Center for Servant Leadership Events - Case Study

Executive Summary

The University of British Columbia’s Addictions and Current Disorders Research Group held their second annual Virtual Solutions for Substance Use Care Conference with the Whova event platform. With just one organizer managing the logistics, the conference sold out all of its tickets and hosted multiple parallel sessions, with 100% of surveyed users saying they loved Whova.

Interview with the Organizers

About the Addictions and Current Disorders Research Group

Headquartered in the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, the Addictions and Current Disorders Research Group is a team of interdisciplinary students and researchers dedicated to helping people struggling with mental health and substance abuse. Their research projects range from testing whether real or synthetic opium is better for treating opioid addiction to creating an accessible online mental healthcare website for youth.

The Virtual Solutions for Substance Use Care Conference is one of the research group’s projects focusing on digital mental healthcare. The conference invites a variety of perspectives involved in online healthcare to come together and create solutions for the opioid crisis. Researchers, online health workers, and family members update the community with new research, talk about the future of online healthcare, and share resources and ideas.


Community Board Posts


Messages Exchanged


Love Whova


Tickets Sold Through Whova


  • Distributing and collecting waivers. In order to legally use their photos for promotional purposes, the organizer needed to distribute, collect, and verify image release waivers from all 600 of the attendees.
  • Organizing solo. The conference’s event organization team had only one person managing the logistics of a 600-attendee event with 5-6 concurrent sessions going on at any given time. She needed a platform that made hosting this event as its only organizer as easy as possible. 
  • Encouraging attendee-speaker interaction. The organizer wanted attendees to feel comfortable directly engaging with the speakers and get the most out of the event’s workshops.
  • Inspiring a supportive community. The purpose of the conference was to create solutions together as a community. How could attendees be encouraged to genuinely connect with each other online?


  • Digital form collection

The research group’s Communication and Events Coordinator Marisha Boyd managed the 600 image release waivers using Whova’s online waiver feature. The entirety of form management – from creation to collection – can be taken care of on Whova, so it was easy for Marisha to make sure hundreds of waivers were properly signed off all on her own. 

Organizers can create their own forms directly on the Whova platform. You can easily add questionnaire checklists, boxes for signatures and dates, and even additional comments sections on your custom form, or use one of Whova’s templates as a base and add your own spin. Medical release forms, emergency contacts information, and permissions slips are just a few of the forms supported by this feature.

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The organizer customized a digital release form to get attendees’ permission

Attendees can fill out forms on either mobile or desktop, making it convenient for them to complete any forms they might’ve missed on the fly. Organizers can also send forms to specific attendee categories, and even check their waiver status right on the check-in page. By integrating the online waiver feature with the check-in process, Whova makes it easy for organizers to ask attendees about any missing information right at the beginning of the conference, saving potential hiccups further down the line. 

  • Responsive customer support

As the sole organizer of the conference, Marisha didn’t have the luxury of asking a coworker for help. She had something even better – the customer support chat bar on her organizer dashboard. With a simple text, they were always ready to assist Marisha, and she appreciated that she could “ask a quick question whenever [she] needed”. 

Every Whova-supported event is assigned an account manager who helps the organizers get started setting up their event’s Whova app. Customer support and success teams are also available to provide additional support, so organizers are never alone when they run into any problems or need any help.

I liked the chat function on the website where you could just ask your questions, that was really helpful. It was nice just ask a quick question whenever I needed. Marisha Boyd

Behavioural Neuroscience Researcher

  • Session engagement features

To make the virtual conference feel more interactive, the speakers used Whova’s chat and Q&A features to let attendees engage during the sessions. The attendees adapted quickly to the Q&A style of engagement, and were able to directly ask the speakers any questions they had during the session in real time. They also exchanged messages with each other in the session chat as it was happening, bringing more immediate, organic communication into the conference’s virtual format. 

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Engaging with speakers was made simple with session Q&A

  • Community Board

In the spirit of supporting each other online, the attendees heavily utilized Whova’s Community Board, the event discussion board where attendees can create and join discussion threads. They shared research articles and resources with each other, and even used the built-in Icebreaker feature to get the engagement going. To break the ice, the attendees introduced themselves, then selected one of the Icebreaker questions to respond to, giving everyone a chance to get to know them better and sparking engaging conversations right on the Whova app.

Virtual solutions - icebreaker

Attendees jumpstarted conversations by “breaking the ice” with fun questions

For healthcare workers, to be able to share important resources between each other or between countries can be really valuable. Marisha Boyd

Behavioural Neuroscience Researcher

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