The Voice of Events | Hollie Stow

  1. Describe a bit about what you are doing/ what your role is?

Due to the current situation of Covid-19 I am going to give you a snapshot of my life in 2019. I feel it is times like these that we must reflect back on the good times and remain positive for what the future holds.

Early in 2019 I was completing an internship with UK Athletics, working alongside the Major Event Coordinator. My role included assisting with the preparation of the accreditation and updating volunteer documents, whilst on event days I was the Volunteer Coordinator.

From my internship I went to work for Cricket World Cup 2019 as the Volunteer Coordinator. This was a crazy few months of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I spent the majority of my time travelling the country to our 11 venues to train our volunteers whilst also: organising uniform swap shops, sending shift schedules to 4000 volunteers, managing the volunteer inbox, preparing catering information, creating room layouts and a transport guide for my venue during the event.

After what seemed a very hectic summer I was ready for my next challenge and so I joined the Yorkshire 2019 team who hosted the UCI Road World Cycling Championships. For this I managed 1000 volunteers across Yorkshire involving: scheduling 27 different roles, organising all aspects of the volunteer training, finding 50 plus meeting points across Yorkshire for those volunteers out on the routes and distributing uniform at 5 different locations. It may have been wet and windy during the championships but it sure did not dampen the spirits of our volunteers.

I hope that has given you an insight into the role of being a volunteer coordinator it is definitely a job that will keep you on your toes, challenge you and allow you make a difference to people’s lives.

 

Din pricina situatiei cauzata de Covid-19, iti voi face un rezumat al anului 2019. Simt ca e un moment bun pentru a reflcta asupra momentelor fericite si sa ramanem pozitivi in ceea ce priveste viitorul.

La inceputul lui 2019, am fost in internship la UK Athletics, lucrand cu principalul Event Coordinator. In rolul meu am asitat in pregatirea acreditarilor si actualizarea documentelor voluntarilor, in timp ce in zilele evenimentului am fost Volunteer Coordinator.

Dupa internship, am ajuns sa lucrez pentru Cupa Mondiala de Cricket 2019 ca Volunteer Coordinator. Aici au fost cateva luni nebune care mi-au placut foarte mult. Am petrecut majoritatea timpului calatorind prin tara la cele 11 locatii ale evenimentului pentru a instrui voluntarii, in timp ce ma ocupam cu: organizarea swap shopurilor pentru uniforme, trimiterea orarului pentru turele a 4000 voluntari, gestionarea mesajelor voluntrailor, pregatirea informatiilor pentru catering, crearea layouturilor pentru camere si un ghid de transport pentru locatia mea in timpul evenimentului.

Dupa o vara foarte plina, eram pregatita de urmatoarea provocare asa ca m-am alaturat echipei din Yorkshire care a organizat Campionatele Mondiale de Ciclism in 2019. Aici m-am ocupat de 1000 de voluntari din Yorkshire si a implicat: programarea a 27 de roluri diferie, organizarea tuturor aspectelor de instruire a voluntarilor, gasirea a peste 50 de puncte de intalnire din Yorkshire si distributia uniformelor la 5 locatii diferite. A fost vreme urata, dar cu siguranta nu a afectat starea de spirit a voluntarilor.

Sper sa fi reusit sa iti dau o idee despre rolul de Volunteer Coordinator, e un job care te tine in priza si iti da sansa sa aduci o schimbare in viata celorlalti.

 

  1. What is your favourite part about events?

The reason I love being a part of the events industry is due to the fast paced environment with each day being unique and having its own challenges. However, my favourite part is when everything comes together on events days and you get to see the excitement and enjoyment on the volunteers’ faces and feel the buzz in the atmosphere.

Imi place sa fiu parte din industria evenimentelor pentru ritmul alert al activitatilor, fiecare zi fiind unica si avand propriile sale provocari. Oricum, partea mea preferata e cand totul capata contur in ziua evenimentelor si ai sansa sa vezi entuziasmul pe fata voluntarilor si sa simti buna dispozitie in jur.

