Special Report: Women in Events 2015 - Event Marketer

Women in Events 2015 Mainstory Stock

Special Report: Women in Events 2015

Abby Green, Head of Private Events at JP Morgan Chase

Abby Green, Head of Private Events at JP Morgan Chase

In our annual state of the union for women, 28 of the industry’s top trailblazers talk about what it takes to survive and thrive in the world of events

 

Earlier this summer, we assembled 28 of the industry’s top female executives for what has become our largest Women in Events roundtable initiative to date.

Over the course of three luncheon events that took place in New York City and San Jose, and several hours of candid conversation, women from some of the top brands in the world weighed in on work-life balance (hint: it’s a meaningless pursuit), career advice given, received and hard-won, and what skills and personality traits it takes to be a success in what many women described is one of the most grueling but rewarding jobs on the planet.

And for the first time, this year we included the unique perspectives of the women on the agency side of the business. The women you’re about to meet have not only risen up the ranks in traditionally male-dominated industries like spirits, automotive and banking, they’ve transformed what were once “event planning” practices into strategic and data-driven event marketing businesses. And they’ve got tips on how you can do it, too.

—Jessica Heasley, Sandra O’Loughlin and Kait Shea

#womeninevents

An Introduction

Alix Mills, Team Leader-Global Events at Bloomberg, at the Women in Events brand roundtable.

Alix Mills, Team Leader-Global Events at Bloomberg, at the Women in Events brand roundtable in New York City.

For many professional women, the quest for workplace equality is still a constant struggle. But for women in events, the equality women seek might be theirs for the taking. They just have to have the confidence to take it. That was just one of the fascinating insights gathered from this year’s Women in Events program, our annual deep dive into what it takes to be successful—as a woman—in the experiential marketing industry.

What you are about to read is our most comprehensive report ever, with 28 different voices and perspectives from some of the industry’s sharpest leaders. Over the course of three separate roundtable discussions in New York City and Silicon Valley, several hours of conversation and a few glasses of wine, we asked ladies at the top of their games to weigh in on the challenges and opportunities they see in their jobs and across events.

Despite their varied backgrounds, the feedback was strikingly consistent: work-life balance isn’t really possible, but you can create boundaries for yourself and your personal life. Curiosity, an ability to handle stress and a strong business acumen are all skills every event marketer should hone. A willingness to know what you don’t know and ask questions, as counterintuitive as it may seem, is actually a way to develop strong leadership skills and generate results. And not one woman disagreed that the key to success in experiential today is having that rare combination of street smarts and book smarts that enables you to execute in the field as well as you can strategize and sell your ideas to your company’s c-suite (still considering that MBA? The women had strong opinions on that topic, too.) Of course, the industry is not without its challenges. One roundtable participant was mistaken for her colleague’s secretary while managing event operations in the Middle East. Another has to bring a healthy sense of humor to navigate conference calls with an all-male executive team in Korea.

And of course, the sports world is still, to some degree, a boy’s club. But hey, if Jen Welter can be the first female coach to get a bunch of NFL linebackers in shape, surely the ladies of this industry can whip some old stereotypes into shape, too. Bottom line for all of the women we talked to this year: shrinking violets need not apply. Or as one woman put it, “To be in events, you have to put your big girl panties on.”

Thank you to all of this year’s women in events–not one “party planner” among them. –Jessica Heasley

Profiles: This Year's Women in Events

Teresa Cook | VP-Worldwide Portfolio Marketing, IBM
WIE_Brand_TeresaCook_2015Best Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Never lose sight of the top priorities. Your calendar will always change, but things like your child’s or significant other’s birthday don’t. Make time for those important things and block your calendar ahead of time.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn To Do

Be extremely adaptable and always have a plan B.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Panic. If you can, stay calm and find the right individuals and pull it together.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

The whole song tribute to Paul Walker from “The Fast and The Furious,” called “See You Again.” I find it very comforting.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Works

Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “Start With Why.” All of us know what we do and how we do it, but we don’t always declare why we do it. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

The perception that events are easy. Event management is a skill, and not everyone can run a conference or a trade show.

Greatest Professional Achievement

After 19 years with IBM, being made a vice president.

