Mia Monroe has been an event planner and producer for more than 20 years, and her experience runs the gamut from “small, intimate dinners to large-scale, multi-day conferences, citywide concerts, festivals, and all the stuff in between,” Monroe told Convene. “I have a passion for events. I don’t think I would be doing it this long if I didn’t have a passion for it.”
During the pandemic, Monroe, MTA, CSEP, CMP, DES — like many of her industry colleagues — has had to take on a whole new set of digital skills
and significantly change the nature of her work. While she said that she had a “little bit” of experience in the digital space before COVID-19, she said it was in a completely different and smaller capacity than what she is handling now as a virtual event manager as part of a team at Blue Sky eLearn — a role she accepted during the pandemic after being laid off from a live event–focused position.
“My role in that has always been — I’m the lead, I’m the customer,” Monroe said. “I’m the one that is securing those production vendors to come in and capture my content and to stream my event. I’m not the one who’s actually doing it — I’m the one signing the contract and paying for it. That was my role before, [in addition to] establishing the strategy behind it — how we’re using content pre-, during, and post-event. Now, of course, it’s completely different.”
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Monroe defines her new role as being more of a project manager. “We have organizations coming to us to build their virtual events and we’re executing those events. So now I’m learning,” she said, “what it takes to be able to broadcast these events live or record them remotely and push out mock- live content, and then merging that with live Q&A sessions — in addition to being able to also capture data throughout the event.”
While her new position has required a lot of on-the-job training, she said, she thinks that if she was just stepping into the events industry, she would not have been able to grasp the concepts of a digital event’s requirements as quickly. “I put myself in [clients’] shoes, thinking in terms of their strategy,” she said. “What would I want to see, and what would our stakeholders want to see? And what would ultimately the attendees need in terms of what is going to stick — the content that’s relevant to them, how engaging and meaningful is that content? How can we keep them interested and how can we keep them coming back?”
According to Monroe, digital and hybrid events are here to stay, and so positions like hers will remain relevant even post-pandemic.
“I think these are models that are going to be more solidified and diversified. To me, it’s a great change for our industry,” Monroe said. “We’ve done hybrid for a while. We just haven’t called it that, right? But the expansion of it and the breadth of it, I think, will be a lot more prevalent. We’ll see a lot more of [situations where] you’ve got a couple thousand people here on site, and you’ve got 5,000 people who are actually attending virtual. The audiences are going to get larger at some of your events because you have more ways to be able to view the content. I don’t think that this is going anywhere anytime soon.”
Casey Gale is associate editor at Convene.
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