One of the first projects I was involved with when I joined Interact in 2014 was a simulation for 150 employees from one of the world’s largest online search engines. The participants were selected as the ‘up and comers’ within the business and are certainly put through their paces. Since Interact first delivered this event, it has been so well received that the demand to take part has increased year on year.

I’ve enjoyed organising the logistics for each of the events in Dublin and New York, so when given the chance to Stage Manage the event in Chicago this year I jumped at the opportunity. Seeing a bespoke event run live and working with the actors is a treat for an Account Manager and I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

On the day the participants work through five very different ‘experiences’, guided through the learning by an Interact Facilitator and actor. In total 21 associates work on this event - two facilitators were from our team in London, a handful of actors were flown in from New York that we had worked with the year before, and the rest were actors based in Chicago.

As an Account Manager one of my core responsibilities is to cast actors on to jobs. Finding actors that have the skills are right for the roles can be a daunting task – especially when having to do so with actors that you can’t meet in real life, but phone and video calls have helped me get over these hurdles when events are happening overseas.

To get a bit of competition going between the teams, scores from each experience are uploaded onto a central score sheet. My favourite experience, and one that always goes down well and really requires participants to get creative is ‘Selling on QVC’. Participants meet an actor who plays an inventor of a unique product and they have a little time to learn about the product which they will pitch to ‘sell’ on QVC. Each team works with a fun flamboyant presenter and the participants always enjoy watching what each other comes up with.

The whole day went incredibly well and exploring Chicago after the event was a real treat!

Sarah Shabajee-Parker

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