Though many have lost their event jobs due to the pandemic, many event pros have been able to pivot into new positions or turn side-hustles into full-time hustles, as Dan did. Back of House reached out to some of those people together to gather more information about how they found their new gigs, to learn what event skills are helping them in these new roles, and to get some advice. New positions range from full-time to owner/operator, from remote work to on-site, and the contributors offer a variety of ideas and insights. We hope that their stories will help inspire you as much as they did for us!
Atorina Piccolo | COVID Testing Registration for Highline, Contract | Colorado
Pre-COVID event field: Freelance Event Operations & Artist Relations
What is the most important thing that you learned in the event industry that you were able to carry over to your new role? Being ready to set up and breakdown each site properly and timely while working in a fast-paced environment. In addition, guest-facing skills and the ability to take lead in a position.
What skills from the new role are you looking forward to bringing back to the event industry? The can-do attitude! Ready for whatever curveball is thrown my way to get the job done with a team!
Michelle Ivy Ginsberg | Artist - Self Employed | Philadelphia
Pre-COVID event field: Marketing Manager of City Winery Philadelphia
New job description: With 8 months to kill, I have had the opportunity to slow down and explore myself and what feels authentic to me. I kept resorting to my longtime hobby & coping mechanism of creating art. During the pandemic, I explored this a bit further and learned how to make my art digital & create prints. I also created a complete series for the first time ever and was able to display it at an outdoor socially distanced art show. Because of my past experience, I was able to build myself as a brand and market my art to the public, while also managing my inventory and budget. I 100% would not have the confidence to do this without my past work experience doing this for musicians/bands.
Follow Michelle on Instagram: @michelleivyginsberg
Emily H | Account Manager and Promotions Specialist, Full-time | Remote in Chicago
Pre-COVID event field: Event Director
What event-related skills are you using in this new role that you weren't expecting to? My ability to work well with almost anyone. In the event-world, our core team would change with every event. I'm able to easily solve problems with my accounts now by adapting their way of thinking to find resolutions to problems.
What advice would you give others that are having a tough time finding a job right now? Look into skilled trades and positions. If you have a degree in something that is not specific to the event industry, rebrand yourself with that in mind. Pick out your skills that are applicable to the positions you're applying for and rebrand yourself for your new role. Be honest, be transparent, and most of all enthusiastic about your transition. It is possible. I was hired as a contractor due to my background and was able to move to a full-time role within 5 months of starting with my company and now I work for the #1 gaming company in the world.
Chura | Production Coordinator at Production Haus, Contract | Remote in NY/Florida
Pre-COVID event field: Freelance event professional, managing small teams at festivals across the US
What skills from the new role are you looking forward to bringing back to the event industry? Evaluating the scope of work and adjusting more positions to be remote where possible. Also setting firmer start and end times to encourage self-care, proper sleep, and overall improving on mental health on the work site.
Any other advice? There is something special about being forced into change and slowing down. Despite this year being unpredictable and unfortunate, there is so much to be grateful for. I think we've all had to address our mental health and have had to adapt to what a slow-paced life is, shining light on to many things we once allowed to pass by us. As we move forward there is a newfound appreciation in our work and for the health of ourselves and our teammates. Let's stay strong and kind to one another.
David Koslovsky | Operations Supervisor, Full-time | Chicago
Pre-COVID event field: Event Production (focused in transportation)
How did you find the new position and what motivated you to apply for it? Job search website (such as Indeed or similar sites). It matched up with the skills that I had gained over the last few years and the company has a strong reputation as a great place to work.
What event-related skills are you using in this new role that you weren't expecting to? Building out databases for vendors and partners to get our market started.
Kye Browning | Director of Esports at US Sports Camps, Full-time | Remote in Missouri
Pre-COVID event field: Live Events Director and Producer
What is the most important thing that you learned in the event industry that you were able to carry over to your new role? Being agile and able to think on your feet to resolve an issue. I am in essence starting a new division with limited resources to be able to be agile and resourceful has come in the clutch as we started to grow. Also, I have learned the value of the relationships I have been in over the last decade. In my new capacity I am reaching out to individuals that I haven't talked to in some time, but because of past interactions, they are open to re-connecting.
What skills from the new role are you looking forward to bringing back to the event industry? Business development. I was solely an event producer and was mainly responsible for event programming. I have had to learn how to sell our product offerings and manage a sales funnel.
Abby | Client Support Representative for a Software Company, Full-time | Remote in Denver
Pre-COVID event field:Independent contractor for large-scale festivals and music events
How did you find the new position and what motivated you to apply for it? I found it on LinkedIN. I realized that it could be quite a while before the music industry returned and I needed to find a new source of income for the time being. This software company stood out during my job search because they support an industry that I care about, and I connected with their core values and mission. I also felt that the skills and experience I gained while working in the music industry were applicable to the job description.
Is there a particular position you previously held or skill set you had that the company said they liked most about your resume or interview? Most of the positions I have held at events have been guest facing. Since I was applying for a position in client services, I was able to leverage my people skills and draw upon examples from my time in events. This helped me demonstrate my ability to interact with all sorts of individuals, de-escalate situations, and work in a fast-paced environment.
Dylan Harris | Sales Associate at XYZ Motors, Full-time | Grand Rapids, MI
Pre-COVID event field: Independent contractor; working mainly with “BlackThorn Productions”.
