Teamwork. Flexibility. Composure.
Those were the three takeaways by Moxley Carmichael’s three summer interns, Jacob Teetzmann, Margaret Hamilton and Jake Brown, after the June reception for Kellie Harper, the new Lady Vols basketball head coach.
“It was enlightening to see how much detail goes in to planning events, especially the weeks leading up to the big day,” said Hamilton, who is a senior at the University of Tennessee studying public relations. “Seeing both the account team and the creative team come together to help put on the event showed me how vital teamwork is in a public relations agency.”
Moxley Carmichael handled the turnkey reception at The Mill & Mine, and the interns got real-world experience by assisting with the planning process, such as picking the venue, preparing the invitations, securing parking options, planning the program and selecting the menu.
On the day of the June 11 reception the three interns accompanied account executive Maria McHale to the venue hours before the event began to assist with setup. All three also had specific assignments once the event started from providing name tags at the check-in table to monitoring access to the special sponsors’ reception with Harper that preceded the main event.
“I had the role of ‘greeter’ at the entrance to the sponsors’ party and got to speak with a lot of influential people in the community,” said Brown, who also is a senior at UT majoring in public relations.
The interns learned what every event planner finds out: Be ready to seamlessly handle any issue that arises.
“No matter how much planning and meticulous thought goes into an event there will be curveballs thrown at you the week of, day of, or even during the event,” Brown said. “To overcome those obstacles, you must stay on your toes. It’s easy to panic but Maria, the account executive in charge of the event, did a fantastic job of keeping her cool and finding solutions the entire night. I learned a lot from just observing her composure throughout the night.”
It is instructive to ask interns what they learned, because it helps even the savviest of planners see an event through fresh eyes.
Teetzmann brings additional perspective because the UT graduate student worked last summer as a public relations and marketing associate in his native country of Germany for Pretzlaw Communications in Berlin. He is pursuing a master’s degree at UT in public relations.
“Having had the opportunity to be part of organizing and planning large scale events in the past, it was interesting to see how similar the rundown and the effort put into organizing events are across the world,” Teetzmann said. “I really enjoy the team effort that is required to successfully execute events like these, and it was definitely great to be part of Team Moxley Carmichael for this one.
“For me, being new to the Knoxville community, I learned a lot about who is who of people that live and work in this town. Being responsible for handing out name tags allowed me to put names to faces.”
Business and community leaders welcomed Harper to Knoxville at the reception, which also was attended by UT Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer, Harper’s new staff and other athletics officials. The sponsor hosts included Pilot Flying J, UT Medical Center, Prestige Cleaners, Cherokee Distributing Company and Hickory Construction. (Cynthia Moxley also has Blue Streak coverage and photos of the reception HERE.)
Hamilton especially enjoyed seeing how an empty room can become an orange-themed reception in a few hours.
“The day of the reception was so much fun because we got to transform a large open room into the perfect space for the event,” she said. “Working the name tag table gave me the opportunity to put faces to names which was cool especially when a well-known public figure would walk through the door. I think overall my favorite part of this experience was seeing the guests enjoy the event that was planned so perfectly by our account executives.”
“My favorite part was to meet Coach Fulmer and Coach Kellie Harper and get to talk to such important figures in the Tennessee sports community,” Teetzmann said. “It showed me again how Tennessee and Knoxville are very much about Southern hospitality.”
Maria Cornelius, a writer/editor for Moxley Carmichael, populates the EventCheck Knox calendar. She enjoys hot summer evenings at baseball games and cold draft beer – and looks forward to cool fall afternoons and college football.