The term “event” is broad. Weddings, book signings, concerts, plays, barbecues, conferences… the list could truly go on and on. Nearly every human alive would agree that they enjoy attending events—of some kind, in some way—and yes, even the textbook introverts have been known to pop in to see their favorite band or connect with friends at a park.
So, we can safely say that everyone enjoys a good event, but so infrequently do we stop to consider the sheer magnitude of effort, planning, and coordination that comes with throwing an event. Behind the scenes, all the moving parts and interconnected pieces can begin to seem like a crime scene investigation board.
Fortunately for us—and everyone else who loves attending literally anything—there are pros behind the scenes making all the magic happen. One such pro is Renee White, Events Coordinator for Meridian Parks and Recreation.
Renee has been in the industry for “longer than you might think,” she says with a laugh. “I started as a program assistant at the Boise State Student Union, coordinating training conferences and festivals/concerts. While my classmates found their career path in the classroom; I found mine in the halls of the Student Union.”
“I was a non-traditional student,” she continued. “And my kids would often attend my events. My daughter discovered an interest in theater during a Missoula Children’s Theater performance, one of the events we produced. Years later she graduated with a degree in theater at Boise State!”
Renee has planned countless different kinds of events from football to county fairs and everything in between. “I produced the first Fiesta Bowl tailgate party in Tempe, Arizona at no cost to Boise State. That was a blast!”
But of course, putting on experiences of that magnitude can be incredibly challenging. Event planners have to have the ability to creatively think through multiple problems at any given time, all the while wrangling hundreds of people. “No surprise to anyone, staffing is our biggest challenge. We depend on our local businesses to support our quality-of-life events and experiences. Everything from food trucks to businesses with enough staff to build a parade float.”
Alongside staffing shortages, another big challenge in this industry is marketing. Creating and establishing connections with the media and stretching shoestring advertising budgets is essential to spreading the word. You could spend weeks planning an event but if it isn’t properly advertised, then all that effort may be to no avail. “If an event coordinator’s first fear is that an event won’t be set up on time, the second fear is that no one shows up.”
It's all worth it, of course, to create those lifelong memories and incredible moments of awe. “A friend told me her daughter shouted, ‘It’s just like Disneyland!’ during the Christmas tree lighting,” Renee said. “I still smile when I think about that one.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Renee and her event planning expertise, be sure to check out one of her upcoming events! “As the events coordinator for Meridian Parks and Rec, we’re working to be responsive to a community whose population has doubled in size in a pretty short amount of time,” Renee shared. “We’re adding free family-friendly concerts at Kleiner Park this summer, and our team is working on a “Community Art Party” which will be a hands-on, art-centric celebration in September. The needs of any community evolve with time, so the events we create need to mirror that.”
As Meridian Parks and Rec Events Coordinator, Renee has been in the industry for “longer than you might think,” she says with a laugh. “I started as a program assistant at the Boise State Student Union, coordinating training conferences and festivals/concerts.