On May 3, 2022, In The Know by Yahoo hosted “In The Know: AAPI Changemakers,” at Phillippe Chow Downtown in New York, NY, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This was our third installment of our Changemakers series, which we piloted with In The Know: Latinx Changemakers in Brooklyn, NY, in 2021. The goals for the event included spotlighting members of the AAPI community, supporting AAPI-owned businesses and inviting prominent AAPI panelists to discuss their accomplishments with event attendees. The panelists who joined the event were Christine Chang, co-founder of Glow Recipe; Jason Wang, CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods; Sean Ro, co-founder of Lunar Hard Seltzer; and Trisha Sakuja-Walia, founder of Brown Girl Magazine. In addition to highlighting AAPI panelists, In The Know also wanted to bring more visibility to AAPI-owned brands and products. During the event, attendees were able to fill their gift bag with $80 worth of products from AAPI-owned brands, including Bossu, Hero Cosmetics and Dang Foods. The gift bag itself featured a custom illustration from AAPI artist Shar Tuiaso. Food and drinks for the event were provided by AAPI-owned restaurant Phillippe Chow Downtown with desserts from Indian Bakery Tagmo Treats. Grand prize giveaways included products from AAPI-owned brands including Commes de Garcon and Our Place. Other goals included meeting or surpassing past “scopes of influence” and retaining strong positive feedback, which In The Know received at past iterations of the Changemakers events.
Planning for In The Know by Yahoo’s “In The Know: AAPI Changemakers” event began about two months before the actual event. The events team coordinated with the editorial and transactions teams to create an event that was successful on multiple levels. The team’s main goal was to spotlight the AAPI community, raising those voices and shouting out AAPI-owned businesses. To do that, the team broke down what was needed to create a ticketed event that people would also want to pay to attend. The primary focuses were: securing a New York location that was not only AAPI-owned, but also had the appropriate amount of space for an event of this size; finding AAPI panelists who could speak to their heritage and business experience of building a brand as a person of color; securing products for the gift bags that were also AAPI-owned; choosing an AAPI artist who could design the gift bags; designing assets for the invitations, menus, decor, etc.; organizing setting up the space as well as finding volunteers; and creating video and article content for the In The Know site.
There were a few challenges along the way, but the team was able to problem-solve and find solutions. And one potential challenge ended up not coming to fruition at all. The first challenge was planning a live event while still in a global pandemic. To combat this challenge, the team sent clear communication to potential attendees that a COVID-19 safety protocol was in place. Attendees would need to show proof of vaccination, temperatures would be taken at the event, and masks and hand sanitizer would be provided, among other safety measures. Another challenge was securing panelists who were available to speak in New York on the date of the event. In The Know also wanted to spotlight a variety of AAPI voices and succeeded in featuring panelists from multiple AAPI communities. One perceived challenge was that the team planned to increase the ticket price by $5 for this event to help cover costs. Since In The Know would be sending out invitations to past attendees, the team didn’t know what the response would be. Fortunately, the response was strong, and RSVPs exceeded the expected number even with the bump in ticket price.
Overall, the event was a success on many fronts. In The Know by Yahoo succeeded in creating an AAPI event that took place at an AAPI-owned restaurant, featured AAPI speakers and included AAPI-owned brands in a gift bag designed by an AAPI artist. Even with an increased ticket price, the response was strong, and the feedback was equally positive and robust.
The results of In The Know by Yahoo’s “In The Know: AAPI Changemakers” event exceeded the team’s goals and expectations. Not only was the team able to secure prominent AAPI panelists to speak about their respective businesses, the event was also able to spotlight multiple AAPI-owned brands and artists. While making this a truly AAPI-centered event, which was the team’s priority, In The Know by Yahoo also saw growth in social influence and impact, as well as strong positive feedback from those who attended. Our efforts resulted in success for multiple reasons. We were able to secure Christine Chang, co-founder of Glow Recipe; Jason Wang, CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods; Sean Ro, co-founder of Lunar Hard Seltzer; and Trisha Sakuja-Walia, founder of Brown Girl Magazine, as panelists. Attendees were able to fill their gift bag with $80 worth of products from AAPI-owned brands. The gift bag itself featured a custom illustration from AAPI artist Shar Tuiaso. Food and drinks for the event were provided by AAPI-owned restaurant Phillippe Chow Downtown with desserts from Indian Bakery Tagmo Treats. As far as numbers go, our panelists at the “In The Know: AAPI Changemakers” event had a combined audience of 1,296,400 followers — a +63.5% increase in scope of influence from our previous iteration. The event was also given a rating of 9.6/10 from our post-event feedback. We were proud to spotlight various facets of the AAPI community, and our audience responded with overwhelming positivity.