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A three- part series cultivating confidence and building careers in the event marketing industry:
Q&A: THE EVOLUTION OF WOMEN IN EVENTS
Women in events have come a long way from their humble beginnings as perceived “beer girls,” “models” and “party planners.” Today, women are leading marketing strategy and serving as mission critical face-to-face ambassadors that can shift brand perspective and impact the bottom line. Event Marketer Magazine sat down with our very own, Dayna Gilchrist, founder and ceo of Hype! and Andrea Mitchell, director of production at Momentum, to discuss the evolution of women and staffing in the industry.
EM: How have you seen the role of women evolve in the event industry?
ANDREA MITCHELL: When I started in the industry 15-plus years ago, there weren’t a lot of women producers in the field. Executives may have made assumptions for why we didn’t want to be a part of that world, so I think over time, women have found their way. The skills and strengths women bring to the table really have helped get us past the “model” piece.
DAYNA GILCHRIST: From the staffing perspective, I always say to people that I did not come into this business to be in the booth babe business—we’re not here to put a body out there that’s doe-eyed and can’t answer a question. It’s far more strategic today. Also, one of the biggest categories out there for clients is savvy women consumers, and savvy moms, so the people we’re putting out there to engage in events have to be relevant to that demographic brands are going after.
MITCHELL: I think clients have embraced that mentality, too. There are more women in leadership roles at corporations today. Having women who fit within the demographic of their products and represent their brands will bring stronger foresight into their corporation and can help it grow. It’s about more connections.
EM: What are those skills women bring to the table both behind the scenes and in customer-facing scenarios?
MITCHELL: Behind the scenes its people managing and logistics. We’re in an industry where we have one shot at logistics and we need to do it correctly. It’s also flexibility, and being practical and realistic, and looking for that immediate solution.
GILCHRIST: And being able to adapt. I think that being a mom and being somebody that is inside the office and outside the office, women are used to juggling a lot of different things, being able to respond quickly to clients and adapt to different types of environments. That’s a personality trait that I think I bring to the table as a woman and something I look for in my team. In the staffing world, it’s being proactive and not reactive. We are, all day long, problem solvers.
MITCHELL: Our industry is very unpredictable, and I agree. I always say there are two types of producers—reactionary and planners—and I think women tend to lean more toward the planning ahead type. It’s a lot of having trust in your plan and your people and transferring your passion to them. The more you plan, the more you make the right decisions from the top level to the staffing level. At the end of the day, you are putting it all into a staffer’s hands, and that’s important to remember.
EM: How do these skills translate to working with clients and achieving their goals?
MITCHELL: Building relationships and being honest. I work in events, which tend to involve a little bit more candor, and even with bad news, being able to say, ‘Here are all the steps we’ve taken to move forward.’ Having that relationship with the client that they know we’re going to do everything we can do make an event a success. It begins and ends with people.
GILCHRIST: In staffing, we fall into the same equation. We’re working to get a full understanding and a full picture of what the client’s expectations are—and that’s how the staffing piece has evolved. I will never be an order taker. I’m going to ask what’s expected of them, what are they supposed to look like, what information do they need to attain. We’re often the last piece of the puzzle, even though the staff that we hire today have an understanding of the total goals of the program. At the end of the day, these are the people who truly represent the brand.
Tune in next week for part 2 of the series: Say it loud and say it proud—10 tips for surviving and thriving in events.