What does a day in the life of Event Pro Kirsty Esson look like? The Event Manager – NSW at Merlin Entertainments loves her job and it is easy to see why, with access to koalas, Chris Hemsworth and turtles on a daily basis. Kirsty spends her days in Darling Harbour walking through three of Sydney’s most loved attractions and transforming these spaces into elegant functions.
7.30 am | I Don’t Want To Wake Up
I am not a morning person, I will generally spend a little too long snuggled in bed after the alarm wakes me before I decide I am ready to face the day. I will often allow myself an extra 10 mins with the excuse that I need to check the Merlin Events insta, so any posts between 7.30-8am are generally made from the comfort of my bed… shhhhh.
9.00 am | Koala-ty Start To The Day
I may not be a morning person, but I do LOVE koalas, so the first stop is always coffee, and I am lucky enough that my office is a short 30-second walk to WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo’s Koala Rooftop. Almost 6 years of working here and I still find an excuse to snap another selfie most days! Coffee time also doubles as a great time to check in with the team, chat through anything from the day before and make sure we’re all starting the day on the same page.
After coffee, a normal day will always start with some quiet time in the office to get on top of any outstanding emails, and to make a plan for the day. As I’m sure anyone in the event industry can relate to, there are always a million things to be done, so it is all about ensuring I stay on top of the day’s priority list and deadlines.
11.00 am | Getting My Steps Up
Our venues are different and unique, so for most potential clients, a venue tour is a must. Our office is based within our Darling Harbour Attractions and more often than not clients will visit all 3 locations. This means a venue tour will often be upwards of 4000 steps!
This is one of my favourite elements of my job. Our venues are visitor attractions by day, which people would usually pay to visit, so a venue tour may take an hour or 2 as clients will always want to stop for selfies with the figures in Madame Tussauds, or spend a little longer marvelling at Myrtle the Turtle in SEA LIFE Sydney. Often I will find an excuse to hold one of our Pythons if the keepers at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo are out offering encounters – I think Oliver the Olive Python is my fav!
1.00 pm | What’s For Lunch?
What’s for lunch? Something I will ask the rest of the team at least 5 times from 10 am onwards. I can get hangry, so if 1 pm hits and I haven’t been for lunch then watch out!
What better place to take a lunch break than Barangaroo, a quick 5 min stroll from the office along the water’s edge. This area is a hub of amazing places to eat and I absolutely love the variety on offer but I often find myself getting the same few things on repeat each week – A creature of habit.
2.00 pm | The Calm Before The Storm
Back at my desk, which is surrounded in everything I love, the afternoon is for checking in with the operations team, fitting in those all-important meetings, making and executing marketing plans, ticking tasks off the to-do list and keeping on top of the inbox.
P.S. We spy a little gold birdie… Christmas gift 2018!
4.00 pm | Behind The Scenes
With 4 venues in Sydney, it’s rare that we have an evening without at least 1 event taking place. Therefore 4 pm is when the crazy starts. At this time the event staff are on-site preparing back of house as hundreds of general public continue to enjoy the attractions. As soon as the venues close we are inside setting up. Our team are amazing and the transformation from busy family attraction to elegant corporate event is incredible to watch.
6.00 pm | Let’s Get The Party Started
It’s time to welcome our clients. Myself and the sales team will take each client on a quick tour of the now transformed venue and introduce them to one of our phenomenal event supervisors who will take it from there… Then I am supposed to go home, and leave the team to deliver on an amazing event. But… like many in this industry, I have trouble letting go. I just LOVE to watch the event come together and the guests having a great time, so don’t be surprised if you find me still here well after the event has started.
Any Time After Dark | My Favourite Obsession
If I have stayed until the sun is down, then I have one last ritual before I go home. It is no secret that I do have a favourite at work, his name is Rocky, and he is a 4.2m Saltwater Crocodile. To say I’m obsessed with him is an understatement.
So right before I head home for the night you will usually find me with my face pressed against the glass of Rocky’s dark exhibit telling him how cute he is.