Hosting Our First Virtual Meeting

And tips for how you can do it too!

Our first ever virtual guild meeting was a great success! On Thursday, March 12, we hosted 33 members of our guild via a Zoom meeting in place of our normal in-person guild meeting.

We maintained nearly all the same elements of our regular meeting program including: a quilty question held virtually on Instagram, our regular guild updates and reminders via slide sharing, Challenges and Charity project sharing via social media and simultaneous sharing on camera, and finally, a virtual-meeting-friendly program via presentation and mobile screen sharing.

Before the success of the meeting itself, we had a crisis of timing on our hands. Three days before our March guild meeting, we were notified that our meeting space would be cancelled for at least the next month.

Our president acted fast, asking board members to meet up via Zoom that same evening to brainstorm ideas, test out the platform, and plan our approach. We asked ourselves a few key questions to help ourselves navigate running a virtual meeting. Such as…

Is Zoom the right platform for us?

We decided Zoom was the best platform to use as it has an easy barrier of entry for all skill levels. It was nice to have members who already use the tool take the lead, but learning the tool was simple for everyone. 

One thing to note if using Zoom is that one person (ideally the person leading the meeting) needs to have a registered account to create and share a meeting link. All other participants can access the meeting for free, without an account, but will be prompted to (quickly) download the application for accessing the tool before use.

We assured our members that logging on would be simple and fast when we sent out the meeting link. We also advised them to log in early to test the tool before the meeting started.

Additionally, we wrote up some basic Conference Call Best Practices and made sure to have it shared on the screen when members first hopped on the meeting, to read through before the start of the meeting.

What do we want/need to cut from our normal meeting agenda (if anything)? 

We decided we’d leave all parts of the meeting in with the exception of Show & Tell and figured out ways to make each part successful on this platform.

Our members love the Show & Tell portion, and it was missed at this meeting, so we have already started brainstorming a few ways to incorporate it virtually, including: doing more social media posting ahead of the meeting and/or selecting a handful of members to share projects one by one with a designated time limit to keep the meeting moving. 

All other guild business and updates were easy to carry out with some thought on how to make them a little more visual and engaging.

How do we insert interactivity with members virtually throughout the meeting to keep it engaging and fun?

We pinpointed a few parts of the meeting that lent themselves to social media posting or doing simultaneous group sharing on camera. Here’s where we landed:

  • We posted anything we would normally get individual member live feedback on (like our “Quilty Question”) to our Social Media platforms (Instagram and Facebook) early on the day of the meeting to generate answers to show during the meeting. We encouraged members to post and use a unique hashtag created for this meeting (#svmqgMarchMeeting2020) so we could see all their content in one place.
  • For the parts of the meeting where people would normally stand up and show off things like Charity contributions or Challenge blocks, we stopped sharing the meeting slide deck which then defaulted to a view of all the members on camera at once. Then, we had members hold up their items in front of their cameras so we could all ooh and ahh collectively in the “Gallery View” on Zoom. It was fun to see everyone’s faces and projects, and members felt like they still had a chance to share. 
  • We also chose a program for the evening that fit well in the virtual format. We had been wanting to do a lecture and demonstration on how to use social media platforms, so this seemed like the perfect choice. Our member running the lecture/demo jumped on the Zoom meeting via their phone and shared their phone screen, scrolling through Instagram and Facebook to demo the platforms in real time. Members followed on their own phones and computers live in the meetings, something that would not have happened if the meeting had been in-person.

How do we manage logistics, like who is talking or screen sharing, and what if a member has a question?

It was essential to establish roles for our board members so they could ensure the meeting ran smoothly. This was our biggest worry. A meeting could run away from us quickly if there weren’t ground rules for behavior or people helping moderate interactions.

Our President would run the main part of the meeting as usual using a slide deck of content (we use this for in-person meetings too). 

We elected a Chat moderator but most board members ended up facilitating by answering any questions that popped up and members jumped in to help each other too. The moderator would also help cue the presenter if there was a question specifically for them.

