Why Building Connections is the First Step to Launching Your Career

Why Building Connections is the First Step to Launching Your Career
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Episode description

We spend a lot of time thinking about where we are in our careers, but sometimes it's good to take a step back and reflect on how we got here. We can use the knowledge we’ve gained through our experiences to lend a helping hand to the next generation and help them find their way to a successful future. For those searching for a place to begin their careers, reaching out to role models in your field can be a great way to get your foot in the door.

In this episode, Kate Levenstien, CEO & Founder of Cannonball Productions shares her story of what it’s like to start a business from the ground up. She describes the importance of building intergenerational relationships and how they can help both parties gain a better understanding of how to run a successful business. She also dives into the world of internship programs and explains how networking is the first step to setting yourself up for future success.

Show notes

  • The importance of shaking off imposter syndrome
  • How dividing your team into structured groups can improve overall productivity
  • Why exploring new experience can open pathways to new opportunities

Things to listen for:

[01:26] Starting Cannonball Productions
[05:32] How we can learn from intergenerational relationships
[10:33] Kate’s favorite event planning stories
[17:17] How to structure your team to increase overall productivity
[20:27] The impact of internship programs
[24:22] How Kate learned from her parents
[29:55] Networking and shaking off imposter syndrome

Meet your host

Paulina Giusti, Senior Manager, Meetings & Events, Cvent

Meet your guest speakers

Kate Levenstien, CEO & Founder, Cannonball Productions

Episode Transcript

Great events create great brands, and it takes a village to put on an event that engages, excites and connects audiences to your brand. And we're that village. I'm 

Alyssa. I'm Paulina. And I'm Rachel. And you're listening to great events, the podcast for all people interested in events and marketing.

Paulina: Hello everyone. What is going on in the wide, wide world of events? My name is Paulina. Welcome to this week's episode of Great Events. This week we're going to get personal. We're going to talk about career conversations, and obviously contextualizing the conversation around the meetings and events industry. We want to talk to all of you who are at different points in your life. Maybe you're brand new in the industry, maybe you're having, you know, your 30 year old crisis and you're like, do I really want to keep doing events? Is there a different type of event or audience I want to cater to? Or maybe, you've retired and you want to have a passion project and events excite you.

We want to have a conversation around all of the different types of events. And we have an amazing guest today, Kate Levenstien. She's going to be joining us and talking to us all about her unique experience in the meetings and events world, how she's had to pivot and she's made some really creative decisions and worked with a variety of stakeholders, if you will, or peers.

And it's just going to be a fun conversation. So, Kate, I'd love for you to introduce yourself to our listeners. Tell us a little bit about how, you know, you got into the meetings and events industry. Was it a unique experience? I'm sure it was, but yeah, just tell us all about how you got started. 

Kate: Sure. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, I think everybody's intro into events is unique. So I started Cannonball 10 years ago and I was 26 and it was really at a crossroads in my life where I had been let go from an event production company called Living Social. They're actually a daily deal site that had acquired an event company. So I was there running large scale events for about two and a half years, and I loved it. It kind of fell into my lap. It was a little bit more sales oriented than I had anticipated, but I really just found my passion there. And there aren't many opportunities like that that exist. And so, when that happened, when I got let go, which I know so many people are experiencing right now, like layoffs are definitely happening, especially in our industry, in the food and bev space, everywhere, tech space, and it can be really devastating. I had no idea it was happening and no idea what was coming. And I was having nightmares that I was riding a bike and my tires would blow out or I'd fly off the handlebars, like constant nightmares over and over, and I was really upset. So I tried to look for something similar and there really wasn't much out there.

And I was talking to my parents. My mom was an entrepreneur my whole life and my dad was a lawyer and they both said they were retired, like living their best lives. My mom's a yoga instructor and they were like, come out, we'll come out of retirement and you have this idea and you know, it was already green lit by Living Social, but they're not going to do it. So why don't we just do it? We all run with it. So I bootstrapped the whole thing. I didn't take any outside investment other than my parents' time, initially in my time and I started Cannonball. So that is how I got started in the event space. Prior to Living Social, I was working at the Oprah Winfrey Show on her booking and PR team, which is a whole other, you know, career and life in Chicago. But it really, I guess it led me to Living Social. So there are a lot of different ways that you can get into events that’s for sure.