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Don’t always assume that everyone knows what you want in your career. Make sure your managers and your mentors understand your career goals.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Smile and breathe deeply.

Jill Daggett | Director of Business Operations, Microsoft
Jill DaggettOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Use data to drive decision-making.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Try to wing it in a presentation.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

Perception. We’re not quite at the place where events are thought of as an important element or tactic of marketing. What’s needed to shift that is analytics and measurement. I think we are still developing in that space.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Taking on a broader business management role across the central marketing organization at Microsoft that didn’t end up working out. It was a great opportunity to try a different type of thinking.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Being authentic. If somebody is not being genuine and authentic about what they are talking about, you know it.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Walk a mile in someone’s shoes.” It makes you appreciate why people are the way they are, or why they are reacting a certain way, but then it also enables you to address concerns from their perspective versus just trying to hammer out why you think something is important.

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

It is business, it’s not personal.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Pretty much anything chocolate.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Amazing, passionate about their jobs and fun to work with.

Michelle Donovan | Director-Promotions, Sponsorships and Events, LG Electronics
WIE_Brand_MichelleDonovan_2015Best Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Don’t be afraid to ask or pay for help. And professionally, don’t be afraid to say no to leadership.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Network and find good mentors. Think optimistically but plan pessimistically.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Lose your cool under pressure. There’s a way to be gracefully chaotic.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman has helped me in terms of my leadership style and has made me a more optimistic leader.

Greatest Professional Achievement

In 30 days I was promoted twice and was asked to run the whole sponsorship department while I was pregnant and about to give birth to my first child. After maternity leave I started running the department and have been running it ever since for the last five years.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Treat everyone the same. I know it sounds very simple, but treat everyone the same, including the receptionist. You might be working for him or her one day.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Honesty and transparency in the way they operate a business.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Humor.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Warriors.

Pam Dzierzanowski | VP-Event Marketing, Patrón Spirits Co.
Pam DzierzanowskiBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Enjoy what you do. A balance is quite challenging, but because work is a passion of mine, it doesn’t feel like work.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Speak up when you feel the need to. Obviously, you pick your battles—but speak up and stand your ground.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Get emotional. As a female, it’s quite difficult, but try not to take things personally.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Being a vice president in a male-dominated field—it’s quite an accomplishment, especially in the spirits world. There aren’t many female executives.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

I admire that they have faith in me to get the job done and let me use my creative spirit to do what I need to do.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Life is like a book–if you don’t travel, you only read the first chapter.”

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Find your passion and go for it. Who knew that there was a job where you could market alcohol and have fun?

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Remembering that nobody knows my subject matter better than I do. Nobody can trump me.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Massages and going to spas.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Effective, creative and multi-taskers.

Karen Fiester | Head of Brand Marketing Events, Google
Karen FiesterBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Create boundaries around things that are important to you. With my team, every year we talk about our rhythms and make sure that everyone knows what everyone else’s is, so we all respect them.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

See the big picture and focus on why we are doing what we are doing. Our jobs can become very tactical and it can be easy to get into the weeds really fast. Take a step back and ask how is this achieving the goal.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Forget the audience. If you always remember who the audience is, it can be your true north and keep you on track in making the right decisions.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

Gwen Stefani’s “What Are You Waiting For?”

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

A seven-month leadership training course here at Google based on Carol Dweck’s philosophy in The Mindset, which is basically that anybody can do anything. You just have to put your mind to it.

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

When you walk into a meeting, remember you are helping those at the table. It was such a mind shift for me.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

Nike’s tagline, “Just Do It.”

Guiltiest Pleasure

Normally I would say red wine, but I am pregnant, so lately it’s been chocolates or any sweets I can get my hands on.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Changing the industry.

Abby Green | Executive Director-U.S. Private Events, JP Morgan Chase
Abby GreenOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Build your network in the industry by meeting people, encouraging, supporting, helping, whatever it is, but really building a big network so that when you need help, and you most certainly will, you have a large group of allies that you can call on.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Never let them see you sweat. I always like to say everything’s under control, even if sometimes, on the inside, I’m not necessarily feeling that.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

A Hipster Cocktail playlist on Pandora. I think it’s the perfect background music for any situation.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I would create a universal ROI model for events. I really do believe and want to work for a company that believes in events as a serious sales channel, and companies who do that have some type of ROI model that they’re working towards or against, answering unaddressed questions, and I think it’s going to help people take events seriously.

