You have been involved in and spearheaded a wide range of events. What’s one of your proudest accomplishments in this sector?
As a Lifestyle Executive at Keppel Club, I had a hands-on role in planning the club’s annual social events based on a tight budget set by the management team. One of the events introduced during my tenure was the Red & White National Day event. Prior to the event’s introduction in 2008, the club did not have any existing events that would give members a chance to celebrate National Day as one community and allow foreigners to experience our Nation’s birthday, in the company of families and friends while eating out and enjoying the fireworks. When I first proposed the idea, the management had concerns about whether there was a sufficient level of interest since the club had mostly been relatively empty during National Day. I had to persuade the management by presenting a well-thought out plan, including contingencies to account for unexpected circumstances such as allocating an indoor venue in the case of unfriendly weather. However, getting the approval was only the beginning.
I was in charge of everything from the big picture to the details: budgeting, logistics, marketing, event planning, liaising with vendors, delegating tasks and on-ground monitoring to make sure the big day went without a hitch. The event drew an unexpected turnout of about 200 guests the first year, and around 500-600 people in subsequent years. I was also pleased to hear that the management and club members had a great time. The club has held this event every year since.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered while doing the event, and how did you overcome it?
Having a budget in the low thousands to promote, organise and set up the event on our first year presented a considerable challenge. As this was a club-only social event, we were looking at an attendance level of approximately 125 people to break even the spending and still deliver a fun and memorable experience that guests would enjoy.
To create a festive atmosphere, we had to hype up participation from both guests and booth vendors. My plan was to start small and set a low entry fee. We also enticed potential food booth vendors to take part with a low sign-up fee of only $10, allowing them to keep the rest of the profits they earned from selling the food at the event where guests were treated to a free screening of the National Day Parade. This proved to be an effective incentive. Subsequently, as the first event proved successful, our budget increased the following years and we were able to add in more activities to spice up the event.
The second challenge was sourcing for the additional manpower needed. Although I handled most aspects relating to the event, there were a number of tasks I had to delegate, before and during the event. As I did not have a team of my own, I engaged fellow colleagues from other departments to help in the various roles on a voluntary basis—for example, I had our receptionist help me with the paperwork. In total, there were about 20 colleagues involved in wide-ranging roles such as manning registration, administrative and account services, F&B management, providing event coverage with interviews and photography, and more. I had to leverage on my strong relationship and people-management skills. I was able to tap on the relationships I had cultivated at the club and keep the morale high, such that they were willing to put in the time and energy to contribute to the event’s success.
To ensure success, everyone was made aware of their individual responsibilities at every step of the process. We held regular meetings leading up to the event including a briefing session the day before the event took place.
What are you looking for in your next role?
I hope to continue tapping on my experience in events planning and management and to help companies create many successful events. Actually, I am also exploring trying my hand at social work. I was encouraged by the generosity I experienced from a social welfare group, Thye Hua Kwan . I needed all the help I could get because I was busy holding down a full-time job. Their volunteers accompanied my parents to and from their medical appointments when I was not able to do it myself.
As I also have experience managing children and elderly-focused charity events before, I believe I possess the skills, character and experience to empathise and connect with them on a personal level. I am hoping that I’ll be able to put my experience to good use and to give back to the community.
Hayzer’s long and fruitful career has seen her taking on all kinds of events, from corporate functions and seminars to and lifestyle and recreational events. She hopes to use this turning point in her career to give back to the community through the social services sector.