We Work Well is reimagining the hosted buyer event and redefining the business-to-business landscape.
In January, 2019, Monica Helmstetter and Lucy Hugo, formerly of Questex Media, announced the launch of We Work Well, the next generation of hosted buyer events.
The plan is to build on the traditional, appointment-based, hosted buyer event format by incorporating elements that will encourage industry leaders to enhance wellbeing while cultivating business relationships in more meaningful ways. The inaugural We Work Well event will be held June 9-12, 2019, at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California.
Together, Helmstetter and Hugo bring more than 25 years of spa industry experience. They have worked together in many capacities, with senior roles at Questex Media’s American Spa magazine, Spatec North America, and the non-profit group #SpasPushingLimits.
We talked with them about their exciting new venture, what drives them, and the changing needs of spa industry professionals.
Q. What is the goal of We Work Well?
A. The goal of We Work Well is to redefine the current business-to-business landscape.
When Monica founded #SpasPushingLimits in 2016, she noticed early on that participants were forming stronger and more authentic connections through the shared purpose of physical activity and philanthropy. We want to bring leading spa and wellness suppliers and pre-qualified executives from high volume luxury resorts and day spas together through an event platform that optimizes their wellbeing and gives them a feeling of community and purpose, and to encourage our attendees to connect in healthier ways beyond the traditional business meeting.
Q. Why did you start We Work Well?
A. We believe this new model addresses current trends in the industry, as well as the changing needs of the spa professional. We recognize that there are many events in our industry and people are getting burned out. People are overworked and tired and have very little time to take care of themselves. We feel that both buyers and vendors are ready for something new and different, an event that encourages business connections while optimizing attendee wellbeing.
As the latest research out of ISPA shows, the biggest challenge in the industry today is retention and recruitment. As an event company, we want to offer an experience that can inspire our attendees beyond our events, and benefit not just themselves personally but also their employees and communities.
Q. Tell us a bit more about the incorporation of philanthropy and charitable giving.
A. We’ve found through conversations with our buyers and suppliers that they are looking for something more. They want their companies to be involved in charity and give-back programs, but often they don’t have time. They feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. We want to share best practices and give people ideas about some of the things they could be doing in this area through our interactive sessions.
Q. You obviously believe in the value of relationship building. Why is that so important?
A. Relationships are everything in our industry. People come to events to form new partnerships that they hope can help grow their businesses, and we’ve found that the most successful partnerships are formed when both parties can see beyond just the initial business transaction. People choose to do business with someone they trust and find things in common with. Professionals want to form partnerships with companies that share not only their company’s values but also their personal values. We hope to offer our attendees a venue where they can discover mutual interests that give them an opportunity to share and inspire each other, so that they can form a more authentic and longer lasting partnership.
Q. Can you talk about some of the ways your events build on the traditional event platform?
A. Work will always be central to the We Work Well brand. All attendees are there to grow their businesses through a highly targeted, carefully curated program of one-on-one meetings, education, and networking activities. We are looking to build on this already very effective model by introducing and implementing subtle opportunities for attendees to be well and move throughout the day. This includes offering optional fitness classes before and after our meeting program, kicking off the day with group meditation, and frequent stretch sessions. We’ll be incorporating stand-up and walking meetings, outdoor meetings, and interactive professional development sessions where attendees are engaged and up out of their seats.
People have a different conversation when they are walking up a hill together with someone, or sitting next to each other in a yoga class, than when they’re sitting across from each other at a table. That connection is a little bit deeper, a little more real. We want to bring this type of authenticity to We Work Well.
Q. Can you talk a bit about the importance of workplace wellness as it relates to the wellness industry itself?
A. According to the 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, workplace wellness expenditure is growing by 4.8% annually over the past two years, reaching $47.5 billion.
Millennials are now the biggest sector in the workplace and we know that this generation wants to buy from, work with, and work for brands that are more than just the bottom line or product. They are looking to align with socially conscious companies and brands that advance not just their customers’ lives but also their communities. Leading employers are finding ways to use charitable efforts to connect employees to their work to ultimately drive a more productive, engaged workforce. Companies know that by adding workplace wellness initiatives to their company they can lower health costs and improve employee morale, which in turn helps with retention, and attracting new talent. It’s important that companies not just talk a good game, but actually walk the walk when it comes to driving employee wellness.
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