Our Office Hero series shines a spotlight on the unsung hero of the office. You know who they are. They work their magic behind-the-scenes, making it all come together without a hitch, and selflessly enjoy enriching other people’s lives. They are Administrative Professionals, Marketing Coordinators, Office Managers, HR Coordinators, Small Business Owners and the like. They plan countless events in a year while juggling the demands of a jam-packed to-do list. They have a passion for rocking events the same way we do, and we enjoy hanging with our kind.
Our hope is that over time, we will have honoured countless women and men while creating a space for thought provoking conversation, event stories, best practices and maybe even a few laughs.
Allow us to introduce you to this month’s office hero, Julie Geremia.
After reading about Eventsage in a Vancity Buzz article, she took the time to write us a very thoughtful email thanking us for the work we do so now it’s our turn to celebrate and give thanks to Julie.
Name: Julie Geremia
Position: Marketing & Events Coordinator
Company: TriNimbus Technologies Inc.
Eventsage (ES): Tell us a bit about yourself.
Julie (JG): About 6 years ago I moved to Vancouver from Regina after getting a business degree from the University of Regina. I wanted to try out living in a big city but more importantly I wanted to get away from the Saskatchewan winters. Now Vancouver feels like home. Over the years I’ve had experience working in different Administrative roles. I was Administrative Assistant at a non-profit mediation services company and then I moved into Schedule Coordination for that same company. I also had the opportunity to work for Simon Fraser University as a temp in various support roles. I first got into the world of events as a Volunteer Coordinator for the TEDXKids@BC event. I thought the role was a good fit because I left University with a strong interest in HR so I wanted to explore that area more. After doing the role for a year, I discovered that my passion was actually more aligned with the production planning aspect of the event. I spent a lot of time performing as a kid in dance and musical theatre so it’s not surprising that this is the area I gravitated towards. This year my role is Speaker and Performance Curator, which involves finding great talent and coordinating the logistics of their involvement. One of the great things about the event is it’s fluid structure which gives volunteers like myself lots of opportunity to select what they want to get involved with. My volunteer work with TEDxKids@BC is ultimately what lead to my full-time role at TriNimbus as the Marketing and Events Coordinator. I’ve been in the role for about a year and half now.
ES: What’s going on in your company right now that’s cool?
JG: It’s a really great time to work at TriNimbus because our business is growing rapidly. Along with getting ready to go to Las Vegas for a tradeshow/conference next week, we are also moving offices so I’ve had a lot of fun helping with the planning. We host a number of user group meetup events throughout the year, so I’m really excited to have the additional space for these events. I like the fast-paced, ever-changing environment of TriNimbus, which is a technology consulting company that helps companies move their data to the Amazon Web Services Cloud Computing platform. It’s exciting to be involved with new technologies that are providing endless opportunity for companies and users.
ES: What’s one modern day convenience you can’t live without? ex. flushing toilet, automatic cappuccino machine
JG: I definitely couldn’t live without a camera. I love capturing memories and actually printing out the photos afterwards. I know that’s rather rare these days but I really enjoy looking back on fun times and reliving the events I’m involved with. I do have a digital camera but I rarely bring it out. I prefer to buy disposable cameras because I love the shock factor that people have when I pull it out. It seems like such a novelty and then I get to be surprised when photos get printed. There’s something magical about the role photos used to have in our lives.
ES: Once in the office, what’s a positive thing you do each morning to get your day started off right?
JG: Usually I just like to put my head down and go through emails to get my mind organized for the day ahead. I get real satisfaction from working through the pile, deleting emails I don’t need anymore and then filing the ones I need in folders for future reference. It’s about managing information and putting it away so I don’t have to think about it anymore. A clean and organized inbox is really satisfying to me. I don’t understand how people can live with thousands of emails in their inbox. With event planning, so much time is spent sending out emails and waiting to hear back, so keeping everything organized in a way where you always know what you still need a response on is critical for successful planning. (ES: That’s why a tool like Eventsage that helps you manage supplier correspondence and keep all the back-and-forth in one place outside your inbox, is critical for staying organized during planning)
Let’s talk about events and get your Sage Advice…
ES: How many events, and what kind, are you asked to plan each year?
JG: I plan a variety of events in a year. I plan approximately 30 Meetup events across Canada including in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. These are education events for our user groups with speakers, food and beverage as well as networking. I plan 1 – 2 staff events and parties per year as well as weekly Lunch and Learn Meetings. This year I’m also planning a large half-day conference in Toronto and a Penthouse Party in Vegas for the conference we’re headed to. I’m super busy but it’s a ton of fun!
ES: If you could hire any famous band for one of your events, who would it be?
JG: Recently my friend was telling me about Israel Kamakawiwo’ole a Hawaiian performer who does an amazing cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow with just his voice and a ukulele so after hearing that I’d definitely like to hire him.
ES: If you could hire any speaker, who would it be?
JG: I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of up and coming youth speakers through TEDxKids@BC and I think any of them would do a great job.
ES: What is your biggest challenge when planning an event? And why?
JG: The biggest challenge is scheduling between the 6 different cities I coordinate Meetups in. In order to do so I have to balance between venue availability, speaker availability, my colleagues’ availability which can sometimes include travel coordination as well.
ES: How do you overcome those challenges?
JG: I think I’m still working on finding a system for it, so I’m constantly trying out different ways of tackling this, from the order in which I try to schedule an event to my communication methods. I think it will ultimately be an ongoing challenge with no perfect solution.
ES: What are some of the things you do on a daily basis to keep organized?
JG: I’m a big fan of making lists and sub lists in various notebooks. I have one notebook dedicated to work, another for TEDxKids@BC, and one for my personal life. Visual organization is also very important for keeping me organized. I use colour coding as a visual reminder of task status. Green is ‘complete’, red is ‘not started’, and orange is ‘in progress’. We use Google office products like Drive, Docs and Sheets which helps with team collaboration.
ES: What has been the coolest highlight at an event you’ve planned or attended?
JG: My first year doing the TEDXKids@BC event was definitely a highlight in my career. It was the first time I’d ever coordinated around 70 youth volunteers and I was very proud to tackle something so huge. Working with the volunteers was a ton of fun. The venue for the event was the OMNIMAX theatre at Science World and we were given the opportunity to host many of our pre-planning meetings there. It was great to have our meetings in such a cool place and see Science World from an insiders’ perspective. It was also great to use our surroundings as a source of inspiration for the planning of our event.
ES: What’s the most important thing you’d like to share with others about planning events?
JG: The most important advice I can share is to just be flexible and roll with the punches. Not all aspects of the event will turn out exactly as planned so being ready with a back up plan is important. Plus it’s important not to stress about the things that go off course because often those things take place behind the scenes where no one notices anyway, so letting go of the stress is critical for being able to roll with the punches.
ES: Is there anything else you want to add?
JG: I want to finish by celebrating the people who plan events. It can seem like a thankless or un-appreciated job but I find that most people really do appreciate the people who take the time to make little things happen. Even if they don’t have the time to say “thanks” they do notice and appreciate your work.
Are you or someone you know an Office Hero? Submit nominations here and we will get back to you shortly to confirm an interview.