Network’s Events team packs a huge punch for the small size of the department. Pivotal to the success of events like FILEX, WAFIC and QFIT is coordinator, Bel Fong. Bel has worked in the fitness industry for over 12 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, gym manager and triathlon coach, and she became an integral part of the Network team in 2012. We probed hot chip-loving Bel (who’s also known around the office as ‘Fong’, ‘The Fonginator’, ‘Fongalongadingdong’, ‘The Fongzie’ or ‘Ben Fang’) for the inside info on what it’s like to be Network’s Events Coordinator.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up by 5:30am to get in my pre-work training swim, bike or run (Bel is a competitive age-grouper with Balmoral Triathlon Club) then walk to work to start by 9am.
My day is made up of a huge variety of tasks such as:
• Responding to event-related enquiries from delegates, presenters and suppliers
• Handling marketing such as emails and social media
• Planning and booking organising travel and accommodation (for up to 50 international and domestic presenters for an event such as FILEX)
• Organising equipment requirements, suppliers and deliveries
• Sourcing, screening, selecting and rostering Event Crew (FILEX has around 200 Event Crew each year).
I try to wrap up at work by 5pm and often head off for another training session to make sure I keep my work/life balance in check!
That’s a lot of work! What’s the most challenging part of your role – and how do you manage it?
Having so many competing elements in this role is definitely the biggest challenge, so I am always multi-tasking. Deadlines are always final, too – things have to be done to a specific timeline to make sure that the event happens on schedule and runs as smoothly as possible.
I am a big fan of prioritised to-do lists, I do regular check ins with my manager to make sure I’m not missing any pending items, and then I just put my head down and enter ‘beast mode’ to get it all done!
What part of your job makes all of that worthwhile?
I am lucky to work with and meet some amazing people – the presenters, the Event Crew, and of course the delegates. I love getting to learn more at every event so I feel like I’m keeping my finger on the pulse of the industry, and having opportunities to travel is fun, too. It’s also fantastic to chat with delegates after an event and hear their positive feedback and see them leaving so inspired.
What are three misconceptions that people have about the work that you do?
1. Travel – when we travel for events, we are typically inside the walls of a convention centre for the majority of the time, we’re not having a holiday!
2. Control – some people have unrealistic expectations over what we can control e.g. in order to be able to put on an event as big as FILEX, we need a big convention centre – and they aren’t equipped with showers or organic cafes!
3. Expenses – I think that most event attendees don’t really know just how expensive it is to run an event (i.e. 1 room at convention centre can cost $18,000 in room hire for 1 day alone!)
What traits should someone possess if they are interested in being an Event Coordinator?
You definitely need great organisational skills and you have to be a people-person – you have to be friendly and you need to want to build genuine relationships with people.
What’s your personal motto?
If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!