Life as an #Eventprof: My first 6 months as an Event Coordinator
In case you haven’t seen my previous post in this series I shared my journey into the event industry and my tips on getting that first role. You can read it here. I have been working as an event coordinator for a corporate company for the last 6 months and loving it. So what have I been up to in my first 6 months in this industry? Well, when I look back quite a lot actually and I will share many of the fantastic things I have learnt below. At the start of 2019 I decided to say yes to any opportunity that presented itself that would help me grow either as a person or professionally and that is what I have been doing.
My job as an Event Coordinator
So my official title is Event Coordinator for a Company based in central London as part of the Marketing department. I am what you would call an ‘In House’ corporate event professional, the company I work for is in the HR Industry so I gain a lot of my event industry knowledge outside of my day job. However there has been lots to learn in my role, creating event briefs, project plans, working with others and managing deadlines you know the whole being an event manager thing. I’m really lucky in my role that it is only a small team of 2, so despite this being my first role in the industry I get to be fully hands on and manage my own projects from proposal to evaluation which is giving me experience beyond that of others at this level. One of the first events I worked on was our Award ceremony and helped with the execution on the event day, turns out I have a natural ability of telling people what to do. I then project managed our Q4 Breakfast Briefing, a health and wellbeing themed event at RSA house for 100 people with 3 speakers from different health and wellbeing backgrounds. I organise our companies attendance at different conferences and expos, client workshops, celebration events, speaking events, breakfast briefings, co hosted events, internal event activities and our big annual Award ceremony.
Attending Industry Events
As part of my goal to immerse myself in the event industry and learn everything I can from anyone that will teach me I have made sure I attended industry conferences and expos to not only gather knowledge from speakers but to learn more about suppliers and venues that are out there. One thing I picked up on straight away was that contacts are everything in the event world, it is so useful to know what venues are in which areas, what they can provide and who you need to contact to provide it. My first main industry event was Events Events held at The Mermaid London, a full day conference of key note speaks and break out sessions for different avenues of the industry as well as key time for networking and a drinks reception at the end. I then attended Confex in February, Confex is the big event expo for the UK event industry held annually. The stands were full of exciting product demos with plenty of free giveaways and a great atmosphere. The talks I attended were all insightful and I would highly recommend anyone at the start of their industry journey to attend next year, you can learn a lot about what goes on in our industry outside of your day job.
The World of Networking
Before I moved to London I had never ‘networked’ in my life, although I feel my year travelling and constantly making new friends in hostels had trained me well for the busy London networking circle. It seems to be a big thing here, everyone goes to networking events and I have been invited to them probably weekly since I started my job. Some I turn down, networking can sometimes be my idea of hell (I am an ambivert, half introvert half extrovert so the extrovert needed to network effectively is not always there within me and I just want to go home and watch Netflix and not talk to anyone.) but I have always felt good after the networking events I have attended. When I first walk in I find have to put on my inner Sasha Fierce and force myself into that first conversation, from then on I am fine and it flows. Its been great finding out how complete strangers have got into their roles and their thoughts on different subjects, my goal when networking is to learn something new from every person I speak too.
The Ultimate Networking Group
The people who have made me enjoy networking the most, EventprofsLive I discovered them late last year and finally got round to joining their network in February. They are a fabulous group of corporate event professionals and THE networking group to be part of (if I do say so myself). Run by Michelle and Kate these ladies organise some fabulous events for their members and are the nicest women you will ever meet as well as some girlboss inspo. What and who they don't know about the industry one of the members will, the whole group is a fountain of knowledge. I never feel like I am networking when I attend one of the events or trips as everyone has such a great time and are so welcoming you forget you have not met some of them before. As part of the group I have been on The Belmond British Pullman, to Lainston House in Winchester, The Curtain Members club & Lucky Voice Holborn. All while meeting other event professionals, expanding my circle and my knowledge of the event industry. If your reading this and are a corporate event professional near London you need to join!!
Industry Mentoring Opportunities
One thing I am big on improving this year is myself, personal and professional development is a big goal of mine for 2019. I like to focus each year of my life on a certain aspect and dedicate a lot of my time to improving that, given this is my first year as a full time event prof it made sense for this year to be on my career and setting the foundations for successful going forward. An event industry mentoring scheme I have been looking into since my Masters is FastForward15 they are a competitive mentoring scheme that accepts 15 women in the industry to be mentored by an experienced professional for a year and complete their programme of activities as part of it. I have not seen any others like it either in the events world or in general, although I am happy to admit my knowledge of other industries is limited. You have to apply by March of each year and go through shortlisting and a phone interview before they chose who the successful mentees will be. More recently EventProfsLive the networking group I am part of have set up an industry mentoring scheme which is open to anyone and free for all members or £100 for non members, it is a 6 month commitment and applications are open until 11th May.
Expanding my knowledge
So I have a Masters, and thats great it has given me an overview of the entire industry globally and is the main reason I got the job as event coordinator. Once I started my job I felt like I needed some more help in how to effectively manage events for a company day to day. You don’t necessarily get taught the little things and forms etc you need to complete whilst at university. My company are very proactive at helping everyones personal development and paid for me to attend the Chartered Institute for Marketing, Effective Marketing for Events 2 day course. It was a great course, it goes over all the little details you need to help with contracts, negotiating, planning, timeframes and how to manage expectations of other departments or clients. If you want an extra qualification or have been thrown into an events role this is a great course help widen your knowledge on both the industry and running events.
There you go, thats the main take aways I have from my first 6 months as an Event Coordinator I would say I feel I am meeting my aim of throwing myself into the industry and saying yes to any opportunity I can. This series will continue with monthly insights into what I have been up to, what I have learnt and any exciting opportunities that come my way. In the next couple of weeks I have posts on my night at The O2 hearing Micelle Obama speak and an overview of the FAM’s and events I have attended in the last couple of months. See you in May for the next instalment of my life as an #eventprof.