much needed stretch with desk yoga

Chances are that your attendees are going to spend hours in the same position for your virtual summit - which is what you want! However, you do not want them to get stiff and sore. Some casual yoga stretches that can be done from the comfort of a desk or chair, will give your summit attendees a moment to ease any body stiffness.

(GIF below) We did this as part of an event with DoorDash with one of our Happily Wellness Leaders, Tommy Lucas. Desk-Yoga GIF from DoorDash

6. The most adorable break at a fur baby cafe

This is a must for animal lovers. Hosted by a pet adoption center, attendees can meet and greet with some animals that need homes, and hear some heartwarming stories from people who are doing amazing work for animals-in-need within the community.

Also, it is a great opportunity for attendees to show off on camera their beloved dogs, cats, and pets (who are probably already hovering around their desk at home as they watch, let’s be honest).

(GIF below) We did this with an event for DoorDash with virtual pet adoption center, Wagmor Pets Dog Rescue. And just look at all those adorable animals! Fur-Baby-Cafe GIF from DoorDash

7. A trivia moment

We all enjoy some quirky fun facts and to have our general knowledge challenged. Just like a classic bar trivia night, the questions can be as random or as specific to your audience as you like - just as long as they are also fun, of course. The key is to make it visual with some awesome slides.

(GIF below) Together with MJ Sieber, we had some Zoom Trivia for this event with DoorDash. Trivia GIF from DoorDash

8. A live feed of… puppies

On the microsite (GIF below) for YSC’s 2021 Summit, attendees could at any time drop into the YouTube live feed of the Puppy Playroom at Warrior Canine Connection.

It was a huge success!

Puppies GIF from YSC

June 9, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Amanda Novoa

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.

The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Amanda Novoa

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Orange County, California

Happily Role/s To Date: Breakout Lead

Amanda Novoa

Hey there! Have you met Amanda?

Amanda's passion for event production stems from her love of collaboration. It's her joy to be a driving force in seeing a project come together. She creates a calm and organized atmosphere where individuals can present their best work. Plus, she is fluent in Spanish!

So, Amanda, what is your superpower?

In both life and at work, I’m exceptionally good at being kind, calm, and being the voice of reason in a sea of crazy. ;)

Do you have a side hustle?

When I’m not in my show calling super hero outfit, my side hustle is being “Maestra of the Realm” (aka HR Manager) at an amazing water and supplement store in Orange County, CA. Check us out thewaterbrewery.com and @thewaterbrewery on IG

Why do you love working in virtual events?

Virtual events allow a unique kind of intimacy. The speakers are right in front of the attendees faces instead of far away on a big stage. I’ve seen how virtual events have been more impactful because of this.

Seeing a CEO give a keynote presentation right in front of you hits a little different. But don’t get me wrong, the in-person component is still crucial, especially for team building and bonding. And I personally can’t wait to be back in-person more often!

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

I loved working on both the 'Youth Survivors Coalition' for youth survivors of breast cancer and on 'We are Home with FWD.us' where members of congress met with individuals to hear how immigrant communities are being directly impacted by certain policies or lack thereof.

Both events served important causes and I was able to see the direct impact they had on their respective communities. I think it’s amazing that Happily prides itself on working on altruistic events such as these and I’m excited to be involved with more!

How would you describe your home working style?

My work space is also my bedroom. I’m fortunate to have a good sized room so I can angle my camera in a way that doesn’t show my bed. Right next to my desk I have a 3-gallon glass container of water from @thewaterbrewery of course! So I don’t need to go far in the middle of a show to stay hydrated. There’s also plenty of sunshine and plants in my room, which makes it a nice environment to be in for some of those longer days.

A work day with Happily usually starts off with a cup of tea, opening up Zoom, and renaming myself to Happily | Role | Amanda. You’d be surprised how many people think my name is Happily. :)

Amanda Novoa Desk

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

I spent most of the pandemic avoiding virtual events. I decided I would wait until things came back to in-person. I figured I would only be waiting a few months… Thankfully, a colleague and friend of mine, Laurea De Ocampo, told me about Happily and the Shadow Program so I decided to give it a shot.

I’m glad I did because now I’m working on plenty of virtual events. My advice to anyone starting out is to check out the Shadow Program!

What makes you happy?

Sunshine, hiking, fresh healthy food, clean water, vacations, teamwork, music, family, friends, a great book, traveling, unity <3

Who else needs a coffee?

Catch Amanda in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Amanda from Tue 1st, June.

Amanda GIF link to IG Live

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

June 4, 2021

6 Interactive Game Ideas to Play on Zoom

We are all about rethinking experiences in the digital space.

Here are some party games tailored specifically for a virtual event or virtual party in Zoom. We love to play some of these in our Happily Hours!

Please personalize and adapt them in whatever way you need to suit your event.

Young woman smiling at laptop

1. Where are you from?

This is an ideal icebreaker for attendees to get to know each other a little better.

In this game, the host crafts a number of questions to ask attendees along the loose idea of ‘where they are from?’. For example 'Are you from a musically talented family?'

If the answer applies to them, they’ll keep their camera on and if it doesn’t, they’ll turn their camera off. The questions can be topical and used as starting points for conversation (eg. 'Are you coming from attending a protest this week?'), or they can be light and fun (eg. 'Are you from a multilingual family?').

Ideal for work meetings for existing and new team members to get to know each other a little. Or a casual gathering with cocktails in hand.

Where Are You From? GIF

GIF from our 'Happily Hour with Jensen McRae'

2. Group lip sync battle

This performance game is stepping things up a level.

Teams break out into groups with an even number of people, whatever works for your event. They’ll have time to select a song and practice their performance to present to the whole group.

Ideal for themed parties, or high-energy gatherings.


GIF from HUMAN's (formerly White Ops) I Wanna Dance with Zoom-body.

3. Emoji pictionary

This is a modern spin on a timeless game.

It is played in the style of Pictionary where the host privately sends an emoji to a contestant, and then they have to ‘act out’ that emoji for all the others to guess. People then send the emoji that they think it is in the chat. The person who guesses correctly, is the next contestant.

Ideal for a quick icebreaker at a work meeting, in breakout rooms or a workshop.

4. Whose drink is this?

A party game based on the idea that what we drink can say something about our personality.

How it works is that guests privately message the host to tell them what they're drinking that evening. Guests can be as specific as they like. The host reads out the drink and asks the audience ‘whose drink is that?’

Ideal for social gatherings in a setting where alcoholic drinking is acceptable.

5. Who said that?

This is a trivia game that is based on quotes from famous philosophers, activists, world leaders, or whatever makes sense for your event.

It is played in the style of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ where if they get the question right, they can choose to carry on, or to take the prize and tap out. Contestants can win cash or gift cards or whatever prize you’d like to offer, with increasing value for consecutive correct answers.

Ideal for themed parties, or a lighthearted social get together.

Who Said That? GIF

GIF from Happily Hour with Brynn Elliott and LeoRising.

6. Mad Libs

This is a virtual spin on a classic linguistic game.

The original Mad Libs books are short stories with many keywords left blank. Beneath each blank is a specified category such as a noun, verb, place, celebrity, exclamation or a part of the body. You can either make up your own base Mad Libs short story or get your hands on an original book. Writing your own is an opportunity to personalize the game for your workplace, your audience or the theme of the virtual event. Also, an alternative is just Mad Libs sentences, instead of a full story.

Depending on how many attendees you have, they can either be broken up into rooms or kept all together. Then, without revealing the context for that word, the host asks the others to contribute a word as indicated with the category (eg. a noun, a place...) The host notes them down and finally, the completed story is read aloud. (Pro tip, make sure there are enough blank words with at least one for each attendee.) The result is usually a comical story or sentence that takes on a nonsensical tone.

Ideal for an icebreaker at smaller, social gatherings.

June 3, 2021

4 Ways to Have Live Language Translations in a Virtual Event

We live in a wonderfully multicultural and multilingual world.

The technology of the digital space can enable you to reach communities and audiences in their own language to fully engage them with your content, with your organization, and with your event.

World Map on wall

We are going to share 4 quick options to translate spoken languages during a live virtual summit, virtual fundraiser or any Happily virtual event that you are looking to host.

Quick note: We have a specific blog post about how to integrate an American Sign Language translation into a virtual event that you can read here, as it is a little different.

1. Satellite Zoom Rooms per Language

Language groups will each have their own Zoom link in which the broadcast will be streamed, and their language will be translated onto that stream.

This is ideal for translating a live broadcast into multiple languages and is a good way to bring niche-communities or cultural groups together within your audience and allow them to connect with each other. However, if you prefer to keep your community altogether in order to connect across languages, this may not be the option for you.

2. Live Captioning on Broadcast

You can have the translation captioned live onto the stream. This is an ideal option for translating your event into just 1 other language.

3. Widget Plug In

We can integrate an automated translation widget into the streaming platform that can provide captions in 50 languages. Attendees can simply select which language they would like the captions to be provided in.

We used this technology in the Survivor’s Summit 2020 which you can read more about in this case study.

Survivor’s Summit Language Translations Image from the 2020 Survivor’s Summit.

4. Audio Translations with Zoom’s Interpretation Feature

Zoom enables different audio channels to be created for language translations. The human interpreters on the other end then have their voice (and the translation) fed into that audio channel. The attendees can select which available language they would like to hear the event in, with the option to mute the original audio, or to hear it in a lower volume with their chosen language overlayed.

Zoom Interpretation Feature Image: Zoom's Interpretation Feature

Every Happily virtual event is unique and translation requirements vary.

Let’s chat about your upcoming event and how together we can craft a custom language translation method that works best for you.

June 1, 2021

Chronicling the Counterculture with Michelle Lhooq

Michelle Lhooq connects with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, to chat about the global collectiveness of a digital nightlife, and the future of virtual spaces.

Subcultures by definition, [are] underneath the view of the mainstream and I think I have always found a lot of value in these spaces that maybe people overlook or stigmatize.

Michelle Lhooq, Independent Journalist

Michelle Lhooq is all about raves, psychedelics and politics

She is a music and drugs journalist and the author of WEED: Everything You Want to Know But Are Always Too Stoned to Ask and writes a Substack newsletter called Rave New World. Her work is centered on the themes of counterculture and politics through the lens of underground parties, street protests, and drugs.

After studying Comparative Literature at Columbia University, Michelle covered electronic music and global nightlife as a music editor at VICE. Now residing in LA, her work has appeared in major publications such as The Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, New York Magazine, GQ, The Guardian, and Pitchfork.

Michelle has also hosted podcasts, documentaries, and panels for Boiler Room, VICE, Red Bull, Thailand’s Wonderfruit Festival, and CTM Berlin. She also works as an consultant on emerging trends with clients including WGSN and The Future Laboratory.

For all the discussion listen to Michelle on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for a super quick summary.

Some bites from Michelle during their chat

On protests and raves during a pandemic

"Over the summer I did go to a lot of protests… I was really interested in how protests were maybe funneling some of the energy that would typically be vented through nightlife, but was kind of being challenged into the streets and what that kind of meant about GenZ and how that’s shaping, you know, a new political culture."

On the psychedelic and drug movement

"I feel sort of vindicated now because as the psychedelic and drug movement becomes more and more legitimized by research I’m finding that a lot of the observations and knowledge that are communal in the rave scene are now being proven by evidence, you know, through the research that this is something that has meaning beyond just pleasure.:"

On being ‘Zoom bombed’ during a virtual event

"These alt-right people just crashed through and it was so funny because I had specifically set up a whole barrier to entry with a door girl screening people and stuff… it feels extremely invasive, it really actually literally feels like someone came into your space."

On virtual events and their global connectivity

"What I really enjoy about virtual events… it’s the community that you create is global. And I am very interested in global scenes. I think cannabis and nightlife are both global stories, so to have different perspectives beyond California / LA weed culture join is always super refreshing."

On the emerging subcultures in Asia

"What’s cool about Asia right now is that there is an Asian ecosystem that’s forming that’s outside the American/European dialogue."

"I think that there is definitely a subculture in Asia as well, especially in places where there are really authoritarian regimes, I feel like there is more at stake [compared to the US]... but in a place like China, or Singapore, where, you know, being gay is actually illegal, I do feel like there is a hightened risk and that risk creates a completely different energy."

Are you fascinated by this topic?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

May 26, 2021

5 Ways Local Nonprofits Can Leverage Virtual Events to Reach More People

Communities are wonderfully diverse and increasingly more fluid. Many people simply move across town or move far from the local community that they once were actively a part of.

However, that does not necessarily mean that they want to step away from supporting it.

They still feel grateful and want to remain connected to the community, to the educational programs, the medical services, homeless shelters, fundraising events and all that good stuff that communities are built upon.

Women in front of Mac computer

Now with virtual broadcasting, nonprofits and organizations can still reach out to members who move away and continue to build awareness.

1. Show where the donations will go or where they went

Are you raising a capital campaign to build or improve a building? People love to take tours! Share a video walkthrough or a guided tour of the new or old spaces. Just do not forget to highlight the donation wall!

2. Host a dynamic virtual dinner party

We are not fans of simply plonking a laptop at a place setting, however, we do love hosting a special virtual dinner table! An event with a special performance, with a special guest, Zoom games, or a hearty agenda for all those who attended.

3. Translate your program

If the community you serve are not all native english speakers, translating your program to your base’s mother tongue(s) will do wonders for strengthening your connection with more people.

4. Move your silent auction online

Take this fresh approach to fundraising that utilizes the proven buying techniques of e-commerce. Open up a 24/7 shop with exclusive time-based drops (and give member discounts!)

5. Share your org’s updates on a more regular basis

With the lower price point of virtual broadcasting, you can keep your community updated on a quarterly basis, you can add live Q&A to get feedback and help ensure everyone is with you.

May 25, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Lindon Chen

Our Happily team is diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of our team members.

The Happily team member under the spotlight:

Name: Lindon Chen

Pronouns: he/him

Location: New York City, NY

Happily Role: Growth Marketing Director

Hey! Have you met Lindon?

He is a passionate growth and digital marketer having worked in Big Tech, political campaigns, nonprofits and the underground music scene. Plus, he can speak Chinese and French!

Lindon Chen Banner Images via Instagram @lindon

So Lindon, what would you say is your superpower?

I've spent my adult career working in the digital marketing space (at an agency, at Hillary for America, at a measurement startup and at Facebook) and became a SME in paid media advertising and data analysis. For a while, I combined those skills while working in sales, so I had fun selling advertising solutions to help businesses grow with advertising and data.

In life, I pride myself on being a link what connects and brings people together - whether that's working cross-functionally between sales, product, marketing, etc., introducing my creative friends to each other to work on awesome projects or bringing a group of wonderful humans together for a party - I love when I can build a community of like-minded people to get stuff done!

