Andy Jenkins has been the Event Manager for Government Executive Media Group for almost a year, covering a very niche market. But, as a child of the military, our government and military have always been of interest to her. Her undergraduate degree from Penn State in Advertising and Sociology, MBA in International Business from St. Mary’s University in London, and background in working for politicians and on campaigns all give her the tools she needs to be a great fit in this market.
As the Event Manager, Andy receives the presigned contracts and manages everything post signing. This includes client relations, marketing, registration, content, speakers, social media, audio visual, vendors, catering and even web coding. There are so many pieces it’s like a puzzle.
“I love the challenge of bringing together all the pieces of the puzzle and making it click!”
Although, like many professionals in any field find, she understands her primary responsibility is maintaining communication with the client and providing excellent customer service. “I want to understand and connect with them [client] and I want them [client] to understand and connect with Government Executive.”
One way Andy does that, also happens to be her favorite part of the job and that’s bringing something to the audience that’s new, different and IMPORTANT! “It’s great to show WHY it’s important and what it affects…not just DC politics, but the whole country!”
Andy is also fortunate enough to work with a very energetic team, which is why they’re so strong! “Everyone wants every part of the event to excel! This gives us the ability to execute and execute well!”
Now it’s no surprise that planning government events come with strict guidelines. “One of the more difficult aspects of the job is keeping on top of the constantly changing ethics rules. Above all, we have to be 100% transparent with the ethical guidelines.” Planning events can be a complicated process and being held under a microscope adds an extra layer.
Throughout your career you always encounter “firsts,” because you don’t know what you don’t know. For Andy, her biggest “first” was the first time she held a meeting in Chicago and had to work with the Chicago Labor Union. She had a budget, but didn’t realize the added union cost she would be responsible for covering as well. There was no mention of it in the contract. Luckily she was able to negotiate and move things around to stay in budget.
“Now I ask questions about everything I can beforehand and put EVERYTHING into the contract. I want to make sure everything is in black and white and in writing!”
So, what does Andy consider her biggest challenge? “When you work with a specific company it can be easy to get comfortable in set ways. It is easier to repeat a previous event than being pushed into learning something completely NEW.” To combat this Andy has gone to her supervisors on occasion and expressed that she wants to learn more about all parts of the organization. However, it can be challenging, “you want to learn more, but you don’t want them to think you’re after their job.” It’s just a matter of approaching it the right way. “Show them you care, want to know more so you can take your events to the next level and they’ll be open to helping. I’ve been called INTENSE and referred to as a BULLDOG, but in a good way!”
Andy wants to leave you with these thoughts:
- NEVER stop learning. If you’re not interested in learning more, you’re probably in the wrong industry. Always question the WHY!
- As a woman in a male dominant industry, there’s always a fine line between having that “bulldog” mentality and still providing that customer service where the client is happy and coming back. Remain tactful and respectful.
If you have any questions or comments for Andy, please leave them below.