Hello everyone! Today, I wanted to share a few stories from my previous event planner days.
It occurred to me that I hadn’t shared much of that job at all, just general information on what I did or where I went for work. I figured since I’m not employed there anymore I could share some fun stories! There are going to be just general tales from onsite work I did, which is when I was sent to the event to work there. I have plenty of stories around the office and that other former coworkers shared with me though, so maybe I’ll also tell those someday! I’ve got some pretty great horror stories about my former coworkers and managers LOL. But I also have a lot of really nice ones too.
Also, as you can see, I’m doing Blogmas again this year! That means I’ll be blogging every day until Christmas. I’ve done Blogmas in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 so I am happy to be participating again in 2020.
Thursday Tales: Former Event Planner Edition
Meeting Famous YouTubers at VidCon
This was a wild trip! I am a huge fan of YouTube and so when my old company landed VidCon for housing, I immediately called dibs on working on this event. Never mind the fact that “dibs” didn’t even exist but considering I was the best at my role and the managers were eager to make a good impression on the client in hopes of getting bigger contracts with them (even before Viacom bought them), I assigned to the account. The first year was a bit crazy since we were still figuring out the working relationship but myself and one other person just took the opportunity and ran with it. We were both pretty new to our roles at the time so we just figured it out as the managers were super hands off with everyone. We made a great impression and the next year I was able to fly out and support the client onsite for the 2019 event.
I was put in charge of handling any hotel related situations for the Featured Creators at VidCon, so I had the chance to meet many cool YouTubers. Even though I said I wanted to share more I still don’t want to say anything bad about anyone so I won’t say their names but there were some bad apples in the mix. For one, we had a medical emergency and there was a YouTuber waiting to check in who looked to be in a foul mood because everyone was trying to take care of that situation. I ended up calling 911 (I do think I mentioned that part of the trip in my recap post last year) but long story short, everyone was so worried about their coworker (most people working in the room were actual VidCon employees) so they were really distracted by everything. There was also a certain YouTuber who caused damage to her bathroom and left the hotel before anything could be settled so her card got charged, people who tried to sneak into the hotel, and so many more crazy issues!
There were some really cool things though! I wasn’t so busy with housing things after the first day or so, and I got to help out with checking in the creators. I met both of the Green brothers there! John Green was a day late because he’d been at another education focused convention so his assistant had picked up his badge but only picked up the “Executive” badge and not the “Featured Creator” one. Since many people working at the expo hall didn’t know who anyone was, they ignored his black Executive badge for anyone with the yellow Featured Creator ones and he was sad he wasn’t getting swag! We pointed out that he could have had a full diva moment and yelled “Do you know who I am?” to which he just laughed and said he couldn’t! We did give him his yellow badge of course, but it was just fun to mess around with him. He also stopped by again later and gave the employees a bunch of stuff from the Featured Creator swag bags he and Hank had used in their video. Hank also stopped by a lot. Since he worked on VidCon longer than John he knew the VidCon employees well and would stop by to see how things were going. He ended up cutting a cake someone brought in and there’s a video of me handing him a plate somewhere because he was cutting, the VidCon employee was filming, and neither had a plate ready! He also had a cupcake later and almost dropped it. Both Green brothers were super kind!
Other cool YouTubers were Joey Graceffa (never talked to him in person but he somehow got my personal cell phone number to ask if I could get his boyfriend’s name added to his room to allow him to check in), the Try Guys (Eugene was particularly funny as he tried to put his badge on over his hat and it got stuck but they were all great), Bretman Rock (super nice and his group was really cool too), Gabbie Hanna (I know, I totally expected her to be rude and so did everyone else but I had a pleasant interaction with her), Jacksfilms (super, super kind and thanked me multiple times for helping his wife out even though I really didn’t do much!), Smosh members (well to be honest they were hit or miss, as not all of them were nice), and so many more!
There were other cool things about this event so let me know if you want more Thursday Tales on this one!
