OfficeNinjasIRL saw hundreds of Ninjas flock to Silicon Valley’s biggest gathering of stealthy admins. The house—or museum rather—was packed. In the weeks leading up to the night, we slipped registered Ninjas details about the event, but we purposely kept the evening’s agenda under wraps. After all, what’s an OfficeNinjas gathering if you aren’t surprised and truly able to let loose?
OfficeNinjasIRL is a real life event that brings the world of office wizards together to share their stories, tricks, frustrations, and network in a fun environment. No matter if you’re a novice admin or an expert manager, the event is the best place to bring like minded Ninjas together for an amazing evening of networking and good times! – Ashley, Office Manager
In addition to a hybrid networking-professional development session, the Adult Recess theme was a major hit. Taking inspiration from the playground not only sprinkled pops of color and fun around the venue, it also capitalized on play research to help drive home the growth aspect of the event.
OfficeNinjas always champions networking and discovering ways to stay ahead of the learning curve. Alongside this, we also value quality, and that’s where the hand-selected vendors came in. These partners in crime, as we call them, aren’t run-of-the-mill contacts. Instead, they create, brainstorm, deliver, arrange, cook, capture, and serve with flying colors—and we want Ninjas to have access to that caliber of vendor.
OfficeNinjasIRL is one of the best, if not the best, networking events I’ve attended. There was a lot of energy and people stayed until the very end, which is always a good sign. The vendors were all unique, not the same ones you see at every other event. Time well spent. – Joanne, Chief Executive Assistant
But words can only describe the magic to a certain point, so we’ll let you stroll through the evening’s digital scrapbook to relive it all yourself. And if you couldn’t make it out, you can still snag a piece of OfficeNinjasIRL with our giveaway! Details below.
Entering the Venue
To set the stage for our recess theme, we needed more than four walls and good ambiance. We needed a venue that inspired curiosity, growth, and timelessness all at the same time. A museum made perfect sense—especially because Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum is all about technology. The idea of tinkering with gadgets and tools to create something is exactly the angle we were going for.
Silicon Valley—where OfficeNinjas originated! Ahh, it’s good to be back home.
You’ve entered the building and are headed upstairs to find the other Administrative Maestros.
Good, you made it to the 2nd floor! Itching closer to OfficeNinjasIRL…
Boom! It’s registration time. Get your hall pass before wandering around.
A peek at our events crew getting ready to dole out passes and swag.
Details, Details, Details
It’s all in them, right? We know you Ninjas are particularly laser-focused when it comes to helping your office save money while looking like a rockstar. So the tiniest details in the aesthetics, functionality, and experience matter to us as much as anything else.
Luckily, our playful theme was ripe with opportunity to embed quirky style throughout the event. To make sure the recess elements weren’t hokey, we infused adult style and top-notch quality into every last element of the night.
OfficeNinjas is the best networking and informational hub for all things office! I don’t have room in my inbox for newsletters so the fact that I keep subscribed to OfficeNinjas emails tells you how useful and relevant the content is. The events are always well done and my team comes away with great ideas and feeling reenergized about their careers and peers. – Lisa, Executive Personal Assistant
Hall Pass name badges give you permission to ‘break from administrative badassery and rockstar duties’.
Yep, you’re looking at more than 300 curated and hand-wrapped gifts from OfficeNinjas & Elfster.
You get one at check in—but wait to open until we say. The surprise gift will make an appearance later.
Canvas knapsack upgrades you wear like a backpack hold all your swag.
Other recess gear, like a bright and playful Ninja In Disguise T-shirt and travel bag, gets you ready to rock.
Recess needs freehand doodles, so the cool kids at Post-it® Brand gave Dry Erase Surfaces to the first 150 Ninjas in line.
In true recess fashion, Ninjas were ready to bolt to the playground as soon as possible. In fact, registration lines started filling up with buzzing energy and friendly Ninja faces way before we expected.
