By Jesse McDaniel
Summer may be on its way out, but things are heating up here at Event 360! In our last post, we checked in with Sam Ridings, Social Media Coordinator, and Ashley Marquis, Event Production Coordinator, before they headed into their very first Event 360 events. Now, with numerous events under their belts, read on as we hear about both the nitty and the gritty of life on the road.
Sam Ridings – Social Media Coordinator
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day in New England was Sam’s first-ever event! Although not too far from her New York stomping grounds, Boston in August served as a great change of pace, and nice introduction to the “Pink Bubble.” Sam was, admittedly, a bit apprehensive about meeting the more than forty staff members supporting the 3-Day. However, the displays of compassion and open arms made her feel as if she’d been working with the group for years. The shared camaraderie would prove beneficial as she geared up to dive into the fray.
For Sam, the most challenging aspect of the event was twofold. On one hand, there were a lot of moving parts to the role for which she needed to find her own groove and system to be efficient. On the other hand, the biggest hurdle had nothing to do with her job and everything to do with the emotions involved. When a deeply personal experience on-event set the tears flowing, Sam found comfort in the arms of a coworker-turned-friend. Then she realized how impactful our work truly is.
Despite hearing many tales about the 3-Day, Sam, like many others, didn’t completely understand the Pink Bubble until she was in it. She saw strangers hugging one another through the highs and lows and, at one point, her alarmingly low phone battery was rescued by a kind participant who shared her charger for the entire day. That one small act of kindness spoke to the greater spirit upon which the event’s foundation is built.
While the community present was amazing to see, the behind-the-scenes action still took a physical toll. For Sam, that meant dedicating 30 minutes in the middle of the day to disconnect and recharge, in order to be more present when it mattered. At the end of the weekend, she walked away with a number of tips and tricks that would be integral as she geared up for the following four 3-Day events, the first of which occurred the following weekend. Now, with New England, Denver, and Chicago behind her, Sam is taking time to decompress (she planned a last-minute trip to Spain!) before gearing up to conquer Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego in a few weeks.
Ashley Marquis – Event Production Coordinator
While Sam was taking on the east coast, Ashley was busy a little further west supporting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). Serving as event lead for the MMRF Team for Cures event in Chicago, Ashley went from virtual connections with her team to seeing folks face to face. Her team’s collective rich background in other events, as well as specific MMRF Team for Cures experiences, meant that the group could hit the ground running pretty quickly.
While the event day itself is its own goliath, the prep beforehand can also be labor intensive, and the hours long. The team spent the better half of the day before the event unloading the truck, shouldering generators, lifting barricades, hoisting signage, organizing truss pieces, and more. Despite the whirlwind of activity, Ashley made sure to prioritize self-care by staying hydrated and taking breaks as needed. Still, with all of her steps tallied by the end of the weekend, she had walked over 12 miles! (There’s nothing more impressive than the step count of an event pro after a busy weekend!)
Ashley’s event responsibilities involved everything from volunteer management for route oversight to collaborating with the A/V vendor to tackle a generator issue and general troubleshooting. The team’s quick response times made for a smooth run of show, while also offering lessons learned for next year. As a recurring event, Ashley knew that learning the ins and outs of the MMRF Team for Cures series would set her up for future success. This, in part, included figuring out how to pack the truck with event gear, which required critically thinking about securing supplies and learning a great deal about all things rachet straps. “Honestly, it is like playing high stakes Tetris — both fun, but also real life.” Ashley said.
Although the task was physically taxing, from the early setup to exhausting teardown, Ashley walked away feeling more than one level of accomplishment. Not only was she able to hit all those active rings on her Apple Watch, but she was also able to interact with several participants and their loved ones by taking a couple of group photos in front of the start/finish line, and answering questions about the event. Seeing their bright, shining faces, as well as their dedication to the cause and the greater community, made the work even more meaningful.
Life on event can be tough. Our minds and bodies are often pushed to the limit as we grapple with any number of factors that come our way. Event planning is on the list of most stressful jobs, by the way! And although the balancing act may feel impossible at times, Event 360 is always willing to rise to the occasion. From Sam to Ashley, and Susan G. Komen to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the team that answers this calling remains the greatest resource that we have to offer. Our collaborative efforts are rooted in the determination to do good and investing in these organizations that make a world of positive difference. This autumn is one of our busiest yet, and we’re eager to see what surprises are waiting to reveal themselves.
Follow along with us on our journeys to see just what happens next.
Jesse joined the Event 360 team in 2021 following a career in the worlds of editing, development, and fundraising. As Creative Services Coordinator he tackles everything from communications trafficking and project management, to copywriting and overseeing niche deliverables. A jack of all trades, master of none (…ok, maybe two or three), his favorite experiences allow him to wordsmith or make meaningful connections with our amazing participants. When he’s not city-hopping during event season, he enjoys composing music, penning nonfiction, traveling, and spending time with a good book.