How did you become an event planner?
As Editorial Assistant/Production Coordinator for the Marketing Department in the New York office of global law firm White & Case, I was the only person available to help organize client seminars.
What skills or experience did you have?
While I attended Towson University, I interned at the PR firm Eisner, Petrou & Associates, aiding account executives in the implementation of special events, and at the Baltimore County Department of Public Works Recycling Division, where I researched and attended community events for recycling promotions. I also organized a 5K run fundraising event on campus.
What types of events did you organize?
Now I manage events for the professional services and non-profit industries, including client-facing marketing events and fundraisers.
As President of Ginger Donnan Events LLC, I develop and implement master event plans for Public Interest Projects’ national grantee meetings, including budgets, venue selections, food and beverage, audio-visual and tracking attendee travel and accommodations. I've stepped in to lead the event department of a prominent New York law firm during a time of transition, and organized the firm’s first annual Privacy Conference and third annual Women’s Law Forum, as well as preparing blueprints for 15 up-and-coming client events. In addition, I help numerous additional organizations with their fundraising and marketing events.
Prior to forming Ginger Donnan Events, as Special Projects Manager/Consultant to the co-founders of the $55 million organization Autism Speaks, I designed and executed events to meet their awareness-building and fundraising potential. High-profile events included the first chefs’ tasting in NYC to offer table-side cooking to over 370 people, which raised over $1.1 million, and the $1.8 million Concert for Autism Speaks featuring Lionel Richie.
While at White & Case, I was the first to hold the position of Marketing Manager, Conference and Event Planning, managing client-facing retreats, educational seminars and other special events for the firm. In 2007, I returned to the firm as a consultant, organizing six days of events in three months time, including registration, hotel, airport transfers, two receptions, an all-day meeting and a black tie dinner dance for more than 550 people.
- If you're trying to become an event planner, volunteer at work, school or with non-profit organizations to handle parts of an event - anything from greeting guests to printing the name tags. Every experience helps.
- When you meet with someone for first time to plan an event, ask as many questions as possible and take copious notes! That first meeting is crutial.
- Assume nothing. If someone isn't assigned to do the task, no one will.