Chief Experience Officer, ViewStub.com, Event Masters
Describe your job.
I help businesses and brands plan, manage, and coordinate small- and large-scale concerts, festivals, and conferences.
How did you get started and what got you from there to today?
Several of my jobs back in the day revolved around logistics of some sort, so after a few business ventures in the marketing space, I decided to take my talents into event management and marketing. I realized I had built my marketing company by attending events and meeting people, but when I thought about it, most of those events were just boring. I started Experience Events to change that.
Do you have a favorite type, size, or style of event to plan or do you like variety?
These days, I’m technically less involved in the meeting planning world and doing a lot more high-volume concerts and festivals, which I love, but I also still love a good out-of-the-box conference.
What’s your best experience of turning lemons into lemonade?
Too many stories to count. I have positioned myself as the industry’s problem solver, so my whole career is turning lemons into lemonade. From fixing hotel contracts to having to source 37 portable toilets in just three days. There is also that one weekend we do not talk about anymore where we dealt with extortion, a venue under construction when I showed up, the police code enforcement, a caterer stealing our money then proceeding to quit, and finally, having to swap venues in the middle of day two due to a sewer line break. The lemonade part is this event is still known as one of the best I ever did for the client.
What’s your proudest moment so far in your career?
After a couple years of building my management company, I leveraged that into purchasing and renovating an event venue in the Design District of Dallas. I do not own that venue anymore due to the pandemic, but it’s still one of the highlights of my career so far in that I was able to do it so early in my career. I’m actually in the process now of purchasing another one.
How has your business adapted to the ongoing uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic?
I did all the pivoting for my business, meaning my company still focuses solely on in-person live events. However, when the pandemic hit, I pivoted and joined the team over at ViewStub, a hybrid event platform that I am now part of.
How do you keep up with industry trends and cutting-edge developments in the convention and meeting business? What new event industry trends are you excited about?
To be honest, I do not try and keep up with trends too much. One of my core philosophies is “set the trends, don’t follow them.” A trend I hope to continue to drive home is the experiential nature and “festivalization” of the meeting and conference space, meaning bringing concert and festival ideas and concepts into a traditional conference.
What are the essential skills every newcomer into the industry should possess?
Problem-solving, especially the ability to do it when the stress is high. I can’t stress this enough: You get paid on the size of the problem you can solve.
What is your main takeaway from navigating the events industry during a pandemic?
The biggest change I will personally be making is to never take live events for granted again. The pandemic proved to me that events and bringing people together drive the overall mental health of this entire planet, and I will never again take that for granted.
When you are not creating events for your clients, what do you like to do?
If I am not working, I am probably decompressing from working by hiking in the mountains, traveling, or attending more events—just attending, not working.