The Event Manager Survival Kit

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As an Event Manger you need to be a natural organiser, sometimes managing hundreds of people to deliver your event on time and on budget.  It can be daunting and while there are no secret shortcuts to becoming an experienced guru we have created a list of the Top 10 Items Event Managers’ need in their job Survival Kit.

Here’s out list of must-haves when on location at events.

  • 1. A Good Sense of Humour
    A big commitment to an event can make people a little bit stressed as they strive to achieve the maximum return on investment in a short space of time. Occasionally, things can do go wrong! A sense of humour in tricky situations lightens the mood and clears brain power for focusing on averting potentially disastrous situations with quick thinking and sometimes even quicker footwork. At Event Planet, we say, there are always variables to consider so it’s not always what happens but how it’s dealt with that matters most.

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  • 2. Tape Measure
    Will the Ice Sculpture (insert any large, unwieldy object here) fit through the doorway? Accurate measurements and a ‘to scale’ floorplan can save a lot of time, risks and nasty surprises during any event set up. “Measure twice, cut once” is a good mantra for any Event Manager.

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  • 3. Gaffer Tape
    Event Managers can never have enough gaffer tape at the ready. It’s the one thing to not let out of your sight as it does tend to go walkabout during bump in. If you have a quandary, an errant cable, a trip hazard or something that needs to be displayed on a vertical or horizontal surface ask if gaffer tape fix it? The answer is usually yes. Then the only decision is whether to use black or white or some other colour to make everything look seamless.

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  • 4. Cable Ties
    This is the simple plastic tie that can secure many things in many ways. There is nothing worse than an unsightly spaghetti jumble of cords hanging out the back of the AV production desk or at a lectern. Tie it up for presentation and safety.

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  • 5. Great Scissors
    Events usually involved a lot of stuff being delivered to the venue in boxes and trying to unpack them under time pressure. Saving stress by have the right tool for the job is the key. Make it easy to get into the boxes by having a great pair of scissors, a Stanley knife or a pocket knife on hand! It also helps if you write your name on them so they don’t grow legs and walk away.

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  • 6. Phone Charger and Back Up Power
    Think no party, no power! This item speaks for itself.

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  • 7. Double Sided Tape
    This little gem can hide a multitude of sins. It’s great for taping down signage, taping up decorations, stopping flyaway objects on a windy day and, of course, avoiding all kinds of embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions on the catwalk.

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  • 8. Production Book or Running Sheet
    Every single moment counts at an event. Make sure everyone on the production team knows exactly what is happening and when – minute by minute, second by second – and who is responsible for doing it. The best events are conducted like an orchestra performance not a solo performance!

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  • 9. Cleaning Products
    To ensure every single surface is spic and span a good Event Manager needs a handy suite of cleaning products; spray and wipe, cloths, rubber gloves, towels, Windex, a vacuum cleaner and an eye for detail. The gold standard is for every surface to be so clean someone could eat their dinner off it!

 

  • 10. Water, Water, Water
    Last but not least, all Event Managers need a well-hydrated brain and body to perform at their best. Make sure there is plenty of water onsite for all the event staff, production crews, promotional staff and others, always.

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Have you got anything to add to our list?

Get in touch – we can design and seamlessly produce an event that uses every trick in our Survival Kit.
           

How to create Social Media Buzz

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Thanks to social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, every person in the world is now a potential media channel. More powerful than TV in its heyday, advocacy on social media is the biggest endorsement a brand can have. But simply having a social presence isn’t enough to get people talking.

Events are an ideal activation opportunity because they give guests a sense of occasion – something special to share. The social chatter starts when you give them a reason to engage with your brand in a unique way, or interact with an exciting new product. Who wouldn’t want to share a pic of them posing with a personality, trying an exclusive new beverage or participating in a quirky experience?

Here at Event Planet, we always design our events with social in mind. And in case you needed any convincing of an event’s ability to turn customers into brand advocates, here’s a quick case in point:  At one of our recent events, a guest list of 400 generated 500+ new followers, 1,400+ social reach, 1,700+ comments and 60,000+ likes.

Want to know how we did it? Read on.

 

  • Don’t underestimate the power of a media wall

Who doesn’t want a little celebrity treatment? Media walls are a visual invitation for your guests to immerse themselves in the ‘red carpet’ treatment and share with all their friends?  The result? Scores of tweets, insta-shares and Facebook posts before your guests have even stepped foot inside the venue. Click here to learn more about creating a stellar media wall.

