Hosting Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s School of Hospitality and Tourism students at GO WEST had us reminiscing on being starry-eyed new event profs.

It got us thinking. How did we go from having big dreams to having successful big events under our belts?

We chatted with Jacob, Brooke and Renée–three event profs at different stages of their journeys–to see how they’re rising through the ranks.

For Brooke, now six months in as a Project Coordinator, setting her sights on the industry is still a fresh memory:

“I was drawn to events as an avenue for storytelling. I wanted to create memories for our guests.”

We’ve (lovingly) thrown Brooke into the ring to sharpen her skills through more experience than expected right off the bat, and in six months, we’ve seen just how much one person can absorb—a lot!

We met Jacob as a student and could tell from a mile away that he was lasered in on events. He scoped us out, and clearly, it was a match.

Now, both in their first year on #TeamOneWest, we asked them what was most surprising to realize about the inner world of events.

Without missing a beat, they both pointed to the duality of the industry. It seems massive but feels so tiny and interconnected once you’re inside. And interconnected is key. Jacob has already noticed,

“It became immediately clear that the answer to many problems is making connections–having the right person on speed dial.”

We agree! There’s a reason we push our teammates out of their comfort zones to get out there, meet people and be nosy.

So, how do event profs climb from newbies to pros?

We turned to veteran event prof Renée Pittet, CSEP, den mother, not only to our OneWest team but to our community, to share her trade secrets.

The big reveal? Put in the work.

“I went through so many roles, and it was all about working hard with a willingness to step into anything required and my best foot forward.”

She advises setting your sights on what you want but know it will take steps to get there. Unlike secretly duct-taping things 5 minutes before doors open, there is no quick fix for career growth (though if we could Matrix-style download everything we wish we knew a decade ago, we’d be first in line).

It’s not just putting in the time; it’s doing the unexpected. If there’s one thing that is true of our team, it’s that whatever needs to get done, we’re doing it. Renée explains,

“You won’t see a client carrying a heavy box if one of our team is in the room; we treat everyone like they’re our mom and make sure we’re taking care of them.”

(Awe, it’s no wonder we all love her.)

On what keeps Renée pushing the needle forward:

“I’m always learning and evolving because this industry is always evolving.”

One minute in events, and you realize there’s never a dull moment. There is always something to learn, new tech to get your hands on, and a bigger stage to shoot for.

So, how do you evolve? As a certified people person, Renée’s advice is to find your people.

“There’s something so fulfilling about finding your people. This is truly an industry of people more than anything.”

Find a mentor and pick their brain. Watch how they find unexpected solutions. Expand your idea of networking to include making your circle of genuine connections and helping each other out.

Then, always keep learning. You’ll find #TeamOneWest reading a book we can’t stop talking about, heading to a conference filled with insider info on the latest tech and trends, or tapping into our network to stay sharp.

Have questions about your events career? We have something exciting coming your way soon. Hit us up with “put me on the list!” to know about it first.