Greatest Professional Achievement

I hope it hasn’t happened yet because I find it motivating to think my best thing is right around the corner.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Fortune favors the prepared.”

Best Career Advice Given, or Received

To share credit for your successes and never blame your own mistakes on someone else.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Anything from a hotel minibar.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Some of my best friends.

Amy Green | Marketing Development Specialist, Ford Motor Co.
Amy Green© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Carve out your “me” time or family time and stick to it. Don’t schedule over it, learn to plan around it and those around you will learn to respect it as well.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Take the wheel of your career. You really have got to drive your own path, whether you are male or female.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do:

Apologize for things that aren’t mistakes, like oh, I’m sorry I couldn’t answer the phone.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

A greater adoption of collaboration technology and flexible schedules so that we can better tap into all of the creative energy and ideas that are coming out of this incoming class of workers.

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

My Ringly ring. It looks like a normal piece of jewelry, but it Wi-Fi syncs to my phone. I can set up notifications for when certain people call or text.

Greatest Professional Achievement

The Fusion Street Chic campaign. It won an Ex Award and was much more than the event experience on-site. It brought in many disciplines and transformed the way I approach my job now.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

I pray, then I listen to music that pumps me up and gets me excited.

Guiltiest Pleasure

“Game of Thrones.”

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Unstoppable.

Kenya Hardaway | VP-Integrated Promotions, FX Networks
WIE_Brand_KenyaHardaway_2015One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Do your research and be prepared to negotiate. That’s the thing that I would say is crucial to doing your job in a way that will net a great result for you.

One Thing Evey Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Never fail to question something that doesn’t seem right. Trust your gut feeling.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

I commute with my children, so we have the “Pitch Perfect” soundtrack on repeat, and I’ve heard that a lot.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

The Last Lecture, by Dr. Randy Pausch.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I’d like to see more focus on hosting sustainable events. I’m challenging myself and my team to try and find creative ways to address this issue.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” –Anaïs Nin

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

My father told me in elementary school, “Never let them know you’re afraid.” I think it’s really stuck with me. Fear is seen as a weakness.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

I try to take a moment to reflect on the success I have had. I think we’re all capable of more than we give ourselves credit for.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Carbs.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Killing it.

Erin Keating | Senior Manager-Experiential Marketing, Audi of America
Erin KeatingBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Strike the word “balance” from the equation because it requires that people then see things in a 50/50 scale, and that just isn’t reasonable. I’ve worked very diligently to not assign a balance to the equation, rather a prioritization and thinking through what, in this moment, do I need to be doing and how can I give it my full attention?

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Compartmentalize. Whether it be something you’re thinking about personally or professionally, it is a real skill and allows you to be in a moment without getting completely stressed.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Show that you’re in a moment of complete confusion and stress.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

“All I Do Is Win,” by DJ Khaled.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

Replace “events” with “experiential” in peoples’ titles. “Events” leads people to believe it is a tactical solution.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Going before the executive board and explaining a new concept that actually had nothing to do with experiential and having everyone extremely pleased with that. That was probably one of my more proud moments at work.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

GE ceo Jeffrey Immelt had a great saying that I say all the time, which is that “You can question my decisions but never question my intention.”

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

From my father, make sure that you keep track of when you would have said something, but didn’t.

Kate Kerner | Senior Director-Global Events, Oracle
Kate KernerBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Let go of perfectionism. It is important to have a really good work ethic, but I also think it is important to be realistic.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Learn other marketing disciplines. The more experience you have in the marketing discipline outside of events, the better the event marketer you will be.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Never think of yourself as an event planner or a party planner first. Always think of yourself as a marketer first. Otherwise, we can get pigeonholed into being an event planner—the people who are going to execute on the ideas that other people have.

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

You can’t please everybody so stop trying. Not everybody is going to like you, and that’s OK. Letting go of the pleasing frees you up to be true to yourself. When you are not constrained by other peoples’ expectations, you do your best work.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I would love to see a standard benchmark against which we are evaluating events.

