By Caroline Bujold
Working in the event management world can be stressful and frustrating, but it can also be inspiring.
Just last week I was in Toronto for the 2015 Pan American Games as a volunteer.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience such an event, it’s quite hard to grasp how much organizing and planning goes into a happening that size. So many details are unknown to spectators and even the athletes that are participating.
Just think of something as small as zip ties. Now imagine how many had to be installed by a multitude of volunteers and employees for venues to be secured (gates to tie together) and look beautiful (signage and Games’ decoration to be put up). Multiply that by chairs and tables, entrances and exits to monitor, tents and pathways to set up, number of meals served, number of technical meetings organized, referees appointed, etc. and you start to get the idea.
For each event I manage or participate in, I usually discover something new about myself. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always true.
Never has the phrase ‘…and other duties as assigned’’ been so true than during an event. Fortunately I absolutely do not care about the work I have to do, as long as I do it for and with people who work as hard as I do. I’ll pick up garbage if need be, in fact, I did.
I was told once that event management was easy, that anybody could do it. Others suggested that it wasn’t really a career or maybe one that was not ambitious enough. Allow me to disagree! If you have ever taken part in any type of festival and enjoyed yourself … you are welcome! With the efforts we put in everyday, we might even make you have the time of your life.
Event Managers are MY people. They are detail focused and solution oriented. What’s more, great Event Managers have the wonderful ability to make the people around them feel like they are part of something special, while being under a massive amount of pressure.
I wanted to write this post to praise my fellow Event Managers. It was absolutely inspiring to meet so many dedicated and hard working people at the Pan Am Games. People that got the job done. People that don’t mind working in the shadows so the athletes and the Host City can shine.
Thank you to my friend Brigitte who, after all these years, manages to still drag me out to play. Also, many thanks to her teammates Stephanie and Samir who made me feel like part of the team. Hope you guys take some well-deserved rest. I will be cheering you on during the Parapan Am Games.