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Learning, Innovating, and Inspiring in Times of Crisis

By Olivia Brooks Allan

Throughout my career, I have always celebrated and strived towards constant learning, innovation, and a maniacal focus on the needs of the customer. There have been periods throughout my professional journey that have forced myself and the amazing teams around me to think quickly, learn, and adjust to everything from financial instability, natural disaster, national tragedy, and unforeseen market forces. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has swept through the world at a rapid pace since January driving reactions from event organizers to make massive calls, out of the abundant caution for the health of their participants, including SXSW being cancelled for the first time in 30 years, Mobile World Congress being forced to cancel after companies like Sony, Facebook and Amazon have had to pull out, and a number of postponements including marketing favorite Shoptalk. So now what?

While some large conferences are being cancelled or postponed, I still see a STRONG desire for networking and a platform for companies to generate brand awareness, push initiatives, and meet key industry players. Smart executives are always prepared for the unexpected and this fluctuating moment in our industry is no different. From my perspective, NOW more than ever companies need a trusted source to guide them through the execution of both in-person and virtual events.

When I joined Landmark as the Head of Events, I arrived with 20+ years of experience and was confident on what appeared to be a pretty straightforward remit—run the Events Practice. As the lessons of life have taught me, nothing is ever as forthright or as compounded as it may seem. I never anticipated these uncertain times, but I am self-assured that the powerful way that events bring together a diverse mix of industries, sectors, backgrounds, and perspectives to build relationships and exchange ideas will not diminish.

Landmark’s new Curate vertical addresses a major gap in the marketplace today – providing a customized solution for executives looking for a new, more intimate approach to events.

Landmark has convened influencers and decision-makers for more than 20 years, and here is what I’ve seen over the last few weeks as the industry course corrects around these new considerations:

1. The Show Must Go On: While we grapple with the potential impact of this evolving health crisis, the need for a platform designed to maximize deal flow, gain insight from top industry leaders, and intimately build strategic relationships has not diminished. Events are a fundamental part of how organizations connect and learn from one another, and with major conferences cancelled people are looking for new places and means to conduct business as usual.

2. Let’s Get Digital: How can we continue to convene the greatest minds while protecting our attendees from any health implications? We will all need to be armed with the capability to do Virtual events. Our clients are asking how their strategic targets can dial in to quality programming and conversation from the comfort and safety of their homes. Negating the hassles of travel, this path allows individuals to still hear from top executives around the globe and forge new partnerships in a unique but personal way.

3. Get Back to Your Roots: Companies are still looking for a way to bring people together despite many large networking events being forced to cancel. With fewer qualms around local travel, the idea of pop-up city and regional events that allow people to convene with their peers is an attractive option that could provide networking with less risk.

4. Make Up for Lost Time: Companies are getting their footing in March and April, but we are still seeing tremendous interest in our upcoming calendar of events in May and beyond from speakers, sponsors, and attendees. Seeing companies’ eagerness to make up for their losses in the second half of the year, we must look ahead.

5. Quality Over Quantity: It is time to prepare for a new 2021 where the event budget is going to reflect this year’s challenges, encompassing more digital events, intimate networking opportunities, and curated audiences. We are seeing an increased interest in allocating budget towards a more boutique approach to networking, ensuring better engagement with decision makers and industry leaders. It’s no longer about the biggest audience, it’s about the right audience.

My sense in the current climate is that businesses need Landmark’s unique ability to mold its services and event platforms in order to customize solutions for each client based on the shifting landscape. In today’s world, we will continue to refine and improve our ability to host rewarding events without wavering on our mission of connecting leaders in a meaningful way. Recognizing our strength, we opted to officially launch an additional vertical for the Events Practice, Landmark Curate. This marks the third vertical in an already robust line-up of event platforms within Landmark Ventures, including Dealmakers and Social Innovation Summit. Our business ecosystem has always needed Curate, but it is needed more now than ever before.

Landmark’s new Curate vertical addresses a major gap in the marketplace today – providing a customized solution for executives looking for a new, more intimate approach to events. Our goal with Curate is to architect private-label convenings for our clients with an emphasis on precise curation of programming, planning, and production from start to finish that is tailored to our client’s exact objectives and targeted accounts.

Genuinely committed to the success of each of our partners, we want to be a guide and right-hand source to lean on for executing strategic events in 2020 while being sensitive to our attendees, stakeholders, employees, and partners amid health concerns. Our team’s ability to work nimbly with each client is why the ‘Curate’ vertical has and will continue to see success. I find myself especially grateful to be part of a team that is innately innovative, built on a trusted network, and versatile in its ability to execute flawless in-person and virtual events.

As I continue my journey at Landmark, I look forward to keeping you posted as I gain new insights, and I welcome your thoughts and comments about your experiences in this ever-changing marketplace that demands acute customer focus. Feel free to message me directly at

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