Interviews with Planners - Maxine Viktor
Maxine Viktor is an event coordinator and publicists. Her most notable event, the Metropolitan International Fashion Week Miami, is a large-scale annual fashion event that takes place in Miami, Florida, and is known for being the first to introduce established foreign designers to the U.S. market.
When not working on her fashion week, Viktor can be found supporting various charitable causes. She is a patron of Chapman Partnership, a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless by providing a comprehensive support program that includes emergency housing, meals, health, dental and psychiatric care, day care, job training, job placement and assistance with securing stable housing, and created the “Women’s Business Makeover” designed to benefit their female residents. The Women’s Business Makeover prepares the female residents for job interviews by providing them with business attire, shoes, and accessories. They also receive a complete professional makeover, boosting their self-esteem and allowing them to look their best for their job interviews.
Viktor’s additional charitable and community service endeavors include serving on the 2013 planning committee for Singles for Switchboard and sponsoring South Florida After School All-Stars, Boys and Girls Club Miami-Dade, Feeding South Florida, The Circle of Friends South Florida, and Make-A-Wish South Florida; and fundraising for Circuit 11 judges Celeste Muir, Rodney Smith, and David Young.
Her dedication to the community was officially recognized by Ms. World International Organization, who presented Viktor an award for her “Outstanding Contributions to the Community”. Viktor has also received ample media interest for her public services. She has been featured in the Sun Sentinel, The Miami Herald, BizBash, Exminer.com, Miami.com, The Good Life Miami, Brickell Reporter, The Local Miami, and interviewed on Con Estilo TV -Telemundo 43.
What is the best advice you have ever received as a planner?
Have a lawyer look over everything. I initially ignored this advice and had to learn the hard way, now I have my lawyer look over everything.
What is the most unique location you have ever planned an event at? What was great, what was challenging?
I once did a fashion show for a TV segment on a yacht. The problem was the "yacht" was actually just a large boat. There was not enough space or enough electricity to pull off a fashion show. I decided to have the models exit the yacht, runway ready, walk down the long dock and go into the mansion, do a clothing change, and walk back to the yacht. It ended up looking great and everyone was none the wiser. The after party (inside the mansion) went off without a hitch. Overall, my client was very pleased.
What advice would you give to someone entering the business today?
Take time to develop your network and remember that this is a small industry. Everyone talks, so take care that they only have good things to say about working with you. And remember that despite your best efforts you cannot please everyone, so just learn from your experiences and move one.
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of being a planner, and how do you overcome that challenge?
Budget is always an issue. I have learned how to effectively barter to stretch my budget. I have also been fortunate to have an amazing support group. We all look out for one another and help each other.
How do you think our industry will evolve in the next five years?
As social media continues to expand and integrate new technological features, e.g. "Live Stream", event planners will have more opportunities to expand the reach of their events and create new streams of revenue.
What makes you successful as a planner?
I am meticulous and adaptive, but more importantly I always put my guests and participants first. Their experience is crucial to the success of future events. I am also humble. I am accessible to all of my participants and personally handle any situations that may arise. Finally, I welcome criticism. I know that I cannot improve if I have the mentality that I know best.
In your opinion, what is the best and worst industry trend of the year?
I find it difficult to label a trend as "best" or "worse" because each trend appeals to a different target market. Personally, I would like to see more environmentally friendly trends emerge.
What is the best industry book that has helped you as a planner?
I have never read a book about event planning specifically, but I found "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" by Fisher, Roger, Ury, William L., Patton, Bruce, to be very helpful when it came to negotiating contracts.