Power of CREW

November 18, 2020
Written by: CREW-St. Louis

A Memorable Signature Event Draws Rave Reviews

In a year like no other, it seems only fitting that the 2020 Signature Event was equally like no other. As the pandemic continues to curtail social gatherings, CREW-St. Louis went virtual with its Fifth Annual Signature Event. And the nearly 100 members and friends will remember this for years to come as a welcome relief from the tedium of isolation and social distancing.
The evening still had all the trappings of a signature event: great food, convivial spirits, engaging entertainment and, yes, even the all-important collegiality of networking. Some even held watch parties at their workplaces and homes, small group gatherings with social distancing still in place 

The logistics seemed daunting. Deliver food. Make sure participants received their wine or spirit of choice. Throw in the ingredients for a special signature cocktail. Send swag bags replete with a nifty CREW-St. Louis wine tumbler. Arrange small breakout rooms to reconnect with old friends and a chance to meet new ones. Ensure that everyone stay connected during the two and one-half hour Zoom event. And even hook up live with Hannah Einbender, a comedian based in Los Angeles.

CREW-St. Louis committee members made it an evening to remember. 

“Lots went into the planning of this to take it from the normal to virtual event, so just a great appreciation for the ladies who pulled off an amazing event,” says Christie Brinkman, who Co-chairs the Programs Committee with Christine Ramsdell. Committee members who pitched in and brought everything together are Teri Samples, Connie Kroenung, Katie Matthews and Jen Merlo. 

Volunteers hand-delivered appetizers – crab cakes, asparagus, roast beef mini sandwiches and more – and even an optional evening meal from LaChef to all who tuned in. Additionally, cocktails, wine and spirits arrived from The Wine Merchant, with Jason Main, owner and sommelier, providing directions on mixing the event’s signature cocktail, an old-fashioned bourbon. Main also answered numerous questions on the wine selection and the best ingredients for cocktails.

After that, three, 20-minute breakout rooms gave everyone a chance to network in small groups. The lively discussions once again demonstrated the value of CREW-St. Louis in keeping members connected. The evening concluded with a 45-minute monologue from comedian Hannah Einbender, who took the stage from her home in Los Angeles.

The night’s events were made possible thanks to the generosity of several sponsors:

  • Mixologist: Mueller Prost
  • CREW-St. Louis Swag Bag (Wine Stopper/Tumbler): Great Southern Bank
  • Networking: Koch Development
  • Hors d’oeuvres Delivery: Triad Capital Advisors Inc.
  • Food: Stifel Bank
  • Wine: SpencerFane
Members rave about the evening’s festivities.

“I can’t imagine the logistics that went into delivering the food and wine to everyone’s homes, but I was certainly impressed,” says Katie Seibel, Vice President, Commercial Lending with Central Bank of St. Louis. “I thought that Jason Main did an excellent job and kicked off the event right. He was engaging and got everyone talking and asking questions. I ended up snacking on my appetizers earlier in the day, and I thought they were great. My favorite part of the event was the various breakout rooms. At first, I thought that three breakout rooms at 20 minutes a piece was overkill, but it flew by! In terms of true networking with people in the industry, that was the most ‘normal’ I have felt in quite some time! It was great to see some old faces and catch up with everyone,” Katie notes. 

Katie Flaschar, a Campus Recruiter at Cushman & Wakefield, posted her comments on Facebook: “So impressed with the CREW-St. Louis Signature Event last night! Our appetizers, dinner, dessert and drinks were delivered before event start time and were incredible! They featured a sommelier to help us craft the perfect cocktail and even had a comedian perform. I would’ve preferred getting to visit and network with other CREW-St. Louis members in person, but this was a pretty great alternative.” 

“I was so impressed at how well CREW-St. Louis’ virtual Signature Event came together,” adds Kirsten Malloy, Interior Designer with Eddy Design Group. “The food and drink delivery alone must have taken so much coordination. The food and drinks were wonderful, but I most enjoyed the chance to connect with fellow CREW-St. Louis friends in the breakout rooms. I’m so glad we didn’t lose these small group opportunities with an all-virtual event!”

Sharon Henderson, Associate Principal, Senior Interior Designer with the Lawrence Group, enjoyed all the evening offered. “I loved the mixologist and learning more about The Wine Merchant. He really taught us how to make the signature drink and customizable options. I was impressed with the Wine Merchant’s knowledge and approach to the pandemic as well.”

A couple sidenotes, Henderson says, showcase the work behind the scenes and the end result. 

The wine tumblers were ordered and delivered in two weeks thanks to a connection from Connie Kroenung. “She called in a favor,” Sharon says. “That could be a pandemic miracle!”

“The breakout rooms worked really well,” Sharon adds, “and the gentleman from the St. Louis Business Journal (Matt Ceresia), said this event was the best run event of its kind that he has attended to date during the pandemic.”

“The food and beverages were outstanding,” says Vicki Dolan, Senior Vice President, Sales & Leasing with Gershman Commercial Real Estate. “The breakout rooms allowed me to see CREW-St. Louis friends I haven’t seen in months and meet new members, which is always rewarding.”

Rewarding indeed. It was a memorable event like no other in a year like no other.