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Getting to know Rebecca Harris
Meet Rebecca Harris. Currently the Venue Hire Coordinator at Sydney Living Museums she works in beautiful historic houses and museums such as Museum of Sydney, Justice and Police Museum, The Mint and Vaucluse House. She uses these spaces plus other museums and art galleries as inspiration for the amazing events she creates – even managing to get in the occasional exhibition viewing in her lunch break! Rebecca loves a good floral display for event styling and when the going gets tough you will find her rolling up her sleeves to pitch in and help people out. Join us as we get to know another event pro, Rebecca Harris…
Give us a snap shot of your career to date.
As part of my university degree I was offered an internship at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (SCEC) which allowed me to experience all areas of running a large scale venue from event management, to financials, and even some time in the kitchen!
After working at the convention centre for three years I was ready to travel, and I moved to live and work in London. I spent two years managing events for three restaurants, until the cold got the better of me, and I decided to move back to Sydney.
I was lucky enough to come home to Sydney and start working at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre as an Event Manager, before moving over to ATP, and then to Sydney Living Museums –where I get to work across twelve amazing heritage sites.
The most memorable event you have worked on and why?
One of my most memorable events has been this year at The Mint for Giorgio Armani and the launch of Si Passione, their new fragrance. Brand Ambassador Cate Blanchett was the guest of honour, and despite some very torrential rain throughout the day, the venue was transformed into a sea of red including a particularly amazing floral display with hundreds of red roses.
What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?
Attention to detail is key – you need to double check everything. When I first started out in the events industry I was coordinating an event for 500 delegates. About 30 minutes before lunch service I realised I had ordered sandwiches for 50 guests and not 500 guests. At that moment I had staff from all over the organisation rush down to the kitchen donning hair nets, busily preparing 450 sandwiches in the space of 30 minutes. Luckily the client was none the wiser and it all came together! However I learnt a very valuable lesson in double checking every element of my events.
What are three personality traits that are required to succeed in the events industry?
Professionalism, being personable, and last but not least, you need to be a problem solver – issues arise and mistakes happen, but you need to be able to come up with a solution.
If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?
It is a wonderful industry to be a part of but it is hard work. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
How do you unwind after a big event?
Yoga or a glass of wine – or both!
Words to live by?
Seize every opportunity.
Where do you go for creative inspiration?
Museums and Art Galleries – it’s always great for us to be able to pop into one of our museums or historic houses and have a chat to the curators and staff, there are always great stories to share with our clients. Being based in the city at The Mint, also means we can pop into art galleries in our lunch break or after work if we want to!
Buffalo Dining Club in Darlinghurst. Amazing Italian sharing style food, delicious wine and lovely service.
What do you prefer, cocktail party or sit-down dinner?
An intimate sit down dinner in a unique location always has a great impact.
What is your ideal holiday destination?
Italy – the food, the landscape, the culture. I love it!!
What’s your drink of choice at an event?
Rose in summer – red wine in winter
It’s event day – heels or flats?
Flats – I spend so much time running between different heritage properties, comfort is very important.
Best event styling tip?
Always allow room in your budget for florals. They can completely transform a space and if done correctly they can have a huge impact.
What is the craziest request you have ever had when planning an event?
I once had a request from a groom to have a horse deliver a rose in his mouth, to a bride during their wedding reception.
Why do you love your job?
Looking after 12 properties across Sydney every day is so varied. One day I will be coordinating a fashion shoot at Vaucluse House, and the next day entertaining 500 people at the Museum of Sydney. However what I love the most is that the revenue generated from an event at one of our heritage properties goes back into the sites, maintaining and preserving them for future generations to come.
If you weren’t working in events what would you do?
I would probably be a nurse. I thrive in a high pressure environment and enjoy being able to help people.