Terri Lynn Yanke

My day jobs arebeing the founder of Eventful Advantage and starting the Madison chapter of the eWomen Network.

The eWomen Network is something I was very involved in when I lived in Dallas and I found it to be a remarkable organization in terms of supporting women. When I moved to Madison a few years ago, I discovered there wasn’t a chapter so I got one started in 2019. It’s been a wonderful community that’s growing nicely with entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Eventful Advantage puts on events for businesses but in a way that creates experiences—in fact “Create experiences, not just events” is our tagline.

The reason behind this goes back to marketing and neuroscience:
An experience is much more likely to be remembered than an event. If you’re spending the money and energy to do an event, especially for your business you want it to be remembered.

I worked in the apparel industry for most of my career—I was in charge of creating product lines, doing product launches and managing trade shows and showrooms. Even though my official title was “director of merchandising and design,” events, sales meetings and similar were also my responsibility. Until March 2020, one video conference was the limit of my video experience.

But then March happened. I had an event planned for March 18 through the eWomen Network. A few days before, I started getting nervous but the venue, the speaker and the audience were all still interested. Then things shut down and we had to go online. I didn’t even have the right Zoom account!

The eWomen Network pointed out that creating an “e” community had always been part of their original concept. Here was our chance to make that happen.

In a matter of days, I got a Zoom account that could accommodate 500 people, I learned how to do breakout rooms, how to share PowerPoint slides virtually, how to help the speaker prepare for an online experience. It wasn’t pretty at first, but we did it!

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time studying how to create memorable experiences online and how to change your in-person experience to make it work virtually.

For instance, at my in-person events I do things to engage and stimulate all five senses. In the virtual world we’re managing that by sending things to people ahead of time or having them stop by a partner’s business to pick up items to use during the session. For a recent event we included a beer tasting and attendees went to Brennan’s Market and got their beer and pretzel package ahead of time.

My events can help promote a business or product, help an organization bring staff together or cover topics that will be relevant for people in the entrepreneurial and small business space. 

My most memorable caffeine story is the coffee spot I discovered right after I moved to Dallas. I had to take my car in for servicing and asked if there was a coffee shop nearby; they directed me down the street. The area seemed a bit sketchy—or at least unknown—and I wasn’t sure what I’d find. But it turned out to be this unbelievable coffee shop that made me feel so welcome and comfortable. They had a lavender latte on the menu—I knew lavender is supposed to be calming, and I was feeling pretty stressed out, so I ordered that. It was presented in a ceramic mug with a little heart on top—I don’t if they did something special because they could sense my stress or if that’s how they always served it. It was so pretty and made my day!

My current caffeine of choice is usually a flavored coffee with some strength behind it to start my day and some tea later in the day.

My favorite place for caffeine is the Colectivo on Monroe. To be honest, I’d just gotten here before things shut down so I didn’t really have time to explore much. But I did enjoy that.

The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with are Wolfgang Puck and Kamala Harris.

I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying Wolfgang’s catering and it would be fascinating to talk food with him.

And I’m so excited to have a woman as VP, especially a woman of color. No matter your beliefs or political alliances, it’s an exciting achievement. It would be great to talk with Kamala and hear about her journey to this point—what’s she’s learned along the way and willing to share.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  making sure people see that no matter what’s happening with COVID, we still need to take time to celebrate, appreciate, honor and engage people. We might not be able to do it in person, and it won’t be quite the same, but it can still be good.