Written by: Nicole Lam, Marketing & Events Coordinator
To be honest, before my co-op term, I didn’t have much knowledge in tech. Besides the technological devices I use in my everyday life, I’d never thought more deeply about what tech is all about. I even thought that people who worked in the tech industry were mainly engineers who spent all day coding, or people that held a computer science degree.
This was where I started when I embarked on my co-op journey with the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), working as a Marketing and Events Coordinator on the #BCTECH Summit team. But helping to plan the largest technology event in Western Canada changed my mind, and taught me a lot about event planning, the technology sector and myself. Here are a couple of my thoughts so far:
Our team consists of five members, all in different roles, including an event director, event producer, sponsorship and marketing. I provide support on the marketing and programs side. As a Marketing and Events Coordinator, I am exposed to all aspects of marketing, such as implementing marketing and communication tactics, writing marketing pieces, developing and managing the website, managing registration, contracting speakers and preparing communication updates for partners, exhibitors, sponsors and speakers.
Event planning is harder than it seems!
Event planning sounds like fun. You think you’ll be spending your days at cool venues instead of working behind a desk. But it’s not only about throwing great parties. You’ve got to be detail oriented and able to meet constant deadlines and pressures. The workload of event planning is an exponential curve. It starts slowly, but as the event gets closer, the workload will gradually increase. Plus, there are many layers and components to manage at once, which include organization, budget, PR and marketing, event technology, and most importantly, lots of communication. Communication between sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, delegates and team members is the key to success, whether it’s during the preparation period, right when the event is happening, or after the event.
Want to work in event marketing?
By tackling different challenges and tasks every day and through meeting professionals from various networking events, I have learned from many rewarding experiences. Here are some of the critical skills that you need in order to work in marketing and events:
Keeping track of and prioritizing all tasks while working on a tight deadline can be demanding sometimes. Being highly organized is the first step towards creating a successful event, and it will make the whole process much less hectic.
During the event planning process, there are numerous tasks being managed at the same time. You might be writing marketing materials for various programs, working with partners and dealing with administrative issues all at once. It is important to multitask effectively and keep all aspects of the event moving along without any of them falling apart.
3) Problem solving
No one is perfect! There might be times that you overlook things or make mistakes. When those times happen, problem solving skills are key. You need to be able to turn problems into learning opportunities and come up with creative solutions.
This is my first time taking part in organizing such a big event (last year we had 5,500 delegates, and this year we’re aiming for more!), so I’m learning a lot. This co-op experience is enabling me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I couldn’t be more thankful to be working with a team that is so supportive, and to be trusted with work beyond what I would have expected.
Stay tuned for my blog post in May, where I will let you know more about what happened behind-the-scenes during and after the event. Can’t wait to see you at the #BCTECH Summit!
Want to hire your own co-op student? Check if you’re eligible for salary support through our B.C. Tech Co-op Grants Program.