A Personal Reflection – Contemporary Issues in Event Management

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My Turn to Tech – Who’s Listening? – The Workshop

Arriving home from work to secure my place onto the “How to grow your own events business” workshop, only to find it was completely full! The same was for my second and third options, the early bird catches the worm… I selected Event Budget and finance, as I plan to launch my Events & Communications Agency on the completion of my degree, it was the only presentation left which was relevant to my current needs and one that I knew would be of interest to me.
It seemed the four members I would be working with were in the same situation, left it too late! Well we got on with it. It was a great group as everybody had busy schedules and most were working within the industry so we could discuss current affairs and issues. During the first year at The University of Greenwich I studied PR & Communications, through the summer of 2014 I realised I had made a mistake and was over joyed when Emma Abson accepted me onto the BA Events course.
I had never spoken, met or maybe even seen the students that I would be developing a workshop with. We started a wasapp group that we communicated through regularly, duties and responsibilities were discussed through this platform, I nominated myself to put the Prezi presentation together along with case studies considering the affects the economy has on major events around the world. Five busy people, one new mum, three travellers and me, full time mum, worker and everything else that comes with life, to say we meet up often would be a stretching the truth!
So what is a works shop and how do we go about it? I was present in the lecture I went to the tutorial, read the notes on moodle, watched many short clips online this was my favourite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdA3jgYRM8A as it was about events, which I enjoy and the speaker was passionate and spoke as if she believed in what she was saying, so is that all there is to it? I thought, then nerves kick in, what will we speak about for an hour? will anyone show up? What if they get bored? What if the lectures display poker faces, I read few pages of the following book..  Confessions of a Public Speaker, http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Public-Speaker-English/dp/1449301959/tag=scottberkunco-20#reader_1449301959 the most valuable thing I took from it was the coping secret, everyone forgets about the presentation or workshop after they happen! except for yourself that is, so do the best you can and aim high. So on I continued.
Notting Hill & Brazil Carnival were two out of the three case studies we discussed, I choose these as I have attended both, and plan to attend them both again in the near future, as long as economy constraints do not force these much needed cultural celebrations to be a thing of the past. The feedback received from both tutors were within the same content, advising I could have been clearer on the financial context on the two events. I totally agree, it was in fact to be implemented, being a born London girl Notting hill is in my history and with my Jamaican heritage carnival is in my blood, the material gathered for these case studies where extensive and beneficial, however the team felt that games that where planned, pictures and further literature wasn’t needed in this subject area, after reading the comments given by Emma Abson and Pamela Ziagomo I should have spoken up in my group and extended my content instead picking the short straw and keeping it.
It was in fact said that our content was too widely spread at times, reading that feedback also made me realise that I should have definitely increase my literature.

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The professionalism and delivery of the workshop was energetic and fun, it was a team effort, as previously stated we all seemed to be like minded, this was shown in our delivery as both tutors praised us on both, fantastic results for a team who communicated through social media, and complied the delivery the morning of the presentation with a prezi presentation devised by a member sent to all through email one or two nights before the event, it brings me back to earlier suggestions that the group as a whole were mature, independent and driven.
I strongly agree with Emma Abson when she described the topic as ‘dry’ hence Event Budgets and Finance was not in my top three to topics to choose from during the project section process, it is a subject that is contemporary and I believe it will always be, without finance, budgets and Sponsorship how can you run and event? Or a business? Nevertheless we delivered a well-researched workshop which saw the majority of the audience competing with each for an item off of our table of prizes, engaging and concentrating on our slides, taking part in our padlet and quiz games.
One criticism we did receive and again I have taken it into consideration moving forward in the future of my career when hosting a workshop or conference will be the way the ‘ice breaker’ or quiz games are delivered.
We were advised that we could have possibly done more when interacting, when giving information that will require answers finding a way to ensure the audience knew it’s important and beneficial information, maybe changing the font, putting questions in bold, whatsoever it will be its imperative. I am currently working with a company who plan and manage round table and forum conferences in the Middle East, with a diverse group of attendees, the many different languages spoken needs to be a priority consideration. As organisers we have to accommodate everybody’s needs, making sure they get the fundamental information from the conference, to do this we have literature available in every language spoken, with clear literature on slides and reading screens.

Customer Loyalty – How is it measured?

