Liz Clark was introduced to the world of events from a young age, working in a florist shop making bouquets and decorating Christmas trees.
This early start paved the way for Liz’s career as an event professional, which has taken her from New York City to Sydney, where she now runs her own event management business, Liz Clark Events.
Here, we catch up with Liz and find out more about her extensive experience and most memorable moments:
How did you start out in events?
I have always loved being hospitable, even as a child, so becoming an event manager was a natural progression. When I was 13, I got my very first job working for the parents of my best friend in their florist shop. It was an amazing introduction to planning and curating events, without even knowing it. I made bouquets and decorated Christmas trees.
It felt so incredibly rewarding to see how I could bring joy to customers, by simply turning their ideas into a beautiful reality. I think my fate was sealed back then! Those early years definitely paved the way to my NYC career. I have since progressed from concierge to client coordinator to EA/PA to chief of staff, and now as an event management entrepreneur in Sydney.
What is the most memorable event you’ve been part of?
I loved working for s Hollywood film producer from Los Angeles, who visited Sydney earlier this year with his team. My job was to facilitate an intense 10-hour day of rolling meetings with key film professionals such as casting directors and production designers.
It was, without a doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had working with high profile clients. I was especially grateful when I received a thank you note after the event that read, “Ms Clark is a talented event manager and conference coordinator who is prepared to face any and all challenges with grace and efficiency.”
Have you had any major event disasters? How did you overcome it?
I once had a last minute transportation cancellation that taught me a very good lesson. The cancellation came after weeks of logistical transportation planning. I thought I had locked in a firm plan for the three-day event: three coaches moving 75 delegates to and from various venues.
Less than a week out, I was told the coaches were double-booked and I suddenly had no transport. I tried to stay calm, but I felt frantic, calling every other coach company I could find. Thankfully, I did find another company and was able to lock them in just four days out from the event! It worked out, but I always make sure to have a backup now!
What event trends are you loving right now?
I LOVE the new WFH online platforms to do things like take a masterclass, watch a Sydney Opera House event, learn guitar or even a jolly singalong. I also really like the recent WFH creativity trend to personalise backgrounds and virtual meeting spaces (e.g book shelf in the background or an art piece in the foreground). It adds so much character, which not only helps frame the tone but also provided a personal touch. Get creative!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone entering the field?
Your soft skills are your biggest weapon. You can hone and sharpen those skills by simply listening and repeating. Listen to the information (and I mean really listen!), then repeat what you just heard back to the client to make sure you’re both on the same page. This simple act will decrease confusion, frustration, wasted effort and missed opportunities.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I have been given is that sometimes “good enough” is indeed “good enough”. As event planners we are often perfectionists, and sometimes going above and beyond isn’t always wanted or needed. Use your time wisely. Simple can be the better obvious plan.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your career?
One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time. There are huge benefits to supporting your local non-profits, if you (or your team) have the capacity to donate your services. It’s incredibly rewarding for everyone to think outside their box. I donate my time several times a year to help local non-profits such as the Syney Mardi Gras (LGBTQ movement), All Together Now (an anti-discrimination organisation), The Smith Family Charity (supporting disadvantage kids) and OzHarvest (a food rescue charity).
What are 3 things you can’t live without during an event?
I think last year I would have answered this question very differently! Given that we all want our events to be COVID-safe, my new must haves are:
1. A pleasant smelling sanitiser on the registration table for guests as they arrive, such as TNT by Gascoigne & King
2. Some environmentally safe surface sanitizer spray or anti-bacterial wipes like BioWipes to ensure a clean environment
3. A canary pocket size tape measure to double check those square metre spaces
Find out more about Liz Clark Events on the A LIST Guide.