When we look at great skyscrapers, we marvel at the towering steel and glass yearning for the sky. What we don’t see is the substructure that exists deep underground that provide the support that keep these super-tall structures from toppling over.
The same can be said about great events. When the lights go up and presenters hit the stage, we rarely think of the pre-planning support that ensure that the event goes off without a hitch.
We sat down with our own Molly Carlson, Event Coordinator at Turning Point AV to uncover how her pre-planning sets the foundation for great events.
Here you are in Savannah, GA, but you don’t seem to have a southern accent. Can you tell us where you are from originally and what brought you to Savannah?
I am originally from the beautiful beaches of Southern California! My husband received a great job offer that brought us across the country and was too good to be true. I had always heard of Savannah but never visited until we pulled up in a moving truck almost 2 years ago. I still pinch myself because life remains too good to be true. We really love being Savannah transplants!
How long have you been at Turning Point AV and what is your specific role?
I have been with Turning Point AV for a year now. I am the Event Coordinator and work in partnership with our sales team, onsite staff and our clients to make sure all the details are covered and the event goes off seamlessly.
The “behind the scenes” audio visual portion of live events can be very complex. Can you give me an idea of some of the steps you take to ensure a great event?
Open communication with the all the key players is most important. Working with the hotel to make sure rooms are ready, keeping in touch with the client for any schedule changes and making sure our onsite staff has as much knowledge of the pieces as possible is how everyone remains on the same page and in turn creates successful events!
The skills and knowledge base for nationwide audio visual services is very specific. What are some new skills/knowledge/experiences you’ve picked up along the way that perhaps you never thought you’d have?
I’ve learned how to load a truck, create a diagram for a fire marshal, whether you need to use a short throw or long throw lens and which connectors are best for a specific setup. AV is an entirely different language. I’m still trying to get the hang of it but I’m a quick learner and pick up fast.
What do you think is important for clients to understand about your planning process?
The more information I have on your event, the more I can put the puzzle pieces in place for everyone else. It’s so important to be communicative regarding changes and updates. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that our clients don’t need to be bothered with, but we’re working hard to ensure success.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
When events go off without a hitch! If I successfully hand off an event to our onsite staff and not hear anything until the recap after the show I know all the pieces were in place and the event went great!
What are the perks of working for Turning Point AV?
Besides bringing my pup, Duke, into the office with me. Working with some of the greatest people in Savannah has been such a blessing. Turning Point AV works together as a great team and we help each other out to get the job done. It’s the best environment to work in which makes the work fun!
You recently worked on an event with President Obama. What role did you have in the planning and executing of that event?
This was such a reward experience, and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity. On the day of and leading up to the event I directed our onsite team, made sure additional gear was rented, everyone had their breaks, interfaced with secret service and White House Staff. My organizational skills came in handy as there were so many moving parts and requirements to have a safe and smooth event.
What advice would you give to other meeting planners that are considering the option of working with an independent audio visual company, like Turning Point AV?
I’ve been on the meeting planner side before, and working with an independent AV company gives you so much more peace of mind because of the individualized attention. Our focus is on you, not on the other events at the hotel. Plus, we can learn your event and duplicate it from year to year. No more re-explaining your needs, we've got it handled!
Thank you Molly for taking the time to talk with us about your exciting role as Event Coordinator! You do a great job and are key to creating event success, nationwide!