Do you have another side hustle or hobby?

The queer techno community in Brooklyn is so important to me - they are my chosen family away from home. Before the pandemic, I used to work in nightlife as a promoter - using my digital marketing skills and network of ravers - to help femme promoters bring more people to their events and maximize their ROI. Before coming onto Happily, I've worked as an event producer too! I used to book and throw concerts and raves in college, and continue to help party planners in Brooklyn execute their logistic plans.

An exciting development recently, I've been being cast for editorial and commercial photo shoots, in which I'm feeling happy to uplift the visibility of Asian Americans during a time when it's most needed! I'm also very active on social media in sharing resources and information about what's going on the world politically - I enjoy using my political science degree to truth-share and educate my followers on injustice and inequity, in hopes of ushering a better more peaceful world.

In general, are we going to see any changes in the digital marketing industry in 2021 and beyond as a result of the pandemic?

I'm finding that for a lot of B2B companies like ourselves, in-person promotions, like trade shows, are becoming less and less relevant vehicles for marketing your goods and services because of the pandemic. Building a slick and informative website that speaks to each of your target personas and takes them through their unique customers journeys is becoming paramount. At Happily, we've recently overhauled our marketing website to follow these digital-first shifts and with the help of amazing content marketing content from Stories, we're able to hook more people into our brand using an inbound marketing content machine.

What's one marketing strategy that will never go out of style?

As advertising budgets are shifting away from traditional media (like TV and Out of Home), digital marketing acquisition channels are becoming more and more crucial for business growth.

What has been an exciting challenge for you since started at Happily?

At Happily, I've had the chance to put on many different hats... I started off as a social media coordinator, which evolved into being a Marketing Director for our TEDx conference and the brand, and now I'm working in unchartered territory as a Growth Marketing Director!

I love that I'm afforded the opportunity to learn, grow, and expand my skill set as Happily is growing as well. What I find most amazing out Happily is how mission aligned it is - as a queer person of color, it's really important to feel welcomed, represented, and embraced for being my authentic self. Seldom do you find that at any company! I'm happy to see that many of my queer friends have come on board at Happily to fill various specialist and executive positions to make Happily an even more authentic and diverse place to work.

What makes you happy?

I was half-joking about this the other day in one of my Instagram posts as I was squeezing a Rilakkuma bear, holding a shopping bag from Berghain (Berlin's most iconic techno club), and had a facial mask on - the 3 things that bring me joy are techno, kawaii/cute things, and skincare/self-care.

To help me feel grounded in an increasingly chaotic world, taking the time to take care of my skin, to work out at the gym almost every day, and nourish my creative mind with the music I like bring me the long-lasting joy throughout the days. To be able to celebrate and appreciate those things with my friends makes them even better

Listen to Lindon in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Lindon from Tue 18th, May.

Lindon Freelancer Social GIF

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

May 21, 2021

How to be a Producer & Show Caller for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being a producer and show caller, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.

Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Producer / Show caller

Team Happily Responsibility: Create run of show for the broadcast, manage the broadcast team, as well as schedule and lead team meetings. Plus call the cues during the tech rehearsals and live broadcast.

Happily Studio: Production

Happily Team: Broadcast

Discover the basics as well as some pro tips about being a producer and show caller from Logan, a Happily specialist

1. What is the difference between a producer and a show caller?

The role is the same, but the ‘producer’ part refers more specifically to the organization and leadership in the pre-production stage of an event. The ‘show caller’ part is more specific to the ‘day of’ direction and management during the broadcast.

2. Being a strong communicator is a must-have skill

This is a senior position and will take on a huge leadership role. The producer is the main connection between the client and the Happily team, communicating the needs and desires of the client with the various event specialists requires clear and open conversation and delivery. Plus, of course, those strong communication skills need to ensure that the client and the Happily team have all the information, direction and support that they need.

3. Pro tip: Always have a Plan B (and a Plan C)

The reality of any event is that even with the most organized run of show there is always something that could veer off track, and always something unexpected that could pop up. You must prepare for the unpredictable. Having something pre-planned up your sleeve in an ‘emergency’, such as a video or crossing back to a presenter, will mean make or break in the heat of the moment. (Bonus tip: share this Plan B with the team!)

4. Pro tip: Reply to emails and correspondence ASAP

The pre-production of a virtual event means a lot of emails and a lot of chats on slack. The producer is responsible for keeping the whole project moving forward, so answer those questions from the client and reply to those doubts from a team member promptly.

5. Pro tip: Listen to the client

Essentially the producer’s primary responsibility is to create the virtual event that the client is asking for, that meets their requirements and reflects their brand. So actively listening to the client is vital in producing an event that meets and exceeds their expectations.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

May 20, 2021

5 Ways to Produce an Event That is Actively Anti-racist

Representing diverse voices is a big thing for us at Happily.

Racism and racial bias should have no place in society, and we do all we can to uproot it from the events industry, or at least, from every Happily event.

We believe that diversity is the reason we at Happily are able to produce the contemporary and dynamic events that we do. We are committed to our diversity goal of having at least 50% representation of women, 30% of black, indigenous, and people of color, and 10% of people from the LGBT community.

Push to reset the world By jose-antonio-gallego-vázquez

So we have some basic starting points for producing an event that is intentionally anti-racist.

1. Add anti-racism in your code of conduct

Clearly outline anti-racism into the proper practices, norms and expectations of an event. This way all those involved, including contractors, will be clearly aware what values the behind-the-scenes of your event should be built on.

2. BIPOC talent first

Do not leave black, indigenous and people of color talent as an afterthought. Start with booking them first and consciously lining up a diversity of talent. An event cannot have ‘too much diversity’.

3. Research your speakers

Do some basic googling and social media research to make sure any guest speakers are not publicly (or even privately) racist. Basically, do not give a racist a platform.

4. Donate a portion of your ticket sales to anti-racism groups and nonprofits

Good folks like The Bail Project, The Innocence Project, Black Lives Matter or Stop AAPI Hate, just to name a few.

5. Be accountable for your actions

If there is a mistake on your part, own it and apologize. Publish a plan to make changes, and publicly learn from a situation or issue. It’s ok, we are all learning and growing.

May 18, 2021

Happily Hops into 'Back of House LIVE' with Hopin

Sarah Shewey, our Founder and CEO, is the inaugural fireside guest on Hopin’s new Back of House LIVE series.

They chat about Sarah’s innovative cyber wedding, the best bits of working across timezones, and Happily’s commitment to carbon zero events. Oh and why virtual events will still be vital even when in-person events are possible again!

Happily heads back of house with Hopin

Hopin is a virtual venue that has multiple interactive areas focused on connection and engagement. Their free show and podcast ‘Back of House LIVE’, co-hosted by Anthony Kennada and Lauren Sommers, is an events industry talk show that includes interviews with thought leaders from the events world. Happily was honored to have our Founder and CEO as the first guest!

Listen to Sarah Shewey in this snippet from Hopin’s ‘Back of House LIVE’ and read on for some quick takeaways.

The cyber wedding that broke the internet

When Sarah and Colin’s wedding was abruptly cancelled due to COVID 19 in early 2020, the pivot to a virtual wedding was quick and mighty. Sarah describes how she fully embraced the challenge to create a truly unique experience and wondrous cyber wedding celebration unlike anything you would have thought possible. Plus, she explains how their story came to headline the Daily Mail in the UK, and why the experience helped her discover the power and potential of virtual events.

The creative process and the wonderful experience that I had with the cyber wedding helped me to commit to virtual and continue to rethink experiences in an online format.

Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO, Happily

Sarah and Colin Cyber Wedding

The benefits of Happily’s international network of independent event specialists

  • Having a team across the world and in multiple time zones means there is always someone working and a project can progress quickly
  • Happily prides itself on our ‘short runway’ to producing events and we are able to take advantage of varying time zones when a client comes to us at the 11th hour
  • The diversity of people and cultures is what Happily is all about
  • Our pool of talent is not restricted to any one country or culture
  • There are more opportunities for event specialists that speak multiple languages, if our clients need

It’s great to be able to schedule people on different time zones, so we get assets and project direction on the west coast, it moves over to the east coast, moves over to Asia, moves over to Europe, and then you have a final pre-record edit that is ready the next morning.

Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO, Happily

Happily is committed to sustainable and carbon zero events

  • 90% of an event's carbon emissions come from flights and removing that need for travel (and going virtual) is the number one climate change solution when it comes to producing an event
  • Happily offsets any virtual event carbon emissions (from computers, etc) by planting the corresponding amount of trees in our Happily Forest
  • We produced a robust and informative TEDxHappily Countdown event that you should check out for much more on this topic and our mission

Fly less plant more

The benefits of virtual events even when in-person events are possible again

  • Virtual events are here to stay!
  • They are an important tool for event producers to sustain interaction and connection with an audience or community
  • The minimal cost compared to in-person allows a higher frequency of interaction with an audience
  • Communities can stay connected between large, tentpole in-person events with virtual events throughout the year
  • The minimal cost compared to in-person allows opportunities for smaller, more niche events within a community

For anyone who did events before [the pandemic] you remember it was always ‘how do we keep our community together throughout the year’ and it was like ‘maybe a Facebook group?’ We all laugh now because of course we are just going to be doing lots of virtual events…

Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO, Happily

More information coming right up

Here are links to resources and random stuff mentioned in this interview:

May 17, 2021

4 Ways to Improve How You Look on Zoom

Let’s get you Zoomed Up the Happily way!

We cover the essential upgrades you need to be looking your absolute shining best on Zoom no matter how much you are looking to spend.

Whether you are in a business meeting, speaking at a virtual event, or just having a social chat, leveling up your digital presence in Zoom is always a power move.


A fast internet connection for high video quality is essential. To check your speed visit www.speedtest.net and run the test. It will give you two metrics; your download and your upload speed, in that order. In this case, what you need to focus on is your upload speed. 5Mbps is the absolute minimum for a video stream, and of course, the higher your upload speed the better.


We would argue that a smooth audio stream is the most important on a Zoom call, so if your internet upload is below 5Mbps (as mentioned above) just disable your video and keep all that upload for the audio.

1. Control your environment and make sure that you are signing into a Zoom call in the most quiet space possible.

2. Buy an external usb microphone to dramatically improve your sound quality. There will be a mic out there for all budgets, and even a basic one for as little as $30USD will be a huge improvement. If you are looking to level up your digital presence, we recommend an external mic as the first step.


In this era of selfies, we have all come to understand the importance of ‘good lighting’ and how it can change how we look through the camera lens. If you are not looking to upgrade to an external camera, as we will come to below, by giving some attention to how you are lit you are sure to see some good results.

1. Natural lighting is always useful and a wonderful source, just as long as it is actually lighting you (the subject). This may mean you will have to move your desk or space so the window is in front of you and natural light is falling on you. If you are trying to light yourself with just natural lighting, don’t put the source behind you.

2. Use external key lighting to light your face. We know that ‘ring lights’ have become popular, but we recommend just any desk lamp or standing lamp that will provide a diffused, even light source across your face. You will have to experiment with the position of the lamp, but at an angle, above and slightly to the side is always a good start. You don’t want any dramatic or unflattering shadows across your face.

3. Use external accent lighting to light your background. This is an extra if you really want to get serious about how you look on Zoom. Using a smaller or softer light to illuminate your background will provide depth, create a warmer environment, eliminate any harsh contrast between the foreground and the background, and really allow your face to shine.

Lighting Zoom GIF


If you are not looking to buy an external camera, it is worth checking your Zoom and computer settings to ensure that your in-built computer camera is working at the best to its ability.

1. Check the camera settings on computer / laptop, and depending on what you have you may be able to adjust the quality

2. In Zoom follow zoom.us > Preferences > Video and make sure that the HD is ticked, and you can also use the ‘Touch up my appearance’ function, as well as the ‘Adjust for low light’

3. The ultimate upgrade is using an external camera or webcam. Zoom makes it really easy to change the ‘video source’ at any time. Just like with the microphones, there is a range of price points that you can find for external cameras, and in the end, even the cheaper ones will make a huge difference compared to your in-built computer camera. If you really want to upgrade your digital presence like an absolute pro, in the tutorial above, Sarah Shewey, our Founder and CEO, details the exact products, camera and whole set up that she uses everyday, all day for Zoom.

Camera Zoom GIF

May 13, 2021

AAPI Heritage Month + Podcasting with Janet Lee

Janet Lee drops in to chat about what it is like to work in podcasting, the Asian-American experience for women in the corporate world, and how it is okay to chase happiness over status.

Generally speaking I’ve always gravitated to organizations and nonprofits with a really strong mission. I kind of found that out from a very young age, like in college, that I wanted to do something that was going to make the world less stupid and more empathetic.

Janet Lee, Senior Production Manager, VICE Audio at VICE Media

This Janet Lee is not like other Janet Lees

She has spent over a decade in digital media with a proven track record of developing, producing, and launching high-profile, editorial programs including TED Radio Hour on NPR, WorkLife with Adam Grant and Sincerely, X.

After 7 years with TED Conferences working her way up into different roles, Janet has now found herself in the world of podcast production. She was at Patreon as the Creator Partnerships Lead, and now is currently the Senior Production Manager at VICE. So, Janet knows a thing or two about what makes a successful podcast.

Listen to Janet on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for some fast takeaways.

The power of audio content

  • Audio feels intimate and the connections that listeners have to podcasts are deep
  • There is much opportunity for in-depth storytelling, as there are no rules of duration with a podcast
  • Producing an audio piece can be low-cost compared to a video medium, however, a polished, high-quality and professional podcast show still requires more energy, funds and preparation than most of us realise

Some quick economic stats about Asian American women in the US

Employment rates

Asian women reached a 20-year high of 4,827,000 in Sept 2019, however, dropped nearly 17% (that’s a loss of 787,000 jobs) due to the pandemic. This is compared to employment dropping 15% for women and 12% for men in general across America. Asian women's employment has been on the rise in the past 20 years, on par with population growth Graph: 'The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women' via Center for American Progress


1.4 million AAPI women in 2019 earned below $15 an hour. It is worth noting that there are wide differences of common occupations among AAPI subpopulations, driven by differences in culture, immigration patterns, generational wealth, and continual prejudices around gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, and language. AAPI women's median annual earnings vary widely by subpopulation Graph: 'The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women' via Center for American Progress

Gender wage gap

AAPI women working full time, year-round earned 85c for every $1 given to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts in 2019. The gender wage gap varies greatly, with wider gaps for many subpopulations of AAPI women Graph: 'The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women' via Center for American Progress

Unemployment rates due to the pandemic

44% of Asian women over 16yrs who lost their jobs during the pandemic were out of work for at least 6 months as of December 2020. For Asian women 20+ yrs, the unemployment rate in 2020 jumped from 3% in Feb to 16.4% in May. As of Jan 2021 the unemployment rate for Asian women is 7.9%, compared to 5.2% of white women. Unemployment has skyrocketed among women during the coronavirus crisis—and women, particularly women of color, continue to struggle Graph: 'The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women' via Center for American Progress

Are you looking for some new podcasts?

