A day in the life of an #eventprof: Project Manager

Our new series of Day in the Life blogs are here to give you an idea if you would like to become an event professional (commonly known as an #eventprof) either with us at Sleek Events or with another company.

Venue Kings Place London

Client Okta

Event name Okta Forum

Date 27 June 2018

Okta help companies do 3 things: modernise their IT, build customer experience and prevent data breaches. Their 2-day forum brings together hundreds of IT leaders for an interactive learning experience to narrow the innovation gap at their businesses.

Okta’s executives, product leaders, key partners and customers showcase their integrated identity, mobility and security products, and forward-thinking IT leaders share their experiences in implementing best-of-breed technologies.

We were hired to make sure the whole event ran smoothly – and this included building on the morning and the evening of the first day, with very close timings to the live event. Here’s our Project Manager, Erin Corrigan’s walk (and sometimes run) through the day.

The night before the day in the life

This is a day in the life but it’s important to say that getting quality rest before an event is absolutely key – sounds obvious, I know, but for this event, I choose to stay close to the venue the night before at The California.

Just a quick ramble off the path before we get back to the event… if you’re looking for a reasonably-priced guest house in the city then The California is perfect – and this is by no means a bog-standard guest house so expect to be hit directly between the eyes by their personal touches. You get the best room rate by booking direct through their website.

The morning shift

We are due onsite at 7am so it’s an early start – I’ll be wearing an Okta-branded t shirt so I need to wear smart yet functional clothing with comfortable shoes to see me through the whole day.

We’ve already had a team briefing in the office the day before, so I conduct the morning briefing with two other full-timers from our Sleek Events team and two of our regular hostesses. Once I’ve gone through the running order with them, I move on to a meeting with 10 of the venue’s team assigned to us and go through the function sheet with them. The venue will be supporting the event with audio visual equipment and the catering, as well as the space itself.

In addition to them, we have a range of suppliers on site to make the event come to life. Onward Display has provided the branded elements, Conference Expo brings the sponsor stands, Clarkes Coaches is on stand-by to collect the delegates at the end of the day to take them on to a networking evening (which we have also organised!). Then we have Conference Badges covering the registration desk, whilst YR takes care of the giveaway station.

The client relationship is paramount and they have to trust us to manage the event so they can feel comfortable to spend time rehearsing for the next day. I report to them that the first day’s sessions are running smoothly, that the delegates are happy and the suppliers are on course to install on time.

Keeping up with my to-do list

Once I’m sure everything is set up correctly for the day, I can spend some time on other client projects that are in the pipeline. At this point, I’m working on five other projects with delivery dates ranging from mid-July to October.

You may notice, I didn’t mention what I had for breakfast earlier in my blog. That’s because

7am is too early for me to eat breakfast! We don’t get regular mealtimes during events – in this case, I eat lunch once all the attendees are happy and in post-lunch sessions.

The evening shift

The second day of this event includes a small exhibition with 10 sponsors’ stands as well as Okta-branded build items and a giveaway supplier. Once the first day’s programme is finished, our second shift begins at 6pm. Some of the team go on to manage the networking reception evening, some stay behind with me at the venue and the hostesses head home.

The install takes 4 hours, my job is to oversee it rather than get stuck in with the heavy lifting. I check the artwork on the stands to ensure they are all correct. Whilst the stand builds go without a hitch, I notice a few glitches with some of the client’s artwork and there’s some feedback from today about the room set-ups from my team, so I’m the one who must provide the solutions. I get the artwork reprinted, confirm room set-ups for tomorrow with the venue’s team and when the giveaway supplier gets stuck in traffic, I change our install timings to accommodate them.

I go for dinner with our MD, Jennifer, while the install is completed and then I pop back to the venue for a final check to be sure everything is in place for the next day. We stay at the same hotel tonight and can sleep easy knowing we’ve prepared well.

Combating stress – a follow-up to our ‘day in the life’ from Jennifer Davidson…

If you read some of our other blogs, you’ll notice that we take wellness extremely seriously at Sleek Events. As this event was in June when we were enjoying some impressively sunny weather, we decided to take a long evening walk the night before the event before we headed into the city. Richmond Park is on the doorstep of our office so we take every opportunity to ramp up our steps each day!

Erin talks in this blog about missing out on meals when an event goes live. We really don’t like our team to go hungry but it is often the case that when the adrenaline kicks in, we forget about food! I would always recommend keeping a snack to hand to keep you going in between meal times – you need to feed the energy in to your body to perform to your best.

Heard of “to fail to plan is to plan to fail”? Being an #eventprof can be made more stressful by poor planning. Successful event management is 80% planning and 20% execution and ensuring thorough planning can significantly reduce stress levels when it comes to event day.

Erin says, “Ultimately, I’m an #eventprof because I love what I do – the variety in my job keeps it exciting and the challenges mean I’m constantly learning.”

Think you’d like to become an event prof with Sleek Events? Keep an eye out on our social media for new job opportunities.