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SFU Co-op Student

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Samantha Gades on Unsplash
If you have to manage a big event for your work term, don’t be overwhelmed. Break the whole project down to smaller, more manageable tasks.

In my work term with BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA), I had the opportunity to help plan and organize the company’s biggest event of the year, and it just so happened to be BC’s biggest and longest running technology awards celebration. 

The Technology Impact Awards (TIAs) celebrate the successes of BC’s tech industry and the companies, people and innovation that makes BC truly one of the best technology hubs in the world. The TIAs is the biggest awards night for tech in BC and planning it is definitely no small task. It is planned about a year before the actual event and involves numerous moving pieces. From applications to sponsors to event logistics, the TIAs arise from a complex series of a myriad factors and I got the chance to dabble into most of them.

I worked as a Jr. Marketing Coordinator at BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) and I was in charge of most website-related matters. Having said this, it was my responsibility to set up registration pages for the event and make sure the website was up-to-date with the most current content. This meant that I had to be aware of what was happening with the event planning at all times, including knowing which sponsors were on board and being on top of deadline extensions for applications and ticket sales. Through all this, I learned that communication is key to a successful event. One way to maintain communication is to always ask questions. This ensures that everyone in the team knows what is going on, preventing any possible confusion and assumptions.

Because the application process for the awards was done online through our website, I was given the task of handling all the applications. This included collecting and sorting them to make sure the judges get them in a timely and orderly manner. After the judges’ deliberation, the finalists are announced through another pillar event of BCTIA, TechBrew. Once announced, I worked with the finalists to film a short clip to be played during the awards night. These tasks involved extremely confidential information that no one was allowed to see (except for the Marketing & Events team). My manager put a lot of trust in me to step up to the plate and take charge of important aspects of the TIAs.  This meant a lot to me as this was my first co-op position.

After several months of planning, it was show time. Throughout the planning process, I have developed skills that would help me for the rest of my career. My organizational and communication skills have definitely skyrocketed. Working and coordinating with many people from various companies, in addition to my team, has been a key factor to the success of my contribution for this event.

On June 4, 2015, BCTIA’s Technology Impact Awards took place. Presented live to an audience of over 1,000 people in British Columbia’s tech sector, the 2015 TIAs included a welcome address from the Premier of BC, the Honourable Christy Clark, as well as the official premiere of the BCTIA Innovation Hub video (in which you might see a familiar face). Working at the TIAs is surely one of the best experiences I’ve had during my time with BCTIA. With my co-op journey drawing to an end, I have gained a lot of knowledge and skills that I would take with me in my future endeavors. The free food and drinks are a nice bonus as well.  

If you have to manage a big event for your work term, don’t be overwhelmed. Break the whole project down to smaller, more manageable tasks. Your supervisor and colleagues will be there to support you every step of the way. At the end of the day, although it’s all about learning and developing your skills, don’t forget to have fun! It will be a great experience!

SFU Co-op Student

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