Event Management: Glamorous? No. Rewarding? Definitely!
We know, having a project and event planning course sounds really cool and fancy, but it is definitely a lot more work than it looks – especially when you learn it all in the span of a few weeks.
After having barely memorized everyone in the class’s names, we jumped right into it. To unlock our full potential, our professors had us all fill out a personality test, followed by an in-class workshop to understand each personality type’s strengths and weaknesses. That same day, we were randomly assigned into groups with various personalities, skills and backgrounds.
Despite barely knowing each other, we were literally given almost complete creative freedom to execute an event for a local charity. We could pick any venue in the area, any charity in Toronto, any theme and assume any role we felt comfortable within our group.
The catch: zero budget. Not so glamorous anymore, is it? Well, it really depends. Fortunately for us, we figured out (the hard way) how each one of us could contribute in a unique way.
Each week we learned something new and went out and did it. Within the first few weeks, we pitched our charities, created an event proposal, lined up sponsors, promoted our event, and created a media kit for our media list. However, we learned the hard way that a lot of things can seriously go wrong, and they can get worse if you don’t actively listen to one another. We ended up changing our initial charity, event roll-out, venue and theme after attempting and failing throughout the process. As we made mistakes, many of us started assuming different roles and figuring out what we rocked and which personalities worked well together.
Trusting your peers’ instinct when you just start getting to know them was tricky. At certain points, members would voice their doubts as they saw things that were probably not the right decisions to have been made. Seriously, it took us six tries to get the seating arrangement right the day of. Multiple venues to walk into before collectively falling in love with one. Oh, and we changed venues two weeks before the actual event. We just learned by doing. That’s what you sign up for in college, right?
As time went on, we all became more confident in finding our niches and what we felt best doing. Luckily, our team was incredibly diverse and quickly learned to trust each other after picking up the pieces multiple times and getting it done better the second time around. We had no other choice but to rely on each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of the day, despite all the ups and downs, working with a charity as a client was actually fun. We decided to work with a small charity and made sure to often keep in touch with them to make sure we were delivering the right key messages in a way that fit their personality. We successfully negotiated for the venue at no fee. Sponsors lined up for us. We raised hundreds of dollars by spending under $20. Through trial and error, we build on skills that naturally came out throughout the process.
When the “visionaries,” the “tactical” and the “feelers” put all their hard work into one room, it was just a sigh of relief. When people won sponsored prizes and complimented our event, we suddenly all loved event planning. The course pushed us out of our comfort zones and provided us with valuable and practical experience.
We made our event extra special through personal décor touches and featuring a One More Wear protégé as the voice of our event. It was intimate, sophisticated and fun!
Can you guess our theme based on the photos? Hint: our hashtag was #TiedToACause.
Written by: Sarah El-Bakri, Public Relations and Corporate Communications student as part of their course work.