Every year, we throw a 2-day FEST entirely focused on re-energizing, re-inspiring, and reconnecting Red Ventures employees.
This year, 2,000 RVers from all over the world joined us at our Charlotte headquarters to talk business, hear inspiring keynotes, and immerse ourselves in awesome future-facing experiences.
Was 2019 our best FEST yet? Here are 10 takeaways from #RVCULTUREFEST:
1. Time travel is real.
…if you use your imagination.
The theme of this year’s Culture FEST was “Fast Forward – into the FUTURE.” Business presentations throughout the day focused on how Red Ventures will become a world leader (in multiple industries) over the next 5-10 years of our journey. And host Taylor Goddard focused on fashion trends and weird alternate realities that will absolutely (hopefully) never happen.
2. The future looks bright.
CEO Ric Elias opened the FEST with a big vision for the future of Red Ventures — then asked, “What if?” Over the next two days, we heard from dozens of RVers who presented the top projects propelling us forward.
3. We’ve reached 2,000 FESTers.
This year, in addition to more than 1,000 Charlotte-based RVers, we flew in 650 teammates from San Francisco, NYC, Austin, Seattle, Florida, Brazil, and the UK. Together, they represented many of the different industries and brands within our digital portfolio, including Healthline, Bankrate, Allconnect and more.
4. It’s okay to feel fear.
In one of the most memorable moments on stage, Red Ventures co-founder & CMO Dan Feldstein opened up about fear. He shared his personal experiences and real tips for how we all can overcome self-doubt and build courage, simply by replacing the phrase “I can’t” with “I must.”
5. RV’s got talent!
We wrapped up Day 1 with the annual RV Talent Show! Our 2019 acts included dancing, singing, comedy, a traditional Asian Dancing Lion, juggling, mouth juggling, and some casual knife throwing.
6. Networking is fun.
In addition to the RV Talent Show, Thursday night included a jazz band (made up of RV employees!), inclusion-focused meet-ups, and the annual RV World Cup.
Spoiler: Team Charlotte brought home its second consecutive victory!
7. Forward787 is making power moves.
Last October, CEO Ric Elias founded Forward787 to help reinvigorate the Puerto Rican economy and build sustainable, lasting career opportunities for its young professionals. At Culture FEST, we got to hear how the program is progressing and celebrate the successes of its first cohorts.
8. Social impact is a way of life.
Our Social Impact team showed us the many ways our programs are making positive change within the community. We heard from a Road to Hire graduate and his mentors about changing his career path — from customer service to computer engineering. We heard from a Golden Door Scholar about how she WILL graduate college and secure her dream career in finance. And we even heard from a LifeSports middle-schooler about his progress in school so far – and his dreams of someday joining the RV team.
9. We have a lot to learn outside of these walls, too.
Abby Wambach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion, closed out #RVCULTUREFEST with an electrifying speech on failure, teamwork, and determination.
Before Abby took the stage, we also learned how to scale a business — from one hotdog stand to 300k Shake Shacks worldwide — from world-famous restaurant icon Danny Meyer. We learned more about the language of inclusion from Emmy-nominated comedian and The Onion contributor, Baratunde Thurston. We learned about technology for the sake of humanity from Not Impossible Labs founder Mick Ebeling. And we learned about the future of technology and society’s unchanging need for connection from former AOL “Digital Prophet,” Shingy.
10. Always close with a BASH.
We hosted a live performance by Chelsea Cutler in our cafe, served a champagne toast, and closed out with a very popular karaoke station.
The perfect way to wrap up the week.
How will we possibly top #RVCULTUREFEST next year? We can’t predict the future, but one thing’s certain — our team is ready to take on 2020.