Job Title: Conference Producer
Type of Company: High Tech publishing
Education: Associates Degree
Previous Experience: I worked for an advertising agency as an account executive.
Job Tasks: I research the top Fortune 1000 companies running SAP software to manage their business processes, and find out where they are having difficulty in using the software for their supply chain organization. This includes product development, product planning, forecasting, production and manufacturing, procurement and logistics. Once I understand where people are having difficulties, I find experts from around the world to deliver presentations and share "best practice" information with the user community. Then I build a conference program that is made up of up to 180 of these sessions (75 minutes long) and manage the on-site conference in both Europe and the US. Sessions include strategic, operational and functional information about a wide variety of applications relevant to managing supply chains. This information can be applied in a range of different businesses: Pharmaceutical, Oil and Gas, (process-based manufacturing types), Automotive, (discrete manufacturing process), Retail, High Tech, Agricultural, and many others. Conferences are typically four days long and are held at different times throughout the year. Every year there are more than 5000 people who attend. The business model is based upon revenue from registration and exhibitors and sponsors who also profit from getting in front of this audience. Speakers are customers delivering case studies, consultants giving best practices talks, and SAP product owners providing application updates and list of topics is long: warehouse and inventory management, sourcing, transportation, risk and performance management, production planning, and others.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: My work is cyclical making certain times of the year very busy and hectic, and other times slow and filled with administrative