Oregano is the spice of spaghetti, but variety is the spice of life. If you dig variety, you may want to consider being a Corporate Events Manager. Here’s why: As a Corporate Events Manager, you might find yourself one week organizing an inter-office 5k run for charity, the next week haggling with a catering service for a discount on Danishes for a Human Resources training breakfast, and the following week shopping for the perfect gold watch for a retirement party.
How can one position have such a variety of job responsibilities? Let's break down the title. "Corporate" means everything having to do with corporations—i.e., the businesses of the world. "Events" refers to everything that goes on in those corporations. "Manager" means you are in charge. So, by the transitive property (Woo-hoo, Algebra 1!), Corporate Events Manager = Being in Charge of Everything.
Okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration. Other people do work for these companies and therefore have to be in charge of something. As a Corporate Events Manager, though, you will be responsible for the organization and success of loads of different kinds of company events ranging from staff trainings and business meetings to trade shows, publicity stunts, and the staff Christmas party. Which means folks will come to you when "that guy" is still singing karaoke way after he should have quit.
The reason why there is so much potential variety in this job is that every event is going to have many different aspects to the organization and follow through because each event will be unique. Not only that, most Corporate Events Managers work freelance—contracting with numerous corporations to run their special events, and each boss is going to have a whole new set of expectations for you to meet depending on what the company does. Things will definitely not be boring.
What kind of stuff are we talking about here? Have you ever planned a party or tried to organize a group of people to get something done? Think about all the steps involved. You've got to find a place to hold the event, communicate to people when and where it is happening, and make sure that the people who show up are going to be safe (and fed—food is very important when working with a crowd). You may need to hire support staff such as waiters, valet parkers, or decorators. And you'll have to do everything while keeping a strict eye on the budget.
If you are still reading, maybe this sounds like something you'd like to try (or maybe your television is broken). In either case, perhaps you are wondering how someone like you might become a Corporate Events Manager.
First, let's talk skills. Considering that an Event Manager's job consists primarily of organizing people and events, you are going to need to be good at...here it comes...organization. If getting to school on time with your pants and your shirt is an organizational milestone for you, perhaps you might consider a different career. Try nudist, there will be fewer items to concern yourself with. But if you are the type of person who can break complex projects down into steps and meet multiple deadlines, then keep your pants on (and keep reading).
Besides organizational skills, you are going to need to work very well with people. We're not talking paying people to do what you want and be nice to you. Although doing so will certainly be a part of the job. We are talking the ability to take orders from the higher ups and use that vision to inspire a legion of co-workers, volunteers, and/or employees to see that vision through to a successful event.
Great with people? Love to organize stuff? Awesome. Successful Corporate Event Managers will also have general knowledge about the industries in which they work, so some business know-how is going to come in handy. Marketing and communication savvy will also serve you well, as you will need to get the word out to participants and sometimes the press. These days, that means social media, so make sure you are up-to-date on your Tweeting, Poking, Yelping, and Linking. Those same marketing skills will also serve to pay the bills, as independent Corporate Events Managers will need to sell their services to various businesses.
Public Relations can also serve as a great area of expertise for an Events Manager. Knowledge like this will help you work and communicate with large groups of people while keeping everybody happy. Finally, Corporate Events Managers will often be working with hotels or convention centers, so coursework or experience in Hospitality can come in handy.
Because of this wide range of skill sets, most Corporate Events Manager positions require a Bachelor's Degree in an applicable area—although, with such a wide variety of responsibilities, that "applicable area" is pretty large. Another option would be to earn an Associate's Degree in an area such as Event Planning.
Whatever path you take to becoming a Corporate Events Manager, once you get there, be ready for some excitement. This is a position which changes daily and never gets boring, but can also bring some long hours and stressful days when the organization comes down to the wire and the big party/convention/meeting/training/event is tonight. Luckily, you came prepared.