Lauren Detez, Arinex’ Project Coordinator based in Perth – and this year’s Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) Ungerboeck Scholarship recipient for Western Australia – shares what it is about events that she loves.
How long have you been in the events industry?
I have been working in events for almost three years. I started my events career fresh out of university, after graduating with a Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management with a minor in Events Management, at Edith Cowan University.
Where did you start your career?
I started my career in September 2015 as an intern at an events company in Perth, before beginning at Arinex in 2016 as project assistant. I was promoted to project coordinator in February 2018.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a number of different conferences through to 2020 at the moment, but one of the next ones is the International Conference on Radar 2018, taking place at the end of the month in Brisbane. We are managing all aspects of the conference, from registration and program management through to providing technology solutions with our eOrganiser suite. As part of the conference are also holding a Women in Engineering and a Young Professionals Event, and I’ve found it gratifying to help recognise women and young professionals in their field. The most rewarding part though has been working with an amazing organising committee who are very passionate about creating a memorable conference.
What’s the best thing about your job?
There are so many good things about working in events that I don’t think I could pick just one. One of the greatest aspects is the spirit of collaboration and team work that happens when you deliver meaningful conferences and events. At Arinex we have such a supportive and enthusiastic team, with each person driven by a common goal of getting the best outcome for the client – we feed off each other’s passion. Our jobs can be stressful and at times require long hours, but this collaborative environment makes it so enjoyable. I also love having the chance to work with so many different clients to bring their vision to life. Each event is different which means each day is different!
What advice would you give to someone entering the field?
I would say to get as much hands-on experience as possible. That could be from volunteering for as many events as you can or by applying for an internship – any sort of experience is priceless, it gets your foot in the door and it can open doors to new opportunities.
And what advice would you give to agencies looking to attract and retain young talent?
Utilise and encourage your senior staff to mentor and guide the younger employees. I think it’s important to provide support and encourage staff to be the best they can be. I’ve been lucky to have some fantastic mentors throughout my time in Arinex, who have taught me a lot about this industry and helped me grow both personally and in my career.
What would your dream event look like?
I would love to work on a multi-faceted event like South by Southwest in the United States, which is a collection of film, media and music festivals all happening at once. I heard one of the festival organisers, Hugh Forrest, speak at MEA Accelerate Conference earlier this year and it was really interesting. To be able to run different types of events concurrently and to work with so many amazing speakers would be such a buzz.
Have you had any major event disasters? What happened?
Haven’t we all! For one event, our print-on-demand registration equipment that was being sent from Sydney didn’t arrive on time, so the team spent the night printing, cutting and alphabetizing 400 name badges before the conference began the next morning. There were some bleary eyes the next day but we made it!
And the best event you have ever worked on and why?
There have been so many, but the one I will always hold closest to my heart is the 22nd Australian and New Zealand Prevocational Medical Education Forum in Brisbane last year, mainly because it was the first conference I coordinated. It was held at the Royal International Convention Centre, at the Brisbane Showgrounds, and we planned a mini Ekka welcome reception, with carnival-themed games and food. It went down a hit!