A day with... Daniela Schreiber
Event management has been transformed by the Corona crisis more than almost any other industry. On-site events have been replaced by virtual events. Covestro's Annual Press Conference was also held entirely digitally. Daniela Schreiber has co-organized it – this is how she experienced the preparations.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 9:59 a.m.: Daniela Schreiber looks intently at the mixing consoles and screens in front of her; on the tables, countless cables supply the technology with power and wifi. Event professionals call this place the Front of House (FoH): the control room for the live broadcast of events. It is dark, only the stage a few meters in front of Daniela is illuminated by bright spotlights. Covestro CEO Markus Steilemann and CFO Thomas Toepfer are standing there. In just a few seconds, they will announce the Group's annual results and present a new strategy. Journalists and other interested parties around the world will watch the virtual annual press conference. A countdown runs down on the screens. Three, two, one. The stream is live. Now everything has to work. Otherwise, months of preparation will have been for nothing.
Daniela Schreiber has been working in the Corporate Events Team at Covestro since 2018. Together with her colleague Nora Dau, she coordinates press conferences, annual general meetings and the annual Innovation Celebration, for example. After just two years, the Corona crisis has turned Daniela's job completely upside down. "We have to think completely differently," she reports. This includes not only a stable technology to stream the events, but also completely new concepts. "We have to bring a lot of momentum to the virtual events and actually think in TV formats," says Daniela. "Otherwise, people get bored in front of the screens."
Monday, February 22, 2021, 7:17 a.m.: On the day before the annual press conference, Daniela has to get up early. She has been up since six o'clock and is currently putting up signs pointing the way to the Covid rapid test stations. To ensure that the event is as safe as possible, everyone involved is being tested - including Daniela. Her main task is to coordinate the various parties involved. Behind the scenes, Daniela and her colleague Nora pull all the strings. The counter for the board members still has to be set up and various rooms need to be prepared for possible individual interviews after the press conference. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, information flow is crucial. "Everyone has to know exactly when they have to do what and where," says Daniela.
Planning for the annual press conference has been underway since the beginning of January. A lot of things are new. For the first time, the press conference will be held as a virtual event and not take place in a hotel. For the first time, Covestro is streaming the event in-house via Microsoft Teams rather than via an external streaming provider with SAT trucks. And for the first time ever, an event will be held at the new Covestro campus. "In contrast to previous face-to-face events, we outsourced much less of the planning to external providers," says Daniela. And unlike many other DAX companies, Covestro is broadcasting the Annual Press Conference with live images, not just stills.
1:10 p.m.: With that, a stable and well-functioning technology is even more important. That's why a technical check takes place about 21 hours before the live broadcast begins. "We have to think about every eventuality and have a plan B up our sleeves," says Daniela. During the test run, the team notices the light casting shadows as soon as a person stands in front of the background on stage. The lighting technicians screw the spotlights, adjusting their height. Precision work. Fortunately, everything else works fine. So, plan B can stay in the drawer. During the test run, the team notices the light casting shadows as soon as a person stands in front of the background on stage. The lighting technicians screw the spotlights, adjusting their height. Precision work. Fortunately, everything else works fine. So, plan B can stay in the drawer.
4:02 p.m.: It's time for the dress rehearsal. The board members see the setup for the conference for the first time. "I'm definitely a bit nervous," says Daniela. After all, the speakers should feel comfortable in their surroundings tomorrow. The team aligns the cameras at exactly the right height, levels the volume and adjusts the sound correctly. Everything is adjusted down to the smallest detail for tomorrow. The board members like the setup. Daniela is optimistic that everything will run smoothly tomorrow.
18.32: End of work. Usually, Daniela likes to go for a walk or do yoga after work. Today, however, she stays on the couch.
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, 11:34 a.m.: Daniela is standing in the lobby of the Covestro campus with a coffee and a blueberry muffin. Everything has gone well, all the preparations and technical checks have paid off. "Me eating something sweet is speaking for itself", she says. "I almost never do that." Shortly after the press conference, the team got together and discussed what went well and what they learned for the next event. Daniela does not enjoy the success for long. "My mind is already at the next event."
This is the Annual General Meeting in April, also virtually, of course. But Daniela and her colleagues are now well prepared for this.
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