Friendly chatter and excitement filling up registration lines.
Office Manager Meg Escobar worked the registration table handing out hall passes and swag.
Too much of a good thing is a great thing, especially if it’s too much swag to fit in your bag.
Co-Founder of OfficeNinjas, Edwin, giving out hugs in real life to Ninjas.
Pure Ninja, almost too much to contain in your arms.
A behind-the-scenes pow-wow with all event partners, sponsors, and vendors!
Through the Fun Gates
Ahh, sweet relief. At 5:30pm sharp, we opened up the main doors and let flocks of swag-bearing Ninjas take in the scene of our presentation and “class” area. The decked out recess area we created was still closed at this point, but the awe on Ninja faces was inspiring.
First looks were like kiddos happening upon an amusement park.
We can’t get enough of these blown minds.
Take it all in, then take your seat. Getting schooled with a community is way more fun than learning alone.
Speciality cocktails by Nybll to match the theme—with an adult twist.
No nap times around here, but Ninja pillows dressed up the lounge.
Nybll childhood favorites met adult comfort foods—and spiked juice boxes washed it all down.
Mix & Mingle
By this point, Ninjas were aboard the excitement rollercoaster and it was only going faster. We wouldn’t halt all that by digging right into panelist discussions, so we opened the floor to mingle. Ninjas roamed freely with watermelon mojito popsicles in hand. If they weren’t making silly faces in the photo booth or stopping for a massage, they were chatting with fellow Ninjas or holed up by the food. We don’t blame them, since green eggs and ham deviled eggs, truffled mac n’ cheese, and spiked Meyer lemonade were all up for grabs.
1Up Events sharing laughs with Ninjas.
Help yourself to two or three… or four. This spread put cafeteria lines to the utmost shame.
Smile! You’re on Ninja camera! Fun props and a colorful background made pictures stand out.
Who doesn’t need some extra zen time? No shame in our massage game!
Toting around swag and taking names in the process.
Blazer Photo Branding Agency gave free professional headshots to 30 lucky duck Ninjas.
Class In Session
Sound the bells, class is in session. Our event hosts, Alex A. and Alex B., officially welcomed the Ninjas and breezed through a quick rundown of what to expect for the evening while Ninjas snacked on truffled popcorn and sipped spiked juice boxes.
Lights on, Ninjas assemble. The presenter area and Fireside Chat lounge ready to educate.
The evening’s dynamic duo, Alex A. & Alex B., sporting matching Ninja cardigans created by Ashbury Images.
A portrait of Ninja perfect, complete with sunset colors and eager eyes.
A look at the amazing energy that had hands flying up or clapping at all times.
Anticipating what’s next…
Snapping a shot to document the moment.
Once Ninjas popped out of their seats, it was time to get the party started. To encourage networking and real conversations between the group, we came up with the coolest icebreaker activity—maybe in history.
The mystery gifts handed out at check-in were finally getting their moment. To start, we had Ninjas turn to someone they’d never met before. After all, that’s how friends are made, right? After a full 60 seconds of chatting and swapping rapid introductions, the Ninjas swapped contact info. Then, all that was left to do was swap gifts, so each Ninja pair exchanged packages and tore into the wrapping. That, friends, is how you unwrap awesome like a Ninja.
The room was booming with excitement and the gifts, sponsored by Elfster, were solidifying new connections. The magic of OfficeNinjasIRL was officially open for business.
Alex A. takes the mic to introduce the ‘Unwrapping Awesome’ icebreaker activity.
Alex A. has Ninjas recall the wrapped mystery gifts they received at check-in.
Sharing introductions and handshakes with brand new Ninja connections.
Meeting someone new for the very first time. Ninjas exchanged 60-second intros.
All Ninjas are paired up and have chatted for a full minute. Ready for what’s next!
Exchange gifts and then open ‘em!
Impressed and excited after opening icebreaker activity gifts.
