Event Management Tips from Sullivan Group’s CEO
Clare Sullivan knows how to produce a party. The CEO of the Sullivan Group studied hotel management at the University of Houston and got her start working with Four Seasons, but it was when she entered full-time event production that things really got going. She founded the Sullivan Group when she was just 26 years old in 1989 and quickly set her company apart for their big ideas and big impact in event planning in Houston. Currently, with 5 full time employees, Clare and her company produce 200 to 250 events every year around the world. She knows what event planning is all about and how to drive success. She was the founder and first president of the Houston chapter of the International Live Events Association in 1997 and continues to serve as an international board member. She’s linked in to all the latest developments and movements in the business of corporate event planning in Houston and beyond. Here are a few of her guiding principles of event management mined from her many years of experience:
Houston event planners starting out should never be afraid to say yes to a new proposal. Don’t be intimidated by projects that seem beyond you or bigger than yourself. Those projects are opportunities for you to respond, grow and rise to the challenge. If you limit yourself, you’ll never get to those bigger projects, but if you take them head on when they appear, they’ll help you push outside your thinking and adapt. When Clare was starting out doing corporate event planning in Houston, she found herself doing an 8-city product launch with only one employee on her team. It was intimidating and overwhelming, but that project gave her the chance and the push to intentionally build her team and expand her network to be able to meet the challenge. She adapted, rose to the occasion and brought her company to the next level.
Clare is all about big ideas. Every event is unique and each client is unique, with individual strengths and opportunities to create something special. Don’t ever limit your thinking, because there’s no limit to what is possible. Even on a limited budget, you can work wonders with a clear vision and a careful, considered plan. While event planning in Houston, Clare received the tricky assignment of producing a glamorous corporate party on Galveston Beach, a less than glamorous location but the only beach around. With careful planning, Clare made it a fabulous event to remember for the client and all the participants. There were helicopters, the food was catered by Aramark and the beach was transformed.
As professional Houston corporate event planners, it is all up to you. The client is always right, and if there’s a problem, it’s up to you to deal with it. It doesn’t matter where the issue started or who created the problem. Trying to assign blame doesn’t make the problem go away and only lets you try to shift responsibility for the solution. As the number one person responsible for the party, you are tasked with providing that solution. With every event there are things that are going to go wrong, and it’s tempting for many event professionals to make up excuses or try to explain what went wrong and avoid blame. Don’t fall into that trap. When your performers exceed their time or don’t show up, when the meal timing falls through, or when the sound system goes out, your first and only priority is to find a solution so the event can go on. Later on you can take the time to look for the source of the issue to see if you can prevent it in the future. Read from the CEO at Sullivan Group to learn event management tips that will take your event to the next level!