Recent Martin graduate Michelle Joseph has some impressive events experience under her belt already.
Michelle was awarded a scholarship by events industry giant, the Professional Conference Organiser’s Association (PCOA) and attended their annual conference last year. The PCOA is now an official partner of Martin, offering eligible events students the opportunity to access many benefits through membership.
We caught up with Michelle to learn a little more about her experience.
Tell us a bit about your experience with the PCOA
“The PCOA have been so supportive and encouraging. Maxine Tod, the Association’s Director of Business Partnerships was very busy at the conference but generously gave me a lot of her time and introduced me to some key attendees,” says Michelle. “Since the conference she has been helping me in my search for work and has continued to provide me with great opportunities.”
What are your top 5 memories from attending the national PCOA conference?
- What exhibitors used to make their booth stand out
“Free coffee, chocolates, colouring books…even a life sized model horse!” As Adelaide is the home of Haigh’s chocolate, we aren’t surprised that there was an excess of chocolate available (but we are jealous).
- Using the conference app
“Joining in with the app and checking who was in the lead was a great ice breaker and helped everyone to get to know each other.”
- Attending a networking function at the Adelaide Oval
As a huge cricket fan, Michelle was lucky that the conference coincided with a test match! “There were lots of extra people in Adelaide; it was a great atmosphere.”
- Meeting some big names
Michelle got to meet Waleed Aly, who happened to be in Adelaide for the cricket. “Sam Smith was also touring at the time and he was staying in the same hotel, as were the New Zealand cricket team and the Channel Nine commentators,” she says. “It was really the place to be!”
- Some amazing guest speakers
Guest speakers at the event addressed not just trends in the events and conference industry, but also issues that are important for everyone to consider.
“A key message from one speaker was that to grow in your work, you’ll need to grow as a person, and that having a work/life balance shouldn’t mean separating the two, but developing both to coexist,” says Michelle. “We also heard a really impactful talk from one of the founders of Thankyou Water, which reminded us that while having a job is important, it’s also important to do good work and make your career matter. It made me realise that I want the work I do to support my community and make a positive contribution to the world.”
What skills do you see as essential for working in the events industry?
“One of the most important skills in this industry is being able to see the big picture, while maintaining attention to detail. In any event role you need to know how the work you’re doing fits in to the event as a whole; when you have that context for your own work, you can take initiative to contribute to the overall goals of the event.”
Michelle also recommends honing your communication skills to get ahead in this industry. “Good communication is also essential. If you’re not sure about something you should ask. Making sure you know all the information you need for your role means you’ll be more confident when communicating with other team members and event attendees.”
What is your current job role?
“Since finishing my course I’ve worked at Sydney Festival and I am currently looking for other short term roles with community and entertainment events,” says Michelle. “This suits me quite well because it means I have a lot of flexibility and control over when I work, and it also gives me time to work on my own creative projects.”
Before completing her events diploma, Michelle had studied graphic design. There’s certainly no shortage of creative skills here.
Thank you Michelle for sharing your experience with us! We wish you all the best as you continue your journey through this dynamic industry – we see big things in your future.
To learn more about events courses offered by Martin, click here.