Interested In Being An Event Planner?

One question that I get asked all of the time as an event planner is: “What suggestions would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing event planning or wants to know more about the industry?”

With launching Tycoon’s blog last week, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to answer that very question for those who are interested and also provide some resources/links that might be helpful!

So let’s get to it …


I’m a big advocate for volunteering at different types of events to gain a better sense of what happens behind the scenes and what is required of the various roles associated with the different types of events. Whether it’s festivals, fundraisers, silent auctions, outdoor events vs indoor events, block parties, private events, conferences, meetings, galas, awards ceremonies, launches, event marketing, event promotions – they’re all very different from one another and it’s important to have a sense of where you’re interests lie. Volunteering will also show prospective employers and fellow planners a level of commitment and passion for the industry.


Industry Groups:
Two fantastic professional industry-related organizations to look into are MPI (Meeting Professionals International) and ILEA (International Live Events Association).

Both organizations provide networking, professional development, information about industry best practices, accreditation, volunteer opportunities, and a great support network. I’ll often suggest that anyone interested in getting involved in event planning, or for anyone who is currently a planner but not yet involved, check out either (or both!) of these groups. They’re such great resources and your engagement with them shows a level of interest and commitment to the industry, which always looks great to your employers/clients/vendors/colleagues.

It is worth mentioning that MPI offers a scholarship program to new, non-members that provides free membership for a year. When I was interested in MPI and a bit hesitant to make the financial commitment with purchasing a membership, I applied and received the scholarship. It was a great way for me to test the waters first and see what all the organization had to offer.

Both organizations also provide the opportunity to attend events as a non-member (with student pricing options available). Attending organization events is a great way to get your foot in the door and see if you take a liking to either.

If you have any questions or want to reach out to either organization, the contact information is:

ILEA Edmonton Contact:
Caitlin McElhone, BSc., CMP
ILEA Edmonton President
ILEA website:

MPI Greater Edmonton Contact:
Arlene Schilke
President-Elect, MPI Greater Edmonton Chapter
MPI website:


The event planning industry is changing all of the time and a big part of our job is staying on top of industry trends and best practices. Education and professional development is critical in being a great event planner. It’s definitely worthwhile to invest time into webinars, workshops, certifications, and courses.

Whether it’s looking into NAIT’s Event Management Certificate Program or reaching out to the individual instructors of the various modules, looking into online webinars offered through MPI, or looking into MacEwan’s Event Management Certificate, all are great ways to get a strong start in the industry.

Newsletters, publications, and blogs! I ♥ industry-related sources of information to stay ‘in the know’!


Set Up and Tear Down Contract Work:
Have you gotten involved with event set and tear down contract roles? They’re a great opportunity to get some hands on experience, develop your skill sets and portfolio work, and establish a relationship with planners. Speaking of which, have you checked out Tycoon’s posting for event set up and tear down contractors?


What To Do Before Asking To Set Up A Meet & Greet With Other Event Planners:
My last recommendation before reaching out to event planners to sit down with them and get a better sense of how they got their start in the industry, how they might recommend you get your foot in the door, get involved with the industry if you haven’t already, or to pick their brain. Most planners have dedicated many years to developing their careers and portfolios and it’s taken a lot of commitment, sacrifice, and time. Before sitting down to offer up advice or make an investment in your professional development, they’ll want to see that you’re just as dedicated and invested in the profession as they are, have a general sense of what type of event work or event role you’re interested in, that you have previous experience in the industry (which can be gained by any of the above methods), and that you are working on developing or strengthening your event portfolio and professional development.

With all of these tips and tools, you’re ready to tackle the event planning world and have a great idea of how to get started!


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