Event/Speaker Coordinator, Arival, Louisville, KY, USA
Bachelor of Arts in Event Management
She has always had an interest in organising and working behind the scenes, says event management alumna Penny Bell.
“I started volunteering for various events at the age of 13. When my parents converted our woolshed into an events location, known as Criffel Station Woolshed, that inspired me to look for a course in event management and pursue a career in this field.
“While I was studying at AUT, I loved being able to choose from a variety of electives that sparked my interest in tourism and the many opportunities in event management, marketing and business. The obvious main highlight for me was graduation – it was a huge accomplishment, especially being dyslexic, and it was something that I had been very determined to get to.”
Advice for other students
Make the most of the opportunities available, Penny says.
“Apply for everything and anything! Don’t second guess yourself. Seek discomfort, push out of your comfort zone and by doing this you’ll be exposed to amazing adventures and opportunities.”
One such opportunity for her was applying for the AUT Internz International Scholarships Programme in her final year.
“I wanted an opportunity that bridged the gap between graduating and heading into the workforce. I was particularly interested in the Icebreaker internship as it’s a company with high ethics and sustainability principles that I fully support, and it’s a creative New Zealand brand that I grew up with and wanted to learn more about.
“At Icebreaker in Vancouver, I was involved in numerous tasks and projects that have helped me gain wonderful insights into this business. What I’ve enjoyed the most about working at Icebreaker is learning about the North American market and the differences from the Australasian market. This knowledge will stand me in good stead for future roles.”
A new life in the US
After completing her internship, Penny stayed on in North America and is now working as an event/speaker coordinator for Arival.
“We hold conferences around the world; assembling the brightest minds from tourism companies large and small from our industry and providing insights on all things in-destination. I’m involved in scouting and supporting speakers from the time they are programmed until they walk off stage, sourcing sponsorship items and working with the team.
“What I love about my job is the variety of work, being able to learn so much and meeting some incredible people within the industry globally. The travel is pretty incredible too – this year I’ve already been to Berlin and Bangkok.”