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  • Not all hashtags are created equal

Cleverly placed hashtags throughout your event will prompt guests to use them. Keep it short (around 10 characters or less) and make it memorable! Create ‘event envy’ by using a hash-tagged event pic as the entry ticket to an interesting, relevant competition – what about quirky treasure hunt that guests need to photograph and share to win?

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  • Give your guests a reason to share

Everyone loves sharing special occasions – in fact, social media revolves around it. Clever props or scenes that relate to the brand or theme add a sense of fun and involvement for guests. One of our faves was that time we carved a couch out of snow mid-slope at the Australian ski fields! Even something simple, like riding crop props at racing events, give guests a reason to whip out their smartphone. Roving performers, mixologists or quirky glasses and cocktails are all great reasons to snap and share.

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  • Get tech savvy

Photo booths are given at many events – who doesn’t have a photo strip stuck to their fridge? But photo booth suppliers have now applied some serious social smarts when it comes to tracking shares and engagement. In addition to a print out, guests can automatically upload and hashtag their pics. Post-event, you get a detailed report tracking shares, comments, reach and new follower acquisition.

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Got any questions? #eventplanet

Do you need to add Social Media Buzz to your next product launch, brand activation, media event or corporate party?

Get in touch – we can design and produce an event that gets social media buzzing with your brand and hashtag.

 

How to create the ultimate Event Media Wall

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Premieres, fashion launches, award nights – if it’s a press-worthy event, you’ll be looking to leverage some serious brand visibility from the party snaps. After all, what would a red carpet affair be without a suitably luxe backdrop?

A media wall is often the first opportunity your guests have to participate with you or your client’s brand, so it’s important to make it count. Gone are the days of splashing a logo on a static white background – today’s media walls are contextual and immersive, giving guests the opportunity to participate in an insta-worthy ‘invite only’ experience.

The hottest trends in events media walls right now are all about surprise and delight: think gorgeous living flower walls a’la Australian Turf Club Spring Carnival, or the multidimensional 3D lettering we used at Land Rover Polo, Marks & Spencer and Cable Beach Polo. But take it from us – there’s more to getting your media wall backdrop right than meets the eye.

Here, we share our must-do checklist for building a media wall to launch a thousand tweets:

  • Work with the best
    The last thing you want is a less-than-awesome surprise on event day. Working with an experienced event manager and / or event wall supplier means you’ll get a quality finished product that looks great and photographs well.
  • Have wall, will travel?
    First things first – take your logistical requirements into account. Will your media wall be a single use item, or is it needed for several events in a short period of time? Life size lettering media walls are our favourite portable option (they pack-down in a cinch).
  • Design details
    The last thing you want is a giant visible ‘seam’ or join between your media wall banners. And we’re huge fans of matte finishes to minimise glare from the sun, or photographer’s flash. Shorter length walls are great for solo shots of guests, but if you know group photos are on the agenda, play it safe by opting for a longer wall. And be sure to use hi-res logos with generous spacing, so that no matter who is photographed, you or client’s brand will be seen.
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  • Practical makes perfect
    Easy assembly = more time for you to enjoy your event. No matter how awe-inspiring it looks, if your media wall is giant hassle to install, it’s honestly not worth it. Sometimes simple really is best!
  • Consider the hashtag
    Every product launch needs a good hashtag. And your media wall is the perfect place to give it pole position – it’s a great way to remind your guests to use it. Keep your short (10 characters or less, please!) and creative; hashtags are a great way to open-up a wider conversation around your event.
  • Photo rehearsal
    An experienced photographer will make all the difference; they’ll be familiar with the lighting and appropriate angles for media walls. Set-up your wall early in the bump-in process so your photographer/s can play around and find the best angles, avoid shadows and generally iron out any potential obstacles that could arise.

Thinking media wall for your next media launch, fashion show or A-list event?

Get in touch – we can design and produce a media wall that gets guests talking, snapping and sharing away.
           

How to create an awesome Pop-Up Bar

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With summer just around the corner, venues all over the country will be thinking about ways to leverage in-venue promotions while maintaining an element of surprise and delight for their customers.

Yes, it is the season of the Pop-Up – and we’d be lying if we said we weren’t excited to unleash our latest creations across some of Australia’s most premiere venues (stay tuned)! The reason for their popularity is the the Pop-Up Bar is the perfect way to encourage people to socialise with and enjoy your brand.

We know how easy is it to get excited and jump on the Pop-Up bandwagon without a second thought, so if you’ve been toying with the idea of creating your own activation but are unsure of where to start – you’re in the right place.