Paulina:  I love it. And you know, I'm sure so many of us, especially just being an event professional, we have those sort of doomsday dreams, the night before an event, let alone how it relates to our career. Right. So, I kind of want to ask a quick question. So Cannonball Productions? Is there something about jumping two feet in? What is the sort of creativity behind the name? I’ve got to know.

Kate: Totally. That is the whole idea. It was like, jump in, make a splash. For the longest time in the beginning, I remember we were like, is it the cannonball or is it like a human cannon ball?

Like making an impact of like a cannon ball? And it really didn't matter either way. We spun it. But I remember that being a hold up in the beginning of like the design and the logo. But that was the intention. And I think at the time too, being 26, and I was really fearless. I was like naive and fearless. But I think that, it didn't hold me back from making some decisions that I think led us to having a successful 10 year run. And yeah, that was the whole idea, but it was really from an event, from like a consumer or an attendee standpoint. Like, just jump in, try something new, make a splash.

Paulina: I love it. Yeah. What a great, I mean, the imagery, the title, it all just kind of works, especially, you know, in the events world. So I love, love, love that. Kind of want to kind of chat through, so you mentioned, you know, your parents jumped in to help you with the idea. Talk us through what it's like, one, working with your parents and two, you know, navigating, all of us are sort of navigating, I don't want to call it balance because that doesn't exist, but it's really, you know, navigating relationships. Right. You know, there's so many of us who become best friends while on the job or working with significant others. You working with parents like, that's pretty special. 

Kate: It is. Yeah. I feel really, really lucky. I have a great relationship with my parents. I had a great relationship prior to starting Cannonball with them especially, but there were definitely moments where it wasn't great. We could write a book about it, but I feel so fortunate to have had their guidance and their ideas, and I still, I mean, this morning I called up my dad with like a legal question what do I do about this? And so, they're there and I feel so fortunate to have them. They were like my board of advisors basically. But at the same time, was I frustrated with their technology understanding and skills? Yes. Was I under, like, I remember when we first started, my mom was like, I can do sales and HR. And first of all, it was very strange to have employees going to my mom to complain about me or something that was happening at the company or having like, you know, issues with something, it's like, am I really going to tell your mom that? So that was first. And then, she didn't know, she was like down to do anything from a sales or partnership standpoint, but she didn't even know what a festival was or what sponsorship was. So she and I were going to festivals together, like just to scout them out so she could understand what an event looked like. And so that was really funny. 

But I will say generationally, she had such a profound impact on our partnerships because her understanding of relationships and how to structure them so that they are in the best interest of the brand and making them a priority. And that's not just a paying sponsor. That's our venue partners. That's our attendees at the end of the day too. Like anybody who was contributing to the success of the event, she always had top of mind. Even if it didn't, my dad was more of like, well, how does this affect the bottom line? He was looking at the finances, but she really always brought that to the forefront, and I think that is something that had a huge impact on our company. So she went after sponsors that I thought would never even pick up the phone. She had ideas on partnering with venues, again that I thought would laugh at us. You know, we were renting out MLB stadiums at the time and some of them weren't as successful. And I said, you know, I really wish we could get in with other stadiums. And she was like, well let's just call the NFL and get them to partner with us. And I was like, good luck. Like sure. And she did, or she got, you know, our bacon sponsor when we were doing Bacon and Beer Classic, and they're still a partner to this day after eight years. So, you know, she really molded that. And also the culture and pillars of our company, which like certain things that I still think about are seeing obstacles as opportunities, which there are so many obstacles as a startup, as a food and beverage production company, as an event company in general, like you're dealing with anything from weather, you know, day of insanity, to like a lot of hurdles that come with all planning and a lot of pivots and shifting that need to happen throughout the life cycle of the event.

