Erin Cook – e2 Destination & Event Management

Erin Cook

President/General Manger, e2 Destination & Event Management

Orlando, Fla.

Describe your job.

As the owner of e2, I wear many hats. I use whatever time and skills I have to ensure our events are the best they can be, picking up different roles in marketing, oversight, and operations.

How did you get started and what got you from there to today?

When I originally started this path, I never thought it was going to take me to where I am today. In college I was on an activity board and oversaw taking care of name acts when they came to school, arranging transportation, etc. I quickly realized this was something I was not only good at but incredibly interested in. I did research into how I could pursue this as a career, which has led me to where I am today.

Do you have a favorite type, size, or style of event to plan, or do you like variety?

For as long as I remember, I’ve never been a fan of the ordinary. I like change and spontaneity, so having a variety of clients with diverse needs is exactly what I prefer. I like to push myself to think outside of the box to make an event as original and memorable as possible.

What’s your best experience of turning lemons into lemonade?  

My best example of making the best out of a situation is due to the pandemic. We planned an event for a hospital opening. The pandemic hit, and we thought we would have to cancel. But in a few weeks, we turned the situation around, resulting in our first drive-thru event. It ended up being one of our most notable events, as well as the first of many circumstances where we had to adjust due to the pandemic.

What’s your proudest moment so far in your career?

That would be a private birthday party I hosted for a board member of Berkshire Hathaway. It was small and not what I usually specialize in, but I was given complete freedom with their unlimited budget. We did a special experience at the Magic Kingdom with the entire castle to ourselves plus a private firework show, parade, and dinner show. It’s the highest profile event I’ve hosted, with most of the board in attendance, including Warren Buffet.

How has your business adapted to the ongoing uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic? 

We have had to pivot in an entirely different direction. With clients requesting virtual and hybrid events, our team has been able to think innovatively about how we can shape the event to meet the client’s needs. It has added another level of creativity and imagination, so we can still provide the above and beyond service we’re known for.

How do you keep up with industry trends and cutting-edge developments in the convention and meeting business?

We try to attend as many industry events as possible and ensure that we always have at least one person onsite at anything that could keep us in the loop. In the height of the pandemic, we hosted weekly coffee talks with our vendors, asking what they were offering and what was popular. Now, we have strong bonds with them to ensure the hottest and best products they can offer.

What are the essential skills every newcomer into the industry should possess?

There are a lot of things that newcomers should have that are generally assumed, such as a vivid imagination and creativity. You have to be good with people and think on your feet. Anyone who can’t handle stress of a fluctuating environment should think of another career. You also need to be extremely organized and detail oriented.

What’s the oddest or funniest thing that ever happened to you during one of your events?

We had a large buyout and catered event at ICON Park, with about 1,200 people on the way. As they were pulling in, so were blaring firetrucks! The entire building was being evacuated because the catering company accidentally set off the alarm. As hectic as it was, I can’t help but look back and laugh at the chaos. Fortunately, we were able to enter guests through one door as the firefighters and EMTs were exiting through another door.

When you are not creating events for your clients, what do you like to do?  

In my free time, I love to get outside; I go for walks or kayak as much as I can. During the cooler months, I enjoy getting on my Vespa and driving to the local farmers’ market. I love to travel outside of Florida as well, and I try to see a new country every year.

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