Bringing Unique Backgrounds to Event Planning at Freemind Seattle
Freemind Seattle is a leader in event planning and marketing. They successfully manage large trade shows and significant corporate functions for leading businesses. We interviewed two members of the Freemind Seattle team to learn about their experience and to discover what makes them and the organization so successful.
Jessica Tate is the project manager for events, while Quincy Henry is the marketing director. Tate and Henry each came into the industry from a different direction, and their diverse experiences provide unique insights into the role of a planner.
Tate grew up in Redmond, Washington, and her path to becoming a planner was relatively straight forward. She majored in Recreation & Tourism Management with a minor in Event Planning at Central Washington University. “I served an internship in event planning with a local non-profit organization, and I loved it. It was what I was trained for,” she says. That foundation led to assignments managing special events and gatherings for other organizations. She has organized everything from intimate networking events to large festivals.
Henry’s background, on the other hand, is as a musician. “While touring as a musician, I began to get involved in the production of shows. I worked on community events and festivals,” he says. When he decided to leave the touring life and settle down, Henry found that his experience was a good fit for Freemind Seattle. “If you have managed one type of event, you can do all the others, the skills are transferrable,” he says.
Tate explains that she loves the variety of the job. “The diversity of job, from working in the office at times to heading out to the venue at other times, keeps it interesting. There is something new every day. You may be going in one direction one day and a different direction the next day,” she says. Henry agrees and also says he loves connecting to the audience. “I enjoy creating an event that creates a positive reaction in people,” he says.
Tate explains that attention to details is an important quality for a planner to have. She feels that it is one of the qualities that has made her successful. “At the same time, planners have to keep in mind the big picture and how all the pieces go together. You have to remain calm and avoid becoming overwhelmed,” she says. Quincy explains that, “Always keeping the audience (or attendees) at the top of your mind is important. Successful planners should occasionally shift their attention from the behind the scenes work to asking what the attendees are experiencing.”
Both Tate and Henry say that successful planners must learn to delegate tasks. “Early on, I had to handle all the details and that was very hard. I have learned that you have to hire good people and then trust them to do the job,” says Henry. You have to follow up on the tasks to ensure they are done, but you also need to trust the staff to do their job. Doing this serves to reduce the stress that comes with planning and managing an event, and it makes the planner more efficient.
Planning and managing every type of event from a small workshop to a trade show with 20,000 attendees, is the norm at Freemind Seattle. “You have to love working with people in this industry,” explains Henry.
In addition to planning and executing events, Freemind Seattle works with planners on a variety of event management aspects. They can help planners develop a messaging strategy or provide support wherever a planner feels that he or she needs help in a particular aspect of an event. The staff prides themselves on helping groups, especially small businesses and artists, develop a marketing and messaging campaign. Whether it is helping design a creative website or developing a full-blown marketing campaign, Tate and Quincy are confident that Freemind Seattle can handle the job.
Jessica Tate and Quincy Henry