Introducing Event Wizards
Putting on a full-scale event with touch points and wow-factors at every turn meant we needed to enlist an A-Team of vendors to make it all possible. That’s exactly what we did—without driving up admission costs for Ninjas or sacrificing personalized details and custom quality.
Each vendor who had a hand in OfficeNinjasIRL shares the same vision of uniting, educating, and celebrating the admin profession as we do. They’re now part of the Ninja family, so people who attended—and even those who didn’t—can turn to trustworthy partners for their own professional planning.
This was my first event, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As an admin, I rarely get to go to attend things as a participant since I’m usually working. I appreciate all the effort put into making this a relevant and amazing opportunity.” – Christina, Office Manager
Ashbury Images shows off screen printing and custom swag details. They also help prepare at-risk youth get ready to succeed in life.
Blueprint Studios transforms events into mind-blowing experiences, OfficeNinjasIRL is evidence.
Impact Lighting provides expertly designed lighting, audio, and video so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Nybll transforms corporate eats from drab to fab with flavors cooked up by cream-of-the-crop chefs.
Oh Snap! Booth Co. brings excitement to any corporate event with innovative photo booths and fun props.
Gatsby Entertainment drops good beats, live entertainment, and glitz to bring a party to life.
Blueprint Studios helped bring our Adult Recess theme to life through bright orange/blue/green seating, lego and grass coffee tables, concrete exhibitor spaces, bright backdrops, and plush OfficeNinjasIRL pillows.
Impact Lighting | Audio | Video provided expertly designed lighting, audio, and vivid presentation screens.
Nybll really took it up a notch to incorporate our recess theme into food stations (happier meals, mashed po-ta-o-yeah bar, throwback treats) and clever beverages.
Ashbury Images created our too-cool-for-school knapsacks and Ninja in Disguise tees.
Oh Snap! Booth Co. provided event photography as well as a traditional photobooth, light painting booth, and hashtag printing.
Gatsby Entertainment provided an amazing DJ that kept the presentations interesting and on track, as well as a live trio band during recess.
We wanted to build a distinct learning component into the event, so we rounded up three All-Star Ninjas with diverse backgrounds and levels of experience to cover personal innovation. A chat moderator—Vanessa Shaw, founder of Human Side of Tech and co-producer of Culture Summit—with an equally impressive track record helped keep the discussion on pace so Ninjas could take away as much actionable advice as possible.
Melissa, an administrative assistant turned virtual assistant, shared how her husband’s passing affected her career. Now she’s the owner of The PVA, and she suggested looking for ways around the ceiling—even if those paths look like setbacks at first. For in-house Ninjas, Melissa suggested pinpointing company needs to help discover new areas to grow in. After identifying the weak spots, Melissa advised learning the skills needed to fill them. Now, bulletproof confidence like Melissa’s doesn’t come overnight. In fact, she actually shared that she was terrified of her first OfficeNinjas event—but that joining the community was the professional boost she needed. Fun fact: Melissa will be traveling the world and visiting 12 countries in 2017—all while working remotely. Rockstar status, amirite?
The search was over—that’s how I felt when I walked through the doors of OfficeNinjas. I was walking into a room with people just like me. The community has given me confidence to take on projects I wasn’t trained in, because now I had a support system. OfficeNinjas also reminded me of why I became an admin and how much fun it is to serve others. It gives me the family support I need through resources, education, and obviously great parties.” – Melissa Smith, The PVA
Crystal Le, on the other hand, is quite comfortable making career pivots, since she transitioned to life as an executive assistant after working in retail management. Because of this flexibility and openness to change, Crystal discovered a great Ninja secret—that every job position should be chosen on the basis of learning new things instead of repeating what you’ve already mastered. Like Melissa, Crystal also shared her best advice for navigating professional ceilings, which was to move on to a new team if all growth potential had been squeezed from the original.