So being able to always see it as an opportunity really shaped our team and the people that we hired, and then also the mentality that they had as they were planning. 

Paulina: It's really nice to hear how you just contextualized, you know, Cannonball Productions, right? You've got the idea. We understand the sort of familial, you know, core of, of the brand.

Knowing that you were sort of very young in your career and just hungry and eager and you had the support of people who are pretty tenured and savvy from a business perspective. And it sounds like you were able to attract, you know, some really impressive talent to help really ramp up your programs call it. Right. And I think, you know, just to contextualize for the listeners a little bit more, I mean, when we say you put on festivals, we're talking massive festivals and it's funny to hear like your mom and you go to a festival to like really understand the ins and outs and expectations. I think what would be awesome is if you could give us a summary view or paint a picture for what one of your events looks like and just to really drive home the value and the true massive scope that's all included in it, because it does take a village to put on a small event. And I just think about some of these festivals, talking about stadiums and partnerships with the NFL. These are high stakes experiences. So yeah, just tell us about some of your favorite or the most complex ones. 

Kate: Yeah. We actually had two, our largest two events on the same weekend, and that was wild. We had our Bacon and Beer Classic in Seattle at Safe Cofield and our Bacon and Beer Classic at City Field on the same weekends. So I think we had over 20,000 people eating and drinking at and with our team, which was pretty small still split, you know, we were like pulling each other from coasts, making sure the other team was doing okay hanging in there.

But it was wild. We basically would take over stadiums, pre pandemic especially. This was our model of taking over stadiums, bringing in hundreds of vendors, restaurants and beer partners, and it was called the Bacon and Beer Classic, and we would serve unlimited amounts of food and beverages to attendees. So everything was included in your ticket. You get to walk around. We had tons of games and activities like bobbing for bacon and like a bacon eating contest and obviously the cornholes and all that of the world. But it was really, and then there were all these VIP inclusions, whether it got you into a locker room or the dugouts and the warning track and having like oysters and specialty foods and beverages or tours of the stadium. As you're like sipping on really cool local IPAs. So it was a very unique experience that people really looked forward to in each city year after year. But it definitely, working at the stadiums made it very complicated, whether it was like freight elevators or concessionaire exclusivities, secured security, just the price in general of what it costs to rent out a stadium.

Logistics of like bacon grease, like things that you wouldn't even think about that are really messy and they have a game, you know, in 48 hours that they have to have this place spotless. So I think that's one of the unique things too. I remember going back to a stadium one day after our event and it was like as if it had never happened and it was this like eerie feeling, like I didn't know if I loved the fact that we could come in and come out within 24 hours and like pop up this incredible experience then be done and it looks the exact same or whether I, at that moment I was like, maybe wonder I want to own a space and then be able to activate it and have so many different iterations of different ideas in that one space. But, either way. I'm not doing that right now. But either way, it's a different perspective. You know, I think about venue managers and how different hurdles that they have to, and challenges that they have, but how unique it is that they get to work on different experiences in the same space. And yeah, I think that's definitely one of the biggest events and best events. We used to also rent out zoos and we'd have the baking, we'd have the Lions Tires and Brews Beer Festival at like Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and Central Park Zoo, New York. And this is kind of like right before all this zoos started doing it themselves. But we started that trend a little bit. And then just an interesting note during the pandemic, I'm really proud of how we pivoted, you know, the year of 2020 pivot. But we didn't go virtual because I thought it was going to be really hard to execute a food and beverage experience virtually. And we weren't really set up to be a digital virtual company, and I knew there were going to be a lot of companies that were already ready for that. So we didn't even try and get into that game. But we thought of an idea. It was pretty genius of moving our events to golf courses. So we just launched Seltzer Land, which is our hard seltzer festival, and we knew that golf was opening back up and that they were allowing people to golf. And we were like, okay, what if we set up our event like a golf tournament, but there's no golfing? So people bought tickets in tee times with their pod, with their like Covid crew or squad, and every five, 10 minutes we'd set off a new squad crew and they would walk the golf course. We set up about four or five of the holes and led them back to the clubhouse and then every 20 yards or so, there would be another booth and activation and they would get to like walk along the course and drink and eat in 2020. So our first one was in July. I think we did seven of them in 2020. Wild. It was wild. I remembered thinking like this is either going to blow up in our face and this is like the dumbest, craziest thing, or it's responsible and pretty smart. So it ended up working and what was cool was a lot of the brands that we worked with, moved their activations from like Coachella and South Side that were supposed to be there. They were like, we have these really awesome assets. We'll just bring them to your event instead. So the attendee experience had a cool experience. Then we ended up scaling it in 21 and 22. We were kind of set up for success then. So yeah, so that was, that was the life.