Greatest Professional Achievement

That I’ve been able to have an interesting and relatively successful career while raising a couple of kids who, at least at this point, seem pretty well-adjusted.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Like pilots. They can fly at lots of levels or lots of altitudes, from that highest level of content and strategy and then when they need to, get down in the weeds when the job calls for it.

Stacy Lambatos | Senior Director-Event Marketing and Strategy, AOL
Stacy Lambatos© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Unbalance is my balance. I’m an all-in kind of person. I do best when I devote myself 110 percent to what I want to focus on, and for the first half or quarter of my career, I have chosen work.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Limit yourself. Go big.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

To be seen as more than just a party planner so that the perception and the reputation of event marketers is seen as very important with a strategic seat at the marketing table, or even just the table.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Being afforded the opportunity to lead my team here at AOL.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Don’t give ‘em what they want. Give ‘em what they never knew they wanted.” –Diana Vreeland

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Given: Be yourself and do what feels good to you, not according to anyone else. Received: David Bell, who is famous in our industry, has told me, it’s not about you. Your job is not about you, but about the bigger picture, and being an igniter.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Put my two feet on the ground and take two deep breaths. Then send some Snapchats.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Authenticity, to see those who own who they are and have found ways to express it.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Magic makers.

Alix Mills | Team Leader-Global Events, Bloomberg
Alix Mills© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

To feel comfortable in her own skin, knowing who she is and who she isn’t. And then, align herself with the right people that she can learn from and that add value to her life.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Never get out her talons, even in uncomfortable situations. Kill them with kindness. Take the high road.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

“Whistle,” by Katy Tiz. It’s about keeping your cool in hard situations and not letting people see you down.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

A TED Talk by Simon Sinek called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.”

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

The misconception that events are kind of glorified party planning boondoggles.

Greatest Professional Achievement

For me, it’s really not about a single professional achievement, but more that I’ve been fortunate enough to have a job that I love and a company that is a good match for me, a 22-year marriage to my college sweetheart and three beautiful children.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“There are no victims in life, only volunteers.”

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Listen more. Talk Less.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

A force to be reckoned with.

Christine Ngo | Digital Brand Manager, Mountain Dew
Christine Ngo© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

When I’m at work, I am at work. So, I fill every single hour and minute I can when I am in the office with making sure I get as much work done. Likewise, at home, I get fully engaged in my personal life and come into work feeling refreshed.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Overburden yourself with too many events. Prioritize what you do attend so you can strike that work-life balance.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

Lean In. I love what it stands for and that it is not just putting the responsibility on myself. It is holding my life partner responsible as well. It takes a village.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

The belief that there is a finite number of roles for women or minorities at the top. We can all get there. It is an even playing field.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Being on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list.

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

Snapchat, as a content creation tool and also as a communications tool, almost replacing text messaging.

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

That also goes back to the Lean In philosophy. Don’t leave before you really leave. I one day want to have a family. I am fully engaged in the workplace right now

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Realize that you come to the table with an expertise as well. Take confidence in being the expert.

Victoria Petersen | Event Specialist, Tesla
 WIE_Brand_ToriPetersen_2015One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Create experiences for people that you would want to have yourself.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Lose your cool.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on power poses, such as putting your hands on your hips or above your head. It’s really about giving your body testosterone to build your confidence.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

The way “event planning” is perceived. Anyone can hire a caterer, but not everyone can strategize an experience that will successfully weave in a story that complements a company’s overall mission.

Greatest Professional Achievement

The pop-up dinners for Acura when I worked there. It was an experience I got to share with thousands of people and really defined my move from Acura to Tesla and sparked creativity for other mass market events.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Respect for everyone from the lowest ranking person in the company to the highest ranking person in the company.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“You find your purpose when your vocation becomes your vacation.”

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Don’t be afraid to raise your hand. I’ve read a lot of women in business books, and Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In has really done wonders for me.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Bold.

Cyndie Wang | Senior Director-Global Sponsorships and Alliances, HP
Cyndie WangBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

It’s really a personal commitment to do it, and not giving up things that are really important to your personal happiness. Our jobs in event marketing are very demanding. So, when you are at home, you have to be able to take the time to do those things that are important to you.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

I take as a baseline that leaders are charismatic and smart, and all of that. It’s the personal qualities—sincerity—that I admire most.