Here, the Event Planet team share their favourite bite-sized tips for creating a Pop-Up Bar that gets people talking. Cheers to that!

 

  • Location, location
    First things, first. Sounds simple, but does your target market hang-out at your chosen venue? For example, you wouldn’t put a top-shelf champagne Pop-Up in a grungy hipster ‘dive’ bar.

 

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  • Work the room
    Draw on the key features of the venue to work into your Pop-Up Bar design. Is there a pool? Is there a grand staircase, outdoor dining area or beachfront to work with? Considering the context will help to synergise your Pop-Up with the setting. For example, the simple Moet et Chandon Pop-Ups at the races feature elegant floral decorations to tie-in with the season.

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  • Think photo opportunity
    Customers want to participate and feel as though they are involved in your Pop-Up Bar experience. By creating a level of interaction or engagement for guests – a cute hashtag, fun media wall, quirky furniture and dress-up props all encourage customers to snap and share.

 

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  • Make it inclusive
    The last thing you want when creating a Pop-Up destination is for customers to confuse it with a ‘VIP area’, so keep fencing to a minimum and make sure it looks warm, friendly and inviting – not sterile, or ‘cordoned off’. A good example are the Canadian Club Pop-Ups – the simple, retro design and ‘Farmer’s market stall’ feel make them bold but approachable.

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  • Make it modular
    Keeping your design modular and scaleable allows for greater involvement by more venues of different sizes. This flexibility means venues can pick and choose what elements they want for their particular space. The cool, 50s-style diner Veuve Clicquot airstream Pop-Up comes with a range of infrastructure options, from a retro London-inspired phone booth to classic park benches, market umbrellas and branded outdoor furniture, lamp poles, and potted plants.

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  • Stylish Branding
    Keeping your branding on point, quirky and relevant. Staff dressed in branded t-shirts or uniforms are mandatory so guests can identify them easily and put a face to the product they are enjoying.  Coasters, napkins, glasses, umbrellas and cushions should carry your logo and tie back with your Pop-Up Bar theme colours. Next, make it unique! We have branded ping pong tables, sandcastles, ponies, pools, florals, living walls and more. Let your imagination run wild!

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Are you planning a Pop-Up Bar this summer?

Get in touch and let us design and produce it for you.

We’re finalists again for Australian Event Company of the Year!

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We’re vying for the Event Management Company of the Year title for the 5th consecutive time at the 2016 Australian Event Awards being held on the Gold Coast on September 21, 2016.

While celebrating our 15th anniversary we have proudly designed and delivered over 100 events for more than 35 clients, in Australia and overseas. Our continued dedication to being consistently exceptional, cultivating talent and leadership within the team, embracing technology and contributing to the Australian event industry has again seen Event Planet recognised in the top echelon of agencies.

Some recent event highlights for the qualifying period include the much talked about Cliquot Beach House, the Australia-Wide roll-out of the Philippines Tourism Roadshow, Land Rover Polo Club and Marks and Spencer Online Store launch.

We’ve got our fingers and toes crossed for a 2016 trophy to join our previous wins in 2012 and 2013.

 

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Event Planet’s Monique O’Callaghan – Young Australian Event Manager of the Year

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  • Monique O’Callaghan – Young Achiever of the Year
  • From part-time Intern to award-winning Event Producer in 5 short years

Monique beat four impressive finalists to take the honour of the Australian Event Award’s Young Australian Event Manager of the Year.

5 years in the making, Monique has an unwavering commitment to hard work and a passion and talent for Event Management in all its forms. Starting in Event Planet’s Intern Program, Monique was able to build a strong foundation that led to her becoming an Event Co-Ordinator and shortly after was promoted to Event Manager.

Now an Event Producer and senior member of the Event Planet Team, Monique manages a stable of blue-chip clients as well as mentoring junior staff and pitching for new business.

This award recognises Monique’s event design and production skills, her generous mentorship of others and excellence in all aspects of her work and personal development.

 

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“I believe Monique O’Callaghan was an outstanding candidate for Young Achiever of the Year for her event design and production skills, her generous mentorship of others and, ultimately, because she is a high-achieving, young ambassador of the Australian event industry!

We are delighted that she has been recognised by the Australian Event Awards for her dedication and achievement. ”

– Amy Merriman, Managing Director

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Event management – the next generation

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How do you create an event that drives ROI?

This was the question Event Planet Managing Director Amy Merriman tackled in a recent guest lecture on Event Management at the University of New South Wales.