Paulina: I think that's maybe the first pivot story that hasn't required virtual, you know, and it's almost refreshing because it sounds like you hear everyone, they're like, oh, we created, you know, these kits and we sent the kits, and it just sounds like, you know, from an event planner perspective, logistics, logistics, logistics. Yes. It's a unique experience. Yes. Some of them are pretty memorable depending on what they are, but, I haven't heard many pivot stories that are still, yeah. And I just love that you kind of had the tenacity to stick with it. You're like, this is our brand, this is the story we tell, it's in person, but we're going to find a way to do it safe.

So I applaud you for kind of sticking with it. That's awesome. 

Kate: Yeah. We were working with like the health departments of the states, you know, of like Arizona, like the State Health Department of Illinois, Texas and Florida, and we were just going anywhere that we could find a golf course that didn't think we were totally insane. And it really did work. And what was great was like people were dying for connectivity. Like they just wanted to get out of their house. They wanted to have something fun to do. They wanted to, yeah, like leave their kids at home for a few hours after having to homeschool them basically for months.

So it really gave people that outlet and it was so much fun to be back on site. Like even if we had to temperature, check everybody and make them sign waivers, and there were definitely a lot of added steps. Our COVID compliance plan was like inches thick. It was a lot of planning, but it was great in the end, I'm so happy that our team also came back on. I think I had to furlough everybody for like three weeks and then they all came back on and they were like, let's do this. So great. Yeah, I'm really proud of our team for that. 

Paulina: I love to hear it, you know, and you just mentioned your team. Yeah. I think it would be interesting to hear how you all are structured, because to hear that you had your two biggest events on a bicoastal scenario, and this is something I think in, certainly in the corporate world, like in the B2B world structuring teams is really hot right now. It's like, what is the most efficient and effective way to structure your team? And I feel like for you, it would be so interesting to hear how you guys divide and conquer. Is it by role and responsibility? Is it regional? Tell us a little bit about that

Kate: Yeah, so we've done, we had it structured many ways over the 10 years, but what's worked the best is definitely by role and responsibility. So we bucket them into, um we bucket them- our team is structured by having a marketing team, that's focused on all marketing, brand, internal and external marketing, basically. Our partnerships team, which really focuses on our sponsors and then our production team, which focuses on logistics. Something that we, so we're really close with a lot of other ticketed event companies because we're unique in that we cover 25 cities. So we've become close with like the Atlanta ticketing, you know, organizer and the Denver organizer, and something we learned from our Denver organizer partner, not partner, but cohort out there. Not cohort. They are really, really wonderful at leveraging interns. And so we started an internship program, that they shared with us, and each team has a number of interns and it's great experience for the interns, and it's really helpful for us as a team. So we have like a summer intern, a fall, and then a spring intern, at least like probably two on each team.

So very helpful, great experience. But that is how we have it structured. And then I basically oversee anything like legal insurance and then sit on all the teams just helping put out fires. But we're also structured in an inverted triangle, like an inverted pyramid. So I'm at the bottom. I'm basically here for like, the team is at the top and they're the ones that have the touchpoints to all the attendees or brands or media partners, whoever it is. And then they come to me with, needing resources, or needing support. So  we hire really great people that don't need a ton of micromanagement, and I don't micro managers. So I would say hire great people. Let them, give them, you know, enough guidance and training and support and let them run with it.