Here are links to resources and podcasts mentioned in this Happily Live:

May 12, 2021

4 Basics for Engagement in a Virtual Summit

As we post this it is Mental Health Awareness Month in the US, and after months of social isolation due to the pandemic, we all know the importance of connection with others.

High engagement in a digital space does not just happen by accident.

It needs to be intentional and thoroughly thought over in order to craft a virtual event that will give attendees all they need to feel engaged with your content, and to feel connected to the experience of the event.

4 Basics for Engagement in a Virtual Summit Image

We have some basic notes and advice in order to lay the foundation for strong engagement during a virtual event.

1. Have a clear understanding of how to measure engagement

Engagement success can mean a lot of different things to people when it comes to virtual events. It can be the amount of comments people write, the amount of shares of a link, the amount of people that tuned in, or the average duration of the event that people stuck around to watch. If you ask us, the latter is the most important; how long a person stays to watch a virtual event is the most meaningful engagement metric.

Think about it, if a person is watching a virtual event in their home, and they are not enjoying it, there is little stopping them from just shutting the tab and moving on with their day. If you have convinced your attendees to stick around to watch your virtual event, you have already successfully engaged them.

Pro tip: We have put together a really handy tool for calculating the ROI for a virtual event that you might find helpful.

Summary: Holding someone’s attention is the ultimate engagement success.

2. Build an event program that is worth sticking around for

Scripting an event is something we always do with our Happily virtual events. Looking at the whole event as a story, and storyboarding it as such, will allow you to craft those engaging moments for your audience and to build momentum, with the goal of keeping people watching for longer.

Once you have a detailed ROS (run of show) you can look at it, and identify moments you anticipate that the energy will drop, or people’s attention might drift, and edit the program accordingly. You want your attendees to feel like the event is constantly moving forward, and that there is so much more good stuff to come. It may not always matter how notable a guest speaker might be, the event around them needs to be packaged and teed up properly.

Summary: An event program needs to hold someone’s attention at every turn, just like a talk show.

3. Seat shadows to moderate and get the conversation going

Most of the time, no one wants to write the first comment in an empty chat box. So it is always a good idea to have people dedicated to adding comments and building some chatter in that space. This could be as simple as asking some of your staff members to create that energy in the chat, to add emojis, to make a basic comment, or agree with other people’s comments. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated sentences or questions. Most people will feel more comfortable contributing in the chat if they see other people doing it first.

Summary: Someone needs to be the one to break the ice and start the conversation.

4. Use a familiar platform that people already know how to engage with

Finding the right platform that people feel comfortable with talking in, commenting in and engaging in is really important. A digital space that is familiar and comforting to an attendee will naturally allow them to feel more confident to engage and chat, it’s that feeling of ‘I know how this works’. Which is why at Happily we utilize Zoom more than any other platform.

Summary: People will find it easier to engage in a way that is already familiar to them.

May 11, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Felecia Fierro

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.

The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Felecia Fierro

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Tracy, California

Happily Role/s: Production Assistant and Backstage Manager

Freelancer Felecia Fierro Blog Image

Images via Instagram @feleciafierro

Hey there! Have you met Felecia?

She is a performance-driven, tech-savy, passionate events professional with over 14 years experience. From trade shows to executive retreats and weddings to galas, both digital and live - Felecia can produce it all!

Felecia, what would you say is your superpower?

I would have to say how to build a network and knowing when to use it.

Do you have a side hustle?

I'm a creative, so of course! Outside of owning a creative events company, I also dabble in photography.

Why do you love working in virtual events?

I love that despite us being in a pandemic, virtual events has enabled people to continue to come together - which we all crave! And as a bonus virtual events allow people from all over the world to meet in one place from the comfort of their own homes.

How long have you been part of the Happily network?

I have been with Happily for about 4.5 years. I have extended the types of events, managing onsite for a festival and adding speaker prep and management to my skill set as well as producing many virtual events over the last year.

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

As cheesy as it may sound, I'd have to say all of them! It is truly an honor to be trusted to help a company grow its brand and be able to deliver a high-quality experience for attendees. I will say the wedding I produced for a Happily client does hold close to my heart as I was able to build a personal relationship with the couple and still keep in touch with them today. We do tend to have the best clients!

Freelancer Felecia Fierro Blog Image

Image: Screenshot of Felecia as a Happily Backstage Manager with Stacey Abrams and Gary Stewart for the 2021 Startup Grind Global Conference.

How would you describe your home working space?

My home office style I would describe as clean and chic. Lots of clean lines with pops of color and overly organized! I'm a planner so it no surprise there! Working on a Happily event the day starts with lots of coffee as I run through the run of show and double-check the flow of the show. Then it's snack prep and go time! I always end with a giant thank you to my supporting team because without them I can not produce a great event!

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

I had already started to include a virtual component to events I was producing. However, COVID was a major push to go all digital. Producing a digital program is much like producing an in-person event. However, there is an element of surprise as to when speakers will show up and the quality of internet connections, lighting, and sound that you just have to be ready for. Plan for the unexpected and always have 3 backup plans on the ready and if all else fails be ready with a video to run!

What makes you happy?

Without a shadow of a doubt my daughter! She is a sassy 16-year-old with a giant smile and proves to be my motivation day in and day out. And also coffee!! :)

Who else needs a coffee?

Listen to Felecia in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Felecia from Tue 27th, April.

Felecia Freelancer GIF

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

May 7, 2021

How to be a Streaming Engineer for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being a streaming engineer, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.

Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Streaming Engineer

Team Happily Responsibility: Manage streaming keys and integrations, inset all assets and brand wrappers into the broadcast stream

Happily Studio: Technical

Happily Team: Broadcast

Discover the basics as well as some pro tips about being a streaming engineer from Luke, a Happily specialist

1. Are there varying types of streaming engineer roles?

Depending on the event and the requirements, streaming engineers could be in charge of the main broadcast, or simply a breakout room.

2. Being detail-oriented is a must-have skill

As you are responsible for building and giving life to an event, so many of the tiny little details are in your hands, and it could mean make or break to the success of the event. From the correct Zoom settings, the video quality, audio sync with the livestream, and the exact timing of all the motion graphics, videos, presenters ect. into the broadcast. Every little detail needs to be checked, and then checked again.

3. Pro tip: Have (very) fast internet

We recommend an ethernet connection (not wifi) to maintain a steady bitrate throughout the livestream. A 'bitrate' is the quality of the video and/or audio being uploaded to the chosen platform, and it is so important. Your internet speed will determine what bitrate options you have. Platforms such as Ookla Speed Test will tell you what your current internet speed is.

4. Pro tip: Have a desktop computer

Streaming through OBS is resource-intensive, and can be really hard work for a computer, or laptop. If your computer crashes, that would be disastrous for the live event. So, having a reliable desktop computer that can easily handle a complicated livestream with multiple programs running is e-ssen-tial.

5. Pro tip: Know the ROS like the back of your hand

The ROS (run of show) is basically your step-by-step, second-by-second manual of the livestream, and is your everything. In broad terms, your job is to follow the ROS to the T, and bring it to life. So, knowing, studying, clarifying and asking questions about the ROS of the event is crucial as a streaming engineer.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

May 6, 2021

How to Experience Zoom’s New Immersive View

The Zoom we all know and love has some new exciting features to play with!

We are big fans of Zoom for our Happily virtual events; it is budget friendly for clients and it is a format most event attendees will be comfortable with. So when the Immersive View was launched with their latest update, we couldn’t wait to check it out.

We have all the basics you need to start using this view for all your Zoom related activity. Plus, we have some inspiration for how it can be used as a quick and easy way to add some pizzazz to a virtual event.

What exactly is the Immersive View?

It is a large global virtual background that allows the host to gather multiple participants together into the one screen or ‘scene’ as Zoom calls it. At the same time it erases the background of each participant in the Immersive View.

First thing’s first. You will need to update your Zoom.

The Immersive View is only available to those with the latest version 5.6.4 (765).

Please Note: Participants who have an older version will not be able to experience the Immersive View when it is enabled. Instead unsupported participants will see the Gallery View or Speaker View as usual, and those with the update in the meeting will view these unsupported participants in the Immersive View scene with their original, solid backgrounds.


Who controls the Immersive View?

Like most other features on Zoom, only the host can enable the Immersive View in a meeting. The co-host and other participants will not even see the option on their screen under ‘View’.

So, how do I get started?

If you’ve got the latest Zoom update and you are the host of the meeting, simply click ‘View > Immersive View’ and a new window should open up.

From here you can browse a collection of scenes to be ‘immersed’ into. Each scene will have a maximum number of people that it can accomodate, which is indicated by a little number in the bottom right hand corner of each thumbnail. The maximum that an Immersive View can hold is 25 participants.

Please Note: All other participants who you did not select to be in the Immersive View, or if there are more than 25 attendees, will be placed in their usual little boxes above the Immersive View. And by the way, this does not mean they are automatically muted.

You will see a preview before you click ‘start’

You can place participants in view automatically or manually. Clicking ‘manually’ will allow you to elect which participants you want to immerse, which is ideal for keynote speakers and panel discussions.


What do the scenes look like?

There are currently 8 scenes to choose from, plus the host’s own video stream. They include an ‘art gallery’ (5 seats), an ‘auditorium’ (25 seats), a ‘boardroom’ (6 seats), a ‘fireside chat’ (2 seats), a ‘cafe’ (2 seats), a ‘classroom’ (25 seats), a ‘kitchen’ (2 seats) and ‘learning pods’ (25 seats).

You can add your own custom background image to use and in this view you can move participants around and resize them, which is perfect to create a custom branded space. Please Note: You can only add custom images, so you will need to use OBS for video.

Zoom Immersive View Fireside Chat Image: The 'Fireside Chat' Immersive View

You can use it with OBS, although there is a catch

As the host, you can not be visible in the Immersive View and run your OBS at the same time. This is only an issue for video and if you want to be seen. If you add a custom image to the Immersive View without OBS as mentioned above, you will not have this issue.

Can Immersive View be recorded?

No, not within Zoom. When you record a meeting in the Zoom system the Immersive View will not appear, instead it will be recorded in Gallery or Speaker. The view that is recorded will depend on your recording settings, or the view that was used before starting the Immersive View. If you really want to capture the Immersive View in a recording, the way around this is by using a screen recording program, like Quicktime.

Some random notes to keep in mind

  • As host, you can easily revert back to Speaker or Gallery View, or change the Immersion View scene, at any time without disruption.

  • It is currently not available in Breakout Rooms.

  • For best results, participants should have a plain background with a solid color; a basic green screen would be ideal.

  • For even better results, participants should have their camera far enough from their body that it does not cut off any parts eg. shoulders, top of their head, gesturing hand movements.


GIF: Star Wars watch party using OBS and the Immersive View

Some quick uses for Immersive View that we think will be awesome for virtual events!

1. Panel discussions

You can have all the keynotes speakers (or perhaps a special guest and an interviewer) in the one screen to simulate a ‘main stage’ format, in which the rest of the participants (the audience) are focused.

2. Custom branding

There are now even more opportunities to add custom branding graphics to Zoom, meaning a touch of personalization, such as brand colors or logos, are streamlined for hosts.

3. A photo booth

Imagine participants dropping into a customised digital space with a fully branded backdrop for a fun and quirky photo op with others, or by themselves.

4. A watch party

You can have the reaction to a video or movie of participants right there on the same screen and more integrated than ever. (Although, remember we mentioned you will need OBS for this.)

5. Games and trivia

As there is now more interaction with participants - you can move them around, drop them into scenes and resize them, for example - there is plenty of opportunity to have some fun and create a dynamic experience.

May 5, 2021

7 Practical Tips for Raising Money with a Virtual Fundraiser

After many years of experience with their established annual fundraiser, most nonprofits have a solid idea of the amount of donations they can realistically expect.

However, when pivoting to a virtual event, we often hear executive directors and directors of development ask if they can still expect to raise that same amount of money... or less, when it comes to a virtual fundraiser.

Based on our experiences with Happily fundraiser events for Equality Now, 826 Valencia and LEAP, the answer is; ‘you can expect the same amount of money - if not more!

826 Valencia Confetti GIF

GIF: From 826 Valencia's Bookeaters' Bash

Here are some pro tips on how to optimize donations for a virtual fundraiser

1. Start asking for funding commitments before the event

Think of the virtual fundraiser as a place where you can visibly recognize and celebrate those who give donations, and having a few pledges already helps others feel comfortable to donate online during the event, too

2. Silent auctions should start before the event

This will allow people to start bidding on them and raising money, and then you can close the silent auction right before the start of the event, encouraging people to show up for the live virtual fundraiser

3. Engage your donors with a live chat

Make sure to have a few staff on hand to bring the chat to life, to share comments to encourage others to do so, and, of course, thank people for coming. Also, if you have an audience larger than a few hundred, spring for even more engagement and consider dedicated viewing rooms where people can watch together.

4. Make sure the method of donating does not take away your audience's attention

Text to donate and opening donation windows in a new browser really helps keep attendees watching the screen while donations are happening. You do not want to move people completely from the platform of your virtual event, and lose the energy and momentum of the experience.

5. It is all about watching, donating, or joining

The user experience design of the website needs to be simple and draw attention to only one of three calls to action at a time; watch, donate, or join. Use a main stage broadcast for live auctions and give the live MC cues for what to do next, eg; donate or join an interactive networking space.

6. The secret sauce is storytelling

For the content of the virtual fundraiser experience, work with our Happily specialists to tell the story of your program. A good mixture of emotive stories, a few words from any notable guests, celebs, employees, and the constituents of your nonprofit, is a winning recipe.

7. Show all those donations

A rolling ticker at the bottom of the broadcast can help keep the focus of the event on your story, on the all important mission of your nonprofit, and connect the money given with what it is going towards. Plus, it will build excitement as donations flow in throughout the event, and the numbers tick closer and closer to your goal.

826 Valencia Donations GIF

GIF: From 826 Valencia's Bookeaters' Bash

Now we’d love to hear about your nonprofit

Get in touch with us and let’s chat about your virtual gala, virtual fundraising event or any virtual fundraising ideas you may have. Together we can produce a Happily virtual event customized for your nonprofit.

May 4, 2021

Bikes that Combat Climate Change with Som Ray

How can technology make a daily urban commute super easy, way more economical, and, oh so much better for the environment?

