Whitman College Event Coordinator

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It has been six months since I began my first big kid job as the Event Coordinator at Whitman College. Whitman College is a small, liberal arts college nestled between the Blue Mountains and Walla Walla wine country in Southeast Washington. As the Event Coordinator, I work on a plethora of student, staff, faculty alumni and community focused events.

Whitman College is a unique community and I feel very fortunate to work in an environment that fosters education. As part of my work benefits, I am encouraged to take a class each semester (tuition free!). I also have numerous opportunities to attend fascinating lectures and performances around campus – and even plan some of them!

In these past six months, I have worked on 20+ events. That averages to about one a week. There are slow periods when students are off campus and we don’t have much going on. At times, I feel like I am in over my head, and at others, as though I’m searching for something else to do. I think that is all part of being in your first job. At the end of the day, I always feel lucky. And at the beginning of the day, I always look forward to going to work!

Skills I have been able to improve: communication, being a team player, time management, graphic design, creative thinking, taking initiative, hospitality, wine pairing

What I’ve Learned

I haven’t officially been in the event business for very long, but I’m always taking notes. Below, I’ve compiled a short list of what I learned at my last internship. Through working under one of the Twin Cities premier event planners as well as attending networking events and weekly team meetings, I was always adding bullets to my notebook. Here are some of the most important and/or unexpected event tips I learned from my internship with LeadingAge Minnesota:

  • Only sign clean contracts
  • Beware of copyright trolls!
  • Always send email confirmations
  • Use 1 hashtag # per event
  • The trend is going towards informal & intimate
  • Always record what time vendors say they will show up

Currently, I am in the process of applying to and interviewing for fulltime work. If there is anything I have learned from that, it is to stay positive! It is so easy to get bogged down by rejection- or worse- never hearing back. I look to others I know who love their jobs and trust that I too will get there. My college advisor left me with the words that give me faith in my job hunt- “There are good jobs for good people”. With this in mind, I continue to forge the path of endless cover letters, thank you notes, reference building, resume editing and, of course, endless smiles 🙂