We chose one person who already knew Zoom to be our IT official for the evening and mute all participants at the start of the meeting, assist in recording the meeting, as well as manage the “hand raising” feature if there were questions or reactions to the presentation.

As fallout of our own meeting, we’d advise to make sure and have a backup presenter ready to pick up if the main presenter has technical issues mid-meeting, including having presentation materials pre-loaded on their computer and ready to go.

If you’re a guild considering running a virtual meeting, go for it, it’s not as hard as it looks. Planning was the hardest part in running our meeting and with some of our insights, we hope you can see how easy and fun it is to run your first virtual meeting.

Social Media Guide

At last month’s meeting we wanted to share with our members a handful of ways to keep up with guild news and stay connected with other members. We compiled a list of four key social media platforms you can use to stay informed, get connected, start the conversation, and show off!

Stay Informed – Our Website:

Oh, hey, look! You’re already here! Thanks for stopping by!

Our website is a great place to find all kinds of information about our guild. Our main page (where you are now) is the host of recent blog posts that are based on current events happening within our guild. We try to post a good mix of fun programs we’re running, recaps on classes and workshops we’ve hosted, as well as small insights into other happenings of the guild.

Our Meetings + Events page is host to all of our basic meeting information: where we meet, what time we meet and if our regular meeting day has shifted. We also provide key dates to keep on your calendar for things like Sew Days, Workshops, and more. We keep the running list of each month up-to-date with anything we know of, as soon as we know it.

I encourage you to check out our Programs page where you will find a list of all the fun things we’ve got going on for members to participate in. From challenges to charity programs. It’s all there!

Lastly, as a quick go-to guide, we’ve added a “To-Do” List to our right-hand sidebar. There, you will see a list of items that may be due at any upcoming meetings. You can decide to participate or not, but the reminder is there for you if you want to join in on the many programs and challenges we have running.

These are just some highlights. I encourage you to click around the site to learn more about us. Our Charity Quilts page is also a fun one to look at too!

Get Connected – Our Facebook Fan Page:

Our public Facebook Fan Page is a great space to see all of our posts across our social media platforms in one place. If you’re already using Facebook, you can follow (or fan!) our page and get notifications when new information has been posted. Not on Instagram? No worries! We share that information on our Facebook Fan Page. Not subscribed to our blog here on our website? It gets posted to our Facebook page there as well. So you are never far away from joining in and staying connected.

A great feature we love about our Facebook page is the ability to post upcoming events. We use this feature to post when our upcoming sew days and workshops are. There are descriptions on the event as well as any resources needed (like sign up sheets) to join in on the fun. You will see meeting events and other events we’re hosting that are outside of our monthly meeting.


Start the Conversation – Our Private Facebook Group:

It’s great to stay connected and read up on things happening with the guild but we wanted a space for our members to keep in touch as well so we’ve created a private Facebook group exclusive for our members to join.

This is a great place for members to:

  • ask questions (like recommendations on tools)
  • get opinions (need advice? ask fellow members)
  • show pictures of recent projects
  • tell us about a cool event or workshop you’re going to

Don’t be afraid to start a conversation and have fun building community with fellow members.


Are you a member of the guild? Request to join our group and we’ll add you!

Show Off – Our Instagram Page:

We love to showcase our members’ work any way we can and our Instagram page is the perfect place to do just that. If you scroll through our feed you’ll find pictures from activities and demos we’ve run at meetings, members showing off their work during show and tell and even some pictures of guest speakers we’ve had. We also love to post snapshots from workshops and sew days we’re hosting and for practical needs, we also make sure to post reminders about meetings, workshops, and sew days.

Guild hashtags to follow:

  • #SVMQG – For all things Silicon Valley Modern Quilt Guild related
  • #SVMQGWorkshop – For specific snapshots of workshops we’ve hosted
  • #SVMQGShowAndTell – For our monthly show and tell at meetings
  • #SVMQGChallenges – For any guild challenges we have running
  • #SVMQGCharity – For a look at our philanthropic efforts and charity activities


We hope this post has given you some insight and inspired you to connect with us in different ways. We love our community of members and friends of the guild, so don’t be afraid to like or follow us if you’re interested in keeping up with our group.

