Jesse Williams’ interactive virtual keynote speech at the The Northwest African American Museum’s grand reopening

Attendees heading into the Grand Re-Opening Event at NAAM, via @naamnw on Instagram.
Creating an interactive experience with a virtual keynote speaker

We were honored to assist The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) and their event planner, Kristen Tsiatsios of Jubilee Event Engineers, in hosting NAAM’s Dr. King Day Grand Re-Opening Event with nationally-acclaimed speaker, Jesse Williams as the virtual keynote.

“The goal was to gather the community for NAAM’s re-opening after three years of museum closure and to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and legacy as a community,” the President and CEO of NAAM, LaNesha DeBardelaben shared.

No internet, no problem

Live Oak AV was brought in only 5 days before the event and worked diligently to ensure the virtual keynote speech and overall audiovisual was a success. The venue was reopening and didn’t have reliable internet service yet.  Therefore, the first order of business was bringing in our own fast internet connection. This was key to ensuring Williams’ could join the event virtually.

The venue quickly fills up as the Keynote Speaker, Jesse Williams, is about to begin the keynote, via @naamnw on Instagram.

Virtual two-way dialogue

The rise of virtual keynote speakers took off during COVID but is here to stay for the long-haul. Virtual speakers mean organizations can choose from a wider range of  talent and they don’t need to pay for the speaker’s travel expenses. Additionally, more speakers are available for virtual keynotes because there is no travel time and they can present from their home or office. 

Having an expert with hybrid event experience is essential to ensure good sound and video quality, interactive two-way dialog, and an engaging presentation. If not done right, a virtual keynote speech can be downright boring. 

To solve this challenge, we had Jesse Williams join the event via Zoom and projected him onto a screen at the front of the room. We toggled between a split screen when attendees were asking questions to a full screen. This allowed for a two-way, flawless dialogue. Debardelaben shared that Williams’ “presentation was so powerful, it felt as if he were present in person with us.” 

Over 3,000 attendees gathered throughout the day at The Northwest African American Museum, via @naamnw on Instagram.

An event to remember

The NAAM event had over 3,000 attendees, including the mayor and state and city representatives, gathered for NAAM throughout the day. 

“The community was reconnecting with one another. The beauty of the MLK march descending upon NAAM for the first time in history was beyond our expectations. We were thrilled,” Debardelaben noted. 

From planning to execution

Our ultimate goal is to provide efficient and professional services, from planning to execution, no matter the occasion.

“The Live Oak AV team knew what they were doing. They were professionals. And we could trust them. They were experienced and exceptional. We’re so glad to have worked with them on this major program!” said Debardelaben.

Even with a short preparation time, we were able to help pull off an impactful event for the NAAM community.  Serving mission-driven clients, like NAAM, to amplify our community is why we do what we do at Live Oak. 


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