I had the distinct pleasure of interacting with Bethany Smith, fellow blogger at The Planner’s Process. Bethany is a phenomenal #eventprof, and has contributed much to the industry since being introduced in 2009. What I admire about Bethany is the passion that she has to show new event planners how to connect and grow in this industry. Check out our interview! ~ Naomi
In 2009 I volunteered for an AmeriCorps organization called City Year. We were tasked with correcting the dropout crisis in schools by working alongside inner city youth. We were with them all day, and our initiatives ranged from mentorship to academic support.
I worked in Long Island City, Queens in NYC, and I was randomly assigned the task of being event coordinator for my team. It was my job to plan, produce, fundraise and market for 10 events that engaged our students, the staff and faculty at the school and our surrounding community. The first event we put on was a canned food drive to support the victims of the terrible earthquake in Haiti. I had never worked that hard or felt that much pride about anything before. I was hooked!
Why is event planning so special to you?
I have always been trying to figure out what I was “supposed” to do with my life. I have so many passions that, at first glance, don’t seem to be compatible. Once I stumbled onto event planning (which I didn’t even understand was a career choice) it was impossible not to be hooked. I love every aspect of this industry- from the various ways we can play with and implement new tech to the beautiful ways that we can organize or rejuvenate a space.
I also think that event planning is the best way to humanize companies. We live in an era where huge companies like Pepsi and Groupon and Walmart are on social media and stuff because people do not want to buy from faceless “big Business” anymore. They want to spend their money with brands and companies and people they can trust. Events are the best way to build and create that trust and feeling of kinship between a brand and its audience. Being an event planner allows you to write those stories and see them come to life.
How do you stay current on meeting industry trends?
Of course I am glued to all things BizBash and Event Manager Blog- those 2 sources alone are so full of information and inspiration via their various platforms! It also helps that I blog in the space. In addition to my own blog, I contribute to Event Manager Blog and the blog for Social Tables. I am also in the process of launching a new project called Aspiration Station that allows me to educate and work with creative entrepreneurs about the ways that event planning and copywriting techniques can boost their businesses. That much work requires quite a bit of research, so I am constantly saving articles and books to read about our industry. But the best, best way to know what’s hot in our industry is to go to events!
Being able to see first-hand what is going on, and how it is different from the events you have attended in the past, or in another location is so important to your self-education. I can’t say that enough.
Tell is a little about The Planner’s Process, and how the blog can help event planners.
I started The Planner’s Process not because I wanted anyone to read it. I really wanted to get serious about event planning and I needed to collect all the information in one space. Thus TPP was born. I started a series on The Planner’s Process called Planner Talk, where I interview event professionals and bring their advice about the industry to newbie or aspiring professionals. Those have been done so well and I am going to do even more of those!
The Planner’s Process is a great way to get educated about how to get into the event planning industry. It is really geared at the person I was in 2010 after I graduated from AmeriCorps. I knew what I wanted to do, but didn’t know where to start. I hope to illuminate those first couple of steps.
What trends are you seeing that event planners should look out for?
Do not fall asleep on Periscope. Live streaming is here to stay. I would also just pay attention to event technology in general because the tech is what drives the trends. We see fluctuations with décor and food & bev all the time. There are even shifts in what kinds of speakers, (speaker diversity is a hot button topic right now also) but when the events industry landscape changes dramatically, there is always a new piece of technology at the heart of it. Techsy Talk is a good place to check this kind of info out. And the new Gather Geeks podcast from BizBash.
What is your favorite thing to do while onsite?
I am a real people person. I go as far as to tell people that my charisma is my superpower. I really love interacting with everyone onsite the night of the event. I know it sounds crazy, but in addition to the billion things that planners have to do the night of an event, I also like to walk around and talk to the attendees, the staff, volunteers and the vendors. You really get a feel for what is working and what isn’t, and I have found that being really visible and hands on, can help to forestall huge mishaps. When people know that you can’t be too far off, and that you will inevitably be around checking in on them, they panic less when things go wrong. A calm staff is really the key to success in all things.
Thank you Bethany for interviewing with Plan It On A Post-it!
Bethany Smith is an event planner and copywriter determined to help creative business owners tell their stories and bring them to life. Follow along with her on Twitter: _BethanyNSmith