Greatest Professional Achievement

It’s been a series of progression and success over the course of my career that led me to my role now, but the thing that I’m most proud of is the relationships that I’ve built. I’ve been so fortunate to have worked with some truly amazing, smart, dynamic people.

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

I tell people all the time that it’s just so important to do something that you love. I fell into this world of sponsorships and events and I love it. I wish I had done it from the very beginning.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Strangers are friends who haven’t met yet.”

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Two things: One is preparation. The second is being able to have a power outfit. Red is my power color.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Fortunate to be in a dynamic industry surrounded by passionate, creative and fun people.

Roundtable: Brand Power Lunch

CLICK HEREOur Bi-Coastal Women in Events Brand Roundtable

co-produced with:

SparksLOGO-FINAL_RBG

Profiles: The Agency Community's Leading Ladies

Jenna Brigham | Senior Account Manager, Motive
Jenna Brigham© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Be confident. It is easy for women to walk into a work place and not be confident in their thoughts, in their creativity level and their overall performance within a company. It’s important to know that you are creating a difference within that company and that your role is important.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

James Taylor is my man. I go to him for everything.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

The perception that quantity equals quality. There is a perception that how many hours you work equals how great of an employee you are and I don’t think that’s the case.

Greatest Professional Achievement
[Motive] threw a concert on the USS Lexington with Blake Shelton. We invited a ton of veterans to come onto the ship. That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Hang in there, kitty” because it’s humorous, but it’s used across so many different avenues. Sometimes all you need is something short and sweet.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

You just have to listen to Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” and sing it into a pretend microphone and you feel super amped. Something that just gives you high energy.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

The thing that’s made the most impact on my life, more so than a book or a website, is my dad. He has been the most influential in my career.

Marta Cyhan | Chief Marketing Officer, MAC Presents
WIE_Agency_MartaCyhan_2015One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Listen. Because whether it’s a client or supplier, they usually tell you a lot about what they’re looking for, or what they’re concerned about.

Most Listened-to Song on the Playlist

“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

One is Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s one of those books I’ve reread at different times in my career because it’s kind of an attitude check. The other was a TED Talk with Andrew Stanton about the clues to a great story and it’s about the importance of storytelling and how it comes to life in events.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

I have two mottos that I’m known for. One is “Giddy up,” and the other is “Chop-chop.”

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Focus on two or three things that will deliver an impact and let go of the rest. Nobody’s got enough time to do it all, but you want to do something that’s going to deliver a result.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

One is breathing. I become very aware of my own breath. The other piece is visualizing how I think the meeting or presentation will go so I can project the outcome.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Being told by my team that I inspired them to be extremely creative and to over deliver, and they enjoyed being pushed. You don’t always know if what you’re trying to communicate resonates. This really humbled me.

Cassie Hughes | Co-founder, Grow Marketing
Cassie Hughes© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

One of the secrets for me is, when there’s a lull, I’ll seize the moment and not just fill the void of excess time. I’ll really make a choice, [asking myself] how can I use this time for the betterment of me?

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I would love to see more female-owned and operated companies. And, if I could, I would eliminate a lot of the bad activations out there that make our industry seem cheesy and cheap.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Grow Marketing—creating a really dynamic, successful agency filled with integrity and amazing people. Hands down, it’s the best business decision I ever made.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster
[My business partner] and I used to always joke that song “She Works Hard For The Money.” It’s less an inspirational motto and more a reminder that we’re just women running a business, trying to do well.

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

When I was at Levi’s, [a manager] came into my office. We were talking about the plan for the year and I think there were five big initiatives. He said, “I want you to do three of them off-the-charts well. One can be an unknown. But one thing needs to fail. If you don’t fail, then I’m never going to know that you pushed yourself and the team to try to do new things.”

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

I take a minute alone and I get really grounded. And I don’t over-caffeinate.

