Chapter Events/Updates / General / Reflections

The Truth about Event Planning

By Colleen Kennedy, PRSSA member

“Seriously, it’s all about sales.”

After Brittney Wichtendahl graduated from the University of Iowa with a journalism degree in May 2011, she was determined to leave the state of Iowa. She accepted a full-time assistant sales manager position, and moved to Chicago.

But Wichtendahl quickly realized sales were not her forte. After three months in Chicago, she made a change and accepted a position at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, where she had interned in the summer 2010.

Despite her experience in the world of sales, Wichtendahl stressed the importance of sales to the James F. Fox chapter of PRSSA on the October 26 chapter meeting. In sales, she worked to persuade and convince clients. These skills transfer to public relations and event planning, which involve knowing your client wants and needs.

In her current position as Rental Coordinator, Wichtendahl must sell her experience as an event planner and the venue to potential renters by promoting her expertise and the space as the perfect venue for the event. She plans and coordinates weddings, private events, bridal and baby showers, and helps with public events.

From her work in event planning, Wichtendahl has learned several event truths she shared with the chapter.

Event Truths

  • Your feet will hurt.
  • Make friends with everyone.
  • Put out small fires so you don’t have any big ones.
  • It’s not about you.
  • No event is perfect, but make your client think it is.

Although Wichtendahl said event planning isn’t as glamorous as some people may think, she loves her job.

Wichtendahl also stressed the importance that nothing is a failure if you learn something from it. She struggled with her decision to leave her job in Chicago, but she is happy with her decision.

Since making the decision to return to Des Moines, Wichtendahl has learned an important “life truth”—To be truly successful and happy in life, you must become independent of the opinions of others.

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