The life of an event professional means long days on your feet and an uncanny ability to stay calm under pressure, all while keeping your energy high and your creativity intact. But here's a secret: Even the most efficient ones have help. To learn some of their secrets to success, we asked top event profs to single out five things—from tech tools to creative inspiration to the people around them—that they can't live without.
Jack Bedwani is the CEO and founder of New Moon, an experiential marketing and global influencer agency with past clients including TAG Heuer, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein.
My power bank: "I wanted this list to start with something cool and obscure, but the truth is, I find myself on the phone so much during the day that I need a mobile source of juice for what feels like never-ending conversations from day to night. It goes everywhere with me, and by the time I close out my day, it’s been maxed out too. Apparently I talk a lot!"
A book: "The real kind, with paper pages. Something about the challenges of 2023 got me back into reading every night to wind down before bed. Recently, I wrapped Bob Iger’s biography, The Ride of a Lifetime, and like every other creatively inclined person on the planet right now, I’ve just finished The Creative Act by Rick Rubin. I actually preordered a case of them for everyone on my team, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Rick is such a legend and his words, while sparse, are powerful. He’s the master of the edit."
A gratitude practice: "A new addition to the New Moon workflow this year has been the end-of-week wrap email. Everyone in the business sends this before clocking off for the week. It’s a brief moment for reflection where we each organize our thoughts and look back on what we achieved that week. Most importantly, we share gratitude for the people who were a highlight of our week, even in the humblest and quietest of ways. It’s become a part of our team’s weekly process that everyone looks forward to reading, and provided a simple platform for recognizing the efforts of those who are on the path with us."
A new restaurant and a Negroni: "Living in NYC, the incredible restaurant scene is a constant source of inspiration. New Moon specializes in campaigns and programs targeted at emerging luxury audiences, and for me it’s both the fashion and food scenes that enable us to validate our ideas and insights. Seoul Salon was our last team dinner. Highly recommend. As for Negronis—do they really need explaining?"
Having a trip booked: "In our household, we’ve got the next one booked before we leave for any trip. We like to line them up, whether it’s a weekend away, a work stint in one of our offices in another country, or a bigger adventure. Travel is my ultimate source of inspiration."
Thuy Diep is a senior meeting planner at CWT Meetings & Events.
My "techy third arm" (my phone and its accessories): "In today’s age, (un)fortunately, our phones are an extension to our body. Apply healthy boundaries (tip: Turn off work email and social media notifications) and it’ll positively benefit our lives. I accessorize my phone with a stylish String Ting phone wristlet for those much-needed hands-free moments at networking events; a functional Bandolier crossbody strap and phone case that holds up to four cards (again hands-free); all the work apps like Calendar, iPhone Notes, Outlook/Gmail, and virtual meeting platforms that have me working smarter, not harder during business travels."
F&B minimum: "Certified 'snack queen' and your 'keep you accountable' hydrate homie over here! My favorite travel foods are a bag of pistachios, organic unsweetened applesauce (embarrassingly in a tube—it's definitely a kids' snack!), and blueberry fig bars (gluten-free for the taste). They'll keep me going when I’m on site for a program.
For beverages, 100% of the time I'll have my favorite organic green tea bag on me (and an extra to share if you’re ever down for a spontaneous teatime sesh). Also, my Aarke sparkling water bottle or a nice stainless steel water bottle. And every time I finish a meeting, I take a healthy ginger wellness shot to celebrate."
‘Wear,’ when, how—travel must-haves: "A comfortable travel outfit—with extra points if it has pockets (again hands-free)—is nonnegotiable. (I’m usually in my matching tan Kith set, baseball cap included.) Tip: Pack a business casual outfit in your carry-on to change into so you can head straight into that hotel site inspection once you land. Plus, a bag that's big enough to hold your laptop yet stylish enough to bring to a business dinner (because nobody has time to switch purses)."
Experiences: "In order to design experiences well, you must experience them often. As a planner, I spend my free time gaining inspiration through simply being a guest, in the moment—not criticizing the bar location due to the flow of the room. Activities include attending many Los Angeles pop-ups, weekly movie nights (I’m an AMC A-List member), and getting back to nature. Tip: Create a self-care experience for your future self for when you return home from work—it’ll help you get grounded and relax before budget closeouts!"
This #EventProfs community: "And, most importantly, I cannot live without my #EventProfs people. My collaborative colleagues, supportive leaders, dependable supplier partners, and all those who’ve turned industry friends—who can empathize with work life, be a part of the solution by putting out those work ‘fires’ (everything’s fine), and, of course, depend on for a safe space to share ideas and grow with."
Allison Pieter is the founder and president of Cassis Productions, an experiential and production agency with a client list including Rebel Girls, Freeform, Hulu, Red Bull, Radio Hall of Fame, and Equinox.
iPad Pro: "Thankfully, the days of carrying a three-ring binder filled with paper are gone! With my iPad Pro, all the documents I need are readily available and easily shareable to keep partners up to date with all the latest changes."
Theragun: "At the end of a long day on site, there is no better tool than my Theragun. A good few minutes on my legs and feet, and I feel rested and reset."
Portable charger: "A portable charger is the first tool I pack in my bag. When moving around an event site all day, there’s no guaranteed access to an outlet—and with all the questions and texts coming in, the success of the event depends on charged devices."
Good shoes: "High-quality, supportive shoes are a must for surviving the thousands of steps I clock on site. Brooks, Munro, or Paul Green are my go-to choices—structure and support help my feet survive another day.
A great team: "Nobody plans events by themselves, and I would be nothing without the myriad employees, partners, vendors, and clients who put in countless hours to ensure the success of each and every event."
Katie Limle is the head of production at Crown + Conquer, an experiential marketing and creative agency with past clients including Adidas, Amazon Studios, and Google.
Airtable: “Airtable has been a great tool in helping to keep our research relevant, our communications clear, and our turnaround to clients—regarding vendors and venues—quick and efficient.”
A committed relationship with a single airline: “For me, it's all about the upgrades. I need legroom and laptop space when I travel! Staying loyal to one airline helps ensure I never lose that.”
A strong team: “It takes a village—a savvy, smart, and strong village—to execute the expansive and innovative productions Crown + Conquer creates for our brand clients, keeping them on the cusp of culture. My team is my biggest asset to achieve this.”
Go-to people for everything: “On a similar note, the importance of help and assistance doesn’t get discussed enough. And in my experience, no matter what you’re doing, something always comes up, with. out. fail. Having go-to people—for anything from electrical power and custom cookies to door help or personalized pepperoni—is key to the success of projects.”
Yoga and a daily meditation practice: “This industry is intense and the demands are endless. In order to not get sucked into the chaos, a practice that grounds me and brings me back to my center is so important. I would not survive without the gifts of yoga and meditation.”