When I was in college (a really long time ago), my plan was to work for a ski resort and sky-rocket to the top of their marketing department. I had spent a ski season in Vail and was the Ski Club President at California State University, Sacramento, so that was my “dream job.” My last semester had me interviewing for marketing communications jobs in all kinds of industries and I landed a great job at a gas chromatography/capillary electrophoresis manufacturer. In nearly 20 years of my marketing communications and event management career, all of the companies I’ve worked for have been in technology. Sure, they’ve ranged from gas chromatography, test and measurement, software, medical devices to contact center technology, but they are a far cry from a ski resort.
So, I steered away from what I thought was my path and took the leap to find a new and successful one. I have worked for some great companies in my career. All large corporations that did pretty amazing things. I led marketing and event efforts big and small and worked on some great teams. From seminars on the science of gas chromatography, to huge tradeshows, to intimate client events and client advisory board meetings that allowed for successful product road mapping sessions, I’ve been able to do a variety of corporate events and the marketing activities that supported them.
For nearly nine years, I’ve had the opportunity to build an entire marketing program that included events that I am proud of. I took the leap from one role to another that required blood, sweat and tears to create something from nothing with little budget and little resources. But man, did I get creative with what I had. Events were a big part of that. Tradeshows, hockey games with clients, lunch and learns, cocktail hours, making beer with partners, annual sales meetings and team events were always on the schedule, and I loved every minute of it. Finding creative ways to host our clients with a fantastic experience and drive leads for my sales team was my ultimate objective.
While managing these events, I’ve had partners, colleagues and friends ask me for advice around their own events. What could they do differently? What are some ideas to help drive attendance? Then they would ask, “Why don’t you do this for yourself?” and I would always say, “Maybe someday.” Well, that “someday” is now.
What drove me to take the leap? My decision to start my own event management business really came from deciding to be responsible for my own destiny and success. I believe that each person gets to that decision on their own, but the key is to stick with it. It won’t be easy for sure, but with the support of colleagues, friends and family who will not only open doors for opportunities, but will also be a sound board and offer advice, getting over that fear of failing will allow for the focus on goals, plans and the road to success.