Posts tagged ‘event industry’

The Misrepresented Industry—Special Events

(This article was originally published in Special Events Magazine.)

tami headshtOver the years I’ve been amused by the reaction I get when I tell people that I’m an event planner. It ranges from, “Oh, I always wanted to do that!” to “Wow–that sounds like so much fun!” to “Oh, you do weddings?”

Every year, members of the event industry–made up of event planners, caterers, decor designers, florists, photographers, AV and technical directors, venues, entertainers, and many more–are hired for corporate events, weddings, nonprofit fundraisers, military events, government events, consulting, concerts, fairs, graduations, celebrations of life, and many more events, resulting in billions of dollars into the economy. However, most people don’t understand what we do.

Unfortunately, I think that some of the “reality” television shows and, sadly, some of our colleagues have misrepresented the event industry as a whole. I know those shows are made to play up the drama, and I know a lot of real life planners who thrive on chaos, but the real reality of our business should not be that way.

event planner1WHO ARE WE? If we ever intend to be taken more seriously, paid what we’re worth, and offered new and improved opportunities, we should do a better job of showing what we’re capable of accomplishing.  The “event heroes” of the world are often overlooked.  The professionals who are making a difference by creating jobs, positively affecting their city’s economy, helping their company thrive, raising awareness and monies for important causes, and generally making a positive impact need to be more known.

The opportunities for event professionals are unlimited, and I believe we’ve only scratched the surface. For example, my business–Forté Events–predominantly helps companies and organizations solve problems using events. We’ve helped clients when they have high employee turnover, bad product launches, ineffective training deliveries, negative press, low event attendance, and lack of sponsors. We create strategic events that result in a return on their event investment.  We are problem-solving project managers who use creative ideas that result in profits.  Did you know an event planning firm could do that?

Also, a friend of mine works as a consultant to hotels, architects and construction firms.  When companies build or remodel hotels, they contact her for advice on what they should include or delete from their design plans to ensure they attract the most business from event planners and their clients. So smart!

WHO MATTERS? There are a lot of awe-inspiring people doing important work representing the event industry, but often all we see are over-the-top purveyors of shenanigans that provide entertainment. It’s time out for this!

We need the larger community to know who we are and what we can offer. We need future generations of the event industry to aspire to higher levels of opportunity that we create for them now.  We need to understand business–how to price, how to convey our worth to clients, how to be thought-leaders and not just order-takers, how to create new ideas and build teams to achieve them, and how to more elegantly portray this amazing industry to the world.

If you have questions about our industry, contact us…we’re happy to share!

forte_labsFWant to learn more about how we do things?  Come to one of our upcoming Forté Labs, a 2-½ day intensive workshop we have developed with an amazing “hands on” curriculum that will help you build a business that will create the life you want.

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About Forté Events:

Forté Events is a strategic event design and production firm specializing in corporatenon-profit, and social events worldwide. Based in Colorado Springs, CO, and New York City this company produce events worldwide from Fortune 500 clients to families and charities. Forté Events specializes in helping clients attain their goals, realize return on investment, and achieve the most unique, creative experiences.

About Tami Forero:

Tami has set new standards and challenged traditional event ideas throughout her twenty one years as a corporate and independent event producer. Her unique approach to the business of events qualified her as a finalist for the 2006 Event Producer of the Year Spotlight Award and Event Production Company of the Year Spotlight Award in 2008. In 2010, Tami won the Rising Star Award from the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Forté Events won the 2010 ICON Award for the best non-profit event produced in Colorado. As a speaker for national event conferences, ISES chapters, CEO groups, training companies, and various industry associations, Tami teaches event professionals and corporations how to help clients make the most return on their event investments. Overall, Tami Forero represents the best the industry has to offer in creativity, innovation, and knowledge.

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Colorado Meetings & Events

(As published in the Fall 2012 issue of Colorado Meetings & Events Magazine)

Although many businesses in our industry have struggled through the past few years of economic downturn, I believe some good practices have emerged as well. For example, many companies have reevaluated who they are, what they want to provide in the future, and how they want to be perceived in the marketplace. Other companies have reduced or eliminated debt, allowing them to make a fresh start.

Some companies have scaled back staff levels, which can be viewed by some as a negative. However, these event professionals have created a very profitable role for themselves as independent contractors. This is the best trend to happen to the event industry in a long time!

Experienced event planners, A/V technicians, salespeople, caterers and designers were the first to lose their higher paying jobs when economic cutbacks hit our industry. Many of these people have 12 to 30 years experience-so when there were no jobs to replace the ones they’d lost, they took matters into their own hands and became independent contractors providing their expertise to many companies nationwide.

My company has greatly benefited from this new trend. Most of our firm’s work is international and requires a lot of onsite management and travel for high-end clients, so we really need event professionals with years of experience. As a small business, I found it difficult to afford the large salaries required to attract this caliber of planner. Now, I am grateful to work every week with planners I could not have hired prior to the economic downturn.

Everyone wins! The contractors set their pay scale, assist many companies, pick and choose the projects they work on and make more money than they did being employed by one company. Event companies like mine are afforded the opportunity to work with some of the best planners in the business for a fraction of the cost of hiring full time, we choose the contractor that is a match for a specific client and we make more profit while ensuring the client is happy.

Kevin Kowalczyk owns Giant Steps Consulting, a Denver-based company he started three years ago after experiencing a layoff. Forté Events hires Kevin for onsite event delivery worldwide, pre-planning and monthly social media marketing. He offers similar support to many companies and has seen an increase in demand for the type of services Giant Steps offers.

“I love the flexibility and profitability I’ve experienced since becoming a contractor. I have had a lot more opportunities for growth in the industry since starting my company and feel I have a higher quality of life and a better work/life balance,” he says. “I am able to be successful by maintaining closer relationships with many event professionals…something I could not have done while working full-time for one company.”

Forté Events hires six contractors regularly and will continue this practice in the long term. While our industry finds new ways to compete, stay profitable and rebuild during an ever changing economic landscape, I’m grateful for independent contractors!
– Tami Forero

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Forté Events is a strategic event design and production firm specializing in corporate, non-profit, and social events worldwide. This award winning team also designs custom, experiential learning programs and corporate training sessions.

CEO of Forté Events, Tami Forero is a veteran of the special event industry having planned hundreds of strategic corporate, social and non-profit events.  She’s a sought after consultant and speaker with topics both on the event industry and business skills.