Paulina: I love that. I'm going to let them in on a secret. So when we were just catching up yesterday, you had mentioned, you know, if you hadn't gotten into events, you, and I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I think you said HR or career counseling really appealed to you. And I mean, just hearing how you've structured your team that echoes that same sentiment. Tell me a little bit about that, because I feel like that's important. I mean, you're obviously giving back by hiring and having interns. There's this generational play, this sort of give back to the experience in setting next generations up for success in this industry.

Kate: Yeah, we've actually ended up hiring a lot of our interns too. We've been so lucky that they've, you know, come back after college or been graduating and we can bring them on.

And most of our team members were on for about, like during the cycle of their, of their career. We're on for about four years. That's about our retention rate. So it is like a family, like I think my motto from a management standpoint is always like to manage as if I were an employee there. Like how would I want holiday off? Yes. Would I want to take off on Friday? Yeah. Would I want to be able to have a hybrid or remote work schedule? Yes. So sometimes we'll have people on the team and they were originally marketing intern. They're like, I'm actually really interested in the production side of things. Like we'll find a role that they're either a hybrid or they can sit on the production team exclusively, if it's the right person. And I'm a really big believer in like, a lot of the skills are similar, so if they're quick learners and they're passionate about what they're doing, they're going to figure it out and they're going to do it well. And so, yeah I'm a big believer in taking coffee calls and, and trying to just provide some insight or advice for people who are looking at what to do next or what they want to do when they graduate, because it is overwhelming. I remember thinking like, I could work anywhere in the world. Where do I want to when I graduate it? Like, where do I want to work? What do I want to do? And I think having internships is really helpful for identifying, not even if it's just the work that you're liking, but the size of the team or the structure of the team, or what kind of management you work best, you know, management styles. And so I, I'm just a really big believer in internships and so to be able to provide that now to other people who are thinking about what they're going to do is just exciting and, and fun for me. 

Paulina: I love that we have, I mean, we also at Cvent do a pretty extensive internship program and it's just really validating. I mean, is there any better feeling than having an intern success story and having them be a team member? Like I just, it's so validating for the employee or the intern. It's validating for, call it the boss. I feel like, you know, you have these full circle moments in your career and I feel like it's nice to kind of take stock of them, every 10 years or every couple of years to say like, okay, I'm giving back to the industry.

I'm setting the team and the next generation up for success by these full circle moments. I feel like I kind of want to bring it back to Bob and Donna who are your parents, because you just, I feel like it's really rare these days to be able to say, yeah, my parents and I work together, like we bootstrapped this company, this idea, and you know, it's a national success.

You guys are absolutely killing it out there. I know you're, you're literally on site before a massive event and we have to just let everyone in on what you're doing in a sec, but, you talked about sort of, you know, hiring interns, organizing your team, this inverted pyramid structure. I think, what are some of the biggest learnings, and you touched on it a little earlier, but what are some of the biggest learnings working with your parents that you've learned from them? A different generation, people who, like you mentioned, weren't as tech savvy, but still hungry for the business success. And I think how is it applicable to people maybe in their career listening right now who are a traditional meeting and event planner and you know, maybe they're looking to retire, but events are their passion. Taking that context into mind. What are some of the biggest learnings you, you learned from working with your parents?

Kate: Yeah, I think just being open to new experiences was a big one, right? Like, they both just jumped in and said, sure, we'll figure this out and do it. And it really did keep them young.

Like my mom had more steps on site than any of us because she wouldn't sit down until everybody was out of the building. So I think that was, a big one. Like she really instilled like hard work ethic and, but making it really fun. Like she'd also be the one with the bottle of tequila in the parking lot, like she was driving woo girl doing a shot to celebrate that we finished.

