Event managers must be organized, punctual, assertive, and able to work under pressure, but, according to Dusty Rhodes, president and founder of Conventures, Inc., it also helps if they have superpowers.
“I once saved Sen. Kennedy when a falling tree threatened to ruin an event on live TV,” she said.
When it comes to event management, Rhodes is a leader in the industry. Forty years ago, she founded Conventures, which combines the concept of special events with brand marketing. Since its inception, the organization has earned the reputation as New England’s leading special events company.
As the opening keynote speaker of Johnson & Wales University’s Third Annual SEEM Leadership Conference, Rhodes shared several stories from her years in the business. From arranging high-profile funerals to running political events, she’s seen her fair share of chaos. For example, she once hitched a ride in a Boston police cruiser to track down a lost bus carrying the Boston Celtics. She also outlined what it takes to make it in the event planning industry.
“Special events is 40 percent planning and 60 percent reacting,” she said. “You have to have nerves of steel.”
To close her presentation, Rhodes rattled off a list of advice for students and new professionals in the sports/entertainment/event management industry.
Here are eight of her most memorable points — and how she says you can make them a reality.
1. “Don’t just try to win — actually win.”
This goes for any industry. If you’re given an opportunity, Rhodes said you need to deliver in full force. The notion of doing your best and trying is nice — but to Rhodes, that doesn’t matter if you don’t win at whatever your task was for the day.
2. “Use common sense and triple-check all of your work.”
Rhodes said, “Never, ever make typos.” You can ruin your credibility with one bad mistake.
3. “Dress in ‘urban camouflage.’ ”
To Rhodes, this means presenting yourself in a professional manner — ties, suits,
heels, etc. — and always dressing for success.
4. “Always carry three things: a phone, pen and a knife.
According to Rhodes, hospitality and event professionals often find themselves in need of all three.
5. “Operate on Vince Lombardi time."
Like the great Lombardi, she said professionals should be 15 minutes early for everything in order to plan ahead for every possible scenario.
6. “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
Rhodes said anyone who isn’t leading the crowd should be following, because anything else isn’t contributing to the success of the event.
7. “Have ‘swag.’ ”
Rhodes said career-oriented people should always be sure of themselves. Know that self-confidence — what Rhodes calls “swag” — is the key, even if you’re uncomfortable in the situation.
8. “Be a visionary, and have a sense of humor.”
If you’re working in the event-planning business, chances are that you’re planning an event that is critically important to your client. Knowing how to have a good time, while maintaining your professional demeanor, is crucial.
Are you interested in learning more about our Bachelor’s of Science in Sports, Entertainment, Event — Management program? Complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.