Virtual Event Feature: 2021 Walgreens Virtual Leader Meeting

Event Overview

Event dates: August 30-31, 2021

Event Purpose: Internal Leadership Meeting

Attendee Count: 2,000

Virtual Platform Used: Zoom

A/V Partner: Resolution Digital Studios

Event Summary: More than 2,000 Walgreens team members joined the 2021 Walgreens Virtual Leader meeting that was broadcast from Resolution Digital Studios in Chicago. John Standley, Walgreens president, hosted the two-day event with keynote remarks by Roz Brewer, WBA chief executive officer. Many team members connected remotely on our virtual wall. Leaders from across the country were engaged and motivated by Walgreens future plans with a focus on “Leading with Purpose.” It was also an opportunity to celebrate the successes from the past year, including our team member recognition program, Champion of Champions.

Putting together a virtual event is no small task, and Walgreens organized their former, in-person event into a two-day digital experience. Lisa Burke, Senior Manager of Global Events, shared some insight with us on what their team did to put on a large, successful, virtual event.

Who was involved in this event?

The virtual event was attended by more than 2,000 Walgreens team members with approximately 50 senior leaders, presenters and support attending in person at the Chicago studio. 

For this meeting, we partnered with long time vendor, Resolution Digital Studios. The studio provides expertise on staging and using our virtual platform, Zoom. They helped us manage and support virtual presenters, virtual wall audience, and attendee interactivity.  

When planning our events, it is really important to make sure every moment counts for our team members viewing. It’s both an honor and a responsibility to deliver a safe and engaging world-class event to our team members. We are very proud of our company’s critical role in fighting the pandemic. Walgreens has administered more than 30 million COVID-19 vaccines to date. Our team members’ time is valuable as they are serving customers and patients in communities in more than 9,000 stores across the U.S.

Tell us about your internal planning team.

We are a small but mighty team, for a company our size. I lead the US Events team and am supported by Kelly Williams, Manager, Events and Meghan Andalman, Senior Planner, Executive Events. Our event team partners with the studio & creative services team led by Toni Riverdahl, Senior Director and supported by Brian Kobeluch, Senior Manager and Mike Weber, Manager. Our teams report to Kate Durham, Vice President, Communications and Events. 

What made this event a success?

Walgreens team members felt energized by the event, appreciated hearing important company updates from senior leaders and were inspired by recognizing team members doing extraordinary things during the COVID-19 pandemic during our team member recognition program, Champion of Champions. We have many deeply passionate and talented team members who are motivated by our purpose to help people across the world lead healthier and happier lives. It was wonderful to celebrate and recognize them. 

What was an unexpected challenge about the event?

COVID-19 continues to be a challenge with hosting major company events due to limitations on the number of in-person attendees. We continue to look for new ways to interact with our virtual audience with engagement activities, live chat, polling, and Q&A.

What did you learn from the event?

While we can reach more attendees hosting virtual events, our team members are anxious to get back to in person events when safe to do so. 

How did you feel about having this event virtually versus previous event/in person events from the past?

This event was our 2nd virtual Walgreens Leader Meeting, with 3 checkpoint meetings held in between events, and our 7th Walgreens Champion of Champions awards ceremony. The first large virtual event of this kind last September was such a success, that there was demand for small quarterly updates in between our annual event. 

Our last in person Walgreens Leader Meeting was held over two years ago, in July 2019 in Orlando, FL. Many of our team members are eager to return to live events as they miss the networking, connectivity and collaboration that you experience when you meet in person. 


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