Alex Plaxen is the Director of Marketing at EventRebels. Even though Alex has been working in events since a young age, he didn’t immediately know that was the path he wanted to take. He studied at the Academy of Art University and entered the film industry. However, he soon realized that that wasn’t the path for him. “I always liked working in hospitality and with other people. Creating experiences from nothing always appealed to me from a design aspect.”
After leaving the film industry, Alex started waiting tables, but knew that’s not where he wanted to stay. He enrolled in the George Washington University Event and Meeting Management program, graduating in May 2014. There were some odd jobs here and there, but Alex got really involved in volunteering for PMPI and PCMA. It was the owner of EventRebels that saw his work on a marketing committee that landed Alex the job he has now!
Before Alex, the position he has at EventRebels didn’t exist, it was created for him! “My boss liked what I could do, so here I am!” Alex has a background in planning events and conferences, but now he gets to bring that to the marketing side – offering a different perspective than most. A major component of the position is staying active on social media. Alex tweets non-stop and runs a blog, where different things about the industry are posted. “It gives our readers access to things they may not be aware of.” Additionally, Alex utilizes his network and attends industry events in order to build brand recognition and expand their network amongst event professionals. Staying active in PMPI, PCMA and the like also top the list of priorities!
What’s better than getting paid to do what you love?! A key component to marketing is networking! Alex gets to attend conferences and trade shows in order to interact with his peers and he couldn’t be happier. Well, maybe if you took budgeting out of the equation. “It’s hard, because you have all of these ideas, but sometimes you don’t have the means to do them all. You have to weigh the pros and cons to determine where your money will be best spent.”
Now, if you are or have ever worked with a millennial, you know they think they can do everything! Alex admits he was no exception. After taking on more responsibility then he could handle and having the outcome turn out poorly, he learned his lesson! “You have to recognize what your strengths are and surround yourself with a team to fill in the gaps. Know when to ask for help!” Saying no or asking for help doesn’t mean you’ve failed. “Learning to say NO is one of the most valuable things you can learn!”
Similarly, millennials also like to think they know it all and have seen it all. “I’m the type of person who thinks it can be done better.” Sometimes you don’t know everything involved and you’re wrong or it can’t be done. But, “when you are really passionate about something, you want to go for it! Believe that it will work out!” That’s exactly what Alex did when he approached PCMA about lowering the student rate. “I went for it and it changed! Yes, sometimes it won’t work out, but sometimes it does. You have to take the risk if you want the reward.”
When it comes to being active in the industry, Alex owes his job to it! “Volunteering is invaluable.” It allows you to make close industry contacts and show people what you’re capable of. It is especially important for students. But, “when you [students] attend an event, don’t hang out with other students! You’re not making yourself stand out that way and no one is going to notice you. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!” Do some research ahead of time, know who’s going to be there and who you want to meet and go meet them! In addition, make business cards. They are inexpensive and will help you stand out and be remembered.
Alex’s final words are: “Be Uncomfortable! Be prepared!”