LOS ANGELES Herbalife's annual President's Summit is a massive event that serves two purposes: It kicks off the coming year in terms of the nutrition company's messaging and brand image, and celebrates the achievements of the company's distributors for the previous year. This time around, the event marked a celebratory milestone, too: Herbalife hit $5 billion in retail sales. This year's event brought together 3,600 high-level distributors from more than 30 countries for networking and training in business-growing topics. The Summit officially lasted from March 21 through 24, but it actually spanned nine days and comprised 49 events in all for members of various constituencies.
“[This] is the company's marquee event,“ said vice president of worldwide events Margaret Launzel-Pennes. “It attracts our top performers from all over the world who have worked very hard to be able to attend. Every bit of attention is paid to ensure a stellar experience for them and to celebrate their achievements. The special events are an important part of that—we want to give them something to truly remember and to talk about when they get back to their organizations.”
“To that end,” Launzel-Pennes said, “the closing gala is key.” To wit, the final night on March 24 celebrated top performers at the Nokia Theatre at an event Launzel-Pennes described as “our Oscars: lots of pageantry, lots of recognition.” Next, the entire group of 3,600 filled the Gold, Platinum, and Diamond ballrooms at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live for a party produced and designed by Sterling Engagements. There, amid a celebratory atmosphere—indeed, attendees scooped up bonuses totaling more than $50 million for their sales achievements—each ballroom had a unique color scheme, complementary musical entertainment, stationary and strolling entertainers, and dancers. Food and beverages in each ballroom was consistent with that ballroom’s overall look and feel. “We wanted each space to excite guests as they entered, luring them to go from one ballroom to the next,” said Sterling Engagements' Alexandra Rembac-Goldberg. “This is the evening for guests to celebrate, enjoy, and experience like they never have before.”
The Gold Ballroom, for instance, which was dedicated to the event's V.I.P.s, had an “all things that grow” concept. The ballroom was transformed into an enchanted-garden-like environment, with lush greenery, blooming flowers and plants, and growing vines. The Platinum Ballroom's look and feel was “imagination in the jungle,” where guests found a Latin American-rainforest look—a significant portion of the guests were from Latin American countries—filled with oversize tropical props and decor. And in the Diamond Ballroom, a “desert dream” motif used lighting to evoke a dreamy blue sky, while gold elements promoted a luxe, lavish feel.
“Over all, the guests' response was more positive than I could have dreamed,” said Rembac-Goldberg. “They were so into the different experiences as they walked from one floor to the next. Putting together so many different working components and seeing the guests' reactions was just magical.”