Day in the life of
Event Producer – Mahoganey Jones
Mahoganey is an event expert. She founded and runs Event Specialists, one of Canada’s pre-eminent event production and management firms. She has won numerous awards for her contributions to the events world, including the 2021 “Event Professional of the Year” & “Top 100 Most Influential People in the Events Industry.” She is CMP-licensed (Certified Meetings Professional).
My Typical Day
A lot of scheduling and planning! Especially in the world of virtual/hybrid events (events that have an online component combined with an in-person one), there’s much more consideration given to the content of the event rather than simply the experience of it.
While logistics (choosing a platform, swag research & delivery, choosing a venue), speaker training, and management are still heavy tasks, we like to focus on how we can enhance an event: what creative & strategic ideas we can brainstorm and recommend to our client to make the event an amazing experience they will never forget.
Question: Can you go into more detail and provide some examples of what you plan and schedule?
All events begin with at least one fundamental concept, speaker, or theme/topic. When we say “planning and scheduling,” planning really means understanding the agenda of a specific event depending on the theme and making strategic decisions about the content which will be delivered to the audience by asking a lot of questions like:
- How can the content best be delivered?
- How can the agenda be maximized for in-person and online experience?
- How can the particular details be put into practice?
When it comes to scheduling, it’s all about preparation for the actual event by organizing things like speaker/tech checks, overview meetings, and the actual program scheduling. We must figure out which sections go where, how will they be delivered, and how and when we’re going to engage with the audience during the session.
Pros of the job are numerous – but my favorite is simply seeing your vision come to life. Taking an event from a concept to a full experience that guests/attendees get excited about is a thrilling feeling. Industry colleagues are phenomenal: it’s a supportive, collaborative community in the Events world. Lastly, projects are extremely cool, especially as technology continues to drive and transform the way events are done. No day is ever the same – and no day is ever boring (ever!)
The biggest con is, as an event producer, you don’t always have creative freedom to produce a great event: at times there will be clients who want to stick to their own vision or to what they have “always done” without trying new ideas. Even if it’s not the most efficient way to do business or the best way to embrace innovation on their part, the lack of creative freedom can sometimes make you feel like you are simply executing a client’s wishes. That being said, the execution & thrill of launching an event and managing it in real time will always be a feeling I love.
Advice to aspiring Event Producers
For students looking to get into the industry, they must understand that event planning is really a lot of project management work (i.e. planning, coordination, and moving a project forward). Accordingly, some of the most key skills a student would need to begin (and thrive) in event management include strong interpersonal skills, deep creativity, planning, project management, and attention to detail.
One of my favorite parts of the events world is that it requires a strong balance of left-brain and right-brain skillsets: creative brainstorming for “wow” experiences or for marketing-focused details like custom hashtags, website branding, and experiential marketing balanced with (at the same time) strong project management skills, budget management skills, resource planning, schedule/timeline management, and more. It’s an incredible balance of the two strongest sides of our brains.
One skill that is often overlooked is how to sell your own ideas. This encompasses negotiation skills, understanding goals/objectives and not being afraid to share what you would like to see in the event.
Meeting, Convention and Event Planners
coordinate activities of staff, convention personnel, or clients to make arrangements for group meetings, events, or conventions.