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A joyful conversation about the struggles and delights of planning Hackathons, parties and making Wilders happy.


 

If you've ever hosted a party, you probably know this much: the more people invited, the greater the chances of things going very right or very wrong. And the more time you spend planning, the greater the expectation will be. Balancing this equation is not easy, it requires talent, dedication and a lot of planning. We talked with Priscila Caixeta, Events and Operations Manager about that – and her backstage stories reveal Wildlife's care in promoting connections and a vibrant atmosphere.

Priscila began her studies at business school and then went after her dream, Social Communication. But at Wildlife she learned more about her talents, becoming the reference when it comes to a well-designed event. All this experience, however, did not come overnight.

She arrived at Wildlife four years ago and her career has evolved with the company. Events rapidly took shape, and space at the company's calendar. Today, Wildlife has five regular events, such as the company's traditional Birthday Party, New Year's Eve Party, Carnival Happy Hour and the Arraiá Party – the latter two are soon to cross borders to be featured on calendars Wildlife's offices outside Brazil.

Those who took part (or attended online) of these moments, certainly recommend it – and newcomers have already heard of them. The Wildlife parties, after all, are part of the DNA of the company, according to Priscila.

"Our office has pictures from floor-to-ceiling, of our events and our trips. The best parties of our lives are right here. It's something we treasure a lot, that's why we make Wilders have the best time."


Almost everything has happened – from disappointing performers on stage, a guest ending up in the hospital because of a major fall, and a gala ball in the middle of the hot summer of São Paulo. Events are indeed a realm of unexpected things happening, but the important thing is that fun has always been part of it.

Check out the full interview and learn how Wildlife manages to grow and integrate new teams into the company's culture, making one of their core values, We Care For Each Other, tangible through parties and celebrations.

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Pri, how did you start working with events at Wildlife?

Priscila: When I joined in 2016, I was an Office Manager, and the company had around 80 people. We used to occupy half a floor in Corporate Park [one of the company's buildings in São Paulo]. If someone had a problem and it wasn't related to Art or Engineering, they would talk to me. So I really handled lots of problems. At some point, we organized some events as well, and they started happening very naturally.

Parallel to the events, some new initiatives were launched, such as the Running Club, Nutrition sessions, English Classes etc. Initially, our team took care of all those initiatives, but eventually everything got so big, and it was impossible to do everything. We became 300 people, and we had so many events. They took very big proportions and I found myself as an events professional, but I still had to choose which way to go. So I decided I wanted to keep doing that, because for me it was very rewarding.

Which are the biggest events at Wildlife now? And does any of them have a "Brazilian vibe"?

The calendar is huge! In the middle of February we have a Carnival happy hour, which for now only happens in Brazil, but we think about going global. We have an electric trio [popular kind of sound truck during Carnival], a band playing axé all night long, and a comprehensive menu. It's important for us to prevent lines at our bars and food has to be served at all times. What we do is really unique.

Then, in April, we celebrate the company's birthday. Last year we had one of the most beautiful parties ever, we rented an inflatable park and chose a Star Wars theme. The company was turning eight and we decorated it like an eight year old party. It was our first family friendly celebration, fit for children as well, so it started on a Saturday afternoon. We hired cameramen for the first time too, so it was the whole package.

Then, between June and July, we celebrate our Arraiá, with all traditional foods we usually have in Brazil in this time of year, and also musical chairs, sack race, shoot the bottle... It's a very entertaining party and people actually get really tired! We also have Halloween in October. It's a nightclub style party, and we hire a band and a DJ, to make Wilders dance all night long.

We wrap the calendar up with the Christmas Afternoon Cafe, where we decorate the whole company, set a beautiful table with lots of food, and Santa distributes sweets for Wilders. And then the final party of the year, which takes place outside the company, with a band, DJ, good food, good drink and prizes – because everyone loves prizes. This is always a costume party, and the best costume wins a trip. It's incredible, and I can tell you that Wilders really know how to dress up.