So I think having really good spirits, no pun intended, but having good, and you know, we did a reciprocal like training. We would call them lunch and learn, but my parents, my dad specifically would host like, different lunch and learns for our millennial, younger and Gen Z, even employees on grammar and like best ways to write emails and who versus whom and when to use them. Like silly things that aren't silly just to make us sound and appear and be more professional. And they would teach my parents how to like zoom and how to add to a calendar. So I think being open to learning is a big one or on both sides. Then using resources appropriately. Like my mom didn't have a LinkedIn account and she would going after brands, and so setting her up on LinkedIn. And I will mention LinkedIn is a really great resource if you're applying for jobs too. That's just like a side note piece of advice that we can circle back on. But, I think those are some of, and it really did, like we can't say Bob and Donna's name on a team call, they're no longer working at Cannonball, but we can't say their name without like getting just a huge smile. Like everybody. My dad, one of the best things that my dad would do is on our, we would have weekly meetings on Mondays with the whole team and we would have glows and gums every morning. We'd start them off every week, we'd start them off with glows and glums, so everybody would go around and say what they did that weekend, like a high and a low. And my dad before calls, would like research what was cool and happening in the world that weekend, and people who know him that well, or like new interns that were starting, or new team members that were starting thought that he was serious and he was like, well, my glum is that like I am just exhausted. I had a red eye. You know, I caught a red eye back from Coachella last weekend, last night I was like backstage with Kanye and it was just like a wild set. And people were like he's like a 75 year old man, and people were just like, their jaws would drop. Like that's the coolest thing I've ever heard. And so just I think keeping it really light and refreshing and fun, even though he was in charge of finance and legal. I think the other thing with events that they taught me is like this freak out scale of like, knowing when it's a really big issue and when we need to involve certain stakeholders or really get worried about something versus being able to manage it and keep our cool. And so I think putting things into perspective and that's a trickle down if we are upset and nervous or scared that the whole team feels that energy. So I think understanding what the freakout scale looks like.

Paulina: I love that because B2B and B2C are wildly different, but I think there's tons of room for mutual inspiration, whether it's what you're seeing on stage or what's behind the scenes.

And I think it's really nice that you gave us like a peek behind the curtain of Cannonball Productions and sort of shared the authentic story that you guys all have or that you created for the team. But, I think it's really applicable to today. You know, we should be doing 360 trainings and lunch and learns and ensuring that everyone's kind of skillset and beyond on the same page and feeling like we're offering opportunities to sharpen certain skill sets.

And I think tapping into other generations, younger and older are really unique ways to keeping things equal and creative. I think those are really great examples of anyone in the meetings and events industry, whether you're a small business owner and you're doing B2C events or you're doing weddings or you might work for a small association and you're trying to come up with unique ways to appeal to your membership that isn't exactly your own personal demographic. I think it's important to hear these kinds of conversations and how we can implement them into our own unique experiences. Okay. I know we're kind of getting close with time here, but I wanted to ask what advice would you share with, let's say two people listening on the phone - on the phone, listen to me. Are we on the phone? Two people tuning in today. Someone perhaps who's young in their career. We spoke about your amazing internship program and the experiences you afforded so many. And then maybe someone who, like I said before is, is kind of rethinking their role and what advice would you give in your experience being a business owner and starting from the ground up?

Kate: Yeah, I have a few pieces, few things come to mind. One is that imposter syndrome is so real, and especially from small business owners standpoints, or people that are thinking about maybe starting their own company or consulting company, or even just changing careers and feeling like I don't even know if I can do this because it's not my professional identity that I've had. It is so real and just like know that everybody else is feeling it too. I think that's the biggest thing. It took me so long to feel comfortable saying like, I'm founder and CEO. Like, like what? I don't even know what I'm doing. So I really, one of the things I think I learned was like, look in the mirror and like you might see a cat, but like, be a lion,  see the lion and everyone else sees the lion too. And so nobody knows. It's almost like doing a play and like you mess up the line and nobody knows what the line was supposed to be. It's cool. Nobody who is a CEO and founder knows what they're doing either, so just know that you're in a really good place and just keep doing it. And it doesn't have to be perfect to launch it. Just get it out there. I think that sometimes people have analysis paralysis and they're like, but it's not perfect. It's not ready. Just get it out in the world. That's one piece of advice. Second is if you're a job hunting or internship hunting, find somebody who works at that company and DM them on LinkedIn because I can't tell you the amount of resumes that I know we get and other companies I know get, and you're doing yourself a service because it's really hard to get plucked out of that pile of resumes. And you make my life easier because I want somebody who is not afraid to just go out and reach out and say, hey, I'd love to have an intro call, or I'd love to let you know that I'm really interested. Like that goes above and beyond, that's like somebody I want working for me. So just do it. Don't think it's weird. The other thing I would say is if you're not from the events world, if you don't have events, experience, tailor your resume or tailor your experience. I can't tell you the best hires I've probably ever made were from retail and teachers. Teachers are incredible. I mean, obviously we know they're incredible anyway, but they are incredible event planners.

