Sink or Swim – My First Event Job

Rosanna Machado | October 25, 2018


I should’ve known really – I’d always been the social planner amongst my friends.

Doing my boss’s job while she went on maternity leave was the start of it all. I adored organising the student exams. It wasn’t long before I decided I wanted to get a job in events.

After a few fruitless job applications, I caught a break with my old boss’s husband who ran an event production company. Two interviews later I got my first job in events as a Trainee Event Producer. It was a valuable lesson in the importance of networking. In fact, every job I’ve ever had in events was through contacts.

Networking will only get you through the door with a warm introduction though – you still need to deliver and dazzle on the other side.

I spent four years in my first agency as a Trainee Producer. It was an amazing training ground. The company was going through huge growth and it was sink or swim. I was producing my own events within six months – and not just producing, but doing the logistics and technical as well. I remember my boss teaching me to showcall in the car on the way to an event in Brighton – probably not the most extensive training but it did get me through the event… just!

I had finally found something I loved.

The fact that you work up to an event gives a natural high point. I find it addictive. I also learnt about the post-show blues when you crash back down to earth after an intense time.

My first boss, Ben Hillson, gave me a great piece of advice when I was running a big conference.

“However stressed or bad you feel, you come into work and smile and motivate that team.”

I still live by that today. Once you do it, the stress starts to fall away and you become happier without even thinking about it.

Going it alone

After fours years, I took the plunge and went freelance.

I stayed freelance for eight amazing years, working on such an incredible variety of projects, and really developing my personality at work.

For the first few years in the industry, I’d worried about pleasing the client and behaving a certain way. Whilst freelancing I could be more myself – I guess that comes with confidence too. I now think that the clients like it if you can have a laugh with them. As long as the work remains professional, it’s nice to show a bit of personality.

Tips straight from the Zebra’s mouth…

Thinking about a career in the events industry?

Talk to people in the industry, be curious, be polite, work hard and look for ways to continue to learn and improve your knowledge.