The 12th Floor: Meet Stacey from the Toronto Office
Our second post in the series features Event Coordinator Stacey Wickens. Hello, Stacey!
Spencer Gordon: What’s your role here at the Agency? And how do you describe your job to others?
Stacey Wickens: I’m an event coordinator at Lavin, also known as an EC. I handle the logistical components of keynote speaking events.
SG: What’s your favourite part about the job?
SW: I work with some of the world’s most impressive people on a daily basis.
SG: What’s the most challenging part about your job?
SW: Working gracefully under pressure. And bad weather!
SG: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you come to work here? What were you doing before?
SW: I came from the PR/communications world. After a stint with the communications team at TIFF during the Festival, I worked at a boutique agency uptown that specialized in PR, events, marketing, and corporate gifting (that’s a thing). I wanted pursue the events side, so thought Lavin would be a great fit. I got my foot in the door through another EC who was a friend of a friend, and the rest is history!
SG: What is the best, or what were some of the best, keynotes you’ve seen?
SW: Candy Chang is one of my favourites. She speaks from the heart and can really captivate an audience.
Angela Duckworth is also great—she gives a passionate talk, and her GRIT research is important now and will be for generations to come.
SG: What are some of your favourite books/projects authored by Lavin speakers?
SW: Candy Chang and her Before I Die project—I love that such a simple idea transcended cultures and continents.
SG: Do any of our speakers speak on topics close to your interests, passions, and commitments in particular?
SW: Nina Tandon’s topics do, for sure. She does this mind-blowing work growing human tissue in her lab, with so many real-world applications, and she finds a way to explain it to an audience in a simple, interesting way. I studied Kinesiology in university, so when it comes to the capabilities of the human body, I’m intrigued.
SG: Any highlights of your time here that you’d like to share?
SW: It’s always great to host events in the office and mingle with speakers and clients!
SG: What are the most common questions you’re asked about being an Event Coordinator?
SW: “What do you do?” People think we’re on-site at events, but really, all the work we do is behind the scenes.
SG: How do you ensure that a speaker makes it to an event, and gets home safe, without problems?
SW: You plan for contingency on top of contingency, and then cross your fingers.
SG: If there are unavoidable problems with travel, how do you solve them?
SW: If possible, we book travel so there’s a back-up flight available, just in case. If there is an issue with a delay or a flight cancellation, ideally the speaker will get on the next flight. That said, sometimes back-ups aren’t possible, or they’ve been cancelled as well. We’d then look at surrounding airports and see if a different arrival or departure airport might work, though it could mean a lengthy car ride for the speaker. Essentially, we do everything we can to get a speaker to their event, while keeping them as calm and comfortable as possible.
SG: How do you arrange hotel accommodations and special requests?
SW: Sponsors usually handle hotel arrangements. We let them know any special requirements, and they book and pre-pay for them.
SG: What are some great lessons you’ve learned through securing so many arrangements?
SW: It’s all in the details! Attention to detail, attention to detail, attention to detail. I can’t say it enough. The smallest inaccuracy can make a huge difference in how the event will play out.
SG: If you could describe a perfectly arranged event, it would be …
SW: There are so many variables, but ultimately these are the big things for me:
1. Schedule is confirmed from the onset and doesn’t change.
2. There are direct flights with back-ups to get a speaker to and from the event in a timely manner.
3. There are no flight or traffic delays.
4. The speaker gets a standing ovation!
And that’s it for our second 12th Floor conversation! To start your search for the perfect keynote speaker for your event, get to know us through our FAQ section, search our roster by idea, topic, or industry, or scan through our newest, most exciting keynote speakers.