Erin Diehl #008


This week we start our morning with positivity and light Chief Edutainment Director Erin Diehl, Founder of Improve It! We spiked our brew of coffee with a gift of Maple Bourbon from Smugglers Notch Distillery in Vermont. We laugh about our days living out of a suitcase and being official pee security of Spring Break experiential sites on Panama City Beach, FL. We talk about failure, controlling attitude & effort, and leaning into a new virtual community! 

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Improving through our Failures by Amanda Younger 10/11/2020

Starting in events in your younger years gives you the extra energy to spend jumping through all the hoops of fire. You have the speed to test and improvise multiple options to find the solution in a crunch. But with experience, your trials can remind you of the failures of the past to troubleshoot in a far more efficient and less anxiety ridden way to the solution. Business Leader Edutainment Director, Erin Diehl explains, “Back then, I didn’t focus on energy conservation….but now worried I was becoming an introvert, John (Diehl’s husband) said ‘No, you are just burnt out and need to recharge.’ But in those early days, I didn’t think I needed that [recharge time].”  Being out on the road for three months at a time, setting up tents, engaging with people, and continuing that engagement with your colleagues afterwards can begin to show its wear on your performance. Diehl felt after a few years it was time to set down some roots as a newlywed and take a job in business development and recruitment. With the 9-to-5 schedule, she was able to work on her comedy skills and improve shows. 

Professional development on soft skills became the foundation of Diehl’s company Improve It!  launched in 2014. Taking the improvisational talents into the business world working with employees and leaders at Fortune 100, Fortune 500, and smaller companies, Diehl knew her worlds were merging. “When I started doing the job in recruiting and doing comedy at night everything was spilling over that I was learning onstage into my professional life and I just saw the marriage of the two.” 

The company has pivoted into the virtual world hosting online workshops and training as well as pumping out content in multiple channels. Diehl was stressed in March and April of 2020 during the beginning of lockdowns and furloughs. Like many business owners Diehl had to furlough her staff and trainers, and with the summer nearing had a changed perspective to survival. “I built this amazing thing, I cannot let it go, how do we pivot this? The podcast was already a work in progress prior to the pandemic with episodes recorded for launch, but had to push those four back saying we have to discuss what is going on in COVID-19 first.” 

Becoming experts in Zoom meetings and breakout rooms for activities, they were able to move membership to a subscribership and work with trainers and clients remotely. The interviews for the free podcast goes from Racial Injustice in Corporate America to Leading Remote Teams. 

With live events closed for an unforeseeable amount of time, what can Improve It! give to the world at this point in creating activities virtually? Diehl explains “One way is continuing our platform for diversity and inclusion for more cohesive workspaces remotely but also giving positivity and light.” Anticipating live events may not return till Summer 2021, the group is leaning in on their virtual capabilities and finding new ways to serve their clients. They are also finding new topics to address for their membership as the pandemic continues. 

Work from home parents have double duty on child care, schooling, keeping business afloat, and trying to keep the bubble from breaking. Diehl found the membership to their Work From Home workshop dwindled and felt it was time to evolve it into something else, but the members cried in response explaining their need to connect with other work leaders showing a professional group therapy had emerged from the workshop, a symptom Diehl herself had never expected. “There are no mistakes, there are only gifts, cause they get you to this next place”

Amanda Younger

About Author /

Amanda brings 15+ years event experience working with the world's preeminent brands, including NYC Pride, High Times, NBA, and MRY. Amanda has led, managed, and executed activations, touring, ticketing, food & beverage, trade shows & conferences, rallies, street festivals, concerts, and any confetti moment New York City has allowed. Amanda can be reached at amanda@eventspeak.com

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