On Saturday, May 2, nearly 7,000 women made the long commute to their living room for Create & Cultivate's Money Moves Summit, sponsored by MasterCard, the colorful entrepreneur-empowering brand's first-ever virtual conference that talked all about money, honey. A modern medley of pre-recorded and livestreamed videos accumulated to nearly 10 hours of financial workshops, virtual activations (morning meditation, anyone?), fireside chats, celebrity keynote speakers (think famed comedian Chelsea Handler, actress-turned-entrepreneur Shay Mitchell, and Queer Eye's Bobby Berk), live mentor sessions, roundtable conversations, and even a live performance from rising indie-pop artist Lennon Stella.
"We hosted an Instagram Live and blog post the first week of quarantine with a financial advisor, and it was our highest trafficked piece of content on our site—ever!" said Create & Culture founder and CEO Jaclyn Johnson when asked about the summit's financial focus. "We knew people wanted financial information during this time, ourselves included, and so we wanted to make this about creating smart money moves during a difficult time. ... We knew our community needed us now more than ever, so we wanted to show up in the best way we know how: through an incredible experience coupled with quality content and incredible talent." Thanks to online platforms like Zoom, Vimeo, Squarespace, Dropbox, and others, the vision became a virtual reality (well, not that kind, but you get the gist).
Throughout the day—which started promptly at 8:50 a.m. PT with a welcoming message from Johnson, and concluded at 6:30 p.m. PT with the announcement of the pitch contest winner who was awarded a $10,000 small business grant—attendees from across the globe logged on to the password-protected site to view more than 25 videos, with some labeled 'watch live' and others 'watch whenever' to allow for some flexibility. Keynote, roundtable, and one-on-one conversations included COVID-19-related topics such as how leaders are keeping team energy levels high, creative ways to bring in revenue, where to focus your marketing dollars, and financial strategies for cutting costs, as well as more lighthearted chats around the art of the side hustle, female empowerment, and even how working parents can make it through quarantine without losing their sanity.
Though guests couldn't be face-to-face to network over morning mocktails, or exchange Instagram and LinkedIn handles in-person between workshops, the team at Create & Cultivate presented guests with a designated workspace on Slack for socializing, sending GIFs, and sharing relevant inspiration during the day. The online workspace, in addition to the entirety of the day's content, was available for 72 hours post-event to allow attendees the time to catch up on any missed keynote speakers, virtual activations, or networking opportunities.
Outside of Slack, Create & Cultivate encouraged eventgoers to take to social media with the hashtag #CCMoneyMovesSummit to share their at-home setup for the day. One visit to the hashtag's hub on Instagram and you can see just how far the event reached around the world, with viewers posting selfies with their laptops from North America and the United Kingdom to South America, Asia, and beyond.
Looking back, Johnson said she would have integrated a time-zone converter into the virtual event. "We were so happy with the international reach, but that came with people in over 20 time zones!" As for what advice the leader has for anyone looking to plan a virtual conference: "Prepare your team to be on call all day. You don’t just hit live and think that’s it."
Now that Create & Cultivate has dipped its toes in the digital waters, it won't be the only virtual event the brand hosts: "We had attendees from over 50 countries, which is something that we could never do IRL," said Johnson. "We have already announced our virtual summer camp on June 6 and are excited to keep the digital fun going!"
Peep the day's highlights in the video below, then keep scrolling for a closer look at the event held entirely online.