 

Customer-Loyalty-Programs

 

I am a customer to many products and brands when purchasing for myself, I also have the job of making purchases for my eight year old daughter when she requests items that get sold to her during a Disney channel commercial break or the latest gift a friend got that they discussed in the playground, are we loyal customers the answer would probably be NO! However this is not intentional, it’s just a matter of circumstances, what’s current and what’s needed!
If I cannot commit to being a loyal customer, how do we successfully satisfy our customers that we aim to have in the future? To make them loyal to our product and business commitment and efforts with all these options available to them both locally and abroad now accessible via the internet? How do we stay current? How can we let our clients know that they need us? My answer would be great customer service, fantastic product knowledge with a creative edge that is consistent and fresh.

Most businesses would agree that behaviour loyalty would be their preferred type of loyalty. Starting a business myself and working in a company who organise five annual events in the Middle East, with a per delegate price of over £30,000 per head I would call this type of this commitment Behaviour Loyalty, The “customers intentions to repatronize their current service provider(or company) based on past experiences and future expectations”(Lee and Cunningham,2001:114) The customer has experienced our work and services, the example given to them has set a standard that they have accepted and commit to a paid membership for our services, they continue to have expectations for this service or product to remain to be beneficial for them, so they stay loyal to our organisation.
Dimensions of loyalty according to Butcher, 2001 are based on Behavioural and Attitudinal loyalty. Behaviour as I have discussed earlier is seen as resistance to switch and being attracted to something through word of mouth, if you are being provided with a consistent and feasible service you will recommend your peers to it surely? If you are reaping the benefits and want others to have the same experience, enjoyment and dedication from a service why wouldn’t you share? This is called attitudinal loyalty. If the attitudinal customer isn’t behaviourally loyal too, promoting a service and not purchasing from it, they will not maximise revenue, a business with lots of people like this will not be a business for long as the people will look but not touch.
Loyalty is one of the most important attributes a (event) business can have, what’s the saying?

“you’re only as good as your last piece of work”

delivering what’s on the tin is no longer the only objective an event business has to strive for, along with creativity, delivering the organisers agenda, fantastic venues and now the increasing pressure and knowledge of sustainability within events should all be included in the package, if you can successfully combine all of these your financial status will be positive. (The Loyal Effect, Reichdeld and Sasser, HBR,1990) State that loyal customers market your brand, I agree I often tell my peers about a product or service I’ve purchased or experienced, that I believe they would like, that’s value for money and meets my expectations, I sometimes encourage them to purchase it and it goes the same for me, if a friend recommends something to me, I don’t tend to research it, if I need it, I will get. If it’s good for them, it’s good enough for me, this make me a attitudinal and behavioural customer.

However this type of customer loyalty can also help to contribute to loss of sales, Lets say you are particularly disappointed in a service, we used to shout it from the roof tops, now we get on twitter, leave comments on trip advisor. Events are the one of the best arenas to network and meet likeminded or people you would never usually meet, with this said its also a great place to meet with your clients and customers.
In my career in events I have often used a specific supplier, wither it be a caterer, florist or cleaning service, once the event itself has been conducted the time comes for all to meet, greet, socialise, make positive introductions and connections building future business relationships. In these space, negative and positive conversations take place, discussing products and services in particular.

Creativity in Events Industry…Am I Creative?

Am I Creative, I would most definitely say yes! When it’s world book day and moneys tight I get creative, dive into the wardrobe and make it happen for my daughter, I am great at creating a three course meal out of left overs in the fridge and frozen foods in the freezer. Ask me if I’m a creative event organiser I would have to think. I know I am a innovator, I like structure but work well with minimal structure added when necessary, I love to change things, bringing new fresh ideas to the table, yes I do things differently, not always by the book…but I get it done!
In business however, I consider myself to be a creative leader often feeling confident and comfortable in leading a team to positive results. When organising events I always think outside the box, how can I make this better than the last one? What if it rains? Can I motivate my team to have likeminded thinking? I have never been one to get in a state, I never crumble under pressure, always remain calm and collective may be this is the reason I have the ability to solve unexpected problems or issues in business.
But creativity is a must in the industry, where would it be without it? The following article gives a small insight to why its imperative to have creativity in events http://mice.net.au/article/events-why-creativity-in-events-is-imperative/

My career has taken a turn within the events field as I thought I was a seasoned, groomed and professional Special events coordinator, Love the mushy stuff, I can tell the bride what she wants to hear, select a great bottle of wine whilst staying within their budget..all smiles!
That was until my current role as Investment Relations coordinator, a more mature and grown up role within a financial conference B2B organisation with clear goals and strategies in place, that allow me to think outside the box, be creative and contribute to the standard of the company’s reputation. I may be asked to research a speaker for a conference it’s then up to me too use my creativity and explore people that I believe will fit into the structure of the conferences, a person who is respected, sought after and tangible.
I do have the creative tendencies, looking through past lecture slides I came across Emma’s lecture, one part in particular answered my question to Am I creative, “So, are you creative?”

