Meet Our Team Building Professionals – Part 1
As we dive into the fall season, we wanted to take a moment and appreciate our amazing team! Our team is the heart of our company, and we are privileged to work with such unique and dynamic individuals. They make our events come to life in amazing ways!
For this post, I asked everyone to share their favorite event stories as well as a little bit about how they got started in the industry. Read below to meet our team!
A Note From Our CFO:
My parents used to do American Cancer Society Treasure hunts when I was just a kid. It was an all-night affair and the next day they would tell us all about the clues and the adventures they had trying to solve them. The stories were amazing to hear and the clues so incredibly clever. It was at that time, I became excited about doing hunts, I just didn’t know you could have a company that did just that. Fast forward a few years and I had the opportunity to work in my dream job where clue writing and treasure hunting was just part of the fun. Today I am thrilled to be part of the Wildly Different creative team that executes hunts and escape room style programs where clever clues are key to their success, among a variety of other super fun events.
– Jane Schuliger
Lisa and I got “stuck” on a cruise ship in April 2010 because a volcano erupted in Iceland. We were previewing a ship so that we could consult with them on new activities for their passengers. We were supposed to fly out of Germany when they were going to bring on passengers, but instead, we had to stay on the ship because travel came to a complete halt in Europe. It was better for us to be on the ship than stranded in Europe with no place to stay. It was quite an adventure.
One of my favorite events was in Dallas. We partnered with Frisco Family Services and provided two women with much needed furniture and household goods. The event was called Building Futures and we had 80 executives building IKEA furniture and putting together household packs such as kitchen gift packs full of dishes, glassware and towels and such. We were told ahead of time, what each family needed. When the event was complete, we loaded up our 26-foot truck and headed to the apartment of one of the women. She had suffered domestic abuse and was starting her life over with her two kids. We felt like Al Roker on the Today show when we pulled up with our truck. All of the neighbors were wondering who we were and what we were doing there. As we unloaded the truck and moved all of the items in, we were struck by how wonderful this single mom was and how polite her two kids were. The youngest kept looking into the packages to see what may be in there. Little did they know that we had asked for a wish list for the kids. So, in addition to the furniture and household goods, we delivered a bike to the teenage child and soccer stuff for the little one, as well as a Spiderman pillow to replace the one that was really worn out. I believe we all cried tears of joy that day as we hugged each of the family members and wished them luck in their new place.
We arrived at a very sparsely decorated place and when we left it was full of everything they needed. Now that was an event to remember!
Why I love teambuilding…
I love to see how people interact with one another when they get the opportunity to play. We tend to take ourselves and life too seriously in our day to day activities, especially in a corporate setting. Allowing people to play for 2 hours during an otherwise very serious business meeting is pure joy. Some of these people don’t even want to participate when we first encounter them, but soon we see their attitudes turn around as they accomplish a simple task like catching pencils flipped off the back of the hand, or finishing a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle faster than anyone else. As children, play was part of what we did daily. It was a time for creative expression and fun interactions with other children or even our parents. As adults, I feel that we feel we have to act serious or people won’t take us seriously. And we go overboard trying to be accomplished and serious. In a team building event, people get to relax and forget about the corporate mindset and just have a good time competing with their fellow workmates. At the end of the event, I love to see the smiles, the high fives and even the teasing that happens when the winners encounter the losers. It is a feeling of great accomplishment when we can take a group of people that look at us with trepidation at the start, to getting hugs at the end. And the best compliment of all is when we hear from the meeting planner, “They are still talking about that event even now and how much fun it was. Now how do we top it this year?”
And all of this could not be accomplished if we didn’t have a dedicated team of professionals that have the same passion for the events as me and Lisa. We are so very lucky to have assembled a great group of people that make coming to work fun and exciting each day. I even look forward to Mondays! How many people can say that?
Another unrelated comment….
When I tell people what I do for a living, they immediately comment and say something like, “Oh, you do events for children, I see.” And it is at that time that I have to correct them and say, “No, we do it for corporate America.” Most of them are incredulous thinking that there is no way that a company can make money “playing” with adults and that is precisely what we do. And boy are we lucky.
I executed an event in Dallas last month where I was hosting a charitable game show that for every game the teams played they “unlocked” care package items that were going inside a cheer bag. These cheer bags were later going to be donated to the patients at the Children’s Cancer Fund. We had a rep from the Children’s Cancer Fund talk to the group and she told us that these “cheer bags” were going to be given to the children/teens on their birthdays, as welcome gifts, but most importantly when they completed chemotherapy. After an event, I normally stand off to the side and say goodbye to people as they leave, but in this instance, I felt really good about how the event turned out and I said, “If you pass by me on the way out, I’m giving away free high-fives.” After a few high fives, I had a participant come up to me and though she was seated on the opposite side of me she made her way through all the tables and chairs to hug me. I was expecting a high-five so you could imagine my shock when I received a hug – a long one too! This participant was a former cancer patient herself and had done a few rounds of chemotherapy. She was so grateful that we were bringing awareness to the importance of care bags because having cancer and going through chemo is a scary process to go through. She was a recipient of these kinds of bags before and she saw the value in what we did that night. It was such a rewarding feeling and a reminder that yes, we bring the fun to groups, but we also make a difference in people’s lives.
Why I love teambuilding…
I used to put together scavenger hunts and game show nights for my friends and then started being in charge of activities at my previous jobs. I first heard about Wildly Different through Aeme the Do It All Event Diva at WD. I applied for the part-time Event Operations Assistant role in 2015 and I’ve been the Event Superstar ever since. I love events because it is always something new. You cannot get bored with this job and I love seeing attendees have fun during our events.
I once helped to execute a high-tech pirate hunt. The first time I assisted in running this event, I was a little concerned. I was prepping backpacks for teams full of pirate themed goodies. It included eyepatches, swords and pirate flags. My concern always lies with worrying whether or not guests are going to get into “character”. For this event in particular, were businessmen and women ready to get into theme and act as pirates? The answer is YES! Teams got so into it. I had never seen a room full of professionals completely remove themselves. There were eye patches on, flags tied around necks acting as capes, and swords flying through the air! Not only was watching them act as pirates, hilarious but this is an iPad scavenger hunt so on the backend of the game, our team was getting all the crazy pictures!!! We were getting content all relating to the theme. For example, teams were coming up with pirate songs and creating their own flags with random items found in their surroundings. It was just pure fun.
Why I love team building
When I was in elementary school we had a book fair every quarter. My mom was the vice president of the PTA and she helped plan and facilitate the book fair. But it wasn’t your average book fair. The PTA went all out creating themes and even going to the lengths of creating life-sized polar bear statues or turning our library into an all-out jungle. I always helped alongside them, staying after hours and coming in early to reveal the set up to all the students. The amazement of what we are capable of excited me! Now I love to turn anything into an event! I’m the girl that plans a party because your car turned one!