How did you find the new position and what motivated you to apply for it? I did not apply.. I was offered this position when I was serving a gentleman in a restaurant that I was working at part-time.
Is there a particular position you previously held or skill set you had that the company said they liked most about your resume or interview? They loved my ability to interact with customers and my communication skills. I acquired these skills through many years working with high profile celebrities and artists.
Any other advice? Do what makes you happy. For me, it was the stability of this job that drew me to it. But I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it. I told myself that if I didn’t enjoy it in the first week, I’d be out. But I found very quickly that I was a good fit here and that I can see myself enjoying this job for a long time if I decide to do so.
Mitchell Attaway | REI, Part-time | Brentwood, TN
Pre-COVID event field: Accounting and Finance for events and event-based companies as well as other contract event roles
How did you find the new position and what motivated you to apply for it? Through a mutual friend or family member. Money, Money, Money (to the rythm of the O'Jays' "For The Love of Money") I just needed something to keep the lights on while I am working on completing the CPA exam.
What advice would you give others that are having a tough time finding a job right now? It's tough out there right now, take what you can get. Don't be too proud to take that job at Starbucks, a retail store, or wherever, if you need to. I know a large number of event colleagues that are extremely overqualified for the position that they are currently working due to COVID-19. If you have extra time, learn a skill that will make you a more valuable asset when things do start happening again, but will also make you more valuable in other avenues of work also.
Do you expect to stay in this role permanently, or plan to come back to the music industry when we return? I'll be back but I've just started to study for the CPA exam. If the industry starts to return before I am done with all the sections, I will complete the exam before throwing myself back into it.
Matt Wood | Cameraman Utility at Fox Sports, Contract | Kansas City Metro Area
Pre-COVID event field: Owner, For Site Group - Primarily Site Operations, Logistics, Traffic and Parking, Green Team
Is there a particular position you previously held or skill set you had that the company said they liked most about your resume or interview? My overall logistics and event coordination skills
What is the most important thing that you learned in the event industry that you were able to carry over to your new role? Save your energy for load out!
What advice would you give others that are having a tough time finding a job right now? Ask yourself what you want. Believe that you can be successful in any path you choose.
Essi Rhodes | “All the Jobs” (Read More) | Florida
Pre-COVID event field: I was chasing festivals around the country doing whatever jobs I could get my hands on! My true pursuit was to become a go-to heavy equipment operator for site and sponsorship ops.
New job title: My job title would have to be ‘hustler’ 😆 I’m still a gig worker to my core. Always have been, always will be. I helped start and co-owned an exotic fruit stand at the biggest farmers market on the east coast. I also picked up some private landscaping clients, and I referee soccer on the side. I’ve since left the fruit co-op to start my own solo venture: a sensory experience where guests can taste exotic fruits after being seduced into a blissful state by scents, sounds and other sensations. I’ve also been diving into acrylic painting using color theory and plan to start selling commissioned pieces. 🎶Every day I’m hus-stel-lin🎶
What do you think is the most important thing that you learned in the event industry that you were able to carry over to your new role? How to really go after you want. My first fest was Okeechobee and I worked it 3 years in a row before getting my second fest gig, and that was because by year 3 I realized I needed to go after what I wanted. Nobody was just going to hand it to me. I had to work for it myself!
What (if any) event-related skills are you using in this new role that you weren't expecting to? The skill I used most in the festival world is the same skill I’m using now: adaptability.
Tyler Keenan | COVID-19 Compliance Coordinator and Officer for Film and Production, Contact | Los Angeles Area
Pre-COVID Event Field: A few vastly different things: a full-time Wireless Network Engineer designing Wi-Fi Networks, a local promoter, and concert photographer
Is there a particular position you previously held or skill set you had that the company said they liked most about your resume or interview? What stood out the most was my comfort being in the chaotic setting of live event production in various areas for several years, and my very in-depth training from World Health Organization, OSHA, Johns Hopkins, Event Safety Alliance and several other reputable organizations. My willingness to learn new things also stood out.
Do you expect to stay in this role permanently, or plan to come back to the music industry when we return? I will come back... Not just that, I'd push every single case alone on a festival tour for the rest of my life with a smile on my face. Then when I finish that what I will proudly shout is "Thank You May I Have Another!" The day this job of a COVID19 CCO is no longer needed for the industry to thrive will be one of the very best days in music history. I cannot wait to be there for it, and I am pretty sure I am not alone on that.
Malorie P Irvin | Assistant Manager at Epic Mountain Rental, Full-tie | Park City, Utah
Pre-COVID event field: Project Manager, Staffing Manager and Administrator for two event companies.
[You may remember Malorie from her Headliner article in Issue #013]
How did you find the new position and what motivated you to apply for it? Job search website (such as Indeed or similar sites). I wanted to experience a winter in the snow. Working with CIDP the last 5 years, I had been in Mexico through winter. I decided to switch it up!
Is there a particular position you previously held or skill set you had that the company said they liked most about your resume or interview? My overall ability in Administration. I applied for a Delivery Specialist role and was promoted to ASM by the end of the week. We can take on anything!
What do you think is the most important thing that you learned in the event industry that you were able to carry over to your new role? My ability to multitask, think on my feet and react with a well thought out plan on the fly.