Every day they're planning an event and drunk attendees and little four year olds are not that dissimilar of rallying them. But seriously, whatever it is, whatever your background is and whatever you're looking to do or thinking about doing. Tailor it. Just make it work on your resume, because the skills aren't that dissimilar and you will figure it out if you can figure out whatever you were doing before, you could figure out how to transition that to events.

And I would say the last piece of advice is to go and volunteer. Anybody can go and volunteer at events. First of all, you usually just get in for free. So that's awesome because you're working the event and sometimes we'll just let you walk around and experience it. I used to volunteer. I still volunteer at a lot of events, especially when we were getting started because I wanted to see how their volunteer program worked. I wanted to see if they were getting snacks or food or how the signups worked. I volunteered at a lobster roll tasting event. Best gig ever. That was awesome. I think I ate 20 lobsters that night, but it was really great. I got to meet fabricators that were setting up signage and I got to see the merch behind the scenes and you just learned so much. And most of the time the organizers who are there, were really happy to take a minute and talk to you. So if you're trying to network and get your foot in the door or just get to know them, that's a great way of doing it. Not that they have a ton of time, but they'll usually say like, yeah send me an email. And then you can say, hey, we met on Saturday, so just volunteer. And then it's also a really great way of seeing if you even like that kind of event. And I will tell you, most organizers will never turn down free help. So it's kind of a win-win. Yeah, it's such a win-win. Even if you're like, I don't know, maybe I want to work weddings, reach out to some wedding planners, they'd probably say, yeah, we would love to have you. You know, come and help for the day, set up flower arrangements or whatever it is that they need help with. And then you get that experience. So definitely volunteering is a really good way for any kind of event, because there are so many within the events world. Like if it is, as you mentioned, consumer facing or B2B weddings, private events, or smaller more niche events. High end like curated events that are just, it's really endless. So, but they're all very, very different. So finding out what it is that you like and what you don't like about certain events, that's a really good way of weeding it out. 

Paulina: Love it. Great advice. I couldn't echo that anymore. I think you're right. Exposure is what's going to help move the needle in terms of what you like and what's important to you. And yeah, I think even B2B events we're taking volunteers. Feel free to DM me if you are interested in supporting events in Las Vegas or London, because we'd love to give back. This is a conversation around careers, right? And so it's about ensuring that we're knowledge sharing for those who are new to the industry, we're accepting and open arms for those who are trying to make a shift, whether it's from one industry to the next or from maybe a niche role to another role. And that was really the whole point of today's conversation. Kate, thank you so much for tuning in with us and joining. We'll have to do a part two. I want to hear, wait, hold on. We have to tell the listeners the event that you're working on right now because it's too top of mind for so many listeners. So where are you? Where are we finding you right now? 

Kate: You're in Tampa, Florida. We are doing a Seltzer Land here, and it's like T Swift Weekend Swifties are all over the place, so we thought what better weekend to do it than it'd a pre-game before her concert tonight and tomorrow night and Saturday night. So it is a Seltzer Fest, which is just ties in perfectly with the demo.

Paulina: Absolutely. Love it, love love, love it. Well, thanks again for tuning in to today's episode. As always, if you have topics or questions or people you'd like to join us DM us, message us on LinkedIn or send us a note at greatevents@cvent.com. I'm Paulina. Thanks for tuning in