Far Apart But Together in Heart
In the summer of 2019, after eight years of battling the government, we had to redo our business model. Countless hours of work went into revising how we had done business for the last couple of decades. After we got through our first season with the new model we breathed a sigh of relief. Then Covid-19 hit.
Besides navigating postponed events, and how to safely hold sales, we had a trip booked to Nashville, TN for our Annual Franchise Owners Conference. We have 100 franchises in 22 states, and each year our owners are invited to a destination conference where they enjoy being with their RL Sisters and growing their business.
We waited as long as we could to see how things would play out, but with owners flying in from all over the country, we had to reschedule. John Maxwell says that crisis bumps us out of our comfort zone and into our creative zone! We have to stay adaptable, and our franchise owners have proved to be battle-tested.
We had to pivot from the way we’ve done it for the last 11 years, to a “Virtual Conference”. None of us had ever done it before, but our team did not back down. There's opportunity in adversity, right? Everyone leaned into it with everything they had so that we could serve our franchise owners with excellence. Our theme (submitted by one of our owners) was "Far Apart, But Together In Heart".
We missed everyone being together, but those of us that were able to come together enjoyed ourselves.
One of the biggest challenges of doing a LIVE virtual conference was achieving a strong, consistent internet connection. Our team worked about 13 hours straight one day testing different options to ensure the stream wouldn't be blurry or lagging. Besides a couple of technical hiccups along the way, we'd say it went well! Here are a few behind-the-scenes pictures.
We set up a watch party area where the team could make sure everything was going well, as well as respond to comments and questions.
Potentially the most difficult part for everyone was being quiet during a live video when the person on camera was being funny. No one knew what to expect, and tried so hard to hold in laughter!
After we made it through our first virtual conference, we decided to celebrate and unwind with a little axe throwing. (Is this the new thing in your town too?) We separated into two teams for some friendly competition!
Each year at the conference we have an awards banquet where we get all dressed up and celebrate each other! We have several categories in which we award our owners for various achievements.
Our Top Gun Award Winners are selected each year based on a number of qualities. When selecting this group of winners we look at their event growth, marketing strategies, connection to their communities, support of sister franchise owners, and leadership skills. These owners display our company core values before, during, and after their events. They are leaders in our company and also leaders in the communities they serve.
Top Gun Awards:
Jeanette Wuertz – Rhea Lana's of Temecula Valley, CA
Sarah McGarl – Rhea Lana's of North Atlanta, GA
Autumn Northcutt – Rhea Lana's of Jonesboro, AR
Julie Walker – Rhea Lana's of NW San Antonio, TX
Kim Burbank and Debbie Conner – Rhea Lana's of Benton-Bryant, AR and Rhea Lana's of Hot Springs, AR
Katelyn Logan and Melissa Schroeder – Rhea Lana's of Overland Park, KS
Kristie Smith – Rhea Lana's of Searcy, AR
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