creative

 

The following outline me Suzkima Thomas as an event professional
Creative individuals are also remarkable, humble and proud at the same time – You will always see me blush, get shy or hide when praised
Generally, creative people are thought to be rebellious and independent – I will always try something new, cross the line, take a chance, if you don’t want to be a part of it with me, your loss!
Most creative persons are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it all as well – I will work hard on my projects, put my all in to them, think about them morning, noon and night, BUT I will always find something wrong, something that should have been done in a different way! My sister, my No.1 cheerleader will always tell me to give myself a break, stop doubting myself and recognise my achievements.

And finally…

The openness and sensitivity of creative individuals often exposes them to suffering pain yet also a great deal of enjoyment – Going back to what I said about being a seasoned special events coordinator, I am very emotional and in touch with my feelings. A previous managing director has told me that I am a great manager, however I am too emotional, Another reason why I am in tune with my current job role, is it’s a serious company with incredible future prospects, there is no space for error nor weak team members. I take great pride in my time management, the conversations I have with staff in all departments, leaving my personal life at home and displaying a positive, active young women who deserves a place in this establishment.

I recently completed an essay for Event Venue Management, the assignment brief was to discuss event typologies,my focus was Unusual venues, the reason for this is the venues listed in this category are usually diverse and interesting allowing the event organiser to be creative so they can inspire their stakeholders, clients and staff often setting a new trend, whilst reading many academic literature for this essay I read the following journal by Anna Leask and Gayle –Louise Hood, Unusual Venues as Conference Facilities, this journal reiterated my thoughts on the success of this venue typology currently and in the future, moving forward in the industry not being afraid to offer something different and unexpected http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J143v02n04_04

Generation Me! (Y) -70’s Baby

Generation MOI ! Born in 1979, when Star Trek: The Motion Picture , Rocky II and Kramer Vs Kramer where the highest grossing films of the year, The year the Bee Gees released tragedy, Donna Summer was talking about the bad girls and not to mention Gloria Gaynor was trying hard to survive the 70’s and 80’s were and always will bem my best times…..for me these times where 70’s..
1. School Days – No responsibilities – six weeks holiday – Dinner ladies who gave us seconds
2. Kiss Chase – Chasing after boys and kissing them and vice versa
3. Knock down ginger – being pests and running away
4. Free Holidays! Mummy & Daddy paid for it all

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I was born into Generation Y, although I agree that we nearly always need reassuring, many of us are computer geniuses, I am most definitely the image of the impatient trait…I do however draw the line at being a Facebook freak, never played Candy Crush and certainly DO NOT Snap Chat! I agree that Social Media is everything we have been waiting for in advertising, we reach the masses around the world, in several languages in seconds! Brilliant!
Yes we are a talented bunch, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO are both products of Generation Y, both highlighting the strengths of their generation states side, but what about GenY in the UK? What are we like in business?
Its been said that

“Generation Y (Gen Y) is the newest and largest generation entering the workforce. Gen Y may differ from previous generations in work‐related characteristics which may have recruitment and retention repercussions. Currently, limited theoretically‐based research exists regarding Gen Y’s work expectations and goals in relation to under graduate students and graduates”(Jenna Luscombe, Ioni Lewis, Herbert C. Biggs, (2013)

As a soon to be graduate, I am clear and confident in my expectations for the working arena. I would like a job role that will allow me to utilise my Event Management degree, a role that will develop into a career in a company with prospects, diversity, a company that will allow me to be creative, listen to my visions in turn my work will be productive.
But what do they (employers) think the Gen y work force will get up to when made to grow up, be independent in a 9-5. First I will mention that research has been done, many employers believe we will not fit in to their establishments, we will be hard to manage due to generation gaps, for example it’s been said,

“People from each generation – raised in different social and technological contexts – bring different attitudes, values, and work ethics to the workplace” (Vittal S. Anantatmula, Bobbie Shrivastav,(2012)

As a mature student currently in the working world, and have been for at least ten solid years, that statement is very close to the truth I have experienced the pleasure of recent graduates joining the team with bright, new and fresh ideas, climbing the ladder quicker than team members that have given the company their life…literally!! It causes resentment, bitterness and sometimes will make a divide between the graduate (GenY) and the not so tech savvy, stuck in old way of doing things, (GenX) member, the Gen Y has come into the company with quicker skills, a different kind of motivation, loads of enthusiasm basically business minded with a driven mindset.
If I were a manager with a mixed staff base of Gen Y Vs Gen X I would introduce study skills and plenty of training for all members, this way everyone would have the same knowledge, it would be up to the individual to motivate themselves in order progress in their job role.

