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Informational Interviewing Project Sample

Statement of Interest

Events management is a position that requires a lot of abilities and interests especially with respect to knowing and interacting with people from all walks of life. The field is riddled with numerous tasks that vary with every specific event such that the more one can handle the better they are. My first reason for being interested in events management would be the scope of work involved. Unlike other professions that are plagued with routines and task rotations for years on end, events management is unique as every event brings with it specific challenges that must be handled through innovative thinking. This means that unlike the kind of position that requires playing by the book, events management is more about thinking on the go and doing whatever is necessary whenever it is necessary (Allen, 2011). I also got interested in events management because as a profession, it allows for personal growth in areas like communications, perseverance, time management and dual relationships where one needs to develop a social angle in their business relationships in order to always have the upper hand in terms of information and offers from the suppliers. The need to be innovative goes hand in hand with the need to always have all the relevant information in the industry at hand thus the need to know a lot of people on a social basis as well as on a business basis. These connections help in keeping the events manager well informed about the important things in their industry.

One of my strongest attributes is interpersonal relationships where I have been known to make friends very easily. The one thing that I pride myself in is forming and maintaining healthy relationships with the people around me and thus I believe that events management is for me. My ability to make friends easily and to relate well with people implies that I can easily get the necessary connections that would make me very effective as an events manager. I also generally enjoy attending events that have been well planned. When I first learnt about events management as a career option, I had attended a few events that were not well planned and I kept complaining about such events simply because I considered them major disappointments. This is why I became interested in events management, seeing as I felt I could make events much better with my efficient planning skills as well as social connections that could be capitalized on to find all the right business connections.

The Industry

According to Ferdinand and Kitchin (2013), the events management industry has been considered by many as a new one because initially it was not taken seriously. Today however, there are very many individuals who are specifically trained in the field of events management where they help corporate and individuals to plan events such as parties, gala dinners, AGM’s and launches without much of a fuss on their part. As people come to appreciate the impact of a good event on the image and success of the person or company that holds it, the events management industry also gets appreciation for enabling these corporate and individuals to focus on their specializations as the event gets planned by specialized professionals. It can thus be stated that today the events management industry is a very lucrative one that however depends on the connections that the event organizer has seeing as it requires knowing a lot of people in order to have reliable suppliers and partners. Holding a successful event requires the cooperation of a lot of people including the caterers, the decorators, and entertainers and even in some cases the hospitality industry with respect to venues and hosting. This means that it is a large industry with very many stakeholders who must at all times be engaged accordingly for better working relationships.

The Company

Magnolia Bluebird designs and events is an organization that specializes in creating event plans and designs for clients in order to ensure that the event goes smoothly and that the planning is not too tasking for the client (Magnolia Bluebird, 2014). This company is built on the concept of providing professional help or guidance for the client in order to enable them to create the best events as per their needs and expectations. The approach applied by this organization is “Thoughtful Design, Gracious Hospitality and Well Executed Events” which assures the client of professionalism and customized services.

The Job Position

The position in question is that of an event designer and planner, where designing the event is all about creativity while planning is more about engaging the customer to meet their needs and expectations depending on the kind of event they would like to have. An event designer is responsible for deciding on the right venue, the color schemes that could look good, the sitting arrangement, the kind of music and entertainment that the guests should have and in some cases even the time frame of the event. This requires understanding the specific needs of each client and giving them something that is not only suitable for their needs and budget but also relevant and pleasant to them. The planning aspect on the other hand is about consulting with the client and using organizing skills to ensure that the event comes out as designed (Reznik, 2013). The key concept here involves understanding the designs of the event and ensuring that all the suppliers are contacted in due time and everything is in place in good time.

Event planning is mostly about engaging the client to ensure that everything as agreed upon in the design is as expected when delivered by the suppliers so that the event does not disappoint the clients and their guests.

The Interviewee

Katie Paulos has been working as an Associate Designer and Planner at Magnolia Bluebird since July 2014 although she has been in the events industry since she was sixteen. She was interested in events since she was in high school and thus kept helping at weddings and other events where she would attend the entire event from start to finish in order to help with set up, tear down and every other thing that came up during the course of the event. She then went on to college where she studied interior architecture and design, showing her creative side. She has worked as a creative coordinator and as a planner as well before joining Magnolia Bluebird as the Associate Designer and Planner. This means that her level of experience is simply remarkable given the various positions and organizations she has worked in over the years.

