On March 12, 2020, we faced a daunting challenge. Our March 19 New York City based in-person conferencewas 7 days away and people were starting to think the sky was falling. The night before, Trump had just announced a ban on all European flights. The US just hit 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19. We did not yet know how bad it was going to get, but we knew it could only get worse.
For the health and safety of our guests, we knew we could not continue this event in-person.
However, since the epidemic first became public in January, we had put together a backup plan to make the entire event virtual. Fortunately, we had experience running webinars and virtual communities.
The challenge remained that this was not an ordinary conference. It was one of the largest InsurTech Conferences with 7 panels, 20 start competition pitches, 4 TED-style talks, totaling over 60 speakers. As part of the competition, more than twenty judges had to vote on winners in near real-time. We also promised to provide networking opportunities with one-on-one meetings for all the attendees. All that added up to a tall challenge.
The only question that remained was were we able to execute on the new plan? Immediately we went into action. Within 12 hours, we called every speaker and sponsor about the new format. All speakers stuck with us. We immediately went to work and notified our attendees. The end result was powerful, global engagement with attendees eager to exchange information and hear from expert speakers in the field.