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Exclusive: Samantha Valente on her career progression to Director of Events at The Star

Event management: It’s a career loaded with logistics, stakeholders and a thousand things that are almost-always just about to go wrong.

And yet, despite the high risks and high stakes, there is something deeply satisfying about the process, and creative about finding solutions to complex issues. After all, seeing the fruits of your labour come to life as something as spectacular as an event makes it all worth it in the end.

Having worked in The Star’s events team for three and a half years now, I’m privileged to have had the opportunity to work on some career-making events. Naturally, event management is a high-pressure environment, but I am lucky to have worked with a supportive team that has nurtured my career development. Now, in my role as Director of Events I can credit my career growth to a few key things I’ve learned along the way.

People are paramount

Regardless of their role or position in the team, your people are paramount. Not only is staff retention critical to the success of any business, but a close-knit team can help members progress professionally as well. Look for opportunities to nurture junior team members and really listen to their suggestions. Meanwhile, take note of your superiors: their mentorship is what will propel you forward and build your own leadership skills.

Build trust by being true to your word

People think building trust is achieved by being honest, which is true to some extent. But really, it comes down to doing what you say, and seeing things through from start to finish. When I look at my career progression, I credit much of it to the trust I’ve built within the industry. Building a reputation for getting things done helps build relationships. And if your client doesn’t trust you, an event is unlikely to exceed its potential.

Something I learnt early on is that building strong relationships with clients takes time; and it’s often directly proportional to their trust in you.

Organise, organise, organise!

If you lack organisation and time management skills, it’s time to make a stand. Luckily, these skills can be learned through repetition and transform into habit. Event managers wear many hats while juggling many balls, which may seem chaotic to aspiring event producers. Try carving out time every morning and afternoon to understand your tasks and focus on the most immediate deadlines. I also recommend remaining calm and implementing a system to prioritise your time. Plan with precision and schedule regular client communication to avoid issues you don’t have time for.

Create memorable experiences – for clients and their guests

It’s simple: always be on the lookout for ways to add value to a client’s experience. These unexpected gestures translate into memorable experiences. It all starts with being passionate about what you do. Event management is a creative, fast-paced industry where passion and energy are crucial. When collaborating with clients, I always endeavour to exceed their expectations.

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