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It’s All Who You Know

Rachel Crick recently spoke with Chloe Odell about breaking into the meetings and events industry and how to build your connections as a young professional.

Chloe Odell is the director of branding and events at Wicked Apple Media. A 2022 graduate of the University of North Texas, Chloe Odell is a member of the Texas Alliance of Convention, Meeting and Event Operation Managers (TxACOM), an event industry organization in North Texas. She spoke with Small Market Meetings about the importance of young meeting professionals building trusted networks.

Chloe Odell

Q: What is the importance of being well-connected in the meetings and events industry?

A: Having connections within the event world can more or less make or break you. Connections are vital because for a lot of things in the industry, you always know someone or need to know someone. If you have a client that needs something for an event, such as a 360-photo booth, or if I need specific trays for catering, specific tablecloths, etc., always having those connections can help you.

Q: Do you think emerging professionals face any specific obstacles on this front?

A: I would say yes and no. No, because just being immersed there’s a lot of opportunity to make connections. There’s a lot of organizations that make a good platform for event managers to get involved with one another and make those connections. But the world has changed a lot in general. I would say yes because you’re entering a new space. There was a past way of doing things, and now it’s maneuvering a new system for yourself as a young event planner.

Q: What makes someone a good connection to have? How do you choose which people to network with?

A: It has to do with the specifics of the events you’re having. I feel that good connections would be very specific to the needs of your client or event. I don’t do wedding planning, so it wouldn’t be in my best interest to have a lot of connections with wedding planners. We do a lot of video and audio, so it’s huge for us to have connections in that. It’s knowing your niche, what you need and the needs of planning your event and reaching out based on that, from florists to lighting to linens.

Q: How do you find a mentor?

A: When I look for those connections, I really look for people who are excited to see the industry grow, and with that, it goes based on generation. I am in the younger generation of event planners, and I have something to learn from the generations before me. I look for people with a lot of experience and knowledge. I can ask them questions, or they can guide me or let me know if I should do things a different way. I can be open and get an honest opinion from them.

Q: What advice would you give to other young professionals in the meetings and events industry who are trying to grow their networks?

A: My advice is to talk to as many people as you can; meet as many people as you can; join organizations and put yourself out there. Home in on those connections and what will push you further. Mentorship is highly important, and I highly suggest looking for a mentor and absorbing as much as you can. Before, when I wasn’t as involved with the event industry and organizations, I found it a lot more difficult to pull the rabbit out of the hat. Meeting people and learning from their experiences, asking questions, talking services, exchanging services has made all the difference.