Want to work in… venues?
Where on Earth would events be without their venues? Nowhere, that’s where. We frequent a range of venues to listen, to eat, to celebrate, to socialise, to experience and to observe. And if you’re like me, you kind of take it for granted that when you arrive at the venue, you and your party will be taken care of and your event will run smoothly. But have you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes at a venue? Well, it’s time to find out. The next installment of our ‘Want to work in…’ series focuses first hand on what it’s like to be an event coordinator in a venue, in this case one of the coolest and happening venues in Sydney, Ivy, the Merivale Group’s premier venue.
CoEM graduate Bonnie Kelly is a virtual authority on the comings and going of Ivy having worked there now for a number of years. A talented whirlwind of a girl that was actually made for the role of event coordinator, Bonnie was actually one of our very first graduates and has been on an upward trajectory every since. She is currently the coordinator for PACHA, that crazy nightclub thing held at Ivy every Saturday night but let’s hear from the expert about what it’s really like behind the dancing girls and DJ console…
Q. Please give a brief description of your role in a venue.
A. I am the PACHA Coordinator at the Merivale Group. PACHA operates at Ivy every Saturday night and takes over the entire complex. My role includes booking & organising our VIP Booth bookings. PACHA is an international nightclub that originated in Ibiza.
Q. Is it as glam as it all looks? Why?
A. Haha, it depends on the day! A lot goes into PACHA so from a guest experience we try and make it all seem as seamless as possible and ensure they feel like VIP’s. Working for Merivale however, you definitely do get to experience the glam too. Merivale hosts a lot of internal events for staff such as the Merivale’s, our annual staff awards. Red carpet, media wall made from fresh long stem roses, photographers / videographers. It’s all VERY glam.
Q. What’s your favourite event that you’ve ever worked on?
A. PACHA of course!
Q. Has any job ever gone completely disastrously wrong?
A. Not so wrong that it’s unfixable… but I have on a few occasions forgot to notify the chef of food orders and have had to put on the big puppy eyes on to get the food I need in and prepped.
Q. What attributes would you have to work in a venue?
A. People skills! Every guest is a potential client so you need to have your heels and game face on at all times.
Q. What advice would you give someone trying to crack it in this particular part of the industry?
A. Network! Word of mouth is the best reference you can get; so keep in touch with your fellow students.
Q. What do you love about your job?
A. I love my job because there is literally always something crazy happening at Merivale. One morning there’s a cocktail class taking place in the back of the office, the next day there’s a brand new Porsche in the lobby for a product launch. But my favourite Merivale events are definitely Melbourne Cup day & March Into Merivale, it’s when you really see what Merivale is capable of and how good they are at what they do.
Q. Any major challenges in your job?
A. To ensure the guest experience is seamless from beginning to end there is a lot of back end coordination between Merivale management, external suppliers, sponsors & stakeholders. Each member is concerned about their brand and their revenue (it’s pretty cut throat) so keeping each party happy and in the loop is probably the hardest part.
Q. What path did you take to get to that particular role?
A. I studied at College of Event Management, and then I did a few unpaid internships with Fremantle Media which was amazing and such a good experience. I then got a job at the Arthouse Hotel as Reservations Manager taking care of small private events. I then took the job in the group bookings team at Merivale before being promoted to PACHA coordinator!