Interviewing Process

I was introduced to Katie Paulos by the Principal from Magnolia Bluebird who was actually supposed to be my interviewee for this project. Her name was Danielle Couick, and she later introduced me to Katie because she could not find the time to engage me in an interview. As for Danielle, I met her through my classmate who agreed to introduce us upon my request. On the day of the interview, I met Katie at The Coupe on Columbia Heights where we spent about an hour talking about the subject. The interview was a rather pleasant one as Katie was very willing to share her story with me.

Throughout the interview, she kept inspiring me more and more and she even enabled me to see the kind of person one must be when looking to join the event industry. She is easy to talk to and a very gifted communicator seeing as I was able to get a very clear insight into her life and experiences as an Associate Designer and Planner.

 

The Interview

The interview started with a discussion on Katie’s background and why she was suited for the job. She stated that she had been working in the industry since she was sixteen and thus it has been a major part of her life through high school and then college. Thus after college she moved to the Washington DC area to take advantage of the larger event industry where she believed she could expand her knowledge and gain more experiences. Her role as a designer and planner entails working with the client and offering their expert opinion to guide the client through the conceptualization and actualization processes given her creativity and extensive understanding of the entire event industries and its key players. As for why she chose this path, she stated that she loved events and she is naturally an organized person.

In addition, her love for interacting with people from all walks of life is a plus given the need to know people. The major traits that have so far helped to propagate her along the way have been patience, passion, determination as well as effort. She commits to her clients with the aim of making the event the best that it can be thus earning her position amongst the most reliable planners. When asked to describe a typical day at work for her, she quickly emphasizes on the importance of building interpersonal relationships that are warm and comfortable as part of the business relationship. As evidenced by Evans (2013), the importance of eye contact and a smile, as well as respecting the views of the client enable the planner to surpass the expectations of both the client and their guests. As a challenge, she notes the need to multitask and plan a lot of events simultaneously given the high number of clients that could be having events at the same time.

This often requires a lot of organizing on her part as she may end up compromising one event if she focuses too much on another. She also states that the level of detail that is considered at Magnolia is what sets them apart as an organization. The company often follows up on an event from its conceptualization all the way to its execution in order to ensure perfection. The interviewee was also very helpful in sharing information on how to plan a bar and bat mitzvah where there is a lot of importance in matching the event to the child’s personality as well as incorporating the traditional activities like the horah and the motzi. On making the event personal, she advised understanding the clients and their needs in as far as the event is concerned so that they can be effectively executed to meet these expectations.

Significant Areas of Learning during the Interview

While getting to understand the position of an event designer and planner, I also learnt a lot of things about the events industry and the requirements as well as challenges of my chosen career. First, I learnt about the importance of networking in as far as event organizing is concerned. The interviewee was kind enough to let me know that among the most significant competencies in this industry is meeting new people and keeping them as useful business contacts. The main category of networks here would be the various vendors and suppliers in the events industry as well as the hotels and venue managers who must be kept close at hand. As noted by Anderson (2010), clients are often dependent upon their planner to find a suitable location and ensure that their dream is actualized in terms of the design and décor thus the need to know all the right sources.

As for the skills and abilities that make one a good event planner, I learnt that being organized as an individual is very crucial to this job as it is the only way that one would be able to carry out the various tasks that come with handling different events simultaneously. The interviewee also informed me that the main character trait should be passion seeing as the job is very demanding and the challenges could become overwhelming especially given the fact that one has to work with different clients at a time and thus encounter different attitudes. Just as noted by Onstead. (2012) I also learnt that creativity is mandatory seeing, as the client will only express their expectations and wait to hear what the planner would do to actualize these expectations. One must thus be able to create something beautiful and real from the descriptions provided by their client.

Reflection

The interview was very informative in that I liked how engaging the interviewee was in terms of her willingness to share information. The experience was perfect, with no dislikes on my part seeing as I used every opportunity to learn about an industry that ii find very interesting. The interviewee was very helpful with her advice and generally she shared her expertise very generously. I would gladly continue carrying out informational interviews seeing, as I was able to not only learn but also get challenged and inspired at the same time. The setting was rather friendly and I clearly benefited from getting this insight into the events industry.

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