Deb Lemon | President, On Board Experiential
Deb Lemon© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Understand financials—both where your money comes from in the business and where it goes on a project-by-project basis, and understand how your company makes money as a whole.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Always drink less than the client.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

Jill Bolte Taylor’s “My Stroke of Insight” TED Talk. She talked about how it took her having a stroke to understand the brain even though she had studied it her whole life. It made her think about things not so logically—right brain, left brain. She felt like she was part of a collective consciousness after that.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

Sometimes [live] experiences end up being in our personal lives. It’s not a 9 to 5. I love it and hate it at the same time. It’d be nice to have a regular schedule sometimes.

Greatest Professional Achievement

I’m about culture. When I hear people say they’re best friends with somebody at work, it really warms my heart. It makes me feel like we’re doing something right.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Work hard, play harder.”

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Exercise or get out and move. And sleep. You need to sleep to be rejuvenated.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Creative—we just don’t let ourselves be creative.

Melinda Lindland | Senior VP, Jack Morton Worldwide
Melinda Lindland© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comOne Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

The single most important thing you can do is figure out what the currency is at the agency you’re working for and then demonstrate your worth in those terms.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Never move based on a title that you’re after. We are really fortunate to be in a field that almost always allows for upward mobility. So make the most of the situation that you’re in.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

I came up through the dance world and before I would go on stage, I would listen to “Dreams” by Van Halen and it is still my pre-pitch rally song.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

I would want the industry to collectively work harder to engage top creatives of any gender. The need we have as an industry is to be the dream career destination of the best creative talent in the world, period.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Authenticity. I think it’s so difficult to be a leader if you’re trying to be someone else’s version of a leader.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

I’ll put on something as corny as “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and get [my team] out of their chairs and dancing and just being idiots. You can’t take yourself too seriously when you walk into a pitch.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Watching absolutely ridiculous chick flicks and romantic comedies. It’s whatever corny movie I can find that just takes my brain off things for a few minutes.

Lindsay Maloney | Director-Experiential Marketing, Source
WIE_Agency_LindsayMaloney_2015Best Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

When you’re at work, be present at work. When you’re at home, be present at home. When I leave work, I put that aside and I focus on being a mom.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Whether you’re female or male, I personally believe to be successful as event marketers you have to understand every aspect of the business.

If You Could Change One Thing About the Industry, What Would it Be

One is becoming a more collaborative industry. I think we’re finally trending to the point where we’re not ancillary. But all too many times, it’s “Oh, we have extra budget, let’s do an event,” as opposed to making events part of the whole integrated platform.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Somebody who acknowledges that they’re still learning as well. You want a teacher who’s going to continue to teach people and hone their skills but also acknowledge that they don’t have all the answers.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Find out what you’re passionate about and really focus on exploring and developing that while still being aware of all of the other components that go into it.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

To boost my confidence I always reflect back on previous successful meetings or compliments I’ve received from my mentor.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

A force to be reckoned with.

Erin Mills | Chief Operating Officer, The Michael Alan Group
Erin Mills © Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Redefine “balance.” The standard definition is rarely achievable in this industry. So instead, keep track of debits and credits, and always ensure that you’re in the black with your friends and family.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Fail. It means you took a risk and will teach you far more than success.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Apologize. Own your mistakes, not others’.

Can’t-Live-Without Professional Tool (and Why You Love it)

My little black dress with pockets because a girl’s got to put her Walkie Talkie somewhere.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

“Walk This Way” by Run DMC and Aerosmith.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

I’ve uttered this for years and someone even bought me a plaque of it: “It is what it is.”

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

I’m going to quote a Stephen Covey classic from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

This may sound counterintuitive, but minimize the presentation’s importance. If you minimize something, you realize that you, your ideas, your body of work, amount to far more than this one pitch or this one meeting. By doing so, you’re putting yourself at ease and reminding yourself of why you’re going to kick ass in the first place.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Margaritas, frozen, with salt—often.

Finish This Sentence: Women in Events Are…

Trailblazing. Stay out of our way.