Som Ray drops in to chat with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, about the future of e-bikes, how adopting biking for urban mobility can change the world and what the startup process is really like.

Plus, he introduces us to his startup, CLIP, a revolutionary device that will be a must-have for the urban commuter and anyone wondering how they can help the environment in their daily life.

CLIP Co-founders Somnath Ray and Clément de Alcala Image: CLIP Co-founders Somnath Ray and Clément de Alcala

Som Ray is re-designing the e-bike experience

Having grown up in India, Som understands just how bad air pollution and urban congestion can get. When he found himself living in New York City he decided to start using biking as his primary mode of transport. Biking is awesome for a daily commute. It is way better for the environment than cars and they do wonders for easing traffic congestion. However, biking every day is not always easy. It can get real physically taxing and motivations can wax and wan, so that is where the pedal assist of an electric bike makes all the difference.

As a concept, the pedal assist of e-bikes makes the biking experience easier, quicker and ensures you don’t arrive at your destination all puffed and sweaty. However, e-bikes are not accessible to most people; they are expensive, they are heavy and their value means they often get stolen. Also, as Som points out, most of us already have a bike; personalized, wonderful bikes with diverse designs that reflect us. This is where CLIP comes in.

CLIP is a clean mobility startup that is creating a portable e-motor device to easily attach to any bike, instantly turning it into an e-bike. Founded in 2018 by Som Ray and Clément de Alcala, they want to democratize access to the benefits of an e-bike, and build an option much more low-cost, user-friendly and accessible. Plus, empower urban commuters and city dwellers to take on biking and significantly slash our impact on climate change.

Listen to Som on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for more.

It’s Earth Month so here are some stats for you!

By switching to biking, NYC commuters would:

  • save approx. 1.5M gallons of gasoline every year
  • eliminate approx. 12,900 metric tonnes of Co2 emissions every year

The Co2 emissions of transport in NYC are:

  • Gasoline Car = 251.0g Co2 per passenger km
  • Bus = 28.0g Co2 per passenger km
  • Tesla model 3 = 46.7g Co2 per passenger km
  • Subway / Metro = 36.4g Co2 per passenger km
  • CLIP & bike = 1.52g Co2 per passenger km

CLIP Promotional Shot Image: CLIP prototype on urban bike

Hungry for more?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

April 28, 2021

5 Ideas for a Virtual Product Release Event Inspired by Apple

We were excited to learn about the impressive new iPad and colorful iMac upgrades behind Apple’s latest product unveiling!

As a sustainability conscious company ourselves, we loved that Apple products are now made with 100% recycled aluminum. Circular economy for the win! However, what we really wanted to highlight was the flawless event production of this 2021 Apple Event with so many beautifully executed best practices that we do here at Happily.

Graphic-motion Apple GIF

Here are our top 5 ideas for you to adapt and be inspired by for your own virtual product release event

1. Strong storyboard

Storytelling is emotive, powerful and a format that is universally understood. Crafting the flow of the entire event and consciously planning an overall arch will help you find opportunities to bring a story together, connect with your audience, and build a solid structure for the event. We have storyboard artists and scriptwriters at Happily who are experts at curating an event to bring that cinematic and polished feel.

For more on that, check out this past LinkedIn Live with Kevin Cohen, Creative Director, Stungun Productions.

2. Sleek motion graphics and stylish sets

Combining strong elements of motions graphics and curated sets enables you to seamlessly bridge the real world with the virtual. We do custom motion graphics for our Happily events, with this more and more becoming a standard. This also includes translations between presenters or items; static transition slides feel like a presentation, motion is cinematic! 

Apple Event Intro GIF

We love the rainbow!

Apple Event GIF Transition 1

This transition, though!

Apple Transition 2 GIF

Something a little more simple, but still awesome.

3. Really clean website

By creating a simple one-way content website for your event and all the details, it can live their forever and feel timeless, acting as a base source for the product launch. When people watch the playback on the site it may kill that all important ‘this is something fresh, brand new and so exciting’ product launch buzz by including past comments and audience engagements that happened during the original live broadcast.

You don’t need a platform to create engagement around a broadcast, as chatter and conversation can happen on Twitter and other socials. Also, we can put YouTube live chat on a microsite so your comments can be consolidated in one place. 

Apple Event Website GIF

4. Bookend live presentations

Each presentation sprinkled with short 30 - 60 second commercial-style videos to add more action, and successfully tease and recap product unveiling. This is also a really clever way to present the same information again in repetitive and refreshed ways for retention.

Apple Commercial GIF

5. Bring employees in front of the camera!

We loved meeting Carolyn, Cindy, Navpreet (and all the other included Apple staff) as they enthusiastically spoke in technical detail. This gives you a chance to form a personal connection with the audience, showing off the passion of the people who have helped bring the product to life. Plus, it can be a great opportunity to proudly display the diversity in your company.

Of course we know that for most people, speaking in front of a camera is not as easy as the Apple employees made it look. At Happily we can bring in speaker coaches for the more camera shy folks who may not be familiar with presenting in a situation like this. The goal being to give people the confidence and personalized advice they need to shine. We did this for a fundraiser with 826 Valencia by bringing their program managers on camera. It was something they had never done before and absolutely loved it.

Apple Staff GIF

Got a virtual event that you wanna bring to life? Let's chat about it!

April 27, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Alex Wiltse

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.

The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Alex Wiltse

Pronouns: he/him

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Happily Role/s: Showcaller, Streaming Engineer and Happily Hour Host

Alex Wiltse for Freelancer Friyay Images via Instagram @jayco_tv

Hey there! Do you know Alex?

With over 10 years of experience at the intersection of major media, live-streaming, and technology, Alex prides himself on his versatile skill set. He describes as someone who is able to adapt to almost any need within the rapidly increasing industry of virtual event production.

So, Alex, what is your superpower?

I like to think, and have been told, my greatest skill is improvisation and adaptability. It may sound silly but it happens a lot with tech! Feeling like I just pulled a Doc Brown and seeing three computers come together and work in tandem, with wires hanging from my ceiling and threading over my room because that's just how to get the best quality... well, it appeals the 7 year old in me who always wanted to be a mad scientist.

Do you have a side hustle?

I'm actually a talent manager! I have an agency partner in LA who has some really cool TV clients while I focus on finding social media creators that have the potential to make it in the traditional acting world (with some training, of course), and I help them curate their content to grow in a direction that'll help them make that transition. I also occasionally am a casting producer for various gameshows when they need me, like Match Game, Game of Talents, and The Hustler!

Why do you love working in virtual events?

For me, it's the vision of where this can lead. In my mind, genuinely 90% of live TV could be produced remotely. It would make the industry so much more accessible for aspiring talent and crew, and it would make it so much more do-able for people who don't want to "move to Hollywood for the dream!" sort of thing. With my setup now (thanks to Happily) and the stuff I've played around with alongside Chris and JC, it's something I want to champion to the industry: Why even use a studio for more than the main talent if anything? It's cheaper, MUCH more environmentally friendly, and allows for far more eager minds to be a part of the team.

What inspired you to join Team Happily?

I was brought over by a friend of mine, Brielle. She's a Happily stream engineer pretty often, too. I used to stream on Twitch as a hobby (But secretly hoping I'd be Twitch famous, of course) and she was like 'Hey! The DNC needs livestream people'. and I'm just not the kinda guy to ask questions, and just said 'okay I'm down'. Best decision ever.

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

I think it would be the Startup Grind summit. Working three days back-to-back at roughly 14 hours each... that brought me back to being on-set... but from the comfort of my own desk. I loved every minute of it. And what a cool event to be a part of!

How would you describe your home working style?

I'm someone with pretty severe diagnosed ADHD, so I have a pretty strict routine with myself so I don't get distracted and can stay on track. Every morning I wake up and steam 4 eggs, make a piece of toast, and air-fry 6 strips of bacon. Then I go down the street to my local coffee shop and get a Lucky Charms latte. Only the healthiest. On Happily event days, since I live in a Tiktok Content House that I manage, I make sure to announce to the house that it's an "on-air" day and everyone has to be quiet between X-Y hours. Then I get set up on my PC's and get ready for the show.

Freelancer Alex Wiltse Home Space Set Up Image: Alex's monster set-up!

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

The transition kind of came by force with COVID. I was an events manager for a tech startup until Feb of 2020, then, well, we all know what happened next. Fortunately, my love of streaming and tech made it very easy to transition, since I was already using the tools that we would end up needing.

For advice... hmm... I would say try to be tech-forward. I know that sounds a bit generic, but what I mean by that is to really be aware of technology and learn as much of it as you can. This space is going to stay here and only continue to grow with time. And tech can be very hard for some folks to understand, but honestly, you can learn just about any of it on YouTube. If there's something you want to learn or don't know, take the 15 minutes to watch a video on YouTube that explains it. I promise it'll come in handy.

What makes you happy?

I am happiest when I'm outside adventuring or entertaining people via performing arts. Living in Arizona, one of my hobbies is exploring abandoned gold mines. (Don't try this at home) and there's something about the Indiana Jones feeling that brings me a special joy. As for acting and entertaining, it comes in all forms. If I have anyone laughing, I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing! Daily for me is my mom. She's had such a life of trials and tribulations that her strength inspires me every day to keep going and anything I can do to make her proud brings me daily joy.

Who else needs a coffee?

Listen to Alex in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Alex from Tue 20th, April.

IG Live Link to Freelancer Alex Wiltse GIF

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 23, 2021

How to Support Diversity in the Workplace with Zoe Moore

We’re revisiting a Happily Live that discusses an issue we are enthusiastic about; representing diverse voices and fostering inclusion.

As part of our core values at Happily, we are actively dedicated to diversity in the workplace and all Happily events, as well as reinvesting in local and forgotten communities. This chat provides some practical advice and insights that all of us should listen to and be reminded of.

Black woman at Cloud Gate in Chicago with Equality text on back for t-shirt Yes kindness. Yes peace. Yes Equailty. Yes Love.

Chiriga "Zoe" Moore joins Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, to chat about diversity, equity and inclusion in the events industry and how companies can be more intentional in their hiring practices.

What I see in the MICE industry - or what we call meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions and even local events that happen - is there is a lack of supplier diversity. So when you’re looking at the different venues, and the different professionals, speakers, and panelists, or chef and DJs, there isn’t diversity amongst those businesses that we go to.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Zoe Moore is a powerhouse

She is an Army Veteran and a Certified Diversity Practitioner with an M.S. in Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism. Zoe engages with leaders to operationalize DEI assessments, resources and strategic action plans, and is an advocate for supplier diversity to encourage economic empowerment and sustainability.

Zoe is a former Event Resource Broker at LB Alliance, an event resource group that supports underrepresented professionals in the MICE industry. She is also the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Meeting Professionals International (MPI).

She co-founded CADAZO Consulting Group, a women and minority owned business that is evolving the meetings and events industry through DEI dialogue, coaching, workshops. She is currently developing courses, content and workshops to contribute to the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This Happily Live is an oldie, but a goodie. To hear all the expert knowledge, watch Zoe in discussion with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for some quick advice.

Some key notes and tips from their chat for businesses wanting to address and strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace

Go local to support urban sustainability

If you’re putting together an event and will be needing to hire supporting staff, entertainment, catering, performers - whatever it may be - prioritize finding and supporting local talent.

You’ll go into a city and they’ll use national brands. A national company will come in. They will get paid and they’ll take their money right on out. But if you bring local businesses and freelancers, like Happily does, into those events, they make money, they spend it locally and then it does something I call ‘toughen urban sustainability’. Strengthen that local community because they’re part of these events that are happening and not excluded from them.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Know your current workforce so you can set realistic goals

Do an honest and complete survey of the current demographic and diversity of employees. This detailed assessment will allow you to understand the relevant benchmarks you may need to set, any goals you may want to meet, and what areas you may need to focus on.

You have to acknowledge what the landscape of what the workforce looks like.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Assess the inclusive atmosphere of the workplace

Hiring a diverse array of employees is not sustainable if the working environment they join is not inclusive. Only by actively fostering a culture of belonging can a business allow their staff to feel comfortable and let their diversity shine through and their voices be respected. That is when true representation, diversity, equity and inclusion happen.

Now you have to identify ‘what am I gonna do to make my organization or this place inclusive?’ because a lot of people are working backwards. They’re like ‘okay we want diversity. Hire this person. Hire that person’ and they get into the environment and it’s not inclusive and there is no upward mobility so the effort becomes stagnant because you have a high attrition rate.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Be intentional with your hiring process and go to where the people are

Businesses have to be committed to diversifying staff, and not expect a diverse group of candients to come to them. Based on your goals around DEI, you need to be intentional by going into the community and places in which those underrepresented voices in the company can be recruited.

As you begin to hire it has to be intentional. You cannot post something on LinkedIn and say ‘hey, we’re hiring’ and expect people who have never seen your company as diverse or making any true effort. You have to be intentional. Go to the HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities]. Go to neighborhoods. Go to the community centres.

Zoe Moore, MS, CDP

Are you fascinated by this topic?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

April 21, 2021

3 Ways to Create an Events Strategy that Saves the Planet

Like many things in 2020, virtual events went from a novel and foreign experience, to a necessary common occurrence.

Our love and advocacy at Happily for events in the digital space began long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

We care deeply about the future of our planet, and that is why we use technology to create unique and fun events that are carbon zero. Our core values as a company, include representing diverse voices, reinvesting in local and forgotten communities, and reducing waste. For the moment let’s focus on the latter, although you can find more on the others here.

How does Meeting Format Impact Total Event Emissions? Graph Image: Graph adapted from this original article by Shawna McKinley.

We are environmentalists

When we say we’re committed to combating climate change, we mean it. After each Happily event, we calculate the carbon emitted from the desktops of talent, tech, team, and guests. Then we take a percentage from our profits to plant trees in the Happily Forest, which is located in Tanzania and stewarded by our reforestation partner, Forest Nation.

3 ways you can build an events strategy that reduces carbon emissions

1. Have virtual events lead your program

By fully embracing a virtual-first program, you can reduce emissions by 90% or more. Virtual events are a format that everyone is increasingly more comfortable with, and businesses now understand the lasting benefits of them, even beyond the pandemic. They can be easily scaled, they can fit any budget, a wider audience can be connected with, there is greater opportunity for accessibility, and they often mean less time commitment for attendees and speakers. All this allows a business to justify virtual events being held more often, enabling a thriving calendar of virtual summits, virtual galas and virtual gatherings.

On average, virtual events reduce 97% of carbon emissions compared to an in-person event. This is largely due to a lack of travel of people and goods to and from a city and/or venue. All that movement would usually account for 90% of an event's carbon emissions.

