Ulrike Ellmann, general manager, Vok Dams China, Beijing
Ellmann interned at Vok Dams' headquarters in Germany and its Los Angeles office after college, and as a result "was hooked" on events, she says. Now in charge of the company's operations in Beijing and Shanghai, she oversees 25 staff members producing events for major international brands. As China's economy grows, she predicts a growing focus on quality and "creative event solutions" there, she says. Fluent in three languages, the 31-year-old turns to sports to relax, competing last year in a 100-kilometer (62 mile) race in Hong Kong—"It took 27 hours to finish."
Joshua Richardson, vice president of event presentation and broadcasting, New Orleans Hornets basketball team, New Orleans
At age 33, Richardson oversees the event presentation, broadcasting and entertainment departments, which include game presentation, entertainment, broadcasting, video production, mascots, dance teams, grassroots programs and special events. "I thrive in developing processes and procedures while focusing on the overall performance and end results both internally and externally," he says. What's ahead: "With social media--Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.--mobile marketing, blogging, chatting and streaming events live, the possibilities are endless. Since 3D is the latest trend, I am interested to see how it will evolve into the world of special events."
Sara Hunt, senior director of Giants Enterprises, San Francisco
Hunt, age 30, oversees special events at the home of the Giants baseball team, everything from "corporate holiday parties to Rolling Stones concerts to college football games," she says. "I love that we get to interface with many different types of clients, and that we get to be an integral part of memories that people will take with them forever." In the future, "I can’t stress the importance of guest interaction enough," Hunt says. "People don’t just want to attend events anymore; they want to engage in them. Sponsors don’t want signage, they want experiences. Event producers will continue to push the envelope in terms of attendee integration and entertainment."
See the full story in the July-August issue of Special Events.