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Article: Get That Cool Job: Event Coordinator

Photo credit: Lauren Kallen

Photo credit: Lauren Kallen

Get That Cool Job: Event Coordinator 

Without that one organized individual in your friendship circle, the world would be a lot less fun. After all, this is this person that gathers the whole gang together, not only coming up with the master plan, but also executing it like a boss. Dinner parties, bar crawls, beach days, renting a cabin in the mountains? Event coordinators continue planning long after they clock out for the day. It’s in their nature.

“I’m always planning, whether it’s for a friend or for myself,” says Karly Venuto Giaramita, director of events at WeWork. “I’m currently working on a gala in my free time for a friend who has a nonprofit. It’s a 300-person dinner, so that’s sort of my downtime right now.”

Diana Hagerbaumer, who works alongside Venuto Giaramita as WeWork’s event manager, quickly corrects me when asked if she’s the friend in the group who is forced to plan things. For her, it’s never a burden—she willingly takes one for the team.

“I enjoy planning things, so I think that’s definitely one of the reasons why I’ve decided to do events,” Hagerbaumer says. “I love organizing. I love doing it because it’s fun, and I know I’m good at it. And I’m perfectly fine being the one to push people to do stuff,” she adds with a laugh.

What exactly is an event coordinator?

It’s a person who oversees an event from start to finish and constantly prioritizes tasks large and small to make sure that things go off without a hitch. Everything that’s visible, from refreshments to entertainment to lighting, is a major concern for an event coordinator. They also work behind the scenes, responding to emails, keeping track of vendors, and making sure everyone gets paid.

Liron David, founder and senior event produce of Eventique, has been planning and producing gatherings since college.

“I was always a party guy,” David says during a jam-packed Monday afternoon, whilst planning six different events taking places within the next four months. “I DJed my fraternity weekly nightclub event with 700 people. I loved to control the room, and getting paid for it, and getting to party.”

Once he graduated from college back in 2004, David advanced from working fraternity events to spinning at nightclubs six nights a week. Then came weddings and other occasions. Two years later, sensing that event planning could be a career, he founded Eventique.

Though his team is small—about six people work full-time in the office, with roughly 25 others pitching in on individual projects—David says it’s “pretty intimidating” how many events the young company has produced. He’s worked with all sorts of clients, including A-listers like Robert De Niro, Stevie Wonder, Bill Clinton, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Eventique’s success stems from David’s original vision for the company: “to be an elite and sophisticated boutique event company that wasn’t going to approach events in the typical format.”

“I’m very good at formality, but I also know how to party,” he says. “We can do the 9 to 5 just as good as anybody, if not better, but nobody can touch us after 5 o’clock.”

The events coordinators we spoke with all agree that there’s only one way to break into the business: get in from the ground up.

David suggests getting an internship with a production company, a staffing company, or a related business. Venuto Giaramita recommends volunteering your services so you can get a feel for the job.

“Volunteer to work at an event and work the door for a couple nights,” Venuto Giaramita advises. “Customer service, hospitality, experience, logistics— it’s everything. The action of checking people into an event is every aspect of an event wrapped in one, in its simplest form.”

Previous to joining WeWork last summer, Hagerbaumer worked at a catering and event company. During her seven years there she worked her way up to senior event producer, along the way helping out with human resources, accounts receivable, and accounts payable—“whatever it was that they needed me to do.”

“So that really lent itself to me learning all the backend logistics for events, understanding not only just the catering side, which was a large portion of what the company did, but the fact that we did a lot of event management,” Hagerbaumer explains. “We booked restroom trailers, we booked entertainment, we booked transportation for our clients. Whatever it is they wanted—design, flower arrangements—you name it, we did it.”

Besides diligence, tenacity, and top-notch communication skills, what else defines a good events coordinator?

According to Hagerbaumer, you need to think small-scale and large-scale by “having a general, overall vision of the event going into it and seeing how it can be executed, and what needs to happen for it to get to that point. So having the capabilities of the micro and the macro focus.”

Planning ahead for all sorts of possible problems is essential too, whether that involves unexpected weather, a speaker not showing up on time, or a ticket holder not actually being of age to attend the event.

“So thinking of all those things before they actually happen to have game plans in place when they happen,” says Hagerbaumer.

David agrees, saying that you never know what will go wrong.

“Everyone plans for things to go right,” he says. “Professionals plan for things to go wrong.”

This professional should be able to keep his or her composure under pressure, says David, clearly making him or her “someone who can think and act when challenges arise, someone who can adapt to challenges on site.”

Given the various pros and cons of being an event coordinator, can they envision doing anything else?

“I can imagine doing a lot of other things,” David says, “but I would still be doing this for fun.”

This article originally appeared on the Creator Magazine.