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Planners You Should Know - Kendall Castillo, The DEC Network

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December 9, 2022
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Reading time: 2 min

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: Kendall Castillo

Company Name: The DEC Network

Job Title: Manager of Events and Programs

Years of Experience: 3+

How did you get your start in the events industry? What made you pursue this role?
 
I started in the events industry at Young Life in a small West Texas town called Abilene. I have always been the behind-the-scenes, planner, and "mom" of my friend group so the events industry was a perfect fit for me. I love seeing my hard work come to fruition in a visible and tangible way.
 
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?

Trying to figure out the post-pandemic event world is no easy task. One thing I've learned post-pandemic is that something will go wrong, and that is okay. No need to worry about if something will go wrong, because it will. Access the situation, fix it and move on! So many things are out of your control. Just do the best you can, and it will still be GREAT!
 
What was your number one challenge in hosting your first in-person event(s) and how did you overcome it?

Going back to hosting in-person events post-pandemic is such a guessing game. Will people show up? Are people comfortable? What do we need to do to make sure people are comfortable showing up? It's all trial and error. We're all going through it. Don't beat yourself up about if it's a low-turn out, it's not your fault! It's a crazy world we're still trying to navigate!
 
What is the top learning that you uncovered from the last two years that you’re implementing in your planning process today? (any other tips or tricks you want to share?)
 
There are things in your control. Plan extra hard for those. Come up with a Plan A, Plan B, and even sometimes a Plan C. There are also so many things NOT in your control. It's okay to fail, you learn something and will continue to improve! The events industry is all about learning and growing. Support other event planners, share tips and tricks with each other, and don't forget that what you are doing is GOOD!
 
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?
 
Monday.com is the BOMB.com. It's the easiest online tool I've found to keep up with your to-do list. You get to customize it and make it your own which I love. I would highly recommend it!
 
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?
 
Go to other organizations' and companies' events. It helps you learn from other's events, allows you to network with people like you, and gets your creative juices flowing!
 

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. 

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