The Event Planner career, with Tracy Fuller [Interview]

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Posted on June 28, 2019

“Listening to your client also means interpreting; you need to understand more than the words they say.”

An Event Planner knows by heart what it means to have a hectic life based on deadlines and last minute challenges. Completing this time-consuming routine, there’s still loads of knowledge to keep up with and a work-life balance to be pursued. Tracy Fuller, President of InnovativEvents and Event Heroes, has been coaching and mentoring event planners, sharing advice from the experience she gained in a 30+ years successful career. In today’s talk, she might have that one piece of guidance you’ve been waiting for, no matter if you’re a junior or been in the market for some time.

1 – Who is Tracy Fuller, when she’s not involved in the creation and execution of the next event?

Artist, inventor, entrepreneur, coach. These are all passions of mine when I’m not planning the next event, but somehow all these pieces still connect to my business. When asked the question, “what would you do if money was no object?” I would create art or do more of the things I’m already doing. I consider myself lucky to be able to do what I love.

And I’m Mom, Wife and Grandma. I have the most amazing children, now adults. Watching them find their way through their careers and life is another thrill. Helping them mastermind, create, learn about business has been a family activity since they were tiny – they were involved in the business from a very young age and now have business interests of their own. This is so rewarding as a mom. And Grandparenthood! Nothing like it! The joy of watching a little human develop a personality and watching her parents discover her is beyond cool!

My husband and I love to travel and see the world. I’m always looking at other spaces, events, anything during travel that add to my event tool belt of ideas.

Tracy Fuller - Interview - InEvent - 2

2 – As a successful businesswoman, with 30+ years career in the event industry, what’s the one aspect you’d say is a key factor for a successful event or conference?

The key above all else is being able to stay calm which gives you breathing room to think on your feet! The old adage “Never let them see you sweat!” holds especially true in the event world. As long as you stay calm, so will your team and your client, and the attendees will never know anything is wrong. Panic drains all of your energy, and all of the energy of those around you. You would be surprised how many times this has served me well. Being calm allows you to think clearly and find a solution as quickly as possible.

Tracy Fuller at her office, accompanied by Bentley, the family’s kitty.

3 – And what about the key factor for a fruitful career in as an Event Planner?

This one’s easy to say but harder to do: Never quit. Sometimes I think it’s a matter of who can survive the longest. Seriously, having good team members, providing great events for your clients so your reputation grows, and staying informed on new and inspiring ideas will certainly help you stay in the business, but having the fortitude to continue to find new clients, network, work long hours and keep a positive attitude will help you come out on top.

4 – With so much competition, businesses are now molded on what we call customer-centric culture. How does that apply to the event industry?

This is probably one of the most customer-centric business models. If you’re successful, your “customers” are hidden in plain sight: the AV team, the hotel staff, the printer, even the UPS guy. In a way they’re your customers, too, because your mutual success depends on each other. Then, you have your client. And after that, all the attendees you need to cater to. Our world is all about creating individual experiences for the 1000 people in the room. Yes, for each and every one.

Tracy Fuller, President of InnovativeEvents and Event Heroes, in her home’s Music Room.

How to listen to your audience? Understanding the goals of your client and how that effects each and every attendee is the most important goal. Listening to your client, who often (but not always!) knows the most about the audience, is paramount to a successful event. Sometimes listening also means interpreting; you need to understand more than the words they say.

Post-event surveys are especially useful when the event is one that will repeat in the future. Of course you can talk to attendees on site to get their thoughts immediately. Chatting with the attendees, talking to the board members and looking at attendee numbers is a good indication on how well received your event is.

And now with some of the new tech produces that are out there, it’s getting easier and easier for attendees to tell you what they want.

5 – You were in charge of projects for huge brands, such as Cargill, Monsanto and Google. What’s the must-have ingredients for a professional to be trusted by clients this huge?

Great networking, word of mouth and great communication skills. Most of these events came from earned reputation (aka word of mouth) vs. our own advertising, so it’s really important to create good will with those in your community. This includes venues, other vendors and partners that you use for events. If you do a great job doing your job, and especially if you make others look good doing their jobs, not only will you get great references but people will notice and share your contact information with those that ask. This is the best way to get new business, especially those big events. It’s always better if someone else sings your praises. It’s like having a sales force you don’t have to pay for and brings you great business. Remember to thank those that bring you business, and they will want to bring you more business.

Tracy Fuller - Interview - InEvent

6 – Event Organizers are entrepreneurs in their heart. And you thrived on both fields. Would you be able to identify your main struggles during your career as an Event Planner and as an entrepreneur?

For me, finding like-minded people to hang out with, to ask for guidance, to plan with, and to have a team to hold me accountable has been key to my success. As an entrepreneur, you are out there all alone so finding others that think like you is essential for both your business and your sanity.

I have a great group of friends/colleagues that are my MasterMind group. We are fierce at meeting monthly to check in and we run our MasterMind meeting with a set of rules that keep us all moving in the right direction. These people have become great friends, business partners, and trusted confidants. They are encouraged to tell me when my ideas won’t work and why, when I have a great idea and when I’m not being the person I should be. Sometimes these conversations are tough but they all happen with love and respect and a desire to see each and every one succeed. There are no competitive issues in this group. It’s men and women cheering you on in every aspect of your life.

Even your home life affects your business life. It’s hard to find the line of separation for an entrepreneur. But spouses and partners don’t always “get it” so it’s necessary to have that safe space to dig deep and talk business that would bore anyone else.

The other group of people you need are mentors. Mentors can be any age. They’re just someone who is better at or has more experience in a thing than you. I have mentors that are older, and mentors that are younger. Some mentors are accidental: For example, I had a client that taught me how to sell because he was so tough on me. Sometimes we end up mentoring each other. Years ago I mentored a young woman who has become a strong community leader, and now she sometimes repeats what I’ve said back to me! She’s always got great ideas to help me get where I want to go….the mentee becomes the mentor!


A final note to add is to have fun. We spend many long hours working to please others, if you don’t enjoy the work, the long hours, pleasing others and watching their and your vision come to reality, this business is not for you. Our team works hard to get things just right but we also laugh, tease and enjoy each other’s company. This is my life’s joy!

Don’t forget to check these other valuable tips to excel in your Event Planner career.

Visit InnovativEvents and Event Heroes to check the newest projects Tracy Fuller is working at the moment. You can also find her on LinkedIn.

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