Anouschka Slager is an events producer and account executive who has a deep-seated passion for music, events, and red lipstick. This young and fabulous lady rocks one Cape Town event after the other, ensuring that she and her team at Have You Heard execute each job to make the event unforgettable. EduConnect sits down with Anouschka to learn about her daily hustle and bustle and what it’s like to organise events that promote all sorts of brands, from alcoholic beverages to pharmaceuticals.
|Time of Day||Activity||Comments|
|05:00am||Finish up any left-over work from previous day||I prefer this to working until late; I plan and prepare a list for the day’s tasks and schedule slots for clients, usually about 5 per day|
|06:30am||Get ready for the day|
|08:30am||Get to the office and start working on brainstorming, briefing, presentations, etc.||I prefer to work on creative things in the morning|
|13:00pm||Meetings with co-workers regarding future projects; replying to Emails from the day||On some afternoons we have team lunch and team training|
|17:30pm||Leave the office|
|18:00||Get home, have glass of wine and cook some dinner and chill||I like to take this time to read self-improvement books to make me more skilled for my work|
|22:00||Go to bed|
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The aspects that come together leading up to an event, and seeing the event being a giant success. I love seeing an event come together, like when my suppliers deliver all the stock that I specifically arranged for that event, and when it’s time to brief everyone about where and what needs to happen on the day. The build-up day is also lots of fun, because you’ll see all these tents and stages getting erected, and music sound checks happening, which is great for me because of my musical background.
What do you enjoy least about your job?
After an event, having to finish up all the annoying little details. Also, in project management there is always one week during the preparation where the project seems to be falling apart. I hate that week. That week must actually die! But the good news is after that week, if you push through, it all gets much easier.
Is there a qualification required to perform this job?
Where and what did you study?
I studied International Music Managemement at the Inholland Universtiy of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.
Understanding project management helps a lot, whether you get that from a course, a degree, a mentor, or other resources. You need to have a methodology and system to be able to pull off an event successfully. Anyone can host an event, but it doesn’t mean that it will be safe, or brilliant, or innovative.
How long have you been in this position and how did you get there?
I started working at Heave You Heard in the second half of 2015. I found the job through Viv Gorgon Placements, a recruitment agency. They focus quite a bit on the creative industry.
Is there any training provided by Have You Heard once you come on board?
Alongside weekly team workshops, Have You Heard really encourages a mentorship programme. We’re in the process of refining our system where each employee has an accountability partner with whom who discuss your developmental goals. You meet up once a month, and they recommend reading material for you, assess your personal work goals and evaluate your progress.
For example, my developmental goal at the moment is stress management, which comes into play a lot with my job. I work with many stakeholders and need to trust a lot of people to do their jobs. I want to be better at managing stress proactively.
What type of person would be well suited to this job?
Someone who can pay attention to details. The person needs to be able to view the project from a macro point of view, right down to a micro point of view. This means that you need to consider everyone’s point of view on top of your own, for example your supplier’s, your client’s, and that of the person who actually attends the event. You also definitely need to work well with people. Without these skills you won’t be a strong leader.
What is the earning potential of this career?
If you are doing this line of work independently, it can really be anything. There is potential to make a lot of money, but also a lot of risk. You will struggle to find financial backing for a new festival, because no one knows what the outcome will be.
In terms of what I do, an employed account executive with under 2 years of experience generally earns between R8000 and 10 000 per month.
As you get more experienced, your earning potential increases. Some companies have extra incentives where you can earn some bonus money, for example from door ticket sales, etc. You also have cases where you get a certain set percentage of the overall budget for the event.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing this career?
Get as much practical knowledge as possible. Watch and learn, and try to learn from other people’s mistakes as well.
Try to job shadow someone who does events at least a few times a year, and try to get exposure to different kinds of events like a Golf Tournament, a Philip Morris convention, an Investec dinner, a music festival…just learn as much as you can about everything.
When you get the chance to intern at a company, then try to show that you fit the company culture. And you also need to be willing to do some of the more unglamorous parts of event management. It goes for all of us. If your client is about to arrive in 5mins and the floor is dirty, you make a plan.
Any last pearls of wisdom for someone looking to pursue a career in your field?
You don’t really have weekends, and you are expected to work after hours.
If you have an issue with someone, don’t solve it by fighting fire with fire. Rather outsmart the person and solve the problem in a calm, dignified manner.
And guys, never, ever drink at the event you organise. Ever. Your clients trust you, and you can’t be stumbling about in front of them, unable to attend to an issue. Alcohol and drugs are big in this industry, but if you are at all serious about your work, you just don’t do it.
Any industry that is rooted in the art of collaboration requires a lot of ‘keep calm and carry on.’ If you are managing or producing an event, a lot of people will need your attention, all the time. It can be tough to keep smiling and radiate enthusiasm when you’re stressed with deadlines, clients’ demands, or mishaps – but if you can manage to keep a solid composure, this will help put everyone else at ease too, and at the end of the day, that is how things will come together.