When I find something inspirational or motivating, I naturally want to be on the inside. I make it known that I want to do more than be a member or attend occasional events.” – Crystal Le, Executive Assistant, Zoox
Joanne Linden, Chief Executive Assistant at Synopsys, echoed points from both of her colleagues—which counts for a lot since she’s been in the industry for more than 30 years. Even though she’s got a ton of experience under her belt, Joanne still takes administrative training courses and leads a few of them herself. Taking authority in that context has also encouraged Joanne to raise her own standards, which is essential for innovation. However, she’s also quick to credit her community—her co-workers and a former boss were integral to pushing her out of the administrative comfort zone.
Together with moderator Vanessa, the panelists gave Ninjas that same push.
Cozying up on stage for to discuss professional innovation, career glass ceilings, and the value of community.
Introducing Joanne Linden! She’s got more than 30 years of experience nailing her job as a Chief Executive Assistant.
Introducing Melissa Smith! She left her Administrative Assistant job to start her own company, The Personal Virtual Assistant.
Introducing Crystal Le! A risk-taking Executive Assistant who’s helping bring Ninja professionals into the spotlight.
Introducing Vanessa Shaw! She co-produced the Culture Summit Conference to teach brands about the intersection of people, culture, and tech.
Panelists shared personal experience, growth stories, and actionable advice for Ninjas.
Panelists also shared laughs.
Mega Raffle Round 1
After hashing out the complexities of personal innovation, we wanted to bring Ninjas back into party mode, and there’s no better crowd-pleaser than free prizes—especially if those prizes total $20,000 and come in the form of a Mega Raffle.
Each prize involved was valued at $1,000, which means we had lots to shower Ninjas with. We also chose to break the raffle into two parts to really explain all the details associated with each prize—and who made them possible. Round 1 came from Hotel Healdsburg and Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, Chaminade Resort & Spa, Hyatt Palm Springs, Tinggly and Delta Air Lines, San Francisco Travel, and Moshi.
It’s a good sign when you see a bucket filled with names from the crowd.
Raffle prize! A luxury Sonoma getaway at Hotel Healdsburg and Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen.
Raffle prize! A relaxing escape at Chaminade Resort & Spa.
Raffle prize! A rejuvenating getaway at Hyatt Palm Springs.
Raffle prize! Ultimate world escape package from Tinggly and Delta Air Lines.
Raffle prize! High quality travel essentials from San Francisco Travel.
Raffle prize! $1,000 Shopping Spree at Moshi.
Phew! Handing out tons of free gifts is exhausting. To combat excitement fatigue, we gave Ninjas a little commercial break in the form of presentations from a few of our innovative tech partners. Before giving these rockstars the green light, OfficeNinjas personally used or worked with each to ensure they made the Ninja cut.
Tech Scoop featured vendors up in neon to school Ninjas on useful products & services, starting with Boxed.
Boxed takes the stage to introduce the company and how its delivery service can make Ninja life easier.
Eden explains its magical, full-stack back office service that uses professional wizards to get jobs done.
Eden making a case for snazzy socks.
Bevi closes out by introducing a classy office upgrade to fountain water or bulky coolers.
Boxed kept our team happy and fed with snacks and beverages during pre-event crunchtime.
Eden sent us two handyman wizards to help assemble the wall of hall passes and place all the vendor signs.
Bevi kept us hydrated with fizzy flavors during event day preparations.
Ready for Recess
It soon came time for the main play attraction—recess. We not only built an entire event theme around this concept, we also carved out a section of the night specifically just for uninterrupted fun and carefree exploration.
A live trio band from Gatsby Entertainment filled the air with lively tunes and three food stations from Nybll filled Ninja bellies with delicious eats. Of course, the food stations were carefully planned to nod to childhood favorites, which resulted in various sliders nicknamed “happier meals” arranged alongside a mashed potato bar and throwback treats.
