Interviews with Planners - Shelby Olivier

Shelby Olivier is a Program Manager for Red Velvet Events, a Global DMC Partner in Austin, TX. Shelby first began in the events industry as a Catering Sales Representative to earn money while attending college. She then moved on to become The Director of Marketing and Special Events for a venue in Georgia, earning her bachelors degree at the same time. She became a Program Manager after completing a summer internship program with Red Velvet Events, a Global DMC Partner.

What is the best advice you have ever received as a planner?

What is the most unique location you have ever planned an event at? What was great, what was challenging?
I’m currently working on a program that will basically create a mini campus out of the entire downtown area of Austin. It is great working with so many venues as a partnership, and seeing how competitors can work together for something huge. The challenge is working with different venues that each have different procedures and limitations, and trying to find consistency in the project as a whole.

What advice would you give to someone entering the business today?
Make yourself valuable. You should constantly be evaluating the level of service you are providing your clients with and asking yourself “would I pay me what I charge people?” You need to understand that you are offering customer service, and think about what experience you are giving your client. If they were reviewing you on Yelp what do you think they would say?

What do you see as the most challenging aspect of being a planner, and how do you overcome that challenge?
One thing that can be challenging about being a planner is managing expectations of your clients, your partners and attendees. The best way to overcome this is by over-communicating, over-communicating, and then over-communicating a little more. 

How do you think our industry will evolve in the next five years?
I think we’ll see a lot more RFID technology being utilized for corporate clients as a way to record analytics for event marketing and internal purposes.

What makes you successful as a planner?
We have a hashtag we frequently use at Red Velvet Events, which is #alwaysbelearning, and I think that is extremely critical in this industry (and any industry) where things are changing every single day. You should constantly be aware of new vendors and venues moving into your city, but also the trends and what other planners are doing in other cities. This industry is unique in that we have the opportunity to be constantly inspiring each other. 

In your opinion, what is the best and worst industry trend of the year?
Best: healthier catering options.
Worst: Mason Jars and chalkboard signs.

What is the best industry book that has helped you as a planner?
The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant At A Moment’s Notice, By Todd Henry

Shelby Olivier
Program Manager
Red Velvet Events
Twitter: @ShelbyRVE
Affiliations or Memberships: ISES-Austin Chapter, MPI-THCC, Austin Young Chamber