The Tech Setters series peeks into the digital briefcases of event professionals everywhere highlighting the tried and tested event technology and event apps real professionals are using in various aspects of their planning process.
Imagine one day you’re planning a conference booth that will be visited by several thousand people and the next day you’re planning an intimate dinner party for some of the most fashionable young entrepreneurs. That’s a normal week for Jen Leibow, the marketing and events director for Vox Media.
Leibow and her team plan more than 50 events each year, so we wanted to pick her brain to learn how the California native who is never too far from her iPhone stays organized and sane. After working for BMF Media and David Stark Design, Leibow joined Vox Media (then called Curbed Network) in 2011 and has been flawlessly managing the creative and logistic sides of their events ever since.
What type of events do you typically work on?
Our events cover a very wide range. We produce editorially driven events for all seven of our brands — SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, Racked, and Vox.com. Those events can range from 600-guests galas like the Eater Awards to 100,000+ attendee events like the lounge at CES we produced for The Verge, to smaller scale dinner parties like the Racked Young Guns celebration.
In addition to our branded events, we create signature experiences in partnership with Vox Creative Labs, our custom content and video production house. We bring our clients’ brand and messaging to life while providing completely unique digital and live experiences for consumers.
Finally, we also produce an increasing number of marketing and sales focused events from large-scale presentations to intimate client dinners. We’re constantly looking for ways to break through the crowded experiential and event space to provide our readers, clients, and partners superior experiences that leverage our own editorial brands for events that are uniquely Vox Media.
Why do you love working in events?
It’s the perfect balance between organization and creativity. There’s no other job where I get to simultaneously balance budget sheets, manage production timelines, brainstorm a buzzy event concept, and design decor visuals. Events require both right and left brain in the best possible way. But it ultimately boils down that high you get from seeing everyone having a great time at an event you spent so long planning.
What do you do first thing after a successful event day?
Always thank the staff and sponsors who made it possible. And if I’m lucky, maybe a little sleep!
What is your biggest event nightmare?
Having no guests show up. It’s never happened, but I still always get nervous!
What applications are you using to stay organized on a day-to-day basis?
Are you using any tools to manage your entire planning process?
We’re using Trello and Podio for project management across our design, finance and legal teams. These services make it easy for my team to assign specific tasks and deadlines, as well as track progress across the whole organization.
What applications or services are you using to find event venues and what do you like about them?
I’m obviously biased, but Eater and Curbed have been my go to even before working at the company. They’re great resources for the less traditional venues (like million dollar penthouses) or the newest restaurant openings. These are daily reads to keep me up to date in what’s happening in our largest event markets. I’ll also use BizBash and EventUp for more standard event spaces that allow me to search by type, capacity, and location
Now for the rapid fire round! Tell us which application or service you’re using for:
- Event registration: Splash or a custom-built landing page
- Ticketing: Eventbrite
- Check-in: zkipster
- Meeting scheduling: Google Calendar
- Team and/or staff management: Trello and Podio
- Space/floor plan design: Floorplanner and SketchUp
What applications or services do you use to gather feedback after your event to help you evaluate its success and/or gather feedback?
With consumer events, we’ll often send out a survey through Eventbrite or Survey Monkey. Social media and press pick-ups are always tracked as well.
Finally, what piece of event tech can’t you live without?
Photography: Nneka Salmon