Staffing | CEME

Choosing Your Staff, Consultants and Volunteers
When selecting your staff and signing on volunteers for an event, you want to choose people who
exhibit many of the qualities you must have as an event planner. Of course your accountant,
insurance agent and attorney don’t have to be event planners or coordinators themselves,
but they definitely need to be familiar with the industry. Your assistant and other team
members who work the event during the planning stages and on-site, however, do need to have
these qualities: * Positive, effective and open communication
skills * Keen big picture and minute detail organizational
skills * Superior, effective and compassionate people
skills * Passion for the profession and each event
* Capable of being flexible * Good stamina for working long, physically
demanding hours * Great time management skills
* Always level headed * Creative and innovative
* Calm and gracious even under extreme stress * Easy to respect
* Be a multi-tasker * A dedicated team player
* Have an eye for and commitment to detail * Possess industry knowledge and expertise
* Be capable of thinking on their feet Although you may go it alone on smaller events,
performing all the event planning duties yourself while relying on the venue, supplier and catering
staff to perform all the on-site duties, the ideal event management team would include
a permanent staff of you, your assistant, a transportation manager, food and beverage
manager, office and registration manager, decorating manager, bookkeeper, Marketing
Manager and a technology manager. You also need an accountant, legal advisor and insurance
specialist; these are not typically staff positions except in the multi-million dollar
event planning firms. If the event is a destination event, you may add a destination consultant
and customs broker. If you have volunteers, they should work in teams, organized by skill
sets and reporting to the appropriate manager. Now let’s take a closer look at what proficiencies
each of these people need: You, the Event Planner: In video module 1,
we addressed the topic: “What is an Event Planner?” In short, you are in charge of
managing your team from the moment an event plan begins through the final post-event reporting.
Your areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to: creating the plan , managing
the budget, selecting the venue, establishing the dates, creating the agenda, identifying
service providers, negotiating the contracts, obtaining insurance and permits, securing
speakers, presenters and entertainers, marketing the event, arranging transportation and transfers,
managing the event on site. Event planners make between $5,000 and $250,000 a year depending
of the number and scope of the events they manage.
Event Planner’s Assistant: Your assistant is your mini-me. This person is an executive
assistant with experience and ability in all of the skills you have. This individual does
not necessarily plan on becoming an event planner himself, but she does need to fully
understand the industry in order to execute your directions and assist you in managing
your team. Your assistant’s major role is to act as your facilitator, making sure that
you have everything you need to make decisions and set direction, and taking any responsibilities
that someone else can handle off your plate. An executive assistant commands a salary between
$32,000 and $50,000. Bookkeeper: Maintaining, updating and auditing
financial records can be time consuming and sometimes confusing. If you manage one big
annual event a year or many events through a 12-month period, you should have a trained
bookkeeper who can generate whatever financial reports you need without you having to spend
excessive time with the finances. This staff member should handle budget entries and adjustments,
the general ledger, deposits, cash, etc. and have the minimum of an Associate’s degree
in bookkeeping practices. You can expect to pay your bookkeeper around $30,000 to start.
Decorating Manager: The ideal decorating manager would have a background as an administrative
services manager, someone who is accustomed to managing the smooth operations of business
facilities. This person will be responsible for making sure that everything from staging
to lighting, and linens to flower arrangements match the vision for the event, and will work
with the supplier’s point people to insure accuracy, quality and contract fulfillment.
This individual will negotiate preliminary contracts for your approval as they relate
to her areas of responsibility. This individual will likely have a bachelor’s degree in
business and request a salary between $37,000 and $52,000 a year.
Food and Beverage Manager: The perfect food and beverage manager for your staff will have
a background in both business and the food and beverage industries; a person who has
some college-level business training and has managed a restaurant or catering business
for example. Like the decorating manager, he will negotiate contracts with all food
and beverage providers, and work with the vendor’s point people on menus, room-sets,
etc. This person will receive between $32,000 and $47,000 annually, and more if they are
administrative services manager trained with a specialty in food service.
