After another year of disruption, members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2022 are proof positive that adaptability is a requisite skill for business events industry professionals. Khadijah White, DES, an event planner at Redstone Agency Inc. in Toronto, Canada, shares what she believes will be the key to the industry’s recovery.
What do you like most about your job?
For me, the best part of my job is connecting with people and working closely with a highly skilled and passionate team. It has been an adventure! Each event and client I work with is unique, and I enjoy the unpredictability of the day-to-day. My team is truly on-of-a-kind and is filled with some exceptional event professionals who keep me on my toes. We are constantly learning from one another and growing collectively.
What do you see as key to the industry’s recovery after this time of disruption?
I think the ultimate key to the industry’s recovery will be our ability to work together in a more in-depth capacity than we have in the past. As planners, we are now, more than ever, co-dependent on our relationships with our industry partners and suppliers. As we plan our recovery and return to in-person events, I have noticed a trend in many event planners’ predictions of the future, and that is “hybrid.” The accessibility that virtual events has showcased is something we would be remiss to ignore, and will no doubt be a big part in the future dynamic of event execution.
We must continue to lean into our combined strengths because together we are powerful.
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from someone in the industry?
Carly Silberstein, CEO at Redstone Agency, said, “Relax, this is PR not ER.” There’s no denying that the combination of tight deadlines, meticulous planning, and attention to detail required in this line of work can lead to some hectic days.
I have been in many stressful situations while planning and executing large-scale events. I lean on this advice when things go astray and find that putting problems into perspective helps to keep me grounded and solution-oriented.
What new skills has the pandemic led you to pursue?
The pandemic led me to obtain my Digital Events Strategist certification. While this pandemic has been a time filled with tragedy and loss, I am grateful for the global pause that it initially caused. When the world shut down in 2020 and I found myself unemployed, I used that time as an opportunity to pivot and gain skills that would be beneficial to the advancement of the events industry. As a result, I now possess digital production management, virtual event management, and virtual stakeholder management skills that allow me to bring value to the marketplace.