New hires give us the scoop on office culture, choosing the event industry and why they’re in it for the long haul
This industry thrives on creating lasting impressions, but when it comes to gauging the best places to work in the event space, first impressions are just as powerful. To get some authentic insight on how and why event marketers opted to work for their respective agencies—and why they plan to stick around—we spoke with new hires from this year’s list of winners about their companies, their roles and which aspects of the office environment they find most appealing.
To kick things off, we asked the employees how they ended up working in events. Turns out, many of them got started before they even joined the workforce through event marketing internships and college campus initiatives. Their passion for live experiences flourished from there.
Nina Bacchi, account executive at Momentum Worldwide, entered the industry during her college years as an event marketing intern at a local startup, then worked as a freelancer during New York Fashion Week. The industry “meshed really well with my personality,” she says, and from there, “I didn’t see anything else that was more me than an event planner.”
Ben Wibly, account executive at Advantage, had a similar experience. After some time organizing small events for his hometown’s Parks and Recreation Department, Wibly got an internship with the Yale athletic department where he managed operations for the school’s basketball games. The natural next step, he says, was applying to work for an event agency.
Others entered the industry with little experience, but plenty of passion. Like Tessa Coan, marketing communications coordinator at agencyEA, who found the challenges of the event space enticing.
“I didn’t have much exposure to events before joining EA, so what I found most alluring was that there’s this excitement that goes into it,” Coan says. “While some events may take the same format, each experience is completely unique. I also love a good challenge and the challenge we always deal with in events is how to give a moment in time longevity. The opportunity to combat that challenge and figure out a way to market it was super attractive to me.”
Of course, the unpredictable nature of the business had its appeal, too. “I’ve worked in marketing roles previously, but the most striking difference between my current role and my past role is the diversity in what I do every day,” Coan says. “No day here is exactly the same. In events, there are always new challenges surfacing and a different task. For me, that’s been the most exciting difference.”
When it came time to decide where to pursue their careers, many new hires pointed to the opportunity to take on a variety of roles as a determining factor.
“Before, I was doing mostly branding and website work at an agency that had around 15 people, so I wanted to do something completely different, go larger,” says Ken Earley, senior copywriter at Momentum Worldwide. “I wanted somewhere that had great people and a supportive team and just great work, and Momentum really checked off all of those boxes.”
The sentiment was the same for Anthony Laner, account executive at Advantage. “They not only had event marketing, but also the other aspects of design and client services, so I thought it was a good way to get my hands on different areas while still having that event planning focus.”
Company culture and the office environment also played a hand in why staffers chose their respective employers, from supportive team members to office robots (seriously).
“We have cool activities. On Valentine’s Day, our social committee went around and everyone got a mini basket of candy. Additionally, we have a breakfast bar once a month where people come in and bring bagels. So, it really embraces that family atmosphere,” Wibly says.
For Laner, a brand-new office with fun perks like a ping-pong table, foosball and a Pop-A-Shot basketball arcade game, along with a cozy common area featuring comfy lounge furniture, were a major draw. “I think our higher-ups do a good job of bringing that work-life balance to the office,” he says.
Open floor plans were another attraction. “I came from a smaller open office environment and one of the big things I was hoping for was another open office,” Earley says. “I’m glad to have that here. I’m able to see everyone on my team from my seat, from other writers to leadership… It’s all thoughtfully designed and laid out and we have all sorts of new tech, like a little telepresence robot that rolls around our office.”
Adds Coan, “The open floor plan facilitates collaboration and everyone in the office really embraces that open-door policy, positioning themselves as resources. As a younger person and a new hire, it can be intimidating to ask for help, but the way our office is structured, and the core values that EA embraces, really facilitates this awesome, collaborative spirit which definitely makes me feel supported as a new hire.”
Now, with a good feel for office life and some experience under their belts, the new hires have some suggestions for the next wave of event marketing newbies—and maybe even the veterans.
“In the event space in particular, there are so many moving pieces that it’s easy to forget that huge idea that you’re working towards,” Earley says. “I’m always one to fight for the best idea, but at the same time I know I have to be really practical. It’s thinking of that big idea and then immediately flipping the switch to the little things that can make or break an event. From your brand ambassador talking points to the paper you choose, it could make a huge impact, so it’s trying to be both big picture-focused, but also thinking about all those nitty gritty details.”
Even email etiquette shouldn’t be overlooked, especially considering the variety of partners most event marketers work with on a daily basis. “It’s important to know that when you’re sending an email, there’s somebody at the other end of that,” Wibly says. “When you’re shooting a quick note over, still have that human factor involved, like ‘Hey, I hope you’re having a great day’ or ‘I really appreciate it.’ Sometimes you fall into the space of ‘Hey, I need this…’ In a larger landscape, it’s important to keep that positive vibe and keep that relationship going.”
What did we learn from chatting with the industry’s next up-and-comers? The event industry is as dynamic and alluring as ever. More and more members of the workforce are gaining experience in events early on in hopes of pursuing a career they feel passionate about, and the unpredictable nature of the industry is keeping them challenged and focused. Bravo, newbies. Onward and upward.