About

Are you experiencing angst about being put in charge of bringing your organization’s event online?

It’s time to stop stressing and call in a professional.

Robbie Samuels is a Virtual Event Design Consultant and Executive Zoom Producer who helps organizations strategically move their in-person events online with less stress and greater participant engagement.

He offers a range of solutions, including providing virtual event design strategy, managing production, emceeing, and training presenters.

Whether your event is 60 minutes or 4 days long, he will help you design and execute a more engaging online experience that will surpass the expectations of participants.

And that is what’s important – meeting and even exceeding participant expectations. We know what doesn’t work: boring webinars with 45-minutes of death by Powerpoint, followed by ineffectual Q&A, and no one moderating chat.

Recognized as a “networking expert” by Harvard Business Review Ascend, Forbes, Lifehacker, and Inc, and as an “industry expert in the field of digital event design” by JDC Events, Robbie’s goal is to help you make the most of your virtual event experiences. By making a strategic plan, you’ll feel prepared to deliver an amazing experience of shared learning and community growth.

Robbie’s client list includes national and statewide advocacy organizations, such as the California WIC Association, Feeding America, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Association of Talent & Development New England chapter, The National At-Home Dad Network, the California Notary Symposium, and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. Robbie is committed to transforming your next virtual event from dull to inspiring.

What's more, you can book him to speak or emcee at your virtual or in-person event. See all the ways you can work with Robbie at www.robbiesamuels.com/services.

You’ll find my bio, headshot, and other information for meeting professionals here.

Robbie’s Journey

My connection to networking and forming strategic relationships goes back to my roots. My love of community organizing led me to get my Master’s in Social Work in the late 90’s, but I quickly determined that I didn't want to become a therapist, and instead focused my learning on groups and communities. In my second year, I had a great internship opportunity to serve as the New York State coordinator for a national LGBT visibility campaign.

That internship put me on the path to work for LGBT and HIV/AIDS non-profits for the next 15 years, including 10 years as the Senior Manager of Events and Donor Engagement at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) – since renamed GLBT Legal Advocates & Defenders.

A year after starting at GLAD, I founded a meetup group called Socializing for Justice.

Over the next 11 years, we grew the group to over 3,000 members and hosted hundreds of events. The relationships I built through this group would later be the network I counted on when I took a leap of faith and left the security of a full-time job.

At the beginning of 2015, I became a full-time entrepreneur and built upon my experience speaking “on the side” for the previous six years. Next came my podcast, On the Schmooze, in 2016, and a year later my book, Croissants vs. Bagels: Strategic, Effective, and Inclusive Networking at Conferences was published.

What followed was a robust speaking and coaching practice with a focus on helping associations design more engaging events, and helping participants follow through on their networking intentions.

Then, on March 9, 2020, it became clear that the world was about to change in drastic ways due to COVID-19. Events were beginning to be canceled or postponed – a few were hastily brought online. For over a decade, I had been working to establish my credibility as a networking expert with a focus on in-person networking.

Croissants vs Bagel book cover

Suddenly, my in-person networking expertise was no longer relevant…

I was best known for my “croissants vs. bagels” body language concept which became the title of the book I published in 2017.

I demonstrated this concept in 2019, in a TEDx titled “Hate networking? Stop bageling and be the croissant!”

I had been a guest expert, talking about relationship-based business strategies, on dozens of podcasts, virtual summits, and private webinars.

I had hosted a podcast since 2016, and interviewed hundreds of amazing leaders and entrepreneurs about leadership and networking.

I had even been written about inmultiple articles and books, including Dorie Clark's “Stand Out: How to find your breakthrough idea and build a following around it.” But those skills, accolades, and accomplishments didn't matter in the middle of a pandemic. 

My goal in mid-March 2020 was to figure out how to show up and add value, which is why on March 12, 2020, I wrote and shared an article called, “9 Ways to Network in a Pandemic” – and then decided to follow my own advice. This led to hosting my first Virtual Happy Hour on Friday, March 13, which developed quickly into my free weekly #NoMoreBadZoom Virtual Happy Hour, which has been held every Friday since.

