Want to work in… corporate events?
The corporate events sector in Australia is huge. Yes H-U-G-E. Events such as conferences, seminars, meetings, team building, staff incentives and awards ceremonies all classify as corporate events as they are gatherings sponsored by businesses. The corporate sector is one of the biggest employers in the event industry as a whole, so we’re pretty happy when one of our students expresses interest in that sector because the job prospects are so good. One such student was Amanda Laverack, a recent Diploma graduate who was very focussed and worked extremely hard during her course. She is an outstanding example of what happens when all the elements align to create the perfect career storm… hard work + passion + determination = awesome job!
After impressing the folks at Westpac during her time as an intern while studying event management at CoEM, Amanda was offered the full time role of Foundation and Event Coordinator. What better person to ask about life in corporate events.
Q. What would a typical work day look like for an event coordinator in your sector?
A. That would depend on which events we have coming up. If there is a large event coming up, we would start the day with a WIP or top line meeting, to determine what are the next steps and who is responsible to action those steps. This would have already been organised via an existing project plan or Gantt chart. I would usually research some venues and create a top level run sheet for some of the smaller events I have coming up and of course continual engagement with all stakeholders to allow clear good lines of communication.
Q. Why did you you choose to enter the corporate sector?
A. Personally I feel my strengths lie within strict organisation which fits perfectly in this world. I also really want to bring new ideas and innovation into the corporate events sector.
Q. Is the industry as glam as it all looks?
A. Our team is the reason the events are glam because we create such fun, flowing events! No, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of great things about working for a big corporate enterprise, including the glamorous side of things but at certain times of the year when there are a lot more events, you can be working a very extended week, meaning very long hours. Having a good work ethic in the time leading up an event really pays off and makes it easier to come out the other side in one piece.
Q. What’s your favourite event you’ve ever worked on and why?
A. Personally I really enjoyed coordinating for a large external facing event called the Scholars Summit. As an event coordinator, my role was heavily focused on the attendee experience and registrations and of course the logistics surrounding this. It definitely keeps you on your toes. But no matter how good the plan is, things can sometimes go wrong. Learning to remain level headed is a great new skill that I’m learning all the time.
Q. What attributes would it be handy to have to work in corporate?
A. Being a hands-on person and a quick leaner. The amount of processes that I have to learn is insane. I now understand what people mean when they say ‘a lot of red tape’! It’s also important to be organised and to understand how important deadlines are. If a deadline isn’t met it can throw out a whole string of people, including those that aren’t even in your business unit. I.e. Accounts payable!
Q. What advice would you give someone trying to crack it in this particular part of the industry?
A. Intern or do any work experience you can! Your networking opportunities are the only way to get ahead of the game these days, especially within the corporate sector. Most people who are in the sector have qualifications, so it’s important to set yourself apart by immediately showing your superiors and your peers how you work and learn and what you’re truly capable of. That is in fact how I got this job, I interned for Westpac for 2 months (wage free), a job position came up and I was personally approached!
Q. What do you love about being an event manager?
A. The draw card for me is the addiction to pulling off any amazing event! it is definitely something that I look forward too, even if it’s a small conference or a large corporate dinner. Event management is a field where you can always improve on and really draw on other aspects such as social media marketing or operational skills and I love that about it.
Q. Can you give a brief description of the types of roles within the corporate sector?
A. Operation manger – the ops manager role is centred around overall support and processes behind an event or the workings through your the day especially when things need to be processed or day to day admin for an event.
Event manager – this is generally a more senior role. An event manager within a corporate environment juggles more then 2 or 3 projects at a time, definitely something to strive for when you are seeking a career within events.
Event coordinator – this person coordinate logistics and the overall attendees experience and focuses strongly on stakeholder engagement, both external and integral affairs I.e. Hotels, Venues, vendors, design agencies.
Event and communication manager – usually this role is divided, depending on the work load. They will be across the ins and outs of the event planning but have a strong focus towards the actual content for an event. Such as the activities, videos, speakers etc. They may also work on event collateral, printings, media walls, media engagements pieces and brand.
Many thanks to Amanda for helping us with this informative blog post. All the CoEM Team are looking forward to seeing where her career in events goes from here!