Lighting the Night with Annie McMahon and Brooke Maher

By November 20, 2019 Team Q&A

Photos by Soulful Life Photography

This fall our team organized not one, not two, but FOUR Light the Night events for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Annie McMahon and Brooke Maher, both Account Executives on our sports team, were the event managers of these impactful events—here’s what they had to say about the work that went on behind the scenes:

Brooke (right) with our clients Tricia Belden (left) and Gabby Grimaldi.

What were your initial takeaways on all of the Light the Night walks that we executed?
BM: All four events went really well. This was our team’s first year working directly on the planning process, so it wasn’t quite muscle memory for us at the beginning. Having open communication as a team and with the client helped big time. Taking the time to look at old documents and talk to vendors/local municipalities to make sure we had the correct orders were a big part of our overall success.

Did you and your team make any changes between the first and fourth Light the Night Walk?
BM: Yes! While each event is different from the next (permitting, venue, course, etc.), there are specific requirements that have to happen at every walk—there are 140 walks around the country! From signage placement to ordering particular equipment, we were able to fine-tune getting these things done and be more efficient with our time.

Annie working on the Remembrance Pavilion—an event activation where participants honor those lost from blood cancers.

Were there any challenges you faced when executing these walks?
AM: In Nashua we had some unexpected weather. It began to pour right as registration opened. We decided that it would be best to push up the program up so that the participants weren’t required to stand in the rain. Weather is one of those things that can change in a second. You have to be ready to bend a bit to ensure both the safety of the participants and a positive event experience.

Do you have a favorite event day moment from one of the walks?
BM: My favorite moment during each walk is the opening ceremony. They have a different patient speaker every time, but the impact is always the same. It is so moving to hear their stories, what they’ve been through, and how the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has helped them. Then, there is a specific order the announcer calls out everybody to hold their lanterns up. It is a really cool and unique thing to see, especially in Boston with around 5,000 people there.

What was different from the Nashua walk than the other three?
AM: Nashua took place in a baseball stadium which allowed us to create a little bit of a different feel for the participants. Also, since the event was in New Hampshire, we were able to have fireworks which was a fantastic finale to the night.

How do events differ based on the cities they are located in? Does it affect your planning a lot?
AM: The biggest difference between cities is the permitting process. The vision and the goal of the event remains the same so it is important to work with the city that you are in to achieve the experience you want.