Elena Nicolaidis | VP-Events, Sparks
Elena Nicolaidis© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Prioritizing and taking it day by day. Some days your work may take priority, some days your personal life, but don’t lose focus on what’s ultimately important to you in both.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Show a lack of confidence in your decisions and question your decisions. I think confidence goes a long way

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

It alternates between country songs. I went to college in Nashville, so it reminds me of my college days there.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

In terms of a website, LinkedIn—the connections I’ve been able to make and keep in my career, spanning across continents.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Establishing an office in Qatar and producing inauguration ceremonies out there for two years in the middle of the desert. It really shaped my career and pushed me to become a better leader and communicator.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Leading by example and doing it with authenticity and integrity.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” –Wayne Gretzky

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

Don’t ever compromise on your goals and when you stop loving what you do, make a change

Guiltiest Pleasure

Completely disconnecting on a Greek island every summer. When I go there, I switch off my phone and forget about the world.

Elizabeth Seltzer | Executive VP-Experiential Marketing, Amplitude Marketing Group
Elizabeth Seltzer© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Have another creative outlet. I think having an outlet outside of brand experiences is important to decompress and helps in that overall work-life balance.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Be a confident decision maker. I think women have intuition and they should trust it and go with it. And if it ends up being wrong that’s OK because I also think there’s an opportunity to learn from those mistakes and grow. One thing every female event marketer should never do: Lose control. At the end of the day, we’re creating live experiences and when you’re in a live format, it’s not “if” something will go wrong—something will go wrong.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

I am a podcast junkie. In the “Accidental Creative,” Todd Henry regularly interviews big innovators in the industry. He has a lot of powerful messages, specific to creatives across all industries.

Greatest Professional Achievement

The fact that I’ve created this [experiential] division here at Amplitude. I’m very proud of that because, year over year, this division is the leader in driving the overall business for many of our clients and for the agency.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

Recognize that fear or lack of confidence is usually imagined or projected. It’s in your own head and it leads you to irrational thinking and underselling of the idea, so try to weed that fear out.

Guiltiest Pleasure

I’m a foodie and I love to cook so unfortunately, Whole Foods, whole paycheck.

Patti Vellek | Director of Account Management, LeadDog Marketing Group
Patti Vellek© Khaki Bedford Photography / www.khakibedfordphoto.comBest Tip for Striking a Work-Life Balance

Don’t strive for perfection. Learn to prioritize. Learn to be a good delegator with realistic goals.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Be present at the table. Engage, share your thoughts and make sure your voice is heard at every meeting you attend.

One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Never Do

Never be afraid to fail. We all learn from our mistakes and it’s important to know how to react and turn a negative situation into a productive solution.

Most Listened-To Song on the Playlist

“Beautiful Day” by U2. It was my ringtone for the longest time.

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

The book that hits me is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Life is a journey and it’s about the people you meet along the way—they’re a huge part of who you are. I try to remember that when I’m meeting people professionally and personally.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“Live a good life. In the end it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” –Abraham Lincoln

Best Career Advice, Given or Received

To get respect, you have to give respect.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

It’s about taking that breath to gain your confidence and making eye contact with the people you’re speaking with in the room. I feel confident when I have their attention, knowing that we’re engaging in conversation.

Kelly Weinberg | Executive VP, RPMC U.S.
WIE_Agency_KellyWeinberg_2015One Thing Every Female Event Marketer Should Learn to Do

Focus on what moves the needle for the business. Are you working on priorities for the overall goals of the business or are you just making noise?

The Book, Website or TED Talk That’s Made the Biggest Impact on Your Life and Work

The Alchemist [by Paulo Coelho]. For me it was about knowing to follow your dreams, but your dreams change over time, and you need other people to help you achieve them.

Greatest Professional Achievement

Mentoring many of our staff and my associates over the years. One other thing I’m proud of is working hard to create positive team morale in my office. I think it’s my responsibility to embrace every member of the team to make sure they’re functioning passionately and at their very best.

What is the Quality You Most Admire in a Leader

Communication—being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you need done. If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal.

Favorite Motto, Catchphrase or Motivational Poster

“What our children see in the world depends on what we show them.” It’s about leading by example and being nice.

Best Way to Boost Confidence Before a Meeting or Presentation

The outcome may not be what you want, but if you give it your best, you’ll always come away feeling good about yourself. I would also say to always over prepare and know your stuff.

Guiltiest Pleasure

Beaching it in Cabo with my family.

This story appeared in the August 2015 issue

© 2017 Access Intelligence, LLC – All Rights Reserved. |