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Celebrating a Historic Anniversary While Looking Toward the Future


Is your organization celebrating a milestone anniversary and struggling to find the balance between living in the past and looking toward the future? The good news is, there’s room for both while still staying trendy and modern at your gala or celebration. 

Have Fun with Nostalgia

Everyone enjoys a walk down memory lane, especially when fashion, ads, technology and fads are involved. Designate an area at your even to build out a modern art gala and showcase historic memorabilia. This can include video screens with montages of black and white magazine ads, old commercials, photos from the original founders and more. Use pedestals to show-off historic swag or use backlit photo frames to display original documents, like by-laws, attributed to the start-up of the organization. Be sure to include small descriptors for each piece so everyone in attendance can learn about the significance of the items. Looking at the history of your organization is a great way to celebrate company milestone. 

Mix the Past with the Future

Using a ‘then and Now’ approach, have fun in your event program recognizing how far the organization has come from the first two employees to the current staff of 100. Include vignettes of former Board members from different decades talking about how advocacy and industry hot buttons have advanced through the years. It’s okay to mention the tougher times, too, and how teams worked together to navigate through and come out on the other side. Celebrate people who have made a huge contribution to the industry through the decades who have perhaps gone unmentioned in events past – whether the office manager who has been with the organization for 40 years or the research analyst who keeps the office ticking with up to date and relevant information. Don’t miss an opportunity to introduce a new venture or initiative during this time – a mentorship program, a community-service driven campaign, or an internal employee rewards program.


The celebration’s program piece should finish with a quick speech that highlights all the innovation and trends anticipated in the years to come and the organizations plan to navigate change and stay relevant. The ultimate goal is to leave attendees with a sense of community and a sense of pride in their industry.

Using past successes, you’ll create inspiration for the future and end with a bang!

A Virtual World

With more and more big conventions going virtual, it's important to celebrate the milestones even when we can't all be together. A great way to look to the future is to remember your past! A portion of your virtual online meeting can feature a pre-recorded video highlighting the history of your organization from stories told by former and current employees to showing the technological advances and thought leadership demonstrated over the years. Even virtually, we can celebrate the anniversaries and celebrations together.

Want to learn more about LAI Live’s past event designs and executions, feel free to reach out.

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