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Getting to know George Viljoen
Meet George Viljoen. Currently the Events Coordinator at Museum of Contemporary Art, George’s secret weapon is hir positive attitude – ze uses it to deal with the unexpected – something that comes up a lot in events. George never worries about things ze can’t change and takes inspiration for events from Australia’s many beautiful beaches. So, join us as we get to know this week’s Event Professional, George Viljoen…
Give us a snap shot of your career to date.
I have 12+ years of initiating and delivering events across a wide range of industries including finance software, digital marketing, advertising technology and government. Major experience lies in pre-event planning and leading cross-functional teams to bring about a seamless event and improvement in process and sales – as an events coordinator.
The most memorable event you have worked on and why?
It’s a hard question as there have been so many over the years. In 2019, the most memorable event was a three-day conference with a gala dinner for a large international tech company attended by their global team. The MCA Venues team and I were able to witness ground-breaking technology being used within the industry firsthand, and it will be fascinating to see how these advances will impact the conference and events industry.
What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?
Only focus on the things in your power to change and roll with the elements out of your control like the weather…
What are three personality traits that are required to succeed in the events industry?
Being a people person
If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?
Maintain a positive attitude, it makes it easier to deal with the unexpected – which happens frequently in event planning!
What song always gets you on the dance floor?
Special Star by Mango Groove
What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
Move to Australia from South Africa without knowing anyone or having been to Australia before.
What superpower would you choose and why?
To fly, so you could go anywhere in the world at any time
What can you not live without in your life?
Family and friends
Words to live by?
Only worry about the things you can change
Where do you go for creative inspiration?
Anywhere in nature but if I have to choose one place it would have to be the beach
Die Strandloper in Leentjiesklip South Africa
(Event Birdie edit: We think this is amazing – check out their video below)
When entertaining at home what do you cook?
Best event you’ve been to as a guest?
A mate’s wedding that was a weekend away at a safari lodge in KwaZulu Natal complete with traditional Zulu dancers in a dried-up riverbed and elephant encounters.
What do you prefer, cocktail party or sit-down dinner?
Sit down dinner
What’s your drink of choice at an event?
Any local Australian gin with soda
Best event styling tip?
Choose a theme that falls within your event budget
What is the craziest request you have ever had when planning an event?
To organise the location for a snake to ‘go to the bathroom’ during an event
Why do you love your job?
Because it’s different every day