Beyond Virtual

Asian American Theology Conference 2021


Center for Asian American Christianity

The Princeton Theological Seminary Center for Asian American Christianity forms Christian leaders who serve Jesus Christ in ministries marked by faith, integrity, scholarship, competence, compassion, and joy.


Their First Virtual Conference

COVID-19 prevented the team from holding the Asian American Theology Conference in-person. They needed a way to host and market a fully online conference for the first time.


A New Vision and Voice for Asian American Theology

Starting with an engaging virtual conference, we wanted to establish a new vision and voice for doing Asian American Theology.

About the Conference:

Lived Theology in Asian America


Bi-annual conferences hosted pre-2021 (both in person)


Average attendees per conference


of attendees were Princeton Theological Seminary students

The Asian American Theology Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary presents important insights from leading practitioners and scholars from Asian American studies and Asian American theology on topics relevant to Asian American churches.

But in 2021, coming together in person was out of the question.

The conference needed an entirely new script.

Setting New Goals

As we learned about the client’s needs and plans, we developed a set of goals for the conference and for their platform that would lead to a more successful conference and a stronger, more sustainable Center for Asian American Christianity.

The Client's Initial Goals

  • Hold the conference as a Zoom webinar
  • Aim for 100 attendees as usual (mostly students)
  • Conference proceedings to be published in Theology Today
  • Free attendance

Our New Conference Goals

Short-term goals for a successful virtual conference

  • Aim for 200-400 attendees
  • Facilitate real-time online attendee engagement
  • Generate revenue through sponsorships/exhibitors
  • Make this the “must attend” conference in Asian American Theology
  • Achieve national reach and attendance
  • Make recordings for future use
  • Execute planning, preparation, and promotion in time for the conference in 6 weeks

Platform Goals: A New Vision and Voice for Asian American Theology

Long-term goals for the Center for Asian American Christianity

  • Create a new conversation for Asian American Christians connecting the Gospel and social justice
  • Focus on lived theology relevant to the local church
  • Establish the Center for Asian American Christianity as the national leader in Asian American Theology
  • Create a national platform and reach
  • Expand distribution channels to nurture a relationship with the audience
  • Advance the Asian American Program’s standing within Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Act as a gateway for recruiting international and Asian-American master’s and doctoral students

Our Strategy

When we started working with the Center for Asian American Christianity six weeks before the scheduled event, they had not yet built a website or started promotion. We had to quickly set up channels through which the CAAC could engage with their audience and encourage them to register for the Asian American Theology Conference.

Simultaneously, we began building the CAAC’s brand and working toward their goal of establishing themselves as the national leader in Asian American Theology.

Strategy 1

Improve project management and internal communication processes.

In order to work with the CAAC team effectively, we set up workspaces and channels for project management and communication using two tools that we use regularly at Lanio: Notion and Slack.

We used Notion to plan, document, and organize all aspects of the conference, such as meeting notes, website content, the program, speakers, sponsors, Airmeet user guides, the editorial calendar, and more.
Slack allowed us to communicate directly with individuals on the team and with the whole group, as well as use channels for separate conversations about various elements of event preparation.

Strategy 2

Strengthen the brand of the Center for Asian American Christianity.

We created a professional design with consistent visual elements across platforms for the CAAC and the Asian American Theology Conference.

Strategy 3

Hold the conference on a platform with better attendee engagement features.

We switched from the planned Zoom webinar to an Airmeet conference, and created host and audience guidelines for a friendly, engaging, and professional conference experience.

Airmeet features that boosted engagement:

  • Participant chat, reaction emojis, and opportunities to ask and upvote questions;
  • Networking in lounge spaces in between sessions; and
  • Virtual sponsor booths for participants to interact with organizations sponsoring the event.

Strategy 4

Invite sponsors and partners to fund the conference.

We were able to find 12 organizations that were eager to support the conference as exhibitors and media partners so that the conference could remain free for participants.

Strategy 5

Pre- and post-event inbound marketing on the CAAC’s digital platforms.

  • website
    • Landing page for the conference
    • Statement on the Atlanta murders
    • Blog
  • Podcast
  • Social media
  • Mailing list and newsletter

Strategy 6

Increase registration and attendance by inviting existing networks and reaching out to new audiences.

We drew on Princeton Theological Seminary’s internal communications network, as well as the connections of CAAC’s director, Dr. Chao. We also gathered email addresses from Asian American academics and campus ministries to bring in new audiences to join the conversation.

Daily Registrations
Weekly Registrations

By the Numbers

The above strategies enabled us to gain more than 8 times as many participants as previous years’ Asian American Theology Conferences. The 2021 conference successfully established the Center for Asian American Christianity as a global hub for those interested in discussions concerning Asian American theology and ministry.

2021 Conference Statistics






Lounge Tables