Every day I boot up my laptop, I feel lucky to conquer the world’s problems one Microsoft Teams chat at a time with a motley crew of incredible coworkers. Because we’ve always worked from home, video conferences, virtual brainstorming, and phone calls are nothing new to our team. A side-effect of the geographical diversity our team brings to the table is that sometimes, we miss out on knowing about the activities, talents, hobbies, side hustles, and leadership positions our team holds outside of their normal work hours. I am a firm believer that these side gigs—whether they be official or unofficial, paid or unpaid, strictly for leisure or working towards a goal—make a big impact on the type of teammates we are and how we show up for each other every. single. day.
In the first of two blog posts, I’m excited to share a little bit about our teammates: a Crowd Watching Hobbyist, Sound Dog, Group Fitness Instructor, Karaoke Enthusiast, Screenwriter, Serial Entrepreneur, Professional Walker, Backpacker/Outdoor Survival Expert, COVID-19 Compliant Halloween Experience Organizer, Booster Club Secretary, and Cause-Related Volunteer.
Tim Brockman, President & COO
AKA: “Crowd Watching Hobbyist”
From my very early days in the Live Entertainment business when I started as a t-shirt security person at concerts in Seattle, I fell in love with not only the thrill of crowds but also the mechanics of what makes them tick. Whether it’s a rock concert with general admission seating, a reserved house at an opera, a huge sporting event, a charity event, or a civil disturbance—I find myself watching the crowds. I love to understand how they move, how they are influenced, and how a much smaller group of planners/security can influence their outcomes. Bringing that learning to how we plan and execute events is something I always try and instill in our teams. I often say: Become the participant and walk through your event from the outside in; look at every obstacle and know what your end goal is as we move people through our events.
Mike Murphy, Executive VP of Event Production
AKA: “Sound Dog…I LOVE great sound.”
Pretty sure I was born with it. I’ve always been a musician and come from a long line of them. For me, great sound is the difference between a great performance, recording, film, band, play, or event, and one that is mediocre at best. Really good sound is one of those things that an audience rarely notices when it is there. But when it’s bad, it may be the first thing on the list they would like to see improved. After a tough day, almost nothing will give my attitude a lift like a great song on a great system (occasionally with a cocktail). I’m proud that our events, even in difficult situations, always have good sound as a priority. Fun fact, my home studio/the new location of my home office has a 52-channel analog mixing desk that was formerly the house console at the Hollywood Bowl.
Janelle Benuska, Field Operations Coordinator, Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival
AKA: “Group Fitness Instructor and Karaoke Enthusiast”
In both roles, it is super important to know how to read the room! That includes tuning in and connecting with each individual and meeting them where they are at, knowing how and when to adjust what I’m offering, and addressing their individualized needs—whether it’s offering a motivating, “You can do it, just eight more reps!” or thinking, “Hmmm, that individual in the back of the bar sure seems like they could use a rousing rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.” Flexing this skill is paramount for participant recruitment and support, a key function of my job. Oh, and the group fitness experience definitely comes in handy once we’re putting the muscle in to execute events.
Joann Buckley Collins, Senior Copywriter
I have an MFA in film from USC and started my career working in script development. Though I left the film business for the non-profit world long ago, I still write screenplays in my spare time, on and off over the years, for fun. I’ve garnered a few screenwriting awards and sold a couple of scripts, but nothing’s made it to the big screen yet. Although writing an ad, email, or ceremony script for a fundraising event may seem worlds away from writing a screenplay, at the heart of it, they are both forms of storytelling. They both depend on understanding dramatic story structure, human nature, and how to create the perfect, well-crafted sentence.
John Diesel, Data Warehouse Manager
AKA: “Serial Entrepreneur”
My wife, Roxanne, and I always have a business or two running. We had a theatre troupe (Gypsies in a Trunk) which has been doing Fairy Tales in the Park for over 25 years (COVID-19 aside). The Gypsy Players, which we recently retired from, did Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre shows. We now sell scripts for these shows online, although my part in that business is very, very minimal. My hobby is Bitcoin/CryptoCurrency. I have been day trading these for over 10 years, and over the last four years, I have been working with a company which has written an automated trading bot. It’s leading-edge tech, with a little Artificial Intelligence thrown in…all of this while on the road and mobile, of course.
Molly Fast, Local Operations Director
AKA: “Professional Walker”
During the pandemic, I decided to use all the extra time I used to spend socializing and traveling to walk. In 2020, I logged 5,113 miles (no, that’s not a typo) and walked an average of 98 miles/week. It’s been a wonderful way to lose weight (I’m 60 lbs. lighter than I was at the start of 2020). And an added bonus is that it’s been a fun way to connect with our 3-Day community. I’m literally walking the walk right alongside them. I can’t wait until we can get back on event and instead of hiding out in the event Command Center, I can take some time each day to share some miles with our participants.
Jake Geiger, Account Director
AKA: “Backpacker/Outdoor Survival Expert”
Getting away from everything to hit the reset button in wilderness is my most favorite thing to do. I’ve logged a few miles backpacking over the years, but my most recent trip across Glacier National Park was one for the ages. I enjoy being completely isolated in wilderness, solely relying on my wits and what’s on my back. It’s invigorating, humbling and puts everything in perspective. It’s also a personal micro event that requires plenty of pre-planning, extreme focus, flexibility and most importantly, snacks.
Irina Gelfand, General Counsel
AKA: “COVID-19 Compliant Halloween Experience Organizer”
Law school teaches its students to look for exceptions in every rule, to advocate for your client to the best of your abilities, and to find solutions when it seems there are none to be found. When my “clients” (ages two and four) told me that they wanted to be SWAT officers for Halloween and that Halloween had been cancelled due to COVID-19, I tried my hardest to advocate for them and find a solution. I took to our neighborhood Facebook page and created an outdoor, COVID-19 compliant Halloween experience. With the help of other parents in the same position, we produced an experience of Halloween that they otherwise would not have had in this super stressful year. At Event 360, we have the same interests in mind for our clients. 2020 and COVID-19 challenged non-profits and event producers to think creatively to pursue live events in a safe, COVID-19 compliant manner. To that end, we created the 5x5K live event experience, with social distancing and COVID-19 compliancy measures designed to give its participants an experience they crave during this very unique and challenging year.
Jennifer Hagan, Account Director
AKA: “Booster Club Secretary and Cause-Related Volunteer”
The booster club position helped me to gain organization skills, by recording and following up on items discussed during our meetings. Volunteering and working for other non-profits enabled me to have a diverse knowledge base and to help our team understand the unique needs and goals of our non-profit partners.
Readers, we want to know…what leadership position, activity, talent, hobby, or side hustle makes you better at your job?
Katie Zupancic Wymer
Katie Zupancic Wymer brings a strategic vision to event marketing and recruitment with a focus on peer-to-peer fundraising events. Through digital and traditional marketing strategies, she focuses on maximizing new participant acquisition and increasing returning participant retention for our partners.