Fun at FIRST
Another event I had the great fortune of going to was FIRST, a robotics competition. I worked this event I think four years in a row, but wasn’t able to go to the 2020 event when it was cancelled due to the pandemic. This was one of the best onsite trips in terms of what you’d think an event planner’s life would look like when they travel. This event spared no expense, which meant the hotels didn’t either. I got the BEST upgrade from the hotel last year and got a really amazing suite on one of the top floors with a huge bathroom and living room in addition to the actual room. All I had requested was “please, no convention center view”! This was after a horrible delay due to snow back home in Chicago, so it was a great surprise. Then the client fed all the staff everyday so there was never anything to worry about for food, as it was all catered. It was crazy hours, due to the fact that the event itself is an all day thing, but it was such a great vibe that I didn’t mind!
Honestly, the client was the best part. The message of the organization was really inspiring so I loved being a part of the event. Their whole thing is promoting STEM education! And the people who worked there were lovely too. I had to work hard to earn their trust because the person who had the account before me did a terrible job, so they were wary of a new person who was new to the role coming in. However, I did earn their trust by providing constant updates, proof of the work being done (yeah, the previous person would neglect to do the work and just say it was done… it was BAD), and making sure to get them requested information quickly. After that, it was smooth sailing for everyone!
They had a reputation around the company of being an overbearing and difficult client because people like the person before me who were lazy and didn’t want to work, so anytime I told someone I loved working on that account they didn’t believe me at first. Then I’d go on to explain our working relationship and how kind the client was, which was completely different to what they’d previously been told. Ultimately, I got the reputation of being able to work with the most “difficult” and “demanding” clients easily and in a way that everyone was happy, especially the client! Even though I don’t work with them anymore, and they actually terminated the contract with my former employer due to the pandemic, we still keep up with each other and I miss working with them a lot.
The Most Quiet Onsite at Houston Marathon
I didn’t ever talk much about working with Houston Marathon, mostly because I only went onsite once this year back in January and also because I didn’t really enjoy the experience so I didn’t feel the need to gush about it. Houston Marathon as a client was also difficult but the work still got done. In general, the client didn’t really understand deadlines, so although they’d been a client for three years or so before I got assigned to them, it was still difficult to get anything done. However, I did everything I could with the information I was given so it didn’t turn out too badly! This onsite was a weird one though. The first year or two of their contract they didn’t have anyone onsite, the second year they had two people, third year they had zero (I think that’s when I was assigned but I was assigned late so I barely had any work on that show cycle), and then the fourth year I was working on it so I was sent to Houston with the account manager.
We never saw the client as they were really busy, which was fine, but we also didn’t have any work to do in general. The account manager did have a lunch meeting with the local CVB, but that was really all we did besides just sit at the desk and chat. The most difficult thing besides the client on this was another coworker who was also extremely lazy and didn’t help the situation at all. We did complain about her a lot to each other onsite, so that helped time fly by, and then we also chatted about work in general, our past event experiences, even personal finance (specifically budgeting and saving)! I may not have been particularly useful to anyone onsite, but we still had a good time at the desk and exploring Houston after the day was done.
So those are some of my tales from a former event planner! Honestly, the onsite trips were really, really cool to experience. They were my favorite part of the process! Seeing the team’s hard work come together for a great event was the most rewarding part of planning. Of course, I didn’t travel to every event I went to. I had a ton that I didn’t travel to, so those events I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on my blog. I worked equally as hard on those events as I did to the ones I did travel for, of course, but these were special! Not all my memories of my time in events are good, but the onsite experiences will always be some of my favorites!
Next week I plan to share my roommate horror stories! I can’t believe I’ve never shared those on the blog. Trust me, they’ll be a wild rollercoaster to read.
Thanks for reading!
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These sound like such amazing events to be apart of (the good and the bad). I always wondered what it took to keep everything going smoothly at such large scale gatherings! Thanks for sharing!
Xo Tina | https://www.teenafey.com
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Oh it was always a million different moving pieces and I only saw a tiny part of it usually! That was the really fun part of working onsite at events. You never knew what was going to be thrown your way!
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