Attended by second and third year Marketing and Communications students, Amy’s presentation offered insight into some of her key methodologies for creating event value through lead generation, building brand affinity and customer engagement.

Framed within a wider discussion on the importance generating ROI for the client – and the need to clearly define metrics like sales conversions, HR outcomes, brand building, or buzz and PR coverage – Amy also shared invaluable how-to practises gleaned from her years of industry experience, including project management and the different phases of work – from taking a client brief to delivery a seamless event experience.

“Your sharing was very insightful, giving me a glimpse of the event industry. To be frank, it was the best guest lecture that I have gone through in this course. Thank you for your awesome delivery. “

– Kirsty Chung

“I found your talk incredibly potent and insightful. You seem genuinely driven and passionate about your job which makes me feel very excited about my future in events management.”

– Brooke Farmer

Event Planet – Australian Event Awards finalist

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  • Event Planet recognised for the fourth consecutive year
  • Finalist, Event Management Company of the Year
  • Finalist, Young Achiever of the Year

We’re kicking off the week with an exciting announcement. For the fourth year running, Event Planet has been shortlisted as a finalist at the prestigious Australian Event Awards.

The Australian Event Awards recognises excellence, rewards innovation, and unites the Australian events industry for a celebration of outstanding achievements across the whole of Australia’s thriving events industry – from small-scale events in regional Australia, to multi-million dollar festivals and public events.

Events like the Moet et Chandon Tribute to Roger Federer, Tabcorp’s Melbourne Cup Birdcage Marquee, Land Rover’s English Polo Gardens and the NSW and QLD Premiers’ Export Awards, set the tone for what was been a busy year at Event Planet HQ. We couldn’t be prouder to round out 12 months of fun, hard work, and innovation with recognition at the nation’s premier events industry awards.

In good company

Event Planet joins the top echelon of Australian event management companies for the coveted Australian Event Management Company of the Year title, a title we were honoured to win in both 2012 and 2013, and for which we received a highly commended nod in 2014.

“Event Planet’s selection as a finalist for Event Management Company of the Year in Australia, for the fourth year in a row, is truly wonderful. The continued recognition of our creativity and success, on a national scale, is brilliant.”

– Amy Merriman, Managing Director

The Event Management Company of the Year category award recognises a business that has delivered and event or events in Australia at a consistently exceptional level. As past winners of this title, Event Planet has continued our ambassadorship for the events industry through continually committing to encourage our clients to pursue creativity, innovation and guest-centric strategies across events and brand activations.

A talent on the rise

One of our Event Producers, Monique O’Callaghan, has been named as a finalist for Australian Young Achiever of the Year.

Monique was selected from an incredibly diverse range of entries from all over Australia to make the list of just four finalists in this category. It’s a huge coup for Monique, and a very proud moment for Event Planet.

“We’re also thrilled that Monique O’Callaghan, who started with Event Planet as an intern straight out of college, is a finalist for Young Achiever of the Year.”

– Amy Merriman, Managing Director

The Young Achiever of the Year category award recognises the contribution of a young person to advancing the Australian event industry through a high level of achievement and demonstrated potential to lead through continued innovation.

The 2015 Australian Event Awards Industry Night of Nights will be held at the beautiful Doltone House in Pyrmont (Sydney) on Tuesday 17th November 2015. Read more about the Australian Event Awards program.

Event Planet’s Global Best Practice Leadership Learning at Cambridge University

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“Overall, I think the experience at Cambridge University offered an exceptional learning environment paired up with an exposure to global thought and business leaders, which I am in turn passing on to Event Planet’s team and ultimately our clients.”

To keep our business abreast of contemporary trends, technologies and methodologies, Event Planet regularly invests in opportunities that keep our team ahead of the game. While our staff ethos is embracing each new event with a clear vision, we’re also conscious of our motto that ‘we are only as good as our last event!’

Keeping that in mind, Event Planet sent Events’ Director, Laura Sage back to school in July 2015 when she was given the opportunity to attend the Judge Business School at the historic and acclaimed Cambridge University in England. Participating in a three day course, Laura was one of just 16 attendees from around the globe to experience the unique program which brought together leaders from varying management positions in their respective organisations.

“Event Planet is constantly seeking opportunities to grow, learn and provide a premium service to our clients,” says Laura of her experience. “In order to meet this challenge, the business supports educational opportunities for staff to expand skill sets and be exposed to new opportunities at an Australian and international level.”

The course titled, ‘The New Leadership’, included executive students from a variety of industries including marketing, medical, education, retail, finance and Government. In addition, the participants were from many different cultural backgrounds, providing what Laura says was a valuable and eye opening perspective.