I quickly and instinctually reinvented my business without having a clear sense of what was next. My entrepreneurial spirit and experience as a business growth strategy coach helped me recognize new opportunities. 

In May 2020, I created a Virtual Event Professional #NoMoreBadZoom certification program that trains presenters and meeting professionals on how to leverage digital and analog tools to design and execute engaging online experiences.

Soon after, I was being sought out by organizations, and solidified my reputation as a virtual event design consultant and executive Zoom producer, helping national and statewide advocacy organizations strategically bring their events online with less stress and greater participant engagement.

 

“As an out queer, feminist, transgender man, I…”

Back in 2005, I applied for a second time to my dream job – Special Events Manager at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

About six months earlier, I had submitted my carefully crafted resume and cover letter – drafted with input from professionals – and I heard crickets.

Miraculously, that position became available again very quickly because the person they hired did not work out.

So I applied again and this time, I wrote my own cover letter which started with, “As an out queer, feminist, transgender man, I…”

That time I was hired and I spent the next decade working there.

I feel very fortunate to have spent my nonprofit career working for progressive organizations where I could bring more of my whole self to work.

Then, in 2015, I left the security of a regular paycheck to turn my side hustle as a speaker into a business.

Once again, I found myself trying to follow best practices for how to find work, this time with a focus on how to find clients.

Over the years, I’ve heard advice from several experts to not share my personal or political views in public or I risk alienating 50% of my prospective clients.

That never made sense to me.

Why would I want to work with anyone who was diametrically opposed to my identity, my beliefs, and my values?

I bucked that advice and have not shied away from sharing who I am, what I believe, or the values I hold dear.

Have I lost client opportunities? I’m sure I have, but I’ve also attracted the kind of people and organizations that I love working with because we have shared values.

If that's you and your organization, I can't wait to meet you! Reach out so we can schedule a chat: robbie AT robbiesamuels DOT com

What are you doing on Friday at 5pm ET?

Join my free weekly #NoMoreBadZoom Virtual Happy Hour and experience how good Zoom events are supposed to feel. Network with fellow entrepreneurs, authors, speakers, consultants, coaches, and podcast hosts. Did I mention we have fun?

Why Work With Us?

“I'm a recent graduate of Robbie's 5% Advantage Program & Certified Virtual Event Professional with #nomorebadzoom. As an event manager heavily impacted by this pandemic, I was scrambling for guidance and ways to reinvent myself into this new virtual world. Signing up for Robbie's 5% Advantage Program was the best thing I ever did. I've taken my fair share of “online certification classes”, but this program is different. It's experiential, you learn by doing, you have Robbie as a guide the whole time, and the best part is you join a community of like-minded business professionals all trying to learn to create engaging online experiences together. Whether you are an events professional, an entrepreneur looking to launch an online course or business, or a public speaker, this course is essential for you. You will learn by doing, and you will reframe your whole mindset on how to continue to be successful in this new normal.”

Jodi Pavia

CMP, Director of Corporate Events at TeamBonding

“I have bragged about Robbie's #NoMoreBadZoom Virtual Happy Hour too many times to count. It's incredible! No matter how “Zoomed” out you are for the day or week you'll forget all that when you join. After attending just one event I'm hooked and have it regularly scheduled into my calendar as a must-attend event!”

Melissa Smith

Founder & CEO Association of Virtual Assistants

“Robbie is the most skilled/talented/gifted person I know when it comes to hosting online events. He creates a great experience, and at the same time, he makes us all better while hosting events—creating and modeling more fun, connection, even joy. My colleagues, clients, and I are all blown away by how much he elevates our community as he orchestrates our Zoom experiences. This is a tremendous gift Robbie gives to our community, and is even more needed and appreciated now, when our virtual experiences are substantially our experiences of community.”

Ron Tester

Growth Strategist | Book Yourself Solid ® Certified Coach | Certified Executive Coach