Lumon Industries is eager to expand the Severance Procedure to other businesses and other countries, as well as secure its legality in the United States. As a result, Helena Eagan underwent the severance procedure (becoming the Helly we all love) to prove that the procedure is, in her words, awesome. Seth Milchick photographs Helly R. going about her day in MDR and those images dominate the reception room of the gala, where influential politicians and Lumon luminaries hobnob and validate the importance and value of the severance procedure. There are political and grass-roots movements include in the U,S. House of Representatives trying to make severance illegal, and this gala is meant to defang those groups. The theme of the gala is UNITED IN SEVERANCE. Natalie is the master of ceremonies, and the Event Coordinator did not do a good job preventing Harmony Cobel from sneaking backstage to harass their keynote speaker right before she went on stage.
Helena Eagan, daughter of current Lumon CEO Jame Eagan is the keynote speaker, and her speech is intended to convince the audience of her positive experience as a severed employee. She primes the audience with a prerecorded Helly: A Severed Story of an interview introducing herself.
However, as fans of the show know, it was not Helena Eagan who walked out on that stage to reinforce her company's nefarious technology: it was Helly R. The gala takes place in episode 9, The We We Are. We cannot know until season 2 how much damage was done by her testimony about the misery experienced as an innie.