Marketing Manager: Your marketing manager will have at least a bachelor’s degree as
well as a background in advertising, promotions, public and press relations, and market research
and strategy. He will be responsible for the design of all marketing materials, developing
and maintaining press lists, buying media, working with graphic artists and printers,
coordinating web development, and generally making sure everyone who needs to know about
your event knows about your event. This position has a public relations emphasis and the average
salary is about $89,000; highly skilled full-service marketing professional command six-figure
salaries. Office and Registration Manager: The office
manager will know quite a bit about everything that goes on with every event; much like you
executive assistant, he or she will execute your directives while making sure that all
processes, systems and equipment are running properly and well. This person will answer
phones, respond to inquiries, manage registration before and during the event, buy supplies,
manage mailing and shipping, etc. Available to assist all the supervisors, this person
is the glue that keeps the team together. The average salary for an office manager is
about $46,000. Technology Manager: Your technology manager
should be responsible for your office technology as well as the a/v and special technologies
incorporated in the event. This person should be an IT expert with great people skills as
she will have to interface with the web designer, manage networks, set up on-site technologies,
negotiate a/v contracts and much more. Because of the skill sets demanded of the technology
manager, she can easily command upwards of $65,000 a year.
Transportation Manager: Having a team member who can focus solely on transportation and
transfers for events is an event planners ultimate luxury. Because event planners are
responsible for making the entire event experience, you are responsible for making attendee, presenter,
and VIP transportation to and from the event as painless as possible. It is also your job
to arrange transportation for everyone during the event if more than one venue is used.
If you manage a lot of events, this person is indispensable. An ideal candidate is someone
who has worked in the transportation industry as a airline or airport employee, limousine
driver, even commercial freight manager. They need to speak the language of transportation
which isn’t on most college curriculums but learned by experience. Depending on the
skill level required, this staff member will be paid $32,000 to $60,000 a year.
Accounting Consultant: An accountant will look over all of the work your bookkeeper
has done for an event, series of events and/or at year-end. Your accountant will also do
your tax work and coordinate with auditors. Certified Public Accountants, or CPAs, start
at about $50,000 a year, but work for you by the hour on an as-needed basis.
Customs Consultant: You only need a customs broker when you are managing an overseas event
and you and other participants will be shipping items into the destination country. This person
prepares all the documents required to clear your shipments through customs quickly and
efficiently, and represents your interests when in contact with customs officials. Ask
your venue if they have a list of brokers they’ve worked with in the past, or contact
the country’s customs office. Customs brokers make between $45,000 to $100,000 a year, and
typically charge hourly for their consulting services.
Destination Consultant: Destination management company consultants help you develop an event
in unfamiliar, overseas or far away locales. They are local to the area where you are holding
and event and can advise you about venues, hotels, dining, travel, activities and everything
else related to regional event management. The average salary for a destination management
consultant is about $50,000. Insurance Consultant: Your insurance agent
is almost always paid by the insurance carrier or carriers who maintain underwrite your policies.
Some agents do offer fee-based planning consultations. Your consultant will help you determine the
need for and obtain event liability, weather, cancellation, annual event, vendor and exhibitor,
entertainment and wedding insurance policies. Legal Consultant: You attorney should be expert
in negotiating and finalizing event-related contracts. She should also know quite a bit
about event management liability and be able to review your insurance policies to ensure
they are adequate. Attorneys typically charge by the hour starting at about $200 on average.
Volunteers: Your volunteers don’t charge you a salary, but they should be appreciated.
Invite them to attend all food and beverage functions and other activities that they are
not responsible for during the event. Your volunteers should show some experience or
expertise in the areas you’ll assign them to, for example decorating, technology, food
and beverage, office management. Early in your career, learn how to communicate
to your clients the importance of having a strong team. Find ways to show them how the
expense of your personnel pays dividends to the event and ultimately saves the client
money because each staff person knows how to obtain the greatest results for the least
investment. With the right team, all trained and managed
well, all of your events will be tremendous successes.

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