Over the years I’ve been amused by the reaction I get when I tell people that I’m an event planner. It ranges from, “Oh, I always wanted to do that!” to “Wow--that sounds like so much fun!” to “Oh, you do weddings?”
Every year, members of the event industry--made up of event planners, caterers, decor designers, florists, photographers, AV and technical directors, venues, entertainers, and many more--are hired for corporate events, weddings, nonprofit fundraisers, military events, government events, consulting, concerts, fairs, graduations, celebrations of life, and many more events, resulting in billions of dollars into the economy. However, most people don’t understand what we do.
Unfortunately, I think that some of the “reality” television shows and, sadly, some of our colleagues have misrepresented the event industry as a whole. I know those shows are made to play up the drama, and I know a lot of real life planners who thrive on chaos, but the real reality of our business should not be that way.
WHO ARE WE? If we ever intend to be taken more seriously, paid what we’re worth, and offered new and improved opportunities, we should do a better job of showing what we’re capable of accomplishing. The “event heroes” of the world are often overlooked. The professionals who are making a difference by creating jobs, positively affecting their city’s economy, helping their company thrive, raising awareness and monies for important causes, and generally making a positive impact need to be more known.
The opportunities for event professionals are unlimited, and I believe we’ve only scratched the surface. For example, my business--Forté Events--predominately helps companies and organizations solve problems using events. We’ve helped clients when they have high employee turnover, bad product launches, ineffective training deliveries, negative press, low event attendance, and lack of sponsors. We create strategic events that result in a return on their event investment. We are problem-solving project managers who use creative ideas that result in profits. Did you know an event planning firm could do that?
Also, a friend of mine works as a consultant to hotels, architects and construction firms. When companies build or remodel hotels, they contact her for advice on what they should include or delete from their design plans to ensure they attract the most business from event planners and their clients. So smart!
WHO MATTERS? There are a lot of awe-inspiring people doing important work representing the event industry, but often all we see are over-the-top purveyors of shenanigans that provide entertainment. It’s time out for this!
We need the larger community to know who we are and what we can offer. We need future generations of the event industry to aspire to higher levels of opportunity that we create for them now. We need to understand business--how to price, how to convey our worth to clients, how to be thought-leaders and not just order-takers, how to create new ideas and build teams to achieve them, and how to more elegantly portray this amazing industry to the world.
If you have questions about our industry, contact us…we’re happy to share!
Tami Forero is a strategic event planner and CEO of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based company Forté Events. With 22 years of event planning experience, she helps clients meet goals using experiential events and is a sought-after speaker across the U.S. on the subjects of sales, work-life balance, and profitability.
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