Lauren Sherman – EVisions

Lauren Sherman

Corporate Meeting and Event Manager, EVisions

Orange County, Calif. 

Describe your job.

As a corporate meeting and event manager for a software company, I deliver on-brand meetings and events that display our company culture and values. I plan, manage, and execute internal and external conferences, trade shows, meetings, and other corporate events. This includes pre-planning, venue sourcing, transportation, shipping and materials logistics, talent and entertainment sourcing, budget management, F&B contracts, vendor management, and process and resource management.

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

I knew from a young age that I was going to be an event planner. My parents entertained a lot, and I loved helping my mother prepare for parties. As a teen, I organized school fundraisers and variety shows. After university, I worked as a special event fundraiser for healthcare foundations, and mid-career, I was the owner of an event production company specializing in weddings and corporate events. When I achieved the goals that I had set for myself as a business owner, I became an in-house corporate planner, which brings me to where I am today.

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

I enjoy planning variety; it keeps me on my toes. The method of planning each occasion is different, nothing is cookie cutter, and I don’t become complacent.

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

To this day, I consider the first gala fundraiser I planned my proudest moment. I had no experience executing an event of this magnitude. The venue was a popular hotel in Los Angeles. The attendee list included a former president (think Secret Service team), an oil magnate (think private meet-and-greets and white glove treatment), and a famous musician as headline entertainment, which meant a green room, a rider, a dozen comped guest rooms, etc. I jumped into the deep end and planned that event with passion and gut instinct. I made mistakes but learned very quickly how to fix them. I wrangled friends and family to be live auction runners, and the event raised more money than before in its five-year history.

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

We pivoted to virtual events, but only a limited number because the ROI was much lower for us than with in-person events. With all things being equal, we will put more resources into our 2022 events.

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

There is nothing better than networking—meeting and discussing industry trends and developments with like-minded planners and other industry professionals. I also do my own research by reading blogs and newsletters, attending educational conferences, and using my MPI resources.

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

The ability to engage and learn from seasoned planners. Don’t be afraid to network outside of your comfort zone. When you are attending an industry conference or event, engage and learn.

What is your main takeaway from navigating the events industry during a pandemic?

As our circumstances can change on a weekly, if not daily, basis with the pandemic, roll with the punches. Who would have thought that in two months, we could plan a conference that normally takes us a year to execute, and still be smiling?

What is your best advice for industry newcomers?

My best advice to newcomers is to put down the cell phone and engage with people. If you’re new to the industry, you likely bring fresh ideas and methods to the table, while more seasoned professionals have an arsenal of knowledge and practical experience. Cultivate a symbiotic relationship and learn from each other.

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

That would have to be at a rainforest-themed client appreciation event, when an African Grey parrot escaped from its wrangler, flew across the room, grabbed a piece of fruit off someone’s plate, and then returned to its perch, completely unfazed.

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

I enjoy spending time on any tropical island, reading a book and drinking a beverage
with a tiny umbrella in it. When not on a tropical island, I like to repurpose old furniture and entertain my friends. I especially love to spend quality time with my dad and family.

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