2. Form local clusters for in-person events

Local clustering of events can reduce emissions by 75% or more. An example of this would be, instead of a single major in-person event in which participants would fly to from all over the country, have several smaller events in relevant cities, collectively reducing the amount of travel required for attendees.

Other than a forest fire, air travel emits the most carbon emissions per hour than anything else. Incredibly, 1% of global frequent fliers are responsible for more than half of those emissions. Of course, we do not wish to vilify air travel, nor should anyone be shamed into flying less. However, decreasing a need for air travel is a very real way to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your event, as over 90% of an event's carbon emissions come from flights.

3. Harness the power of an online community to reduce the frequency of in-person events

The benefits of community for a business is something that is understood and utilized more each year. Actively building, nurturing and guiding a community in line with your business goals means that you can consolidate in person tentpole events down to one time a year.

The power of community for businesses is a wonderfully immersive topic. So rather than go into all of it here, we are going to guide you to some recent Happily Live interviews with experts in this field. For more on the benefits of community for your business, you must check out this chat with David Spinks. And this conversation with Gina Bianchini is essential for learning how to build a community online for your business.

Woman smiling at laptop in an organic style home

Reduce emissions, virtually

Happily is powered by the largest, most diverse network of tech-savvy, environmentally conscious event specialists. We bring tech, talent, and team together for custom, carbon-zero virtual events. Contact us for a chat and together we can produce an eco-friendly virtual event!

April 20, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Kat Cody

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.

The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Katarina Cody

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Happily Role/s: Broadcast Manager

Freelancer: Katarina Cody Hero Image

We'd love for you to meet Kat!

She has a powerhouse work-ethic backed by organization and a passion for music. She specializes in being able to keep projects on track, connecting the dots, and finding creative solutions. Kat prides herself on her ability to plan for the unexpected and integrate philanthropic thought into business.

So, Kat, what is your superpower?

Being able to prepare for situations with a solid plan and pivot when things change!

What do you like to do in your freetime?

I absolutely love camping, hiking, exploring, and traveling.

Why do you love working in virtual events?

I love being able to have less impact on the environment and climate change through virtual events. I also think virtual events allow for more collaboration from people who are across the country and around the world.

What inspired you to join Team Happily?

I heard about Happily from a friend who I worked on a few events with and decided to join the team because the events that Happily produce truly make an impact.

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

I worked on 826 Valencia's Fundraiser and it was by for the most memorable one. It was my first event with Happily and I thought it was amazing to see people who were all great at their craft come together to help support a non-profit who is amazing at what they do.

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

I transitioned to virtual events due to the pandemic and the need to continue to work and bring meaningful connections to people. While virtual and in-person events are very different, they also have a TON of similarities. I found the best way to transition was to dive in head first, do the research, trust my gut, and listen to experts around me. Just do it and make sure you have good internet.

What makes you happy?

Connecting people and giving back makes me happy! I always try to make sure I check in with the people I care about and help out those around me when I can.

Is it coffee o’clock, yet?

Watch Kat in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Kat from Tue 13th, April.

Coffee OClock IG Live with Kat Cody

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 16, 2021

How to be a Video Editor for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being a video editor, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.

Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Video Editor

Team Happily Responsibility: As part of the pre-production team, they edit video assets needed for the livestream. In post-production they may create a ‘sizzle reel’

Happily Studio: Creative

Happily Team: Graphics

Let’s talk about the role of a video editor! Hear more about why this role is so important for a Happily Producer, Kari Mulholland

Hiring a solid video editor is a make or break position for the success of your event.

Kari Mulholland, Producer, Happily

1. Why is a skilled video editor particularly important for the team?

They make aesthetic and creative decisions that will greatly impact the internal workflow, the final outward-facing product and the lasting entertainment value of the event.

2. Understanding team workflow is a must-have skill

As they are usually only in the early pre-production stages of an event, their actions will affect the rest of the production team. The Video Editor’s understanding of the creative and technical flow of the team after they are no longer actively needed, will ensure that the video files can be easily utilized and understood by various team members down the pipeline.

3. Pro tip: Always have the brand aesthetic in mind

You are editing a video to represent a client, or company, or brand - so you must stick closely to their established brand guidelines and graphic line. Although there is always room to add your own creativity and flair, it must be consistent with the client’s brand styling and overall aesthetic.

4. Pro tip: Be organized and label files clearly

Your edited video files will be handled by many other team members and roles. Having all your files and exports well organized and correctly named will ensure there is no confusion or headaches caused by them down the production pipeline.

5. Pro tip: Be a storyteller

Remember that video editing is not just cutting several shots together in random order. It's telling a story. No matter how ‘simple’ a video edit may seem, finding a way to bring emotion and entertainment through building a narrative is what makes an engaging experience.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 15, 2021

Friendships in the Age of Loneliness with Smiley Poswolsky

As fundamentally social beings, we humans are at our best when we are experiencing meaningful and fulfilling connections with those around us.

We all think we know what loneliness is. However, in this digital age, we are experiencing a particular type of loneliness that started long before social distancing, lockdowns, and the isolating year that was 2020. Friendships are the answer to happier, healthier and more productive lives both at work and outside of it. So, why hasn’t the average American made a new friend in the last 5 years? And why is only 4% of our time spent with our friends?

Adam Smiley Poswolsky connects with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, to chat about the loneliness epidemic we’re currently living through, as well as his latest book Friendship in the Age of Loneliness: An Optimist's Guide to Connection.

The definition of loneliness isn’t how many followers you have, or friends you have on Facebook, or how active your social life is, it’s actually the disconnection between what you want to be feeling in terms of connection, and what you actually feel. It’s that gap. It’s that subjective gap.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

Hero - Smiley Poswolsky

Smiley Poswolsky is a millennial workplace expert

He helps companies attract, retain, and empower the next generation. As a prominent keynote speaker, Smiley inspires and guides thousands of professionals on how to be more connected at work and why those social bonds are fundamental. He has addressed companies and organizations such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Unilever, Deloitte, and Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Smiley has advised heads of state and foreign leaders about millennial talent, multigenerational engagement, and fostering belonging in the digital age. He has also spoken in front of 50,000 people in 20 countries, and his video ‘Refusing to Settle: The Quarter-Life Crisis’ for TEDx Talks has over 1.5m views.

In 2017 he launched The Women/Womxn, BIPOC, and Inclusivity Speaker Initiative, which has grown to over 4,000 members. Its goal is to increase opportunities for women and other underrepresented keynote speakers, as well as ensure that they are paid competitively.

He is the author of 3 inspirational books, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters (2014), The Breakthrough Speaker: How to Build a Public Speaking Career (2018), and Friendship in the Age of Loneliness: An Optimist's Guide to Connection (2021).

For all the enlightening insights you must listen to Smiley on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and you can also read on for a super quick summary.

Some takeaways from their discussion

Loneliness is an epidemic

For the past 20 years our daily lives have been fundamentally changing along with the rise of technology. A shift in how we socialize has happened, and it no longer prioritizes in-person, real life, regular meetups with like-minded people in your community. Loneliness has grown along with this shift. 80% of Gen Z’ers, 70% of Millennials and nearly two thirds of Americans (of all ages) are lonely.

We used to have bowling leagues, we used to meet up with people at the local church, or the VFW, or the town hall, or these Elks Clubs, having kind of these neighborhood-based places where you would just see people and regularly talk.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

Our current relationship with social media is not healthy

The ability to connect with like-minded people that technology has allowed us is truly wonderful. However, we need to be more conscious of how we use it. Only when we use social media as a facilitator can it enable us to nurture or create friendships. Think of it more as a wayfinder; the means in which you can easily find direction, to organize and meet up for conversations and interactions in real life.

Social media can contribute to your wellbeing, but if it’s just the end place, if it’s just like ‘I’m on here and I’m on here’ and I never get off the hamster wheel, it’s really really unhealthy for you.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

We all need a work-wife, work-hubby or a best friend at work

If you have at least 1 close friend at your workplace, you will be 7x more engaged. Friendships in the workplace are so important, especially as we increasingly use technology more and more to communicate and collaborate. Casual conversations as you both make coffee in the staff kitchen, or exchanging ‘good morning’ smiles in the hallway is something we are experiencing less as the world moves away from traditional office spaces.

Here are 3 simple tips for companies and employees to encourage that all important social spirit in the digital space:

1. Enable moments for people’s uniqueness and individuality to shine through in conversation. For example, spend the first 10 or 15 minutes of a Zoom call just chatting before getting into the meeting agenda.

Allowing people to bring their full selves to work, allowing people to share who they are, allowing people to have these moments talking about their hobbies, their passions, things that they’re working on, so people get a sense of who their colleagues are.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

2. Don’t shy away from smaller sized and more personable conversations and meetings.

I also think facilitating more one-on-ones is important, it’s hard to develop a best friend when you are 20 people on a Zoom.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

3. Celebrate each other and lift each other up. Everybody feels good when they feel seen, heard and appreciated, and as a result, the team as a whole will feel more connected. There are even platforms such as tribute.co that have made it super simple to create a collaborative video montage.

Affirmation and celebration and praise is really important especially right now during the pandemic. Feedback is always important, but right now having channels where people can give praise, give gratitude, celebrate their people is really remarkable.

Smiley Poswolsky, Millennial Workplace Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author

Are you fascinated by this topic?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

April 14, 2021

4 Ways to Include an ASL Interpreter in a Virtual Event

The wonderfully adaptable and customizable nature of virtual events is ideal for creating a digital space where those of all ranging abilities can participate, thrive and enjoy themselves.

One of the ways to increase inclusivity and accessibility for deaf and/or hard of hearing individuals is by having an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter as part of your virtual summits, virtual conference, virtual fundraisers, or virtual event.

Happily in ASL Image: The word 'happily' in American Sign Language (ASL)

A quick note on using live captioning vs an ASL interpreter

Live captioning is when captions of the spoken words are transcribed in real time, resulting in a seamless and more accurate experience than automated captions. This is referred to as CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) and nowadays there are many companies that specialize in this service and it can be easily integrated into digital platforms, including Zoom. Live captioning is ideal for forward-facing broadcasts, where attendees are simply observing and taking in what and/or who is on screen.

If the focus of your virtual event is around discussion and verbal interaction of attendees, then most often an ASL interpreter is preferred over live captioning by deaf and/or hard of hearing individuals.

Here are some ready-made options (and things to consider) to integrate an ASL interpreter into a Happily virtual event.

1. ASL on screen all the time

This is perfect for an event via Zoom. However, it is worth noting that this is a little tricker for a broadcast if you would like to reuse any footage across some social media platforms. The final product will be forced into a 16:9 ratio (horizontal) with ASL and so it will be tough to reuse content for social media platforms that ideally require a 1:1 ratio (square) or a 9:16 ratio (vertical). We are mainly talking about Instagram and TikTok. The workaround for this is to pre-record segments that you want to show later on your social networks or plan for added time and budget to make an alternate in post-production edits.

2. Two feeds at once, one with ASL and one without

This option is straightforward and clean, especially if you are catering for an audience mix of ASL users and non-ASL users. However, having multiple stages will increase costs and affect the budget. Even though it can get really pricey, in the end the result will be an identical event experience for all your attendees.

3. Special Zoom room with a live feed from our broadcasters with ASL spotlit in there

This will add some cost, although not as much as Option #2 described above. Ultimately the event experience will not be identical for all attendees, and may create feelings of isolation and social cohesion.

4. Live captions only for broadcasts and ASL for interactive

This option is a hybrid of having live captions (CART) during a broadcast and an ASL interpreter for any following verbal interactions (eg. in a Zoom breakout room or a Q&A format). As we mentioned up top, live captioning is ideal for a broadcast as generally the focus is on visual presentations and guest speakers and not on direct interaction with the attendees. If a following item in the event schedule is intended to generate discussion then the live captioning can be switched out for an ASL interpreter.

Would you like some more resources on this topic?

The RespectAbility website is a wealth of knowledge on how we can all contribute to advancing opportunities for those with disabilities. They are a nonprofit that works collaboratively with organizations to educate and guide them on ways that people with disabilities in communities can be included. Here is a practical guide they have for creating virtual events that are accessible for all.

We are the couturiers of the virtual events world

In whichever way your Happily virtual event needs to be more accessible, together we can design tailor-made UX experiences and custom-built digital platforms for your Happily event and your attendees. Contact Team Happily to chat about any requirements and let’s create something truly special.

April 13, 2021

Specialist Spotlight: Tiffany Hammons

Our Happily specialists are diverse, talented, creative, and just plain awesome. So every week we are proud to introduce you to one of them.

The Happily specialist under the spotlight:

Name: Tiffany Hammons

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Happily Role/s: Backstage Manager and Breakout Backstage Manager

Specialist Spotlight: Tiffany Hammons

Hey! I'm Tiffany

I have more than 6 years managing Event Production from experiential events, pop-ups, and major conferences. I oversee the day-to-day logistics of everything; production from behind the laptop to the event site. I have also successfully launched a drive-in theater in August 2020 as the Production Director.

What is your superpower?

I am high energy and all smiles! In life, and at work, I am exceptionally good at spreading a positive vibe and keeping the energy up in the room!

Do you have a side hustle or hobby?

I am also a Group Fitness Instructor! I have experience teaching HIIT, Circuit Training, and leading youth dance fit classes.

Why do you love working in virtual events?

I enjoy how virtual events have the same capabilities to keep audiences engaged with main stage events that have breakout sessions various rooms for participants to join, and the ability to have direct interactions with participants through video and chat features. Virtual events allow companies to have these intimate interactions with their participants that they may not have had at all at an in-person event.

What inspired you to join Team Happily?

I heard about Happily through an internet search and signed up right away! I loved the idea of joinging a network of indusrty peers! We all share the same interest to create and produce rockstar events all year long!

Can you tell us about a Happily virtual event that you're proud to have worked on?

The Doordash event was most memorable for me. I had the opportunity to Manage one of the rooms available for participants to join during the event. The talent for the room was also a fitness intructor and we had such a great time woring together building the run of show (RoS) and creating engaging cues and talking points to execute during the event. I loved seeing it all come together once the event was live and the particpant response was really great!

What does a day working as a Happily freelancer look like for you?

I work in my living room and usually open the patio door so I can pretend I am outside! And typically once I open my laptop in the morning, it stays open for most of the day! When working on a Happily event I really don't have too much else going on, I even turn off anything else in my house that uses wifi, to be sure I am operating at the best speed for the event.

You pivoted from working on real world events to working on virtual ones. How was that transition?

2020 was a crazy year, and really forced people to make unexpected changes. I was one of those people, I had never thought I would be working in the virtual event space, but when the opportunity came about, I knew it was something I could succeed at. I had a lot of experience working Zoom and online platforms and was anxious to try something new! For anyone who is thinking about getting into virtual events, PLEASE go for it!! There is so much to learn and many new experinces to have that are just as fulfilling as in person events!

