2023 TPF Immersion

Planning and Process to Event Excellence

Posted on January 18, 2023 by Kellie Alexander, TPF Fellow 2022/24
Following the holiday break and New Year, The Patterson Foundation (TPF) hosted the 2023 Immersion with the theme of “Propelling Possibilities.” My colleague, Rachel Hettinger, and I were the project managers, event planners, and co-hosts for the day, meaning months of professional muscle development in event planning and process management.

Joining the foundation with previous event planning experience and learning at TPF not to arrive with the answer, I opened my mind to the possibilities. With caring guidance, President and CEO Debra Jacobs shared insight that echoed throughout: Live the day. To live the day is to journey through each detail, including thinking through the schedule piece by piece and looking for how it will flow well and how it may not. Event excellence requires planning, strategic process with an understanding that empathy is needed, and teamwork. With this method, we could better prepare and respond or pivot with compassion.

TPF is its people, and TPFers are certainly caring individuals. TPFers stepped up to assist and offer help throughout the process. I am immensely grateful for the selfless actions of everyone who jumped in to make the day run smoothly.

While co-planning the Immersion, I learned something about myself too. I’m creative. This is not a word I would have used to describe myself before coming to the foundation. When presented with this opportunity, Rachel and I started with a blank slate of little restrictions and guidelines. The theme, content, venue, and details were left to us to determine. Nevertheless, we worked diligently to shape the star power theme to amplify “Propelling Possibilities,” crafted a detailed Run of Show – a document that lays out the event day with times, titles, and who is responsible – and gathered content materials to make programs and transitions smooth.

Throughout the TPF Immersion, table conversations sparkled, and notes were recorded from each session, including thoughts and examples of TPF values, TPF 5s, and stories of how TPF lives its mission to strengthen people, organizations, and communities. As 2023 progresses, Rachel and I will explore these noted ideas and, using imaginative creativity, think through how possibilities can further propel – because we want the sparkle to grow.

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