“The range of cultural backgrounds and associated business customs gave me a further appreciation of the global workplace, foreign trends and insights that are certain to prove beneficial to Event Planet and our team in Australia,” she adds.

Areas of learning included recognising the difference between being a leader and visionary as opposed to a hands-on manager. The varying skills associated with these roles were also explored, including self-reflection which is required to achieve the most from such positions.

Delving deeper into this was the acknowledgment of staff and their individual workplace personality and style, and how to work with a team to ensure that the results achieved are the best possible outcomes.

“I gained so much exposure to global leadership trends and insight into valuable tools that will allow me to become an effective team leader in a constantly changing environment that demands flexibility and innovation.”

For Laura this was a valuable learning experience which revealed lots of new techniques to draw from and implement at Event Planet.

“I’ve returned to Event Planet with a fresh perspective on collaboration methods for our talented team, where change is to be embraced and a challenge is viewed as a welcome opportunity for this change to take place.”

Laura is now back at Event Planet’s HQ and is working closely with the team to continue to push their boundaries, deliver outstanding client projects and strive to achieve the company’s vision for success.

“Overall, I think the experience at Cambridge University offered an exceptional learning environment paired up with an exposure to global thought and business leaders, which I am in turn passing on to Event Planet’s team and ultimately our clients.”

Learning from the Best – A Harvard Business School Experience

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Overall, I think Harvard Business School offers a brilliant learning environment coupled with exposure to global thought and business leaders, which cannot be accessed locally in Australia. 

Last June, Event Planet’s Managing Director Amy Merriman packed her bags for Boston, USA and went back to school Harvard-style, participating in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education course on ‘Leading Professional Service Firms.’

Amy was keen to learn about how other professional service companies from around the world managed their businesses to identify ways that she, and in turn Event Planet, could improve and adapt for further and future success.

Event Planet consistently strives to increase its knowledge and experience base and this 7-day course was an intensive program, covering key interest topics such as leadership, strategy, governance, innovation and organisational performance. It was also taught by full-time Harvard Business School faculty members.

The course gave participants a wide range of business perspectives and cultural insights by bringing together thought leaders and practice managers from all over the globe. The variety of service industry sectors represented included finance, legal, advertising, public relations, accounting, architecture and design, IT and management consulting.

“Managing and maintaining talent while sustaining high levels of client satisfaction is a delicate balancing act in any service-based business,” Amy says, “Effective communications, both internal and external, are vital to achieving the optimal equilibrium.”

“Event Planet has always prioritised professionalism and high quality event delivery, along with trying to continually strengthen our culture and brand profile. When this chemistry is right, in a constantly evolving environment, it is dynamic! We’ve produced some of our finest work in recent years and I attribute this to the efforts we have made to continually refine our processes and methodology, year on year for over a decade.” 

For Amy, one of the most valuable aspects of the course included learning how to apply different techniques to align team capabilities and client relationships to drive organisational performance for long term growth.

“Gaining a more sophisticated understanding of the evolution of a client relationship within a service firm was also very revealing,” she adds, “because the delivery of specific event projects demands so much attention, it can be easy to lose sight of the holistic client relationship. Since returning to the office, I have made a significant effort to analyse our clients and their brands to ensure we, as an agency, share both the vision and values required to drive mutual successes.”

Consistently updating and upgrading skills to stay on top of our game is something Event Planet values and Amy says this course surprised her in that the depth of knowledge and variety of experience amongst the attendees who came from over 25 countries, each with extensive knowledge in their own area of expertise.

“Overall, I think Harvard Business School offers a brilliant learning environment coupled with exposure to global thought and business leaders, which cannot be accessed locally in Australia. The sessions and days felt like they went for minutes, not hours, as the content was so interesting and relevant to Event Planet,” she says.

Surprisingly, she adds, there were more Australians in the course than women. “We are definitely an ambitious nation,” she said, adding that she expected greater gender balance. We’re proud to say that she represented both minorities, being women and Australia, in this unique course. “The biggest challenge the gender imbalance presented me was trying to keep up with my study group on the daily 5am jogs we decided to do together before breakfast. I did a few less flights of stairs on the Harvard Stadium (a tradition) but never got left behind!” 

Now, 6 months down the track, Event Planet has been realising some very positive commercial and cultural outcomes from the initiatives introduced by Amy since she attended the course. “I believe the investment in my time to undertake this course has generated an abundance of rewards for both Event Planet and our clients, which I hope will continue well into the future.”