 

  1. What is the most common challenge in events you run?

Personally within a Volunteer Coordinator role for me it is managing the volunteers’ expectations. People volunteer at events for a variety of reasons and if I can understand those reasons by having a flexible approach, ensuring they are in the right role and getting to know them, I can give them the best experience. This can impact a lot of aspects from uniform, transport, catering but one aspect I am going to touch on is scheduling volunteers for their shifts. The volunteer shift schedule you have at the beginning, to the schedule you have by event time will be different because it is one big jigsaw puzzle. The best approach to this is to release the shifts and allow the volunteers to select those that they can commit to. This way you don’t waste time on trying to schedule hundreds if not thousands of volunteers to find they can’t work those shifts, not only will this overload your inbox but you will also have to spend more time rescheduling volunteers.

Pentru mine, in rolul de Volunteer Coordinator este gestionarea asteptarilor voluntarilor. Oamenii fac voluntariat din motive foarte diverse iar daca pot intelege motivele lot printr-o abordare flexibila, asigurandu-ma ca sunt in rolul potrivit, le pot oferi o super experienta. Asta poate avea impact in multe aspecte de la uniforma, transport, catering dar un aspect important despre care vreau sa vorbesc este alocarea turelor. Programul voluntarilor pe care il ai la inceput comparativ cu cel din timpul evenimentului va fi diferit pentru ca este practic ca un puzzle. Cea mai buna metoda este sa ii lasi pe ei sa isi aleaga care sunt turele la care pot veni. Asa nu pierzi timp reprogramand si nici nu iti va exploda inboxul.

 

  1. Tell us about an environmental concern you find most relevant in events and how you think we can address it

The most alarming environmental issue for me in events is recycling. Firstly, I see so many events with no recycling bins; for example just think about how many leaflets we get given or pick up at conferences and these are just dropped in a bin. Secondly, on a wider scale just consider the left over branding, lanyards, signage, programmes etc. Most of these items will have been personalised for the event and therefore cannot be reused. I feel for the event industry to begin to address these issues companies need to consider how these items can be further utilised afterwards. Therefore, when in the planning stages, event organisers need to think past the last date of their event and have a plan in place for left over items to minimise waste. For example, can any of these items be sold afterwards e.g. programmes, lanyards or will venues, volunteers, local councils, sponsors or any other stakeholders want any items as a memorabilia. Thirdly, is there a need for event organisers to look further back in their supply chain at what materials are being used or quite simply have recycling bins as a start to tackle the issue?

Cea mai alarmanta problema din punctul meu de vedere in evenimente este reciclarea. In primul rand, vad atatea evenimente fara cosuri pentru reciclare; ganditi-va doar cate pliante ni se dau sau le luam in cadrul ocnferintelor si sunt pur si simplu aruncate intr-un cos. Apoi, la o scara mai mare ar fi de luat in considerare brandingul, lanyardurile, semnalistica, programe etc. Majoritatea acestora sunt personalizate pentru eveniment si nu mai pot fi refolosite. Cred ca ar trebui sa abordam problemele astea si companiile sa se gandeasca la moduri de a reutiliza obiectele branduite. In perioada de planificare, organizatorii trebuie sa se gandeasca dincolo de data evenimentului lor si sa aiba un plan pentru tot ce ramane in urma pentru a minimiza deseurile. De exemplu, ar putea ceva din obiecte sa fie vandute dupa eveniment sau ar dori localurile, voluntarii, consiliile locale, sponsorii sau orice alti furnizori sa patreze ceva ca suvenir? In cele din urma, ar trebui ca organizatorii sa se fie responsabili cu materialele care se consuma sau, simplu, sa monteze cosuri pentru reciclabile ca start pentru combaterea problemei.

 

  1. Three tools that help in your job

The first tool that helps within my role is having a database that can store all the information you need regarding the volunteers from uniform, shifts, dietary requirements, personal details etc. The ability to pull reports from the data stored, check volunteers in on arrival and even communicate via email and text. I mean the days of trying to store all that on a spreadsheet are over, definitely invest in a database.

