OEN Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards

The OEN Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards is an annual business networking event and awards dinner that celebrates the boldest, brightest, and best startups in Oregon & Southwest Washington. It attracts entrepreneurs, business professionals, investors, and other members of the entrepreneurial community from across the state.

OEN Awards 2019

Once again, we held our signature business networking event and annual awards gala at the largest event venue in the Pacific Northwest, the Oregon Convention Center (OCC)!

The event was hosted by Co-founder of Salt & Straw, Kim Malek, and took place on October 29.

We increased individual ticket sales by 29.5% this year.

With a year of experience at OEN, and one awards show under my belt, I knew what to expect and we were able to get a head start on some things. 🎬 #action

As part of our strategy this year, we focused on paid media, content marketing, and an experimental email campaign.

The Team

Executive DirectorJim Coonan
Event ManagerJulie Brown
MarCom ManagerMiles Shattuck (me)
Marketing & Events CoordinatorJustin Mohle

The Numbers

Ticket sales (single tickets)+29.5%

Theme + Content + Email

Tom Holce was a notable entrepreneur, civic leader, and angel investor and is the namesake of OEN’s annual award ceremony. He built or helped to build dozens of successful businesses in Oregon and Southwest Washington and was the first winner of OEN’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year, the OEN Awards Steering Committee chose a “Lead With Your Values” theme to commemorate Tom’s commitment to his values and to recognize the importance of values to startup success.

We launched our email marketing efforts with this email campaign. Whereas last year, we sent this initial invitation to certain segments of our newsletter, this year we sent it to our entire subscriber list. It ended up producing the highest Open Rate of any OEN email campaign since 2016. The subject line was: “(First name), you’re invited to the hottest networking event of the year!”

To highlight the hard-working founders that made it this far, I wrote a short two-part blog series called OEN Awards: Meet the Finalists. You can read the first post here and the second post here.

Our marketing plan culminated with this email campaign I wrote and loaded with original content. As of the time of this writing, the CTR (click-thru rate) for this campaign ranked as the 5th highest of any OEN email campaign in the past 3 years.

OEN Awards 2019 photography by Jay P. Morgan.

OEN Awards 2018

As OEN has done in recent years, we held the annual OEN Awards at the Oregon Convention Center (OCC). The event was hosted by Owner of BurnCycle, Jessie Duley, and took place on October 24, 2018. This year marked the 25th anniversary of this high-profile event.

This was my first rodeo so I spent a lot of time shadowing and learning the ropes.

In addition to event marketing and communications, I was responsible for the event script, run of show, the show reel (slide deck), event theme and branding.

I designed the theme using Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. The cool thing is one of the award winners, DWFritz Automation, turned my design into a gift for the founders and shared it on social media! 😃#flattered

To engage potential supporters at the top of the funnel, I worked with volunteers on our OEN Marketing Committee to produce a lighthearted five-part series of original blog posts called 25 Reasons You Should Attend the 2018 Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards Dinner.

The Team

Executive DirectorMaggie Finnerty
Event ManagerJulie Brown
MarCom ManagerMiles Shattuck (me)
Marketing CoordinatorClara Gilbrough

The Numbers