Ellis Island frequently hosts large corporate events, and in April of this year, we welcomed the VIPs of Amway China for a very special celebration of the company’s top performing employees in a lavish, luxury event for over 1,600 guests.
The event design team shared with us some amazing details of this unforgettable corporate event on Ellis Island:
As always, Amway China insisted on presenting their guests with an iconic experience they would not be able to access on their own. Amway events tend to take place in locations of historic significance and iconic importance. Events have to connect and honor in theme the Chinese culture and the history of the location.
Amway China flew their 1,600 top-selling representatives to New York City for a 3-day business meeting. The group traveled in two waves, for business meetings and special NYC experiences, and only once did ALL 1,600 guests come together in the same place at the same time: on the evening of April 15th for a reception, gala evening and pop concert on Liberty and Ellis Island.
Quite fittingly for our location as an historic landmark and tying into the Amway corporate goal structure, this event was titled “Follow Your Dream”.
“The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – our iconic monuments to the immigrant’s arrival in the USA and the beginning of the American Dream – gave us the opportunity to let our guests experience the beginning of their own American Dream, achieved by their association with Am(erican)way,” says Marion Renk-Rosenthal, Public Relations for Event Works, www.eventworks.com.
The evening started at Battery Park where guests gained chartered ferries to transition to Liberty Island for a cocktail reception. As they passed the Statue of Liberty, a fireboat water cannon shot red-white-blue fountains into the air.
Ferries shuttled guests from the reception to dinner and concert at the Ellis Island Museum.
“We surrounded guests with iconic walking characters from the moment they got off the ferry. Athletes, walking Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, a living Lady Liberty, Broadway showgirls, Uncle Sam stilt walkers and “President Obama” with Secret Service personnel greeted arriving guests.”
Dinner took place on two levels at the museum: the Baggage Room and the Registry Room.
The event organizers paid extra attention to the Chinese tradition of honoring the highest performers by incorporating special recognition for the Very Very Important Persons.
“We started by designing the timetable with VIPs in mind. Special consideration in ferry assignment, timed to line up perfectly with the fireboat water fountain display, and access to special treats during the cocktail reception had to be considered and planned. Very VIPs were provided with a separate, upgraded tent for the cocktail reception. We also stanchioned off a VIP Photo area centered in front of the Statue of Liberty.”
“They received preferential treatment in the transfers to Ellis Island. We designed blue prints with special, short entrance routes in the dining rooms for their arrivals. VVIPs enter the dinner last, once the regular guests were seated. We created red carpet walks down the center of the two rooms and added red carpet risers in the centers so that the regular guests could take great photos of the VVIPs. This worked out beautifully as all regular guests lined the red carpets and surrounded the risers to snap shots like photographers at the Oscars. The rooms lit up with flash photography and iPad screens. Our VVIPs posed dutifully, smiling and waving.”
The Amway China corporate group also had 33 guests who received special birthday honors, and the event organizers celebrated them by having a Gospel choir serenade them by singing “Happy Birthday”. “Our Color Guard and Amway staff then paraded in with custom designed, Lady Liberty cakes.”
The evening culminated with a customized fireworks display in New York Harbor followed by the pop concert. Despite a winter storm, temperatures sinking to 33 degrees, sleet and hail, all guests ventured outside to cheer the rousing fireworks finale!
VVIPs were invited to exit dinner first, regular guests followed and all enjoyed a custom designed display that included a 7 color rainbow, symbol of wealth and worldliness in China and used as a backdrop by Amway in recruitment presentations throughout the country. The fireworks display culminated in the Amway logo.
The Amway China event organizers enacted some technically creative plans for this celebration, including the following: “We custom-programmed a very complicated audio and video system that allowed us to split the signal for time-delayed, separate projection on either floor. We set this up to also be able to switch it to simultaneous projection to both floors as both options were used during the night. We set up multiple, separate audio channels for Chinese and English speaking stage managers and various production departments.”
List of companies involved:
Evelyn Hill, Inc. The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island,
Fireworks by Grucci (Bellport, NY),
Bestek Lighting and Staging (West Babylon, NY),
Main Attractions Inc. (Edison, NJ),
Zak Events Inc. (Franklin Lakes, NJ),
BKA – Barkley-Kalpak Agency (NY, NY),
Technical Show Management Inc. (Marina del Rey, CA))