Secondly, interpersonal skills play a massive role, you have to be able to interact and communicate extremely well. This is not a role you can hide in the background with you have to be at the forefront being proactive, understanding of situations, flexible, able to listen and solve problems.

Finally, make sure you have mobile data! I know we live in the 21st century where WIFI is normally at our finger tips but trust me you will be surprised how many places still have a bad WIFI connection. From experience, if you are planning on making a church or squash courts your volunteer centre or hosting an event in Yorkshire definitely top up on your mobile data before.

Primul instrument care ma ajuta este o baza de date care cuprinde toata informatia de care ai nevoie in ceea ce priveste voluntarii de la uniforma, ture, cerinte speciale nutritionale, detalii personale etc. Posibilitatea de a scoate rapoarte din datele stocate, de a face checkin voluntarilor la sosire si chiar si de a comunica prin email sau mesaj. S-au dus zilele cand incercam sa tinem toate astea intr-un spreadsheet, e musai de investit intr-o baza de date.

In al doilea rand, abilitatile interpersonale joaca un mare rol, trebuie sa poti sa interactionezi si sa comunici foarte bine. Nu e genul de rol unde te poti ascunde, trebuie sa fii pe pozitii in prima linie, intelegand situatia, flexibil, capabil sa asculti si sa rezolvi probleme.

In cele din urma, asigura-te ca ai date mobile! Stiu ca traim in secolul 21 unde avem WiFi-ul la degetul mic, dar crede-ma ma ai fi suprins cat de multe locuri inca au conexiune slaba la WiFi. Din experienta mea, daca centrul voluntarilor este intr-o biserica sau pe terenuri de squash, asigura-te dinainte ca ai extra date mobile.

 

  1. Your favourite event ever

My favourite event has to be Cricket World Cup 2019. Firstly, I got the opportunity to work with an absolutely amazing team who taught me so much with it being my first job from university. Secondly, I got to meet thousands of volunteers from across the UK and abroad listening to their inspiring stories and volunteer journeys. Thirdly, it was an absolutely privilege to be the Venue Volunteer Manager for Southampton in which I was able to lead, guide and inspire the volunteers.

Evenimentul meu preferat e clar Cupa Mondială de Cricket 2019. În primul rând, am avut ocazia să lucrez cu o echipă absolut uimitoare, care m-a învățat atât de mult, fiind prima mea slujbă dupa universitate. În al doilea rând, am ajuns să cunosc mii de voluntari din Marea Britanie și din străinătate, ascultând poveștile lor inspirationale și călătoriile din voluntariate. În al treilea rând, a fost un privilegiu absolut să fiu Volunteer Manager pentru Southampton în care am putut să conduc, să ghidez și să inspir voluntarii.

 

  1. How do you deal with long shifts and stressful days? Any relaxation tips?

Working with volunteers means that event days can be extremely long as many roles have shifts to cover the whole day; for instance your first team of volunteers might arrive at 5.45am and your last team of volunteers might not leave until 10pm. Just think about how much problem solving you will do in that time frame! For me the best way I have learnt to relax is to schedule in some me time on non-match days or an afternoon off.  This will include going for a run, watching a film or socialising with my colleagues by having a game of crazy golf or an evening meal.

Lucrul cu voluntarii înseamnă că zilele de eveniment pot fi extrem de lungi, deoarece multe roluri au ture pe durata întregii zi; de exemplu, prima ta echipă de voluntari ar putea ajunge la 5.45 dimineața, iar ultima ta echipă de voluntari s-ar putea să nu plece până la 22:00. Gândiți-vă doar la câte lucruri apar în acel interval de timp! Pentru mine, cel mai bun mod în care am învățat să mă relaxez este să-mi programez timp pentru mine în zilele fara meciuri sau după-amiaza. Asta inseamna ca merg la alergat, ma uit la un film sau socializez cu colegii mei, la un joc nebun de golf sau o cina.

  1. Lastly, one word of advice for those who may want to become part of this industry. What is one thing you must have if you work in events?

One word of advice… resilience.

Un singur sfat… rezistenta.

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