What makes you happy?

In my daily life, I find happiness in FOOD! Seriously, a hot bowl of Raman or crispy brussels sprouts truly bring me pure bliss!!

Who else needs a coffee?

Watch Tiffany in conversation with Sarah Shewey, Founder and CEO of Happily, via Instagram Live.

Tune in to Coffee O’Clock every Tuesday 10am PST as Sarah Shewey jumps on Instagram Live at @teamhappily, to give a quick update on all things Happily and chat with one of our Happily specialists. Here is a playback featuring Tiffany from Tue 6th, April.

Coffee OClock Link to Freelancer Tiffany Hammons

Are you looking for freelance event jobs? Create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 9, 2021

How to be an Associate Producer for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being an associate producer, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.

Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Associate Producer

Team Happily Responsibility: Manage the run of show (ROS) for breakout sessions and breakout teams

Happily Studio: Production

Happily Team: Breakout

Discover the basics as well some pro tips about being an associate producer from Arthur, a Happily specialist

Understanding where we might encounter variables that don’t necessarily fit our plan and how to navigate them and communicating that; I think adaptability is one of the biggest things we need on a project like this.

Arthur Kozlovski, Associate Producer, Happily

1. Where does an associate producer fit in the team?

An Associate Producer is added to a broadcast team when the event has 5 (or more!) breakout rooms. They work closely with the overall Producer, leading the ROS of the Breakout Rooms and managing all staff involved with the Breakout Rooms.

2. Adaptability is a must-have skill

Be open to feedback, listen to your team and be flexible to how things are approached. In the video interview above, Arthur expands on this idea and explains why it is so important as an Associate Producer.

3. Pro tip: Accommodate each unique breakout experience

More often than not, no two breakout rooms are the same. Have a baseline set of requirements for all the Breakout Leads, but also customize directions based on the experience (eg. a panel discussion vs a cooking class).

4. Pro tip: Foster fluid communication

As the buffer between the Producer and the Breakout Leads, constantly check-in to make sure that everyone has the knowledge and direction that they need.

5. Pro tip: Be analytical of your own directions

Seek and fill any holes in the Breakout Leads’ understanding of the ROS, altering your own instructions to ensure they have all the guidance they need.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

April 8, 2021

The Business of Belonging with David Spinks

The era of businesses powered by community is here and we are excited by its potential.

David Spinks chats with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, about what makes a community-driven business as well as his new book The Business of Belonging: How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage.

A sense of belonging, connection, shared purpose, feeling like you are connected to a group of people. And that’s the foundation of this work, you need that, that’s the fuel that makes it all work. And businesses are starting to become aware of that and make community a really core value for both internally - how do we make employees feel like they belong - and then externally - how do we make customers, partners, investors feel like they are all connected and they belong.

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

David Spinks is a rockstar in the community-driven business movement

As a 3x startup founder and an experienced community leader, David has spent a decade advising and training hundreds of organizations (such as Google, Facebook, and Airbnb) in community strategy. Simply put, he is an expert on the intersection of community and business.

In 2014 he co-founded CMX, an international hub for community professionals to support each other through education, and events. Bevy, an enterprise software to power community-driven events, acquired CMX in 2019. David now serves as the Vice President of Community at Bevy to assist companies launch and scale event-driven community programs.

David is now an author with the release of his book, The Business of Belonging, How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage, which is the #1 New Release in Direct Marketing on Amazon! He shares all he has learnt about what makes a winning community strategy, from the fundamental concepts to practical engagement techniques.

For more on his book and for all the expert insights listen to David on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for a quick summary.

A few fundamental notes from their chat

There is a difference between building an audience vs a community

Instead of constantly explaining or showing the value of your business or product to people, a strong community will allow members to create and share that value for you.

Traditional businesses have always been about marketing and building an audience and to build an audience you essentially just help people, you create value, a product, something that they consume. To build a community you help people help each other. You create spaces and platforms for them to create value for each other rather than you, the business, having to create all the value for them.

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Success lives where business and belonging overlap

The sweet spot to build a community is the place where the value to the business and the value for the members balance. It is the space where they overlap that opportunity and success can be found.

If you go into building community and you are only optimizing for profit you’re not really focusing on how you serve members and really give them a true sense of connection and belong and value, then your community is not going to have engagement...

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Have clear business objectives for your community

By their very nature, a community grows towards a level of self-sustainability. Starting with a solid foundation of business goals for the community, and a clear understanding of the ways in which you want community to benefit the business, is essential in knowing how and where to guide this ship once it leaves the dock.

If you only focus on creating engagement and you’re not starting with an understanding with what is the business objective you’re trying to drive, how it will ultimately result in ROI, you’ll end up having a community that is engaged but you can’t justify the investment, you don’t know what the return is…

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Some stats and figures for you

  • Companies with a Vice President of Community have grown to approx. 50 - 100 around the world
  • Globally companies with a Chief Community Officer role have grown to approx. 10
  • Only 12% of community teams feel confident in their ability to measure the business value of community
  • 88% of communities have at least one dedicated community manager
  • 86% of business say community is critical to their mission
  • Community saw more investment through the COVID-19 pandemic with 56% of companies now viewing community as more essential

Have a framework to calculate the ROI of community

Being able to clearly see the value of your community to your business will give you the confidence and information you need to justify and invest more in it. Although gathering these metrics can be tricky, David has developed a framework he refers to as The SPACES Model; Support Product Acquisition Contribution Engagement Success. He dives deep into that in his new book, and has a summary here via the CMX website.

Virtual events are considered more valuable and powerful than ever before

Largely due to the pandemic, virtual events are a format that both companies and participants are now more comfortable with. Businesses have seen the lasting benefits of virtual events; they are highly scalable, they are more affordable, more people can be reached, it has much greater accessibility, and they can be held more frequently than in-person events.

I think virtual events themselves are here to stay because they provide a really scaleable balance to the very time and cost intensive in-person events.”

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Hybrid event programs will become more popular

Moving forward event programs for communities will be a mix of virtual and in-person events. There will always be a certain sense of magic that happens when a group of people meet in the same physical space, and so, in-person events are important to communities. Ideally the yearly events calendar for a community would have some events as 100% virtual, and others as 100% in-person.

The reality is that virtual tools do not give you the same sense of proximity, connection and serendipity that you get in-person.

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

David is sceptical of hybrid events

The idea of a hybrid event that simultaneously creates an equal sense of connectivity for both the virtual and in-person participants is not something we are likely to see a rise in. They are really two separate events happening at once with two separate experiences for those participating. If the goal of an event is to nurture connections between members, it is ideal to separately utilize the strengths of in-person and virtual events.

[A hybrid event is] a lot harder to do than people think, it’s a lot more expensive to do than people think, it’s not an ideal experience for people because people who are watching online generally just feel left out from the in-person experience, people in-person feel overwhelmed by all the online people and they just wanna talk to the people there in-person.

David Spinks, Co-Founder of CMX and Vice President of Community at Bevy

Would you like some more?

Here are links to resources and things mentioned in this Happily Live:

April 7, 2021

5 Benefits of Raising Money Through Virtual Events

For many nonprofits, fundraisers have usually taken a more traditional approach with an in-person activity or annual gala event with cheque books and solid cash used to collect generous and much needed donations.

However, the pandemic abruptly caused many nonprofits with long standing fundraising formats to pivot and seek new avenues. That is where virtual fundraisers were given the chance to shine. A virtual fundraising event is so much more than an ‘alternative’ to an in-person event and their benefits reach long after the passing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Happily, you can use virtual events and livestream services to:

1. Activate any of your social media channels as a fundraising platform

Social media is a great tool to optimize donations by connecting with your established followers in a format they are already familiar with.

2. Expand support for your programs by attracting new audiences

You can spread the good word about your cause to more people in your community and across the country, and then make it so easy for them to donate as they wish. This is a huge win as you would not be excluding anyone who, for whatever reason, would not have been able to easily attend an in-person event.

3. Seamlessly receive and celebrate donations made by text or web

A customized user experience and giving people options are always important, and both those things can be fully optimized with virtual events.

4. Increase the frequency of sharing program updates

Staying connected with your community of donors and stakeholders, making them feel involved and in the loop, is a great way to build trust and inspire them to make a donation.

5. Create urgency and instant gratification for online donations

Seeing donations made in real time, watching that pledge counter go up and up, having a donors name pop up on the screen; it all generates a sense of collective excitement that makes participants feel instantaneously fulfilled when making a donation.

Discover how Happily helped this nonprofit raise $30k with a virtual live auction

Team Happily recently worked with LEAP, a nonprofit based around mentorship programs for youth in low income communities. We were able to successfully transform an annual fundraising event that they had been hosting for 25 years into their first virtual gala.

You can read all about the challenges, solutions and results in this LEAP Case Study, as well as a video summary of the event.

Leap Case Study

Now we’d love to hear about your nonprofit

Get in touch with us and let’s chat about your virtual gala, virtual fundraising event or any virtual fundraising ideas you may have. Together we can produce a Happily virtual event customized for your nonprofit.

April 6, 2021

How to Build a Mighty Strong Community Online with Gina Bianchini

Building a community online is a craft. Its many moving parts should fold and flow together to create a structure that supports, uplifts and serves each one of its members.

Gina Bianchini, an expert on network effects, chats with Sarah Shewey, Happily CEO and Founder, about what makes a community thrive online, the changing nature of communities in the digital space and how to reframe your approach to building a community for your business.

I define community very narrowly… which is; are you creating the conditions by which people can meet and build relationships with other people? Think about it as member to member connections.

Gina Bianchini, CEO and Founder, Mighty Networks

Gina Bianchini is a pioneering woman in the tech space

She is CEO and Founder of Mighty Networks, a flexible web platform that ‘brands with purpose’ can use to embrace and nurture their community via online courses, events, memberships and subscription content all in one spot. Their mission is to guide in a new era of digital businesses that are built on the power of community.

The precursor to Mighty Networks was the pioneering social networking website, NING, which Gina co-foundered with Marc Andreessen in 2004. NING is a platform which allows an online presence and community to be built from the ground up.

For all the juicy expert knowledge listen to Gina on Happily Live with Sarah Shewey, CEO and Founder of Happily, and read on for a quick summary.

Some inspiring takeaways from the chat

Be the ultimate dinner party host

Think about building a community like hosting a dinner party. Not all your guests know each other, but you know all of them. You know what they have in common and what makes each one of them amazing human beings. So as the ultimate host you would carefully craft an environment in which organic conversations can be fostered, in which your guests feel comfortable and especially in which connections can grow independently of you - so the party can continue even while you step away into the kitchen to check on dinner.

What is our ultimate goal? It is to create a community or a network of people that gets more valuable to every member with each new person that joins and contributes and we are gonna use many different tools in our toolbox to make that network as valuable to as many people as possible.

Gina Bianchini, CEO and Founder, Mighty Networks

Social media is for gaining followers, not for building interconnected communities

Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are, as Gina describes, ‘moving in the opposite direction’ to building communities. They are certainly powerful digital marketing tools and important for brand awareness. However, they are mostly one sided conversations without much significant relationship building happening. If your business goal is to build a thriving community, social media platforms are wonderful tools in your box, but they are not the best ones for this job.

So if you think about DMs and the fact that you have Stories and DMs, that’s actually, ‘I talk out at you, you talk back at me’, but nobody's meeting or building relationships with each other. The comments sections, people continue to try to build communities in comments sections but the reality is, it’s really hard.

Gina Bianchini, CEO and Founder, Mighty Networks

A simply recipe for a mighty powerful community

All successful communities, as Gina explains, have cultivated the same sort of environment and culture. Here are some common threads:

  • People feel part of something bigger than themselves
  • There is an overarching common goal or objective
  • Everyone is learning something new together
  • It is a safe space and a support network

Communities are built online before they can also be successful in the real world

A community with intention blossoms in the digital space, and in-person events are just another way for members to connect with each other. By saying ‘online community’ we are focusing on ways in which a community stays connected and interacts in the digital space, inbetween or in spite of real life events. When you focus primarily on the online interactions of the community you are cultivating lasting connections by establishing strong patterns of communications for long after an in-person conference or event has passed.

When you’re thinking about a conference you are better off thinking about how you get people before they come. Before they come. The energy around joining something online that is digital, is before the event, not after.

Gina Bianchini, CEO and Founder, Mighty Networks

Did something spark your interest?

Here are links to resources and other stuff mentioned in this Happily Live:

March 31, 2021

How to be a Clock and Timekeeper for Happily Virtual Events

We've got 5 things you need to know about being a clock and timekeeper, featuring one of our own Happily specialists.

Here is a quick breakdown:

Event Role: Clock and Timekeeper

Team Happily Responsibility: Keep time and cue talent for breakouts based on the ROS (run of show)

Happily Studio: Technical

Happily Team: Breakout

Discover the basics as well some pro tips about timekeeping from Kevin, a Happily specialist

Overcommunicate. So if you have any questions, ask them early and ask a lot of questions - no one at Happily gets mad if you ask too many questions. It’s always better to be overprepared.

Kevin Rabinovich, Clock and Timekeeper, Happily

1. Clock or timekeeper? Is there a difference?

During a Happily broadcast this role is referred to as the clock, but in a breakout scenario it’s the timekeeper. Tasks vary slightly between these two settings, which Kevin explains in the interview above.

2. What tech is needed for this role?

You’ll need the Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and the My Stream Timer app. Both of these programs are free to download.

3. Pro tip: Ask lots of questions

Consider setting up a one-on-one with the producer or livestream engineer (eg. there may be a particular speaker they anticipate will go over time).

4. Pro tip: One size does not fit all

Fully customize and add slides for a Happily virtual and/or speaker based on notes from the producer, or any issues you anticipate. (eg. adding an additional slide to gently nudge a speaker into the next item).

5. Pro tip: Do your homework

Even before a team Happily rehearsal, go through the full ROS on your own. This will help you anticipate any problems, ensure your tech is good to go and ultimately that you come off as the professional that you are.

If you’re ready to join team Happily, create an account and become a Happily specialist.

March 31, 2021

Best practices for virtual sales kickoffs

The whole team is thrilled for 2020 to be over, but you’re still stuck in Zoom.

If you’re feeling the fatigue just thinking about planning your annual sales kickoff virtually, chances are that you just need a little help refreshing your programming to make the most out of your time in 2021.

Happily has produced thousands of hours of virtual team meetings for startups with small founding teams to global tech giants with tens of thousands of employees. We’ve taken enough creative risks and made enough mistakes to promise you that your virtual meeting can be really great and maybe - gasp, dare we say it?? - better than ever.

