The alarm rings, I get up and open the doors of my tent. What a beautiful sunshine this morning. Just the energy boost I need to start another successful day. I stretch and… Oh, wait! You are standing outside as well. Hello there, haven’t seen you here before. Come in, take a seat. Can I offer you a cup of tea?
Feel free to take a look around my space. A desk, a chair, a spacious bed, and a hammock for the creative break. I like to keep my surroundings clean and organized, there isn’t much clutter lying around, and you won’t find much paper neither these days.
This not-yet minimalistic lifestyle has been a steady progress over the past years. While I love to plan every aspect and add little details to my events in my work life, I realized I prefer open, clear surfaces in my home. Less distraction, ease of mind.
Where are my shelves, you ask? Oh, I keep lots of books – digitally! Let’s turn on my digital shelf and browse through my library.
The first book is a journal. I have lots of them. Don’t you love planning your days and tasks? I do! Ticking of finished tasks…uhh, one of the best things to do.
Ever since I can remember, I was the one who kept the overview of a project, the one with the organizational talent, who made sure nothing would be forgotten. And while others might not enjoy mapping out a timeline or keeping to-do lists updated and on time, it felt natural for me to do so.
Why I live in a tent, you ask? Well, let’s grab the next book, a travel guide. Travelling is probably one of my biggest passions. When I think back, there isn’t a time when I wasn’t curious about exploring the world.
Right after school, I took the opportunity and moved to Spain, becoming the au pair of a family with two boys. I didn’t know any Spanish but felt confident my English would get me through the first weeks. Little did I know my family wouldn’t speak English. Looking back, what a wonderful experience! I’m pretty sure this is where I learned using gestures to support my spoken word. By that time probably excessively!
Anyway, during my time in Spain I stumbled across the then new event management degree course. That was it! Exactly what I was looking for! A job that wasn’t chaining me at a desk from nine to five but allowed creativity, flexibility, moving around, new experiences with each new event or new client, and projects with a deadline and closure, nothing that felt like never-ending chewing gum.
Working when others are enjoying their free time in the evenings or weekends? Somehow that didn’t bother me since I was organizing something that made other people happy, I was the one facilitating that guests have a good time and leave with a smile. As an event planner I would get the chance to make most of my organizational talent and create worlds that connect people or make sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes so that the host of the event can focus on delivering the content of a training or enjoy the gala evening him-/herself as well. Easing the stress for my client with a skill that just comes natural for me and makes me happy? What a wonderful career!
During my undergraduate studies I took the opportunity to live in Recife for half a year and work for the biggest hospital (IMIP) in North and Northeast of Brazil. Again, I didn’t know any Portuguese but with my Spanish skills I exchanged word by word in my daily communication until I mastered the language on a conversational level. Speaking a country’s language enables you to experience the country more genuinely. I simply loved the positive and joyful spirit of everyone I met there and felt welcome from day one.
At work, I made my first experiences in organizing events and trainings on an international level. Learning how event organization changes with different cultures and whether or not the focus of planning steps or the event itself is the same was and still is really exciting and interesting. From regular training sessions for new employees to large seasonal company events for and with the hospital’s employees, like the Festa de São João or an Expo of Talents, my international colleagues trusted me with crucial and detailed tasks and counted on my support.
A semester in Sheffield (UK) during my postgraduate studies allowed me to gain insights to event management from another international perspective and analyze specific events (e. g. the annual festival Dickens on The Strand) to understand what are the crucial elements that make events successful. Here, I came across the Strategic Experiential Modules for the first time, which are now fundament of my event planning.
Oh, I see your cup is empty. Let me refill your tea to keep you hydrated while we move on in my shelf.
Now, we come to the biggest section and across a large set of cards. They are sorted in categories such as location, catering, suppliers, participant management, event ideas and themes, etc. Over the past years, I have collected many, many cards to add to each category and increase my database of knowledge.
From marketing two event locations for business and cultural events to designing and implementing new event concepts, such as the first Opera Ball Norderstedt. I acquired hands-on knowledge in all relevant areas from technical equipment to venue setup. From working on the supplier side I switched to organizing company events from 30 to 1,200 guests at a large gaming company. Knowing both perspectives gives me a profound understanding of everyone’s requirements and needs to efficiently coordinate clients and suppliers for a smooth running of the event.
On the way, my event planning database grew more and more. There was a tool that everyone loved to use? Stored it! A game that helped loosening guests quickly? Added right away! The finger food that was simply mouth-watering? Got to have that caterer at hand!
Now this might sound as if collecting my cards was always quick and easy. But I as many other event managers faced, let’s call them “hiccups” on the way. Sudden changes, unforeseen events, last minute cancellation, entire shift of opinion which made me start all over again and adapt the concept.
Everything looked good and confident but then boom! Six weeks before the scheduled press conference suddenly there was no moderator, no band, no act, nobody wanted to support this “difficult” project anymore, and I was standing mostly alone in front of a big mountain of unfixed issues as well as wide eyes full of expectations.
However, I have never seen any project as “difficult” or a big problem. It’s a challenge and I love challenges! They make us grow and reach beyond limits. Copy-paste events are a waste of our creativity and energy. And even if there is an annual event, why not try and improve it from year to year? Be creative, move it forward, provide a new experience for your guests.
While others shied away from attending international clients because the language barrier or cultural differences appeared to be “difficult”, my international experience and language skills have allowed me to organize successful meetings and shows for and with them.
Needless to say, I mastered all of the above unsolved situations in time, held a successful press conference as well as a quickly sold out event afterwards and was soon in charge of organizing the next year’s event.
My great experience in analysis and problem-solving paired with my resilience as well as my intercultural competence have finally led me to establish a central event management team for a European headquarters. During my time at this leading manufacturer of medical technology, I performed as an expert function to make sure healthcare compliance regulations (MedTech) were met while executing business events from 30 to 350 participants all over Europe.
You can probably guess why I decided to digitize my shelves, right? Too much to carry around. In the end, my tent became lighter in weight while still continuously growing its content (digitally). Facilitates me so much better to move forward on my way and let me go wherever my plans take me easily.
As you can see, my long-lasting journey brought me to various places and filled my knowledge shelves with varied event expertise and successfully supporting skills which I can now combine and implement individually in future projects. It was a pleasure sharing my story and a cup of tea with you.
But wait, you say, I still don’t know how and why you set up your tent in Malta! True, but I see the tea pot is empty. Come back later and I’ll tell you all about it.
Have a wonderful day!
Now, after so much talking, I’d love to get to know you as well of course. If you’d like to share your story and event needs with me, I’m happy to receive your email or call. And if you wish to learn more about my experience and get some useful tips on how to make your event or meeting more successful, subscribe to my blog and look forward to inspirational tips, tricks and tools as well as further insights on my event services.