Running 200 Virtual Meetings in a COVID-Restricted Environment
How do you hold hundreds of local union meetings in a COVID-restricted environment? That was the question the Manitoba Government & General Employees’ Union (MGEU) faced. During one of the worst waves of COVID-19 to hit Winnipeg, MGEU had to hold meetings to elect delegates to their upcoming convention in October, so these meetings, naturally, needed to take place before that convention. Of course, arrangements had to be made for virtual meetings. Could a virtual environment boast the same level of reliability as in-person meetings without compromising anyone’s safety?
Client Priorities Are Our Priority
AVentPro has been handling MGEU’s conventions for several years now. We were determined to provide our client with a safe, workable solution to their dilemma. Their priorities are our priorities. Some of the key considerations that MGEU had for these virtual meetings included:
- A consistent look and feel.
- Reliable, dependable equipment and infrastructure.
- An easy-to-use platform that was both robust and secure (for anonymous voting that could be accurately audited).
- A solution that guaranteed the safety of each and every meeting participant, and adhered to public health guidelines.
- A solution that would work in rural areas with limited internet coverage.
Collaboration Creates a Successful Partnership
In order to create a safe, secure, and dependable solution, we found a reliable partner. AVentPro teamed up with Data on the Spot (DOTS), which handled all local election voting. Here is what Matt Scrimshaw, from DOTS, had to say about our partnership.
“The tumultuous events of the past 16 months have forced everyone to pivot and adapt to a changing world. The accelerated digital transformation necessary to serve customers in an all-digital age has compelled all of us to rethink traditional business models, and to seek new opportunities to collaborate.
We count ourselves fortunate, then, to have found as professional and accomplished a partner as AVentPro. Faced with an ambitious, complex, and large-scale project involving more than 200 meetings over the course of three months, we successfully worked in unison to fulfill the client’s vision and needs.
It was an absolute pleasure to work with AVentPro, and to leverage each of our distinct abilities and expertise toward a common objective.”
A Custom Solution for In-Person Contact
While the meetings were virtual, MGEU needed to have some staff in a studio setting. To accomplish this hybrid strategy, we utilised a product called beMatrix. It enabled us to create small workspaces that we called PODS. These provided the perfect “safe space” for local presidents and staff representatives to chair the union meetings while keeping the technician close at hand.
We ensured that each POD came with its own uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and redundant internet connection in case of power outages. A call-in tech support and troubleshooting service was provided for members at home. This ensured that even remote areas maintained an adequate connection. In addition, we sanitized each POD between meetings to comply with applicable health and safety guidelines.
What were the results of this initiative? In just three months, we facilitated a total of 258 meetings (including a few local meetings which had to be rescheduled). Over 400 meeting participants walked through our doors in that time frame. Not one reported a case of COVID-19 community transmission. In fact, we were never even contacted for the purpose of contact tracing! Finally, our solution allowed furloughed A/V technicians to obtain hundreds of hours of work, and stay afloat financially during that difficult time.
Customized Virtual and Hybrid Meeting Solutions
MGEU was so pleased with our solution that they’re having their (virtual) biennial convention in the AVentPro studios in October. Here is what Jean-Guy Bourgeois – Director, Internal Operations at MGEU had to say about the process:
Our organization has worked with AVentPro on our Conventions since 2014. They’ve always been professional and reliable, which is why we chose them to help us host hundreds of virtual meetings with secure voting.
They helped us run over 250 virtual meetings in a three-month period, with an in-studio production that our members could join via Zoom. We couldn’t have done it without them! They were always helpful, followed all provincial COVID protocols to ensure everyone felt safe, and found creative ways to problem-solve (even during a neighbourhood power outage!).
We are very much looking forward to working with them to deliver our first-ever virtual Convention in October 2021.
The bottom line? There is always a way to accomplish your goals. Sometimes it just takes some “out of the box” thinking. (Or in this case, “inside the box!”) Are facing a perplexing question when it comes to your next event? Connect with us to utilise our years of experience in event planning. We can help you find the answer you need. Contact our team today!