Experience Creators You Should Know - Christine Brown Clayton, Unieros

Christine Brown Clayton, of Unieros, discusses how she honed her skills over the pandemic to now be in position to overcome the challenges that the new meetings/events landscape brings.



This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlights planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic world. 


Name: Christine Brown Clayton

Company Name: Unieros

Job Title: Founder

Years of Experience: 10

How did you get your start in the events industry? What made you pursue this role?
I started in the events industry by chance. As a web developer, I created the first Unieros website with a vision to celebrate diversity and promote events that focused on cross-cultural understanding. A natural continuation of the website, I believed that events could serve as powerful platforms to bring people from different backgrounds together, bridge cultures, and create meaningful connections. Through these gatherings, I hoped it would showcase the beauty of various cultures, foster dialogue, and promote appreciation for diversity. This aspiration led to the creation of Unieros multicultural events, a platform dedicated to organizing multicultural events that inspire, educate, and unite communities.
How would you describe your role or responsibilities as a professional event planner?
As the founder of Unieros and a professional event planner, my role revolves around orchestrating vibrant and engaging cultural experiences. I wear many hats – from being a creative visionary to an event organizer. I conceptualize each event, ensuring elements that celebrate diversity and cultural richness. From choosing themes that resonate to curating authentic performances and experiences, I strive to create moments that leave lasting impressions. My role involves strategic planning, from budgeting to logistics, ensuring that every detail is in place for seamless execution. I collaborate with a diverse network of artists, and performers to bring our events to life. Flexibility is key as I adapt to evolving situations and unexpected challenges. My job extends beyond event days – it's about building relationships and nurturing a community that shares a passion for cultural exchange and appreciation. Ultimately, my role as a professional event planner is about crafting experiences that inspire, educate, and connect. It's about creating spaces where cultures intersect, and where people from all walks of life can come together to celebrate our shared humanity.
How do you compare planning your first in-person event post-pandemic, to planning meetings/events pre- Covid? What was different and unique? What was similar?
Following the pandemic, we focused on in-person events that could be held outdoors due to health and safety concerns. We hosted pop-up picnics in the park and outdoor garden terrace to facilitate a safe environment for all attendees. Similar to pre-pandemic, Unieros events continued with the creation of relevant themes that aimed to engage attendees in cultural connections and dialog. From a technical perspective, we integrated more third-party solutions to enable smooth event communications.
What challenges have you faced in your work as a meeting and event planner, when working with suppliers or sourcing a venue and how did you overcome them?

One main challenge has been finding suitable venues within a limited budget. The I approach and solution, I have been taking has been to create events in that fit outdoor spaces or negotiate with the venue to get a rate within budget.
Are there any key lessons or insights that have shaped your approach to event planning over the years?
Over the years, I’ve learned communication is very important to engage attendees, venues, and volunteers. Sometimes, a phone call is best in addition to emails. In addition, flexibility is important. A lot can change even on event day, so I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and find ways to adjust. Because I’m primarily wearing many hats to organize Unieros events, I’ve learned it's important to have paid support staff to assist with various aspects of the event. Because our events occur in different cities and continue to seek other markets, sometimes volunteers are not available. Finally, no matter how big or small the event, it is valuable to get feedback from attendees as it provides lessons to incorporate in future events.
Due to the pandemic, our events community had to evolve, adapt, and grow. Many planners started to embrace new technologies as a result of the pandemic. What new tech are you using today in your planning process as a result?
Unieros was built with technology in mind first. Throughout the years, the website has evolved as technology changed. We’ve integrated payment solutions into the website in addition to using third-party solutions for ticketing. Currently, I’m focusing on automating tasks that make planning and communicating with attendees and vendors seamless. Social media platforms have continued to help us reach a broader audience in different markets so that we can build a community around our multicultural events.
Since education and relationships are two major pillars in the meetings and events industry, any suggestions on how other planners can learn and network with their peers across the industry?
My advice for event planners new to the industry is to seek out local networking events, or meetups in your area. These events provide a more personal and intimate setting for networking. Also, I suggest, following industry professionals and event-related hashtags on social media platforms. This can help you stay informed about industry trends and connect with like-minded professionals.
This post is part of the HopSkip Planner Spotlight Series where HopSkip spotlights planners across the industry to bring awareness of how they adapted to COVID-19, communicating and lessons learned and sharing how they are viewing the meetings and events industry in a post-pandemic w,orld. 

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