By Jesse McDaniel
For most novices, entering the events world can be like stepping into another universe. There’s an astonishing amount of effort that goes into finding creative ways to gather people together. Whether it’s the venue, staging, or logistics, any number of details may go unnoticed by the average participant, but for those who are familiar with the industry, it tends to be all we can see. By the time of this posting, the Event 360 team will be exactly three days away from our summer/fall events season. From August until November, our team will be hopping from Boston to Atlanta to San Diego and beyond, crossing the country as we support some incredible nonprofits. For several of our new staff members, this will be their first time face-to-face with our friends at organizations like Susan G. Komen, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. These staffers will be able to move away from the theoretical and gain experience with the practical. In part one of this two-part series, we’ll check in with a few of our eager Event 360 teammates, learning about the productions they’ll be supporting, their full-time vs. on event roles, and how they’ll be helping kick off this fall.
Sam Ridings, our Social Media Coordinator, will be traveling to Boston, Denver, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, and San Diego, serving as the Social Media Coordinator for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Instead of working with the regular Creative Services department of seven, Sam’s event crew will include her as one member of a team of nearly fifty people spanning across special ops, production, route and participant experience. While her typical everyday tasks involve all things digital wizardry, including the generation of content calendars, developing social media posts, and writing blogs, her time on the 3-Day will enable her to be up close and personal with our walkers and crew, shooting video, capturing photos, and conducting direct interviews with this amazing community. Though she might be a newcomer to the Pink Bubble, Sam is excited to connect with the dedicated and courageous walkers, volunteers, and staff that make all this possible. Her expertise in everything from Instagram to WordPress is fantastic, but her passion for this work is even greater. With increased awareness of breast cancer since joining us this year, in addition to the recent passing of the mother of a childhood friend due to the disease, she greatly appreciates her chance to contribute to these critical efforts and see the inner workings of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.
“I’ve known about the 3-Day for as long as I can remember, but since working at Event 360, I’ve learned just how impactful the event is. It’s incredible to see how many people it takes to make this event happen, the heart behind it, and the real impact it has on the community.”
During the offseason, Ashley Marquis became one of our renowned Event Production Coordinators. Her responsibilities include collaborating with site and city jurisdictions to ensure all applications, permits, and payments are submitted. She also scouts for exceptional sites and courses, creates event and route maps, and tracks the overall progression of specific markets. However, this fall will be Ashley’s debut as an event lead. She’ll be supporting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Team for Cures Walk/Run events, visiting Philadelphia, Maryland/Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Chicago. No stranger to having her boots on the ground, Ashley’s particularly familiar with Chicago since the Windy City falls under her jurisdiction. As the event lead, she’ll remotely meet with the team to walk through the schedule, oversee in-person roles and tasks, confirm flight plans, and prepare for the big day. Time will be allotted for travel, load-in, the event itself, and loud-out, as essentials like tent marking, traffic management, and final details are reviewed. With everything from a 28-foot trailer and meeting with overnight security, to the arrival of MMRF partners and copious amounts of signage, collaboration will be the name of the game. As the sun rises and the participants arrive, Ashley will be prepared to manage everything using a bird’s eye view. Although she’s ready for the many technical elements, she’s also excited to see the impact of this important mission. She might be a more recent addition to the fold, but with over a decade of nonprofit event planning experience under her belt, she’s a veteran when it comes to nonprofit events. The chance to put her various skills to use is a joy, but seeing the real communities impacted by a few people motivated to do good? Priceless.
“It is exciting, and hopefully will be even more fulfilling, to see the event through its completion… I (with the team) will help direct folks, field questions, ensure the program runs smoothly, and selfishly enjoy the impact of our work and the participants that show up.”
There’s no way of telling how an event will go with 100% accuracy. Despite our best forecasts and careful strategizing, we can’t control everything (but our planning brains wish we could!). Emergencies pop up and Mother Nature has made guest appearances on more than one occasion, so even the most seasoned event pro knows that obstacles can pop up. We’re eager to see our colleagues out on the road as they make their inaugural expeditions and use their skills to conquer any challenges they may face.
Make sure to check back for part two to see how they fared, take in the lessons learned, and hear some of the first tales from our exciting autumnal adventures!