The following are some of the projects near to our hearts, each special in its own way but all something extraordinary.
Abraham Lincoln: Self Made in America Tour
A multi year program sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum with support from Smithsonian Institute. Featuring mixed media exhibits and replicas taking visitors on a journey through the life of our 16th President.
We often call this our favorite project, it was an honor to represent something dear to our hearts, the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. We both grew up Illinois and are no strangers to the history of Lincoln; it was an easy transition to serve as a traveling docents and educators. With the guidance of library staff we developed packets and programing for educators visiting with student groups.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this project was interacting with guests and fielding their questions. Teaching us quickly technics for delivering information in an engaging way.
This program was often challenging as we were tasked with fielding media requests while balancing guest interactions. This quickly became Abigail’s speciality, giving an average of three interviews a day. Some of the more exciting requests included a few live remote broadcasts for morning and evening news segments. This tapped into Abigail’s undergrad work in communications, recalling how to maintain pacing and deliver essential information along with antidotes. This early tour certainly gave us lots of material for blog posts.
Library of Congress: Gateway to Knowledge Tour
This year long tour visited every state east of the Mississippi River bringing an interactive mini-museum to communities with a population under 50,000. The resources of the Library of Congress were showcased via replicas, multimedia displays, and access to web based services.
This program allowed for us to expand our roles as traveling docents into program management. We were able to work directly with the educator resources department within LOC to share best practices for creating engagement materials for student groups. Outside of daily operations and interactions with guests, Abigail became the tour manager. This additional role focused on logistical coordination, scheduling, and maintenance.
The public relations asks for this program were also elevated. Beyond fielding media requests, including live interviews, Abigail began crafting blog posts for LOC to use on their site. We were also encouraged to engage on Twitter, creating contests and special content for followers. This blog already existed but it was a whole new experience to create content for such an esteemed organization to use. There were many special moments in this program including taking part in the National Book Festival twice, but the highlight was having some of our photos published by the Library in their newsletter. Much of the what Abigail wrote that year was for LOC, but we did create some special posts here as well.
Tillamook Ice Cream: Summer Scoops Series
A summer long sampling program with the goal of reintroducing SoCal consumers to Tillamook Ice Cream via a series of pop-up activations. Teams a trained Brand Ambassador staff joined community events and select retail locations to build buzz about this high quality product.
This was an exciting opportunity to take two years worth of learnings to craft a sampling program using specially trained staff. The planning phase included three key parts, location and compliance research, oversight of asset designs, and creation of a budget and staffing plan.
This program required a massive amount of logistical and permit planning due to the temperamental nature of the product and California health codes. The staff training phase was essential to ensuring that all team members were up to date on brand messaging but also use of a compelling new experiential footprint.
The biggest challenge of this program came from remotely managing staffing conflicts. Having remote staff always has it’s hurdles, whether it’s motivation or feeling unheard. I have found these manageable by empowering my staff to show me how they best want to work and giving them tools to accomplish it. While “my way” might be great it’s not going to be right for everyone. I prefer to let them be independent and ask for accountability vs. micromanaging. I feel this works in most sitiualtiuons until there are severe personality conflicts. Making sure that staff feel heard and supported when you can’t be face to face was a new challenge and one that will shape my management from now on.
Rodhe & Schwarz Mobile Classroom
A multi-year program focused on bringing a high-tech classroom directly to Rohde & Schwarz customers. The space not only showcased the latest test and measurement technologies but was used as a platform for presenters to keep engineers up to date.
This highly technical program saw us wearing many hats, made more intricate by moving between customer visits in celular tech to the highly sensitive aerospace and defence segment. Taking a 53′ trailer holding a custom classroom anywhere is difficult but add security checks and this get much more complicated. Size aside; as a team we worked through logistical and maintenance needs, acquired permitting and permission, and keep things moving.
Aside from typical tour management tasks, was the need to serve as hosts for session participants. Ensuring that needs were met and A/V ready to create a positive learning environment.
Whenever tools are provided for sales teams you want to give them the moon but that’s not always possible. This program threw us quite a challenge in ensuring that the sales team knew what we could provide and what was just not possible. While we always wanted to give them everything, time and reality would step in to make some things undeliverable. Whether this was being able to move the classroom farther than DOT regulation allowed or providing catering that would not work in the space, we tried to always come back with an alternative to make each session special.