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Getting to know Stacey Kirkpatrick
Meet Stacey Kirkpatrick. Currently the Functions and Venue Manager at Aerial UTS Function Centre, Stacey has some absolutely fabulous, grounding advice to all of us working in the Events Industry… Perhaps this is because she started her career in HR, is a caring animal lover and eats carbs. Or maybe not. Join us as we get to know another wonderful Event Pro, Stacey Kirkpatrick…
Give us a snap shot of your career to date
I have worked in the events industry since 2012 coming over from a HR background. Having always worked primarily in the higher education sector, a senior manager at the time had suggested to me that my personality was suited to the events industry and I moved over into a totally new career as a result, after 10 years working in HR.
I worked in the venues and events team for 3 years before taking a break and challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone and apply for a management role. I have been at Aerial Function Centre for 2.5 years now and it’s been a rollercoaster!
What is the most memorable event you have worked on and why?
Probably two come to mind. I used to work a lot of community events at the University, one in particular was a Dance School that focused enriching the lives of children and adults with intellectual or physical disabilities through dance and music in a safe, fun and caring environment. Working on their final concert for 3 years was such a humbling experience as it reminded me what pure enjoyment and joy at an event can look like.
The other event was a meet and greet weekend with Benedict Cumberbatch – numbers blew out, people were trying to sneak in all over the place and it was managing 2000 of Benedict’s fans over a weekend. This was a challenge in finding a new venue for them to accommodate the increase of attendees, managing security protocols, traffic flow and risk management – and that was just a starting point!
What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?
Acceptance. To accept that you won’t always get it right, that you are good at what you do, that you do know what you are talking about and that you can learn from mistakes; not be defined by them.
In such a fast paced and pressured industry, it can take a toll on you when you want to make everything perfect for the client. Accepting that you are human and that certain challenges may slip you up can only make you stronger when you learn to get up and give it another go.
What are three personality traits that you think are required to succeed in the events industry?
Patience, sense of humour, humility.
If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?
Learn from the ground up. To fully acknowledge and recognise what goes into planning an event and the various roles and effort that goes into putting it all together, it is so valuable to learn as many components as possible rather than walking in thinking you know everything – because you never do.
What song always gets you on the dance floor?
A good bit of Kylie Minogue tends to get my dancing boots tapping.
Favourite type of food?
Give me anything Italian – carb loading all the way!
How would your friends describe your job?
Describe yourself in two words?
Loud and funny.
How do you unwind after a big event?
I play with my border collie Gryff.
Right now its mezza train – Lebanese food on a sushi train…brilliant!
When entertaining at home what do you cook?
I do a mean lasagne.
Favourite party theme?
Alice in Wonderland.
It’s event day – heels or flats?
Flats for the prep work, heels for the main event, and then most likely end up back in flats, because they are torture devices at the best of times.
Who would you love to invite to dinner (past or present)?
What is the craziest request you have ever had when planning an event?
Can we land a helicopter on the top of your venue?
If you weren’t working in events what would you do?
I’d be running a wombat sanctuary.