“Planners are the unsung heroes of events”… get the inside scoop on life in event planning from Verity, Operations Manager, FinTech Connect

Telling people that I am an Event Planner sometimes conjures up glamorous images: travel, swanky hotels, fabulous cocktails; and, yes, at times this is true. I have been fortunate in travelling the world with my career. I have arranged events at The Ritz, awards ceremonies at the Royal Albert Hall, conferences on top of a Swiss mountain. However, I was drawn to event planning because it is a varied career, one which can land you in surprising places. I recently found myself standing inside an empty exhibition hall, hair scraped back, Hi-Viz on, proudly watching as five lorries containing the materials that would soon build FinTech Connect hauled in.

There is a reason why event planning is said to be the fifth most stressful job in the world (we are nobly beaten to the top by pilots, firefighters, air traffic control officers and military personnel).[1] In the lead up to any large-scale event, that event consumes your life. You go into overdrive and your check list becomes your inseparable companion. The adrenaline rush of last-minute changes, looming hard deadlines and unplanned hiccups, plus the high expectations of thousands of paying guests all contribute to the high pressure.  

By now you are probably wondering why I am telling you this on a page which aims to share the wonderful opportunity of a career in Event management!

Well, because there is no job like it. In event management, one day is never the same as another. The buzz of excitement and sense of pride that you feel watching attendees enjoy an event that you have spent months planning makes it all worthwhile.

What I love about organising FinTech Connect is the variety it brings. It tests both the left and right sides of the brain. One day can take me from an analytical budget meeting to a brainstorming session, finding me desperately trying to tap my creativity for a witty pun – anything better than ‘FunTech Connect’ – for our new, exciting VR feature. Then, next day, I will be delving into the fascinating world of radio frequencies to ensure we get our Ofcom licence for the event.

Working in events provides you with a different perspective on the everyday. While the Press (and most of the population) were guffawing at Theresa May when the letters fell off the wall during her now infamous conference speech, I was pondering why that backdrop was not graphic printed.[2]

Planners are the unsung heroes of events. Fyre Festival is a perfect example of what happens when an event is poorly planned. Should I admit that I watched that documentary three times? Event planning calls for a cool head and expert multi-tasking: supplier procurement, budget management, data management, negotiation, project management, problem solving, working under pressure. You name it, an event planner can do it or, if they cannot, they will come up with a workaround.

Working in operations and logistics introduces you to a wide variety of people. You are the glue that holds departments together. Your role teaches you to manage that bolshie sales team, forge lasting relationships with key suppliers and brings you closer to your colleagues: quite frankly, you couldn’t get through this job without them. It provides you with the opportunity to work with people representing a broad range of industries. Last year, in the lead up to FinTech Connect, I found myself discussing robotics with our robot supplier whilst at the same time liaising with our electrician about the dangers of a fuse blowing at the event. And yes, this becomes a possibility when an exhibitor plugs three laptops, two phones, one tv and a mini fridge into a 500watt power supply.

 So, if you are the annoyingly organised planner in that WhatsApp group, if you are always early (just in case), if you take pride in colour coding your inbox, or if you take satisfaction in aligning the columns of a spreadsheet then get in touch: Event Planning is the career for you!

[1] https://www.citmagazine.com/article/1449482/events-coordinator-fifth-stressful-job-why-matters

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoRKuxNo6xY

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