Last night I attended an event hosted by MPLS MadWomen called Female Pioneers. This event was inspired by women who are breaking the glass ceiling in their industry. The audience heard from a panel of five women about what it meant to be a resilient, hardworking creative. The pioneers included Christine Fruechtebeing, first female CEO of Colle McVoy, Dara Beevas,owner of Wise Ink and the first black self-publisher, Ilhan Omar, the first female Somalian legislator, Sue Crolick, the first female Art Director and founder of Art Buddies, and Jessica Melnik, high schooler, and founder of Girls United MN, a female empowerment group. You can read more about each remarkable woman here.
Why conversation is important
MPLS MadWomen is “a tribe [of women] founded through a desire for a better world where women can strive for their wildest ambitions without burnout,”. Alison Beattle, founder of MPLS MadWomen and UX lead at Target, wanted to “[bring] together like-minded women from different advertising agencies in a time where only 3% of women held creative director positions,”. She wanted to spark a conversation about change in the industry, namely a pivot in leadership, where women were beginning to step into bigger roles. Now, after six years of community involvement and local support, this group has grown to hundreds of members and hosts multiple successful events each year.
Last nights event was one of the best events I’ve attended in many years for a few reasons. Not only was it well organized and inspiring but there were ample opportunities to interact with other attendees, network, and participate in engaging activities.
As I reflect on the insightful words and all I learned, I wanted to share a few ways you could improve your own member events. Check out the top 4 takeaways you can implement in your next event below.
How to make your member networking events more worthwhile
Offer an incentive
If your RSVP numbers are low, try adding free drinks or snacks to your invite. While that may mean you need to up your event budget, it’s worth it if you can get more people in the door. Plus, if you open up your event to non-members, chances are you’ll convert some prospects into members too. Still not driving ticket sales? Offer valet!
Have nametags available as your guests arrive at the door. Ask that they write their name and company so others can identify them throughout the night. Plus, this could be a great conversation starter.
Last nights event had a photo booth with a banner displaying the MPLS MadWomen logo. We could take three pictures, send it to our phone or post directly to Instagram. It was easy, quick and fun. Not only was this a great interactive feature for attendees to use before the panel began, but, it was also a clever way for MPLS MadWomen to market themselves at the same time.
Q & A
Similar to many panel discussions, MPLS MadWomen held a Q&A at the end of the panel discussion. The moderator, Alison Beattle, asked a few insightful questions, then opened it up to the audience. This gave us, the attendees, the opportunity to engage with the panelists and interact on a more personal level. This is where the real impact happens.
As you plan your next member event, think about the suggestions above. How can you implement these tactics to help members feel more connected and increase the likelihood of their return?