For more information on the above information, see our Social Media Guide slide deck we created for our last guild meeting.

Kicking off 2018!

The guild kicked off 2018 with our monthly meeting last week. We welcomed many new members and said hello to the familiar faces that made 2017 such a great year.

This year, the guild will be focusing on “design” and education, working to grow our design skills through lectures, discussions, activities, and classes.

We started our discussion by watching excerpts from the MQG webinar “Modern Quilting: Know It When You See It” with Jacquie Gehring. In the webinar, Jacquie talks about the concept of modern quilting as a spectrum, including many elements of traditional and varying elements of new/modern design. She also shows and discusses this concept with regard to specific quilts.

Some of characteristics of modern quilting noted by The MQG are:

  • Use of bold colors and prints
  • High contrast and graphic areas of solid color
  • Improvisational piecing
  • Minimalism
  • Expansive negative space
  • Alternate grid work
  • Updating of classic quilt designs

After the webinar, members placed themselves on this spectrum and we discussed our thoughts about the definition of modern quilting and how we saw ourselves within it. Many of us were surprised with where we placed ourselves on the spectrum.

We plan to have the spectrum at future meetings and to revisit this exercise at the end of the year to see if our self-placement has moved.

Next month, we will continue our design focus with a member-led lecture about basic design elements. We’ll be exploring these concepts further in future demos, activities, and challenges.

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 2.28.57 PM

2018 Board Members

Happy 2018! Our board members met early this year to plan out the beginnings of a great new year at the guild.

We are very excited to present the new Board Members of the 2018 Year as follows:

Rochelle Rosales, President
Sarah Osentowski, Vice President
Renee Silva, Treasurer
Janet Livingston, Secretary
Beverly Thompson, Membership
Heidi Mackessy, Education/Programs
Rhonda Rosales, Philanthropy
Amanda Morris, Fundraising
Tricialyn Apolinar, Swaps + Challenges
Pam Holt, Sew Day Coordinator
Jan Strockis, Retreat
Sarah Osentowski, Media + Web Chair
OPEN, QuiltCon (2019) Charity Quilt Chair
OPEN, Quilt Show Participation Coordinator



2017 was a “challenging” year!

We wrapped up the guild’s final monthly challenge of the year when we turned in curved quilt blocks and traded back projects made out of scraps from each other’s stash.

Founding member Tricialyn led the guild this year in many other monthly challenges that kept everyone busy and having a great time. In addition to the ongoing unfinished-object (UFO) challenge, which inspired us to complete partially started projects, optional monthly challenges were:

  • Charity quilt blocks
  • Zippered pillows
  • Mini quilts
  • Pin cushions
  • Zippered quilted pouch swap
  • Curved quilt blocks
  • Keychains
  • Text project
  • Scrap project swap
  • Make-something-for-yourself (due in January!)

Wonder what next year will bring…

Fresh Start

The beginning of January means a fresh start to the year and the guild as well.

We are very excited to present the Board Members of the 2016 Year as follows:

Sarah Osentowski, President
Amy Crawford, Vice President
Lisbeth Polavarapu, Treasurer
Diana Lubliner, Secretary
Michele Dour, Philanthropy
Jan Strockis, Retreat

We are so excited to create a great year filled with new programs, speakers, demos and fun for everyone in the guild. We’re eager to grow our connections with one another in the guild and maybe grow in numbers as a guild as well. I can’t wait to share with all of you our ideas for the year! Here’s to 2016!

Sarah Osentowski, President

The first meeting included a lot of information on goals, interest survey, an introduction to the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club (hosted by Lucky Spools), a brief philanthropy update and Show and Tell. Take a look at some of the awesome quilts our members shared for January.

January Show and Tell


Can’t wait to see you all at the next meeting – Thursday, February 11!