Beyonce vs. Miley Cyrus: A Feminist Tale of Two Childhood Stardoms

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Great assesment! this is a continuous converstation between my friends and I. Reblog is a must!

Aya de Leon

2013 witnessed the coming of age of two former child stars in very different ways.  Lst year’s zeitgeist moments of Miley Cyrus and Beyonce have a lot to teach us about the dynamics of women, feminism, and the entertainment industry.

Childhood stardom frequently means bad news later in life.  From the 70s to the 80s, we watched the entire cast of Diff’rent Strokes meltdown. from the 90s to the new millennium, we watched Britney Spears skyrocket to superstardom as she was rebranded from Mouseketeer into a not-quite-legal sexualized ingenue sensation.  She was worth her weight in diamonds, when she came of age and already had name and face recognition. But that moment is fleeting. A sexualized but ostensibly virginal seventeen-year-old is bankable to all:  tween and teen girls, heterosexual men of all ages who go for a hot young blonde.  But once she could no longer straddle the virgin/whore line…

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10 Years of Facebook

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Since the birth of facebook, Public Relations has become centralised around social media. In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg along with a few friends created a social media platform in order to remain connecting with friends past and present.

Ten years later FACEBOOK is worth a staggering £91bn with 1.23bn worldwide members. 

’12 Years A Slave’ Wins Critics’ Choice Award For Best Picture

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taking this in tonight…I am very excited!! check back for my views

Hollywood Life

’12 Years A Slave’ won the award for Best Picture at the 2014 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards on Jan. 16. The intense, much-talked about period drama beat out some of the most acclaimed films of the year for the honor!

The critics have spoken! 12 Years a Slave took home one of the most coveted awards at the 2014 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards on Jan. 16. Do you think the film deserved to win?

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Michelle Obama Turns 50 — Happy Birthday

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The powerful black &,beautiful first lady

Hollywood Life

Even though she absolutely doesn’t look it, Michelle Obama turned the big 5-0 on Jan. 17. Celebrate her birthday here with all of her best looks.

On her 49th birthday, Michelle Obama debuted a whole new hairstyle — blunt bangs! That was just the start of an amazing year! We’re celebrating this year’s big day reflecting on her best moments.

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Latest Attack on Black Girls/Natural Hair – This Looks Like a Job for the Puffy Hair Project!

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black girls rock

Aya de Leon

It’s outrageous!  A young girl in Florida was threatened with expulsion from school if she didn’t cut/straighten/change her hair.  “It’s puffy and I like it that way,” said Vanessa VanDyke.  The school has backed down, and taken expulsion off the table, but I’m still furious.  Earlier this year, we saw girls targeted by school officials for dreads and afropuffs.  These racist attacks on girls are unconscionable.

This week, I’ve been stressed trying to get my Puffy Hair Project together in time for the holidays.  I was feeling overwhelmed, like maybe I had taken on too much.  But if Vanessa VanDyke didn’t back down, I’m gonna make this book happen.  I usually post on Friday, but I’m posting today.

So if anything good can come out of this vicious attack on a young African heritage girl, let it be this:

1.  the #livingwhilenatural hashtag on twitter (thanks to @brokeymcpoverty)

2. we…

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Miss America: Brown Girl on the Bridge to Nowhere

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A GOOD READ….

Aya de Leon

When Vanessa Williams was crowned Miss America in 1983, I was fifteen. As a young woman of African heritage, I was supposed to feel validated, but I didn’t.  Williams’ wide blue eyes, sandy hair, and middle America girl-next-door looks didn’t do anything to validate my sense of my beauty as a Black girl.  She challenged the racial category of the winner, but not the aesthetics of the beauty standards.

Sunday, as many in the nation watched Nina Davuluri crowned as the first South Asian Miss America, I had that usual ambivalence about brown women breaking into sexist institutions.

Beauty pageants embody so many pressures on women that I think are negative and damaging.  Women being judged based on their appearance in evening gowns and in bathing suits.  I love the “talent” and “interview” portions, as they give the pretense that this is not first and foremost about appearance.  If those parts…

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