When She Runs It was forced to cancel its signature Fearless Voices event at the beginning of March, it was still unclear how significantly, and for how long, the organization would be impacted. Within days, all live events were indefinitely postponed due to physical distancing restrictions, and the non-profit organization had to reimagine how it was going to provide networking and leadership development opportunities to its nearly 5,000 members.
"When shelter in place mandates sent everyone home and postponed industry events in March, our team sprang into action and created two new sessions for our community," said Lynn Branigan, President and CEO of She Runs It. "Through Microsoft Teams, we started hosting Water Cooler Convos every Tuesday afternoon, and Lessons from Leaders every Thursday morning. What we discovered immediately is that our membership truly wanted to stay connected, inspired, and informed. Registration is always in the hundreds and our audience numbers range from 175 to 350."
The community is not only inspired, they are vocal. The virtual events are designed to be conversations as much as they are presentations. Participants chat openly with the presenters (and each other), and people are often asked to unmute their microphones, turn on their cameras and pose a question to the speaker.
She Runs It opened the sessions to the broader marketing, media and tech community. So members were able to invite friends and family members to tune in. The new, long-distance visitors inspired Branigan and the She Runs It Board of Directors to offer a new form of participation: eMembership.
eMembers are women (and men) who live and work outside of She Runs It's geographic communities of New York and Chicago, including the new San Francisco community that was launched at the beginning of the year. Essentially, said Branigan, these are people who would not have access to live events and networking opportunities. Individual members can join She Runs It for an annual fee of $100, and all Corporate Alliance Partners (vested supporters of She Runs It,) can extend virtual membership to all employees in the US and Canada until the end of 2020 free of charge. eMembers have virtual access to many of the benefits and services offered by the nonprofit organization, including:
"At a time when industry partnership and community is more important than ever, we're excited to offer She Runs It virtual memberships to WarnerMedia Ad Sales employees across the U.S.," said Katrina Cukaj, Executive Vice President of Ad Sales Strategy, WarnerMedia. "Over the years, the organization's workshops, events, and sessions have been tremendously beneficial for our teams in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Expanding the She Runs It community is sure to increase the number of represented industry voices while providing opportunities for closer collaboration, meaningful mentorship and valuable learning."
Lorena Tapiero, a native New Yorker currently living in Los Angeles, was searching for an organization with East Coast roots when she was referred to She Runs It. "We are currently living in a time where we can rewrite the playbook, but we can't do it alone. We can move mountains with the support and confidence of like-minded women, and the e-membership allowed this to become a reality for me and timing was impeccable," she said.
In addition to the twice-weekly virtual events, She Runs It is hosting new member meetings and mentoring sessions, and the committee work is in full swing – all virtually.
"We are delighted that we've been able to show up for our membership during this crisis, and so grateful that our community is showing up for us to support our mission to pave the way for more women to lead at every level of marketing, media, and tech," added Branigan.
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