Welcome new faces

It’s tough joining a team these days, so designing a special experience for the noobs can go a long way:

  1. Create a special networking session before the SKO that has no agenda except to help your newest co-workers forge relationships as part of the “quarantine cohort”.
  2. Build a special webpage that features your new coworkers, boost their visibility just like you would a keynote speaker - with a picture, bio, and links to their social channels.
  3. In breakout moments when you’re doing a round of intros, ask people to share their name, department, location and how long they’ve been at the company. Play a little airhorn sound when a new team member pipes up.

Story-driven updates

Virtual events will end up as a recording you can simply press play on, so the narrative quality of your experience is more important than ever.

  1. Whenever a speaker takes the mainstage, coach them into starting with a story. It’s the fastest way to draw people into a shared space despite the physical distance.
  2. Finesse each presentation to have a clear beginning, middle, and end that supports one main call to action with new plot points presented within 90 seconds to three minutes.
  3. Don’t be shy about using voice over narration on video footage or image-driven slides, we’re all a bit tired of the talking head. Camera switch to close-ups of your speaker’s face at emotional moments to underscore a point and leave the rest of your updates to graphs and video.

Synchronize your global team

Curb your desire to bring everyone at exactly the same time and instead embrace a regular work day schedule on the regional level.

  1. Work with a local MC and moderator to introduce pre-recorded segments live and interact with attendees in real-time.
  2. Be willing to support your MC to speak in their native language and be prepared to live caption and subtitle pre-recorded videos in English.
  3. For times when you just can’t avoid a live sync across time zones, ask your team what time they prefer - you might be surprised at their answers!

November 10, 2020

Client Testimonial with Splash

Hear what Camille White-Stern of Splashthat.com has to say about working with our virtual events team at Happily.

Here is a quick video from Camille about her experience;

Camille White-Stern continues with some questions from our Founder and CEO, Sarah Shewey.

Sarah: Camille, can you introduce yourself, where you work, your role, and what kind of events you are organizing right now?

Camille: Sure! Hi, my name is Camille White-Stern, I am the Executive Coordinator at Splash which is an event marketing software company. My role is unique. I am sort of like the right hand to the CEO, so I work very closely with him and the rest of our executive team, and I also plan a ton of events. I plan events for our team - their internal events like our all-hands, cultural events, our annual offsite holiday events; and then I also get to work closely with our marketing team and produce events for our customers. I work with sales sometimes to produce events for prospects that we’re targeting. And a lot of the events that I’ve been planning recently are workshops, they’re webinars, and sometimes it’s just a party, just to party, kind of virtual events. So kind of all over the map. But the goal of these events is really just to create human connection, especially in this time. We are all working from home in quarantine, so it's been really interesting to navigate the virtual event landscape during this time.


Sarah: And can you tell us a little bit about… when do you use Happily to help you with your event?

Camille: So, I have learned that I just need to reach out to Happily as soon as I know what the next date is for my virtual event. I am reaching out to Happily and I am securing them as my tech support. The reason that I love working with Happily, and using them as tech support on my virtual events, is that it really just gives me one (or sometimes more than one) less thing to worry about. As an event planner we all know it can get crazy, and navigating virtual events is something new for me. So, to be able to have Happily on these events with me, and providing just invaluable tech support really takes a lot of the stress and anxiety out of planning and execution of events for me.

Sarah: Awesome! Can you tell us a little bit more about… what are the things like Joy does for you that is a really big help? Just describe a little bit more in detail what you’re delegating.

Camille: So, Joy is amazing. Joy is on the Happily team. Working with Joy, she basically works with me as a sort of like a technical event producer. So she’s, right off the bat, asking important questions and helping me figure out... ok, you know I’m obviously gonna tell her what the format of the event is going to be - but she will then walk through and make sure she has a clear understanding of the run of show for me.

If we have to figure out any cues for breakouts, or for launching poll questions in Zoom, (we use Zoom a lot at Splash for our virtual events but there’s a ton of other great tools out there). And Joy is... she knows so much more about Zoom and how to produce a successful event on Zoom, that it just takes a lot of time out of the planning process for me. If I have a question, I can just slack Joy and say “Hey Joy! Is it possible for us to open up 30 breakout rooms in a second breakout, but only 5 breakout rooms in the first breakout?”. So, whenever I have a technical question I can go to Joy or the Happily team.

And in terms of executing the event - once Joy has gotten this very clear rundown of the event not only for the content side but the technical side - then during the event, she is in constant communication with me. If things need to change on the fly, she’s just adapting and adjusting immediately, which, you know, happens a lot in events.

Before the event, she’ll send me a recap... We do a tech check - a rehearsal - to make sure everything is working, we test all the settings. She’ll send me a recap - very detailed, so that I can review it and confirm, or I have the opportunity to say “actually we’re gonna change this thing in the run of show.”

And then after the event, she always offers the opportunity for me to get my feedback: what went well, what could be better for next time, we can do a debrief if there’s any major issues that we really need to investigate. Even if I don’t ask, Joy is going to follow up and say “Hey, I realized why we had some difficulties with breakouts in the last event. It's because these people joined the Zoom, and they left the Zoom, so they didn't have an assignment to a room.” So just having that extra level of insight and support, and just the detail-oriented work that Joy does is… it’s just unmatched. I honestly don’t want to do virtual events without Happily!


Sarah: We love you! For our last question: what kind of events or what kind of customers, or maybe both, do you think should consider using Happily?

Camille: Seriously everyone. If it’s a meeting, you might not need tech support. But if you are planning a virtual event - even if it’s on the smaller side and you only have, you know, 15 to 20 people - it’s just really nice to have Happily’s support on a call, because like I said, you can focus on the content and engaging with the attendees, while Joy (or someone else from the Happily team) is focusing on making sure your event is still running smoothly. And like I said, if anything pops up, I can slack Joy on the side and ask her to look into something for me, or if she notices an issue she’ll reach out to me and bring it to my attention.

I really think no matter the size of your virtual event, no matter the size of your company or your team, you want to have tech support, and I think Happily just provides the best support out there.

And, I also can’t stress enough: running a virtual event is so different than an in-person event. In the past, I was able to execute events sometimes entirely on my own, with no support - but it would really be impossible for me to execute a virtual event on my own, without support. I can’t play host and - let’s say we have the waiting room enabled - I can’t admit attendees, and be present to welcome guests and make sure I’m checking them in on my Splash app, and things like that. So you know like I said, regardless of the size of the event, I really think you need to have one dedicated tech person - and Happily provides that. So why would I go anywhere else?

Sarah: Awesome! That would be it, unless there’s anything else that you feel like you wanted to mention?

Camille: I mean, you tell me what you want me to say and I’ll say it. I will literally sing your praises from the mountain tops!

Sarah: That’s it. I think that’s great. We love you. Thank you so much. Thank you so so much for using us. We just love helping you and your community honestly, and, like, Joy is in the video but she’s like, “Camille is so great!” So, truly, we love working with you. So thank you!

Camille: The feeling is mutual and hopefully this is a long long partnership.

Sarah: Yeah I know, looking forward to it. So thanks again, Camille.

Camille: You’re welcome.

July 5, 2020

How To Pivot Your Conference Into A Media Company: Learnit Case Study

Savvy independent conference producers with postponed in-person gatherings until 2021 are now modernizing their websites to offer on-demand content with the help of Happily’s network of virtual event specialists.

By offering on-demand video content, organizers can experiment with new revenue models including advertising, sponsored virtual events, and subscription video on demand. Read on to learn how Learnit, a global education conference based in the UK, quickly launched an MVP of their new custom web platform in less than a month with the help of Happily’s digital community strategists and web developers.

Before Happily On Wordpress

Learnit after

After Happily With custom code

Learnit After

Step One

Custom or out of the box?

The first step is to decide whether or not a custom web platform is right for you. If you are planning to regularly host a variety of content on multiple platforms, then a custom website may be the right fit.

Learnit, for example, wanted their users’ data to be seamlessly transferred between their on-demand content platform to an external platform called Jublia, which specializes in scheduled networking meetings. Happily and Jublia’s web developers worked together to leverage Jublia’s matchmaking and scheduling API with Learnit’s expanded profile data.

In the end, owning your data allows you to create a single sign-on experience that reduces the friction for your user to convert into an action that takes place on other websites.

Step Two

Assemble your team

After committing to the process of re-building your site, it’s now time to assemble a team who can help you strategize around the new business opportunities, design the new version of the site, and put it to code.

For Learnit, we decided to go with an executive-level backend web developer and project manager with a senior level front end designer. While hourly rates may be higher on the executive levels, the time saved in reduced errors can be invaluable for projects with a tight turn-around time.

In the future, we can always save money later by reducing down to a lower level developer once the site is launched. Spending a little more upfront for expertise in the architecture stage though, can truly by invaluable.

Learnit Step Three

Step Three

Build user personas and workflows

Now it’s time to begin to create user personas. This exercise greatly helps the entire team to built empathy for your users and get clarity on the experience design. It will also shine a light on assumptions about your user’s motivations and needs that should be tested before writing code.

In Learnit’s case, we spent two hours getting to understand the organization’s mission, objectives, and core revenue-generating products as well as mapping out the workflow for their two main user personas. This exercise helped us all to determine priorities for building the site and communicating the nuanced interactions that create a Learnit brand experience.

User personas and workflows are critical steps to the start of any new product feature and most definitely for the launch of a new website with your team!

Learnit Step Four

Step Four

Create a sitemap

With a greater understanding for the desired user workflow, we can then layout a visual representation of how the pages on the website will come interact with each other. Like user personas, the sitemap is an essential part of helping everyone on the team know exactly what they’re building.

Moving too fast can get you into trouble sometimes. With a deadline of 10 business days to launch a fully rebuilt website, we made a sitemap only once at the proposal / scoping phase of the project and didn’t get a chance to update it during the sprint.

Lesson learned: a sitemap is truly a living document and, no matter what the time pressures may be, the small time it takes to maintain clean documentation as you go can save hours in confusion.

Learnit Step Five

Step Five

Wireframe and code

Now, the fun part. Design and code! A wireframe is a document that shows where visual elements will go and code is a language by which you can tell the computer how you want it to function.

For the Learnit project timeline, we went straight to high fidelity wireframes presented through Invision so their team could give feedback on their own time. We worked through two different time zones (UK & LA/West Coast), so the ability to communicate asynchronously on designs this way was crucial.

Regular check-ins and good project management software are critical to rapidly iterating on websites during sprint.


QA, QA, and release

With everything ready to go, it’s time to test and test again. And again if you need. Oftentimes we will spend more time in QA than we will in actually creating the website. Seeing your vision come to life can often visualize gaps in thinking from all members of the team.

For the Learnit project, we barely had enough time to test properly enough before their desired deadline of Friday morning so we delayed the re-launch announcement to Sunday.

The process often takes longer than you think, so make sure to pad the time and stay close to the updates to help steer the ship!

Interested in having Happily help you level up? Schedule A Call

July 5, 2020

Virtual Wine Tasting on Zoom with AppsFlyer

Every Tuesday at 10am PST on Instagram Live, our founder has coffee via @teamhappily with folks in our network about what they learned from a project they recently worked on.

Today, Cynthia shared about her experience working as a backstage manager of a virtual wine tasting experience in Zoom.

Pre-event prep;

  • AppsFlyer sent wine and a recipe card for guests to have the same experience
  • Happily worked with AppsFlyer IT, marketing, and speakers in tech rehearsals
  • Happily sent audio-video kits to improve the sound and video quality of AppsFlyer team

The program;

  • Opening remarks from executives
  • Wine tasting experience led by a sommelier
  • Hang out, unscripted time

Steal these ideas;

  • Mail a personalized bottle of wine to VIPs and then have the sommelier talk about the wine straight from the barrel room
  • Put a welcome slide up that shows an agenda and housekeeping notes
  • Let the dogs out when you’re ready to make your networking playful!

Some #ProTips on virtual event management;

  • Rehearse your cues in real time, don’t rush through those. Transitions might not be as fast or slow as you think they will be, and every second counts in cyberspace!
  • Can’t talk a speaker or client through a setting? Use the remote control feature to take over

May 5, 2020

How to Build a Global Program for Sustainable Events

In last week’s installment of the Happily’s Learning Series, our CEO, Sarah Shewey, sits down with Ryanne Riley Waters of the US Green Building Council.

USGBC are the guardians of the LEED certification, which is respected worldwide as the best in class among sustainable building and structure oversight. To date, they are responsible for having certified over 100,000 projects across 176 countries. LEED is a system and set of guidelines that help people understand how to build and operate buildings and communities in a more sustainable way.

Sustainability is ensuring the needs of today are being met, while also making sure you’re not compromising the needs of tomorrow. It’s trying to increase the good and decrease the negative consequences of your actions and inactions.”

In this conversation, Sarah and Ryanne discussed how the USGBC’s international conference and expo, Greenbuild, is measured for sustainability and adapted to suit countries around the world. Greenbuild uses its events as a way to reach the market, provide education, and connect people with one another. As Ryanne puts it: “Events bring people together to help solve global problems.” Climate change and economic and social sustainability are the global challenges that Greenbuild was developed to help address.

They now operate events in America, China, India, Europe, and Mexico, and have had to learn to adapt their conference to the needs of each market. They do this by enlisting teams of people in those regions who are intimately familiar with the cultural differences, definitions, expectations, and resources in the area so they can tailor the events accordingly.

As an event producer, you might not always have the benefit of staff on the ground in different regions who know everything there is to know about sustainability. But what you can do is put together a team of really trusted friends and colleagues to help you localize your event.

Ryanne credits a lot of Greenbuild’s success to having a core set of concepts on which their events are built - a kind of framework that can then be adapted as necessary for each market in which they plan and host events. And this method can be applied to any industry. Ryanne suggests:

"Relate it back to your core mission. If you're working for a healthcare organization, or an entertainment industry event, or a non-profit that fights hunger and homelessness - there's always some sort of social or environmental (or both) initiative that you can start thinking about. Just start there and then build on it.”

Here are Ryanne’s recommended basic concepts about sustainability that you can apply to the various aspects of your events.

Consider the lifecycle of a material or product before purchasing:

- Where did it come from/how was it made?

  • What am I using it for?
  • Is there an alternative?
  • What will happen to it once I am done with it?

To help you understand how to source event materials safely, here is Ryanne’s list of preferred material content from best to worst:

  1. Domestically Sourced Recycled Content (ie. 100% post-consumer recycled paper, recycled plastic, etc.)
  2. Domestically Sourced Organic Material
  3. Domestically Sourced Virgin Material
  4. Internationally Sourced Recycled Material
  5. Internationally Sourced Organic Material (ie. 100% organic cotton from India for US show)

There are a lot of things that go into the recycling stream that aren't recyclable.”


