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  • Shayna Bodi

May Happy Hour Recap

Updated: Aug 1, 2021

Women+ in Design PGH hosted its 3rd virtual Happy Hour event on May 4th 2021 in the new Gather Town Women + in Design lounge! We would never have envisioned a day in which a networking event takes place in an interactive, rooftop inspired, guests as avatars online experience. However, given the circumstances, it was a fantastic experience!

This pandemic has caused a lot of ‘normal’ activities to shift to a new paradigm. The idea of networking and being around people again is a bit stressful and uncertain for many of us. We were introduced to this online platform by our friends at the Green Building Alliance (who always seem to be in the know on the latest and greatest online tools for communication and connectivity). If you haven’t experienced an event in Gather Town yet, we highly recommend trying it out. This program allows you to wander around a virtual setting, almost like being in a video game. When you are within a certain distance of another avatar/person, you can talk to them (just like in real life!). When either of you move your avatars away, the image fades away like a ghostly vision. Kinda creepy? A little bit yes… But it is quite useful for those of us that might be uncomfortable with in-person networking right now. The platform allows you to move around a designed area, fade in and out as you wish, and join as many conversations as possible. AND you can do all of this in the comforts of your own living room, without much effort (and maybe only wearing the top half of a decent outfit!). On the other hand, connectivity and interaction is an essential part of our DNA, which cannot be replaced by virtual reality.

The topic of this Happy Hour was loosely ‘Work/Life Balance’. We posed thought provoking questions for the group to discuss all around the buzzing Gather Town Lounge. The discussions always seemed to come back to the variety of experiences we have all had juggling work, life, family, and friends during this past year. The discussion is now shifting to “How to move forward and get back to our normal lives?” and/or “What is the new normal?” Of course, we can’t forget lessons learned from the recent past. But, we can reflect on all that we have learned through this pandemic and formulate a new plan for resiliency to any situation the world throws at us. Let’s achieve a new perspective of work/life balance by incorporating a renewed sense of community and the importance of family and close friends.

This idea of connectivity has been on my mind a lot lately. I think we are all venturing out of our comfortable surroundings and craving REAL interactions with REAL people. It may happen slowly, and we should make sure we are all doing it at our own pace. With this in mind, we are naturally shifting these Happy Hour events to in-person gatherings. We will always do our best to respect everyone’s comfort level and our responsibility to keeping everyone around us safe and healthy.

Thank you to those who joined this interactive Gather Town Happy Hour session! We look forward to our next inspiring Happy Hour on June 8th in person! As always, the planning team welcomes your thoughts, feedback, ideas for future sessions, and continued participation.

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