But the food and entertainment were just the start. Vendor tables showcased interactive activities instead of tired business cards. California Corporate Housing brought VR goggles that allowed Ninjas to step right into their luxe properties, while Eden introduced a soap-making station with customizable scents and ingredients. Oh Snap! Booth Co. also helped take interactive to the next level with a super unique light-painting photo booth.
And then there were the bunnies. We like to think there’s a parallel between having classroom pets and welcoming 1Up Events in with a bunny farm—but the truth is that we just knew a little section of fluffy critters would steal the show.
Double bunny trouble, complete with four sets of velvety ears—all brought by 1Up Events.
Eden’s jaw-dropping soap making station.
California Corporate Housing transported Ninjas into real life properties with VR goggles.
Ninjas circled around a concrete table to graze on Nybll’s Throwback Treats.
Score! Arcade games from Joey the Cat turned up the competition.
An emoji is worth a thousand words, especially when it accompanies Ninjas in a Oh Snap! Booth Co. photo booth.
Gatsby Entertainment hooked us up with better-than-playlist jams from a live trio.
Happier Meals, and tons of condiments to pack on juicy sliders, left no Ninja belly rumbling.
Candid smiles near the Bevi machine, probably from sipping some raspberry bubbly water.
Ninjas were able to test out a modern vending fridge from Byte and snag Blue Bottle coffee, bottled boba drinks, and more.
Crystal Le, one of the fireside chat panelist, being interviewed for our IRL highlight reel. Watch out for the video—launching soon!
Mega Raffle Part 2
Like we said, when you’re dishing out oodles of prizes worth a total of $20,000, phases are a must. Round 2’s giveaways came to Ninjas from our attending vendor partners.
Joey the Cat whips out the grand prize while the winning Ninja is being selected.
A lucky Ninja got a free party for her and 20 friends at Joey The Cat’s arcade venue.
This Ninja is ready to bliss out with her Office Ninja relaxation kit from Eden.
The winner of a luxury spa gift certificate poses with Pluot.
This Ninja walked away with $250 worth of yummy snacks, groceries, and more from Boxed.
Bottoms up! Bevi’s winner is all smiles after scooping up a digital gift.
Cozying up with custom Ninja pillows, printed by Blueprint Studios!
It’s a Wrap
After the last raffle winner was announced, we regrouped one last time for final thank-yous and last-minute efforts to savor all the magic. And although the swag and the activities and the tasty treats were great, we also encouraged Ninjas to consider each other as part of the experience. OfficeNinjas places community at the top of our priority list, so bringing hundreds of Ninjas together IRL was exactly what we hoped it would be. See you at the next event?
OfficeNinjasIRL is a great outlet to connect with a diverse group of administrative professionals. It’s great to hear from people in different roles, from different companies, and get their take on best practices. Whether it’s managing boundaries or deciding on a caterer, OfficeNinjas know what’s up. – Madeline, Executive Assistant
Ninjas from Houzz ringing in the night.
Showing off OfficeNinjas knapsack swag bags.
Patiently waiting with smiles and loooots of expectation.
Google’s Admin Hardware team says cheese!
When bunnies make you famous.
Warming up and making friends.
Take a seat and take it all in, there’s plenty to notice around here!
Making good use of the neon lounge area.
Alright team, ears on!
Until Next Time
Aside from spectacular vendors, we also want to thank volunteer Ninjas and partners, who helped bring last-minute details together before showtime. Everything OfficeNinjas does is a team effort, and we love that Ninjas stepped out of the recess zone to tell us they’d like to be involved with future events. If that was you, or anyone else interested, get in contact with us at [email protected].
For more eye candy of OfficeNinjasIRL, you can browse through our photo album, photo booth pics, and light painting images. If all those albums aren’t enough to hold you over until next year, you can also watch our quick video rundown of the event.
Major shoutout to Oh Snap! Booth Co. for capturing the spirit of OfficeNinjas events.
We won’t judge you if you print all this out and turn it into an actual scrapbook. Which part of OfficeNinjasIRL do you love most? Have we inspired you to join us next time?