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Getting to know Steve Kourasanis
Meet Steve Kourasanis. Currently the Business Development Executive at Melbourne and Olympic Parks, Steve has had quite the career path before landing a job in events. He spends his spare time dreaming of a rookie spot in the AFL and knows the importance of fancy dress events. Join us as we meet another (hilarious) event pro, Steve Kourasanis…
Give us a snap shot of your career to date
After completing high school, I left home in country South Australia and joined the Australian Army spending 4 years in uniform in the Adelaide Hills and in Western Sydney. Returning to Adelaide at 22 years of age in late 2007 I started my civilian career in AGL Energy’s commercial team as a Corporate Sales Account Manager supporting a BDM while undertaking sales training.
There was then an opportunity to join the Melbourne Football Club sales team in early 2012 on a seven-month contract so being the football tragic I am I quit my job, packed up the car and travelled to Melbourne. Thankfully seven months turned into four seasons in the AFL industry before I joined the Melbourne & Olympic Parks team in late 2015 where I remain today. It’s quite a diverse background with a lot of lessons learned along the way!
What is the most memorable event you have worked on and why?
Working with Suzuki to launch the new Suzuki Swift in June 2017. Suzuki were after a unique venue and Margaret Court Arena proved to be the ideal setting. With vehicles lined up in Garden Square on entry, guests made their way into the arena for an official welcome before taking the vehicles for a test drive around the precinct followed by a banquet dinner on the arena floor. Being my first arena event, it was exciting to see how this key Australian Open venue can be completely transformed for a private dinner. A true team effort! Check out the launch video…
What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?
Always make sure there’s room for catering and never assume things will just happen.
What are three personality traits that you think are required to succeed in the events industry?
Enthusiasm, Optimism and Attention to Detail
If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?
Always keep a level head regardless of the situation and be willing to listen and learn from industry veterans – there’s a lot of knowledge out there and you’ll get a lot of opportunities to soak it up.
What song always gets you on the dance floor?
Rocks by Primal Scream or anything by David Bowie
If you could plan an event anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
An intimate dinner on the floor of New York’s Madison Square Garden during basketball season. It’s an iconic venue and I was lucky enough to walk through it with their sales team in 2015. It’s one thing to be in a packed stadium on an event day but being in the middle of a completely empty arena is quite special as well.
Favourite type of food?
Anything I don’t have to cook myself.
Describe yourself in two words?
Passionate and Hilarious (If you ask me anyway…)
I think it’s impossible to have just one favourite restaurant here in Melbourne, but if you take me to Mr Miyagi and put a couple of salmon tacos in front of me I’m sold.
What do you prefer, cocktail party or sit-down dinner?
Definitely Cocktail. From a venue perspective it’s great to be able to showcase a wider range of food and as a guest it’s much easier to get around to more people, always a better vibe!
What is your ideal holiday destination?
Berlin. I love the mix of old and new and there’s a dark arts and music scene which I really loved exploring. I swore I’d move there when I visited in 2011.
What’s your drink of choice at an event?
If you’re serving an Old Fashioned I’m happy, but a Melbourne Bitter will always do the job as well.
Favourite party theme?
Anything leftfield. I love the idea of being able to get guests out of the suit and tie or formal dress and buying into a fun theme. We’ve run corporate events with a sporting dress code at Melbourne Park and guests love the novelty of it.
Who would you love to invite to dinner (past or present)?
Paul McCartney. I’m a massive Beatles fan and he put on an amazing show at AAMI Park in late 2017. I’m sure he would bring a nice bottle of wine over.
Why do you love your job?
I love the diversity of my client base and the range of events we get to work on across our precinct. No two events are the same. Above all else it’s about the people you get to meet on the journey and forming friendships that aren’t just based on business.
If you weren’t working in events what would you do?
I still hold out hope of getting a rookie spot in the AFL, but at 32 years of age I’m slowly starting to realise that might not happen…