It may surprise you to hear that recycling isn’t necessarily the best solution to our waste woes. Ryanne advises to focus on the forgotten R: Reduce.

  • Reduce first. Think, “do I need this, can we make it digital, can we redesign this process and eliminate the need for this material?”
  • Then Reuse. Think, “do we have something in inventory we can reuse, can we design something that is evergreen (i.e.: lanyards with generic show logo, no dates)?”
  • if you have to produce something new, make sure it is made in an environmentally and socially preferred way and can be recycled, reused, or donated.
  • For more information on waste, visit the TRUE (Zero Waste) website

When it comes to knowing your impact, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. It can seem daunting to find ways that measure the impact of an event on a community, but for example: hiring local labor, businesses, or ordering supplies locally, puts dollars directly back into that area’s economy, and you can measure that. Pounds of leftover material that are donated to the community can be tracked. Get this information in writing, even in a contract if you can.

"You can reduce the amount of your printed program guide by a certain number of pages, and that's great, and you can say that. But what's the impact of that? What's the total number of pages you save, or the total number of trees you save, or the pounds of wood that you saved?

Whatever you measure, don’t make up your own standards or definitions. Ryanne recommends that you follow credible sources’ guidelines like EPA, United Nations, USGBC, Green Seal, etc.

Remember, communication and stakeholder engagement in your sustainability mission is key. Be clear with everyone along the way about what your goals and needs are. Be sure to communicate it up your event supply chain, and all the way down to your end-users, attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, etc. for transparency and accountability.

sustainability report

For a quick summary of the inspiring scope of Greenbuild’s events, and a peek into their sustainability report, check out these Post-Show Reports from some of their events in various parts of the world last year.

  1. Mexico 2019
  2. Europe 2019
  3. GSCExIMPACT 2019
  4. Rocky Mountain Green

Whew! We learned so much in this fascinating conversation - this summary is just the tip of the iceberg!

Check out the video for more details from Ryanne and Sarah, and be sure to visit the USGBC and Greenbuild websites for more information.

Thanks again, Ryanne!

April 8, 2020

How to Create Fun Online Workshops with Amy Jo Kim

Amy Jo Kim is an advisor to Happily and the mastermind of Game Thinking, a customer-centric process for unlocking innovation in your products that she developed out of her experiences building products with the early teams of eBay, Guitar Hero, The Sims Online, and Netflix.

"The Sims is one of the games where I saw that you could merge vision with a relentless search for market truth and “find the core of fun.”"

Companies fly Amy Jo all around the world to have her teach them the Game Thinking process, but about three years ago she decided to go exclusively online as she saw her teams achieve more progress with her clients in online workshops that she facilitated. In her conversation with our CEO Sarah Shewey, Amy Jo shared some lessons learned from helpful tips on how she structures her own workshops to maximize small group learning online.

Watch the chat from our Learning Center at happily.io/learning, and read on for key takeaways from what Amy Jo shared with us.

1. Re-format the workshop into sprints

Turn your all-day workshops into a sprint: a dedicated period of time with a key focus that has a beginning and an end. During a sprint, independent work is supported by daily touchpoints with the group. Sprints help big goals feel less overwhelming and empowers participants to feel confident that the outcome of one sprint will lead to the foundation of the next. It takes a bit more upfront work to layout all the content, but ultimately a sprint achieves better results and is much easier to fit into busy workdays for your executives.

"No one wants to be online all day… With sprints, you meet for one hour every day for a week or two, and you’ll see much better results."

2. Know when to broadcast and when to discuss

Be clear on which parts of your event are in broadcast mode (eg. one presenter to many listeners) vs discussion mode (eg. small group sessions with participation). A helpful exercise is to think about the interactions you want participants to experience with each “Aha!” moment and then decide whether or not you want that to be open for broadcast or discussion.

"Unless there’s a live performance, a 45-minute talk doesn’t work."

3. Prepare for the screen

With workshops, broadcast mode is often much better delivered in pre-recorded, micro-learning segments of no more than five minutes made available for replay. Discussions are also best when done in groups of four to eight, so that everyone can have a chance to speak up. Be sure to design your docs and templates for the screen rather than a printed page, taking aspect ratio into account when you layout your slides.

Want to learn more about Game Thinking?

As Amy Jo explains, game thinking is “developing the right products for the right people and having it drive engagement with a coherent customer journey.”

She cites 3 primary practices that make Game Thinking work:

1. Leveraging super fans to speed up iteration and innovation in the early days,

2. Creating a high-level vision for mastery path/customer journey that you can test and refine to get the right mental model, and

3. Creating a compelling learning loop that empowers your customers to get better at something rather than manipulating behavior.

You can learn more about the concept in her book, Game Thinking.

Sign up her free online course, Create Your Next Hit Service With a Compelling Customer Journey” here.

Thanks again to Amy Jo Kim for sharing her insights with us!

April 6, 2020

How to Hire a Customer Service Associate Fast

This year, Reforge teamed up with Happily to source a customer service and online support specialist during the registration and preparation process for their upcoming Spring Growth workshop series.

However, when it became clear to both parties that the person they hired wasn’t quite the perfect fit for the role, they needed to find a suitable replacement quickly.

Hire customer service specialist

The Happily team sprang into action to help, giving them free Enterprise-level service.

We posted online to a system-filtered list of 811 specialists and had over 250 people respond almost immediately that they were available and interested in the role.

We narrowed down that pool of applicants and conducted a pre-screening and group interview with 12 people to identify a shortlist of talent who were the most qualified and up to the challenge of the role. We presented our shortlist to Reforge, and after conducting a final round of interviews, they ended up hiring not just 1, but 2 people from Happily. Within a matter of hours, Reforge had replaced their staff, confident that they were in the very best hands possible.

Rachael Soares

We spoke with Rachael Soares, one of the Happily specialists hired by Reforge, who shared:

The group interview process was interesting, I’ve never done one like that before. This is my first gig through Happily, and I’m really excited about it. The opportunity is great, and so far, I’m really enjoying my time with Reforge and grateful to Happily for facilitating that connection.”

Of course, we always hope for a great experience right out of the gate, but solving unforeseen problems like this, and ensuring our client’s satisfaction and success, is one of the hallmarks of Happily’s own customer service experience. We are so proud to offer this level of access and service in a pinch!

February 17, 2020

Client Testimonial with the AKR Foundation

Happily teamed up with the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation to produce its first annual benefit party on October 17, 2019, at the Park West in Chicago, IL.

It was a full evening of entertainment, food, drink, and community while fundraising for ovarian cancer research and childhood literacy.

Yellow Umbrella Party 2019

In attendance were Jennifer Garner, John Green, Tom Lichtenheld, and Luke Sital-Singh who entertained the party, and helped fundraise for the AKR Foundation mission. Our team worked closely with Executive Director, Betsy Katten to make the Yellow Umbrella Party a night to remember and honor Amy Krouse Rosenthal in the best way!

Like all nonprofit organizations, this benefit meant a lot to the foundation and those who were there to support it. So it was crucial that we found the right person to work side-by-side with Betsy and her team.

Yellow Umbrella Party 2019

The AKR Foundation utilized our All-In services, which allowed our team to handpick event specialists and set-up the interviews for them. In a matter of a couple of days, Betsy was able to find the right person for the gig and was so grateful for our help she wanted to share her experience!

December 10, 2019

LUMA's Digital Marketing Summit 2019 Highlights

The Digital Marketing Summit by Luma Partners is an exclusive experience for CEOs and Executives to connect and cultivate conversations for the future of digital marketing.

Team Happily worked with Luma Partners in the past and was brought back to work on their 5th Annual Summit that hosted 300 MarTech leaders in the Silicon Valley. We were excited to help manage the stage for an impressive guest speaker line-up that had industry leaders from major companies like Oracle, LinkedIn, and Quantcast, discuss exclusive digital marketing insight.

It was a special moment to be able to interact with the attendees and watch them get excited about the forward-thinking discussions they just had in their breakout sessions. Watch more of their sessions on demand and get a sense of what type of projects Happily gets to be a part of and join the fun!

December 10, 2019

Client Testimonial with River LA

Jason Foster, the Director of Strategic Partnerships for a non-profit organization called River LA, had a big art exhibit with two guest artists to showcase at a 5,000 person event.

The day before the event, he got the most important call of his life that his wife was in labor. He immediately looked to Happily for a solution to have someone jump in and take over the River LA Art Exhibit.

Within hours, he was able to use the Happily platform to identify the right event specialist for the gig, make the payment for the hire and have her jump on that same day to take over the execution.

We are proud to be able to provide a platform that is designed to help clients like Jason and River LA, who are looking for on-demand solutions for quick turnaround projects. We look forward to continuing our work with River LA in the future and be there for our clients for whatever life throws at them!

December 10, 2019

Sarah Shewey on the Real Women in Business with Cass McCrory Podcast

Running the show is not always glamourous and it sure isn't a quick fix to being successful.

Get the real low down on the "Real Women in Business" podcast's latest episode Founding & funding a company, nurturing connections and the force of grief with Founder & CEO, Sarah Shewey and learn more about what it really takes to found, fund, fail, succeed, and be a great teammate from Happily founder Sarah Shewey.


October 28, 2019

Happily's Event ROI Calculator

Is Your Event Strategy Paying Off? How to Calculate Your Event ROI

by Sarah Shewey, CEO of Happily & Dustin Varty, Happily Braintrust

Originally published on TechCrunch

Events have increasingly become an important channel in the marketing mix, despite how notoriously “impossible” it is to measure the ROI, or return on investment. When people show up to your event, they are willingly giving you their attention for hours on end - not trying to avoid attention-grabbing ads.

A well produced experience provides a great way to reach outside of your existing networks, build a pipeline of new customers, transform existing customers into superfans, and position your brand as a thought leader. In 2017, only 7% of marketers said that events were their most important marketing channel. Last year, that number rose to 41% according to a survey done by Bizzabo.

As the founder of Happily, the largest network of event producers in the United States, I’ve had backstage access to thousands of events - some wildly successful like TED and others that didn’t ever get traction in building an engaged community.

Happily's Event ROI Calculator

What has defined the successful ones?

The experiential marketing industry has long struggled to measure success in a meaningful way. They propose all the same KPIs (key performance indicators), but rarely do those KPIs provide a benchmark to determine if an event is successful or give marketers the ability to tell what worked and what didn’t. They especially fall down when customers aren’t won until months after an event.

While increasingly important, events require a lot of time, resources, and exhausting weekly meetings to do them well. The per person cost for a modest conference with lots of donated services will cost around $350 and an upscale conference experience costs about $1,500. For one day. Per Person. So how do you know when putting on an event is worth the effort?

I started kicking around this question with one of the members of Happily’s network of executives called the Braintrust. Dustin Varty, who led experiential marketing campaigns at Impossible Foods and Samsung. Together, we came up with an ROI calculator at happily.io/roi to help you determine the efficacy of launching an event marketing campaign. Read on to step through our top line thinking behind the numbers.

Start with LTV

Events engage customers, creating an environment to build a relationship that can last for years. How many people do you know who have met a co-founder, employee, or even life partner at events? Now, how many of those have you met through an ad? Probably very, very few.


So we start to quantify the value of events by measuring the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer. A simple way to calculate this is take the average purchase size and multiply that by both the frequency rate of purchase and customer lifespan.

So, if your customer usually spends an average of $1,000 once a month on your product and stays loyal for 6 months, your LTV will be $6,000.

Convert your NPS score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is historically the most accurate measure of a consumer's perception of an experiential event. A high NPS score of 10 means that a customer is extremely likely to recommend your experience to someone else, increasing network efforts that contribute to organic growth and reduce your cost of acquiring new customers.

NPS measures customer experience and predicts business growth in a very effective way, but what it doesn’t do is take into account your event’s performance relative to cost.

For a successful event where your average NPS score is 10, we know from industry research that 85% of people are likely to purchase your product.

Event Marketer

Let’s take a conservative estimate that actually only 10% of these people will spend the LTV we calculated above:

$6,000 LTV x 10% conversion x 1,000 attendees = $600,000

This suggests that your well-received event would yield $600,000 in increased revenues in the future.

Sum up your expenses

When calculating expenses, we add up these costs:

  • Production costs like venue fees, catering invoices, services and goods.
  • Marketing costs such as paid ads, social media content creation, PR fees.
  • Employee time being spent on the event.

Most people don’t take this third factor into consideration, but we caution against that. One of the most expensive parts of an event is the time to plan. At Happily we’ll see an average of 100+ hours of planning time for every 1 hour of event time.


Bringing It All Together

To calculate the final ROI, you’ll divide the net profit from the total expenses

  1. Net Profit = Total Revenue - Total Expenses
  2. ROI = Net Profit / Total Expenses

So for example if you made $600,000 in revenue and spend $350,000 on production, marketing, and staff hours then your net profit would equal $250,000. Your ROI would then be $250,000 / $350,000 = 71.4%

Event ROI

We’ve created a free Event ROI calculator online for you to make things a bit easier for yourself at happily.io/roi. The simple calculations above are also supplemented with logic around any social and PR media impressions earned as well as weighted by the duration of your event. Try it out and let us know your feedback!

June 12, 2019

Plenty Pop Ups

Plenty is a phenomenal company with the vision to make produce universally accessible, and they’re doing this through vertical indoor farms.

Happily has been helping them pop up every week in San Francisco and Seattle, giving the neighbors of their farms the first tastes of Plenty’s greens. (We’re obsessed with their arugula!)

We had a fantastic response, providing more than 10,000 samples (50%+ of attendees) and capturing valuable feedback for the marketing team.

Photos from the gallery here, taken by our friend Marla Aufmuth, are from our pop up at the Renegade Craft Fair.

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

Plenty Pop Up Marla Aufmuth Renegade Craft Fair

November 15, 2018

Eric & Lauren's Big Day

Happily coordinated a beautiful wedding held on a family ranch near Ojai, CA for our dear friends Eric Jones of Jones Woodcraft and Lauren Johanson Jones of Chivas Skin Care.

The venue was completely built from the ground up, never used before, and in the middle of a canyon with the ceremony underneath a giant tree where Lauren would dream of love as a little girl.

Activations included:

  • Live band and dance floor
  • A baby goat as an usher
  • Mechanical bull
  • Video booth in a teepee
  • Farm-to-table fully locally catered meal
  • Chivas Skin Care gift sets for guests

Eric & Lauren's Big DayEricandLaurencaliforniaranchweddingweb-258 Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day EricandLaurencaliforniaranchweddingweb-431 Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day Eric & Lauren's Big Day

December 31, 2016