I love today's bitch. I met Sarah around 2009-2010 when I started running with East Nasty. Early on, Sarah started running with my Pancake Run crew, and I got to know her. I don't miss running, but I miss catching up with Sarah every Friday morning at Pancake Pantry. In addition to breakfast, some of my favorite lunches have been with Sarah over Husk cheeseburgers, where Sarah introduced me to the organizing world of Erin Condren.
Sarah is a kind, generous and supportive friend. What's great about Sarah is that whether you're having a bad day and need support, or having a great day and need someone to celebrate with, Sarah is who you want to be around. Not everyone can occupy both of those spaces, but like I said, Sarah is a great friend. Meet today's bitch, Sarah Brown!
What is your job title and where do you work?
I work as the Special Projects Coordinator for State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). I manage all of our events and our internship program.
When did you first learn about this field of work?
In college I thought I wanted to be a tour manager and work on the road. I met a tour manager and asked him for advice. He told me to get a job at a venue and learn the venue inside and out. I got a job in the box office at Belmont University and never looked back. I fell in love with working at a venue. As a student, I also worked set up calls, ushered, ran spotlight, and whatever else I could do to learn more. Before I graduated, the booking coordinator positioned opened. The arena general manager encouraged me to apply and I got it. In addition to working as a booking manager, I was also an event manager at the arena.
How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I am not sure there was ever a moment when I knew this was what I wanted to do, but after some pretty successful events, I knew I was in the right place. I have been lucky enough to work on a wide variety of events with a wide variety of clients. Some highlights include the 2008 Presidential Townhall Debate, a Sara Bareilles concert that I managed from contracting to settlement, 2016 SCORE Prize Summit, and really any event that was a success for the client.
What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?
In February I made the transition from venue event management to event manager for an organization. I am now the client I previously worked with. With a background in venues, I know what I can ask for and where I can push (within reason of course!).
Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?
Negotiations are not a win-lose proposition. Each party should feel comfortable with the end result. We are negotiating all the time, whether we call it that or not. Anytime you know you will be negotiating, prepare! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If you don’t ask for it, you have a pretty low chance of getting it.
The Mind and Heart of a Negotiator and Getting to Yes are two wonderful books on negotiating.
Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?
Read every contract before signing. You negotiate before the contract is signed. After the contract is signed you are begging.
What would you do with 2 more hours a day?
More reading, running, and yoga.
What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life?
In May I received my Certified Venue Professional designation from the International Association for Venue Managers. While I don’t currently work in a venue, I spent 11+ years working in a venue and I have a lot of respect for venue and event professionals.
What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?
Instagram and email.
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
Lately it’s been a walk with the dog.
What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?
I rarely get to see the program portion of the events I am in charge of. Once one part of the event has started, I have already moved on to the next part of the event to make sure everything is set up and ready to go. Also, event days are usually longs days. I am typically the first one there and one of the last to leave.
What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?
Some people think I am a party planner. And I can throw a fun party!!!, but there is so much more that goes into all of the events any organizations holds. A lot of thought and preparation goes into defining the goals, objectives, and success of the events I work on.
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?
Freaks and Geeks is probably my all time favorite show. I might be one of the few people who watched it when it was on network TV. Currently, I’m in a TV rut. I will watch a few episodes of a show and then get bored. Clearly, I am not watching the right shows. But the new show This is Us, looks like it will be right up my alley.
Peanut butter pretzels and brownies. But if I am being honest, any dessert will do!
All photos courtesy of Sarah Brown