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On the 30th of March we held our second ever event in the offices of ByrneWallace. The Business of a Referendum, examined from a business perspective the groundbreaking work that YesEquality undertook to deliver the world’s public vote in favor of marriage equality.

YesEquality was the the not­for­profit organisation that masterminded the campaign to achieve marriage equality for Ireland. Everything from poster design, canvasser coordination, social media, partnership building, fundraising and the voter registration initiatives were all coordinated by the YesEquality. Our panel for the evening included co­Chairs of YesEquality, Brian Sheahan and Grainne Healy,. Craig Dwyer (Social Media Director), KerryAnn Conway (PR Director for YesEquality Bus Tour), Davin Roche (Business for Yes) and Adam May, Language (poster and artwork design).

The evening began with causal networking amongst our 70+ attendees. Companies represented on the evening included Bank of Ireland, Deloitte, Daft, Twitter, AirBnB, Newstalk and Google. Michael Walsh, Senior Partner of ByrneWallace kicked off the evening by welcoming us to his offices and outlining what diversity and the marriage equality referendum has meant to his firm. Brian Finnegan, Editor of GCN then took over the evening’s proceedings to introduce Brian and Grainne to discuss how YesEquality came to be. The co­chairs of YesEquality gave an insider’s view on the plans that they began to put in place once it was decided that Ireland would hold a referendum on marriage equality. Brian and Grainne detailed how they laid the foundations of YesEquality by amalgamating a number of different groups under the one umbrella, where the name came from, how they became co­chairs how values driven approach that they brought to running the organisation and to the referendum.

The focus of the evening then turned to our individual contributors. Craig Dwyer outlined the role that social media played, how YesEquality established the right tone, some of the innovative strategies they deployed and some of their key successes (over 1 billion global impressions on Twitter!). KerryAnn Conway of Conway Communications gave a fascinating insight into how she became involved in the YesEquality tour, how the personal nature of her work on this project made this a project like no other and the level of detail that was required to ensure that YesEquality remained on brand.

Business for Yes was widely recognised as one of the key contributors to the success of May 2015’s referendum. Davin Roche, Director of Workplace Diversity at GLEN described how Business for Yes came to be, how he helped businesses to make a positive contribution to the referendum and how a showpiece event featuring an Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and Twitter VP, Stephen McIntyre added so positively to the debate. Adam May of Language then gave us an insight into the thought process into the design of the YesEquality collateral.

The evening wrapped up with a lively Q&A and from the audience before we headed to the bar of the Dean Hotel to wind down the evening. OutInFront would like to thank everyone who attended this very special evening, particularly each of our speakers. We hope that everyone who attended met some interesting people and learned something new to apply to their work.

Why not check out our other past events here or click below.


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Topics: Marketing, lgbt rights, campaign, Business, referendum

Thomas Foley

Written by Thomas Foley

Tom is an Account Development Representative with Irish technology startup, Intercom and the founder of OutInFront Ireland. Tom is a graduate of University College Cork holding a Bachelor of Civil Law.