Jess Willis

Jess Willis

Freelance Marketing Manager, London
Bachelor of Arts in Event Management

The international opportunities were the highlights of her time at AUT, says Bachelor of Arts in Event Management alumna Jess Willis.

“In my final-year, I went on a study tour to Hong Kong. That was unreal!  Being immersed in another culture like that was amazing. This opportunity only gave me a taste for more.”

The experience inspired Jess to apply for the Internz International Scholarship Programme to live and work in New York City for a year after she graduated.

“As well as growing my event management career, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone, try new things, meet new people and ‘see how the other half lives’. When an opportunity like this presents itself, you’re silly to let it slide!

“New York definitely offered a lot of opportunities and experiences. Not a day during my internship was the same – from weddings to concerts to marketing launches to fancy cocktail parties. I got to work with and meet amazing people, and we did events for Maybelline, NYFW, Google, Mini Cooper, Mont Blanc and Ray Ban.”

Skills for a fast-paced career
She has always been passionate about events, says Jess Willis who combined studying event management with minors in marketing and public relations.

“What I love about event management are the people, the music, networking and the upbeat atmosphere. It’s such a fast-paced industry and each day is different. I didn’t want to settle for a job where money was the focus, and it has proven to be more than worth it. Not a day feels like work.”

Choosing where to study was easy, Jess says.

“AUT is known as the university of the changing world. It also seemed to be the preferred choice for event management, and the degree was very defined in terms of the skills students will develop.”

Life in London
After finishing her event production role in New York City in early 2020, Jess has moved again and is now living and working in London.

“I now work as a marketing and event specialist in central London, and have picked up a handful of freelance clients after all my experience and work in America, which is great. I’ve had to pivot massively with the event scene collapsing for now due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

She enjoys the variety of projects she gets to work on through her work now, Jess says.

“At the moment, all of my new freelance roles are in marketing, including as a marketing manager for video production company Unity and Motion, for vintage marketplace Nostalgiera, and for The Good, Bad, Mad, a creative platform for film and theatre professionals. My roles span sponsorship, social media, digital marketing, strategy and some event producing.”

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