EVENT planning can be stressful but with careful planning, your event is bound for success.
Anne Marie Conejero is an expert in this field with more than 30 years of industry experience from mounting big-ticket concerts, corporate launches, press conferences, exhibits and summits to organizing birthday parties and a bit of wedding activities.
“The job could be stressful if you really don’t plan it well. As soon as you close the deal, you need to start organizing everything,” said Conejero, owner and managing director of Graphic FX Advertising and Design.
“Even when I’m sleeping I am thinking about it.”
Event planners they say are a special breed of hardworking and quick-witted individuals. They always carry with them their “Plan Bs” if things don’t work the way they planned.
This rings true for Conejero who remains Cebu’s sought-after and trusted event planner and marketing consultant. She has high regard for professionalism.
“I always tell my people that in this industry there is no second take. That’s why I value professionalism,” said Conejero. “In this business you have to be quick-witted because there are some things that you will not have control of,” she said.
After she graduated from college in the University of the Philippines-Cebu, Conejero mounted various entertainment activities when she was starting until she blossomed into a full-fledged event organizer and marketing communications expert, handling not just social events but also big-ticket meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) events.
Her first big convention was a gathering of 700 wood dealers from seven countries in 1997. She also handled major concerts of both local and foreign artists.
She also worked actively in the community such as being the marketing and promotion director of Sinulog Foundation Inc. for 17 years.
What was your first job?
I joined Gaw Trading Inc. as food and beverage manager for Gaw Central Square and assistant to the vice president of Gaw Trading from 1984 to 1987. It was during my stint in Gaw that we introduced Gaw Glamour Girl, which became a big hit in Cebu. When you are working in retail, you’ve got to think of creative ways to make your products stand out.
After Gaw Central Square I joined Cebu Plaza Hotel as their entertainment and promotions director for Bai Disco. After I left the hotel, I was hired as an entertainment and promotions consultant for Balls Disco which was owned by the Lhuilliers.
Who inspired you to get into business?
It was my friends and clients who encouraged me to set up my own business. They said I already have the know-how of the industry and I have already built a strong network. But during my younger days, I already had this inclination of making people happy by mounting events for them.
When did you realize this was what you were meant to do?
It was in college that I realized that organizing events could be a flourishing career in the future. We did a fund-raising activity on Valentine’s Day, and it was successful. I grew up either mounting and attending parties which raised my awareness and interest in this kind of career.
Why did you pick this type of business or industry?
I did not plan on working in this industry. But I have grown to love the job over the years. I got to meet and work with different clients.
Where did you get the training you needed to succeed?
My skills and knowledge about the industry grew over time, and I’m grateful for the people who helped me along the way. But I didn’t pursue graduate studies after; experience was my best teacher. But I applied for an accreditation from the Philippine Conventions and Visitors Corp. because of the Mice events that I handle.
How many times did you fail before you succeeded?
Challenges in business are part of the journey and the path to success. I always remind my team about the end result of every project, and that should be the team’s target.