The Awesome Office Launch Party and Inaugural Event

When we first conceived the idea of an association solely dedicated to creating Awesome Offices, we knew we wanted to do things a little differently.

For one, we wanted to challenge people’s preconceptions about what HR means and the role it plays in their organization.

We wanted to present a dynamic vision of what an office environment can and should be.

Most of all, we wanted to inspire AWE.

We also knew that in order to do this, to truly share the passion and excitement we felt around the issues of engagement, productivity, and wellbeing, we needed to do something big. And we knew that talking about it wasn’t enough.

Because it’s one thing to talk about creating an Awesome Office. It’s another thing to invite a few hundred of our closest friends to an award-winning, 20-acre next generation office campus and actually show them what it takes to create one.

Sound crazy? Maybe. But that’s exactly what we did.

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Last month, we celebrated the launch of the Association of Workplace Engagement with our first ever Awesome Office event at The Reserve in Playa Vista, CA. We invited a hand selected group of engagement-focused vendors, top shelf speakers, and a few hundred people-focused invitees to join us in our mission of spreading AWE.

Attendees included culture- and engagement-focused professionals from some of the most awesome offices in Los Angeles, including Google, Red Bull, Honest Company, Hulu, TOMS, Edgecast, CBRE, TrueCar, Fox, Microsoft, Warner Brothers, Steelcase, TriNet, HUMAN, Sony, Club W, Luxe, Verizon, and many more.

The Crowd at our first Awesome Office Event

As guests arrived they were treated to a red carpet-style step and repeat.

Awesome Office Event Attendees Awesome Office Event Attendees Awesome Office Event Attendees

Some took to it more than others.

Awesome Office Event Attendee

Attendees were then treated to farm-to-table fare and an open bar that included cocktails from organic vodka alternative Veev.

Awesome Office Event Partner Veev

Guests were free to meet and mingle, or partake in some of the many activities and amenities offered by our vendor partners, including free massages courtesy of Soothe, custom intention bracelets by MyIntent, a variety of organic teas courtesy of Teaja, and a mobile hair salon thanks to the folks at Beach Beauty Culture. Interactive digital signage by Enplug even allowed guests to share and display their event photos, tweets, and selfies in real time.

Awesome Office Event Partner MyIntent

AWE founder Sean Kelly kicked things off and introduced the evening’s first speaker, Hank Fortener, who was on hand to share his unique perspective on the importance of belonging and how it relates to our work lives. And he should know a thing or two about our need to belong; not only is Hank the founder of, a nonprofit crowdfunding adoption platform, and World Adoption Day, a worldwide movement to raise awareness around the need for more adoptions, but he also comes from a large adoptive family.

One of our primary goals with AWE is to do things a bit differently, and to present information you might not have heard before. It’s important to us to present unique, original voices in the world of engagement, in a completely original format. These are the people with stories to tell, who will really move you with their point of view, and who aren’t afraid to talk about the stuff that really matters. In this regard, Hank Fortener certainly qualifies.

Hank made the case for why it’s “the people stuff” that matters most, and why understanding our deep need to belong to a group or a tribe can help you create a better, more productive organization.

Awesome Office Event Speaker Hank Fortener

Next, Quest Nutrition president and co-founder Tom Bilyeu took the stage to share his impassioned – at times contrarian – perspective on company culture. He explained how Quest was born out of the misery of his first company, how “have fun, even if you’re failing” became a rallying cry, and how carrying a casket at an employee’s funeral changed his point of view forever.

Awesome Office Event Speaker Tom Bilyeu

Tom also let the crowd in on his unique approach to hiring, which, as he described it, involved treating candidates like a potential spouse. Additionally, he shared why he has never read a single resume, despite having personally conducted more than 1,000 hiring interviews at Quest.

To cap the night we raffled off some amazing prizes from our awesome vendors, including an Apple Watch, a top of the line Gesture chair from Steelcase, sunglasses and a pair of prescription glasses from David Kind, a three-month subscription to SnackNation, a month of unlimited on demand parking from Luxe, an office visit from mobile hair salon Beach Beauty Culture, a Veev gift basket, and a month’s supply of healthy snacks and bars from KIND

All in all, the evening was a rocking success, and we want to personally thank everyone who attended, all our amazing partners, and of course our thoughtful and insightful speakers.

But by far, the very best part of our first Awesome Awesome event… is that it’s only the first. AWE is dedicated to equipping you with the tools you need to create an Awesome Office, through more awesome events like this, as well as through podcasts, blog posts, interviews, and other exclusive content.

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(For the entire event photo gallery, and to tag and share your own photos, visit us on Facebook! All photos by Maya Myers.)