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What is it essential for throwing a Wildlife a party? And what kind of expectation do you usually have?

We can't throw great parties without proper resources and autonomy. These two things make a difference in my work. From our part [the Events team], there is huge expectation. We're always very anxious waiting for people to confirm and then attending and enjoying the party. And as for Wilders, our Slack channels explode – it looks like a call center at the day of the event. There are many questions, they all want to know about the transportation, the games, the food, the songs. We all get really excited!

Currently, Wildlife has over 700 people. How do you please so many people at the same time?

When I worked with 70 people, we were all in the same room. If someone wasn't happy, they would come to my desk to comment. But I think those 70 people have created a very strong culture of being candid, and it's easy to embrace it. So getting feedback is crucial for us – I always create forms to gather as much comments as possible, and I read them all. If I get a score less than seven, I will try to understand and improve based on them, and do better next time.

What was the most curious situation you ever experienced at a Wildlife party and how did you manage to fix it?

We are always prepared for potential problems, but the team did not expect that one day we would have something like a compound fracture to deal with. I remember I thought I would be fired that day, but we took good care of the injured Wilder. We gave him all the attention and affection, and everything was fine later. And the party could go on too!

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The pandemic was certainly challenging for your team. How did you manage to adapt events like Hackathon and Arraiá to make people have fun at home?

The first Hackathon at home was really concerning and it was the most demanding event for me, because I was part of the task-force to make people work from home. We were so busy sending all the equipment to people's homes, and I completely forgot about the Hackathon. I had one week to prepare everything and it was kinda nerve-racking. I thought: what is our Hackathons about? I need to take that essence to people's homes. So I looked at photos and videos I had from the last editions, and imagined how that could be taken to Wilders. Finally, we created a kit and sent to Wilders in a box.

This box was not just any box. When they received it, it was supposed to look and feel like Wildlife's Hackathon. I pictured every moment of the process, from the bell ringing at their homes to unboxing. I included everything that would make people connect with the online event.

And as our Hackathons are usually full of great food, we offered vouchers so people could order their favorite meals. We also sent the Hackathon manual and tried keeping an agenda that was similar to the live event – and creating a Slack channel to send updates to participants was essential for that.

We had a photo contest and our traditional Late Night Surprise – which this time was a stand up performance by [Brazilian comedian] Fabio Porchat. We also created the Radio Hackathon, that works like a happy hour, and a moment for updates. Finally, we sent the "party in a box" to Wilders. It was the best Hackathon in history – in a totally atypical format.

Right now, we're planning our third online Hackathon, and we're getting better every edition!

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What about the Arraiá Party? How did you create an online version?

We had no idea if the online version could work, because this was not like Hackathon, which is essentially work, right? Arraiá, on the other hand, is pure fun. So we created a box with Arraiá's typical foods and sweets, people also got ingredients and a recipe for preparing hot wine, and finally they've received a bingo card to play online. We managed to create an expectation by sending the box with a sticker saying: do not open until the party. It worked super well!

We also hired a producer who developed a scenario with games in a studio, so it was like a TV show and Wilders could join in the safety of their homes. We had hundreds of people connected and the number increased throughout the party. The feedback was incredible.

Can you see the impact that all those events have for Wilders?

I sure can, it's pretty visible. Back in the day, we had many young and single people in the company, living far away from their families, so they were looking for support and friendship. This "profile" started to change as the years went by, so we adapted our events as well. But it's still incredible to see people meeting for the first time, talking with someone they've never seen before, and then becoming friends after a party or a trip. This is how we strengthen our community at Wildlife.

Finally, what's it like to make events for people who are always connected, surrounded by technology and games?

People are very plural at Wildlife, so we have many different profiles. That's why you can't throw the same party all the time. Today, I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I learned so much here and always had the support from Wilders to give my best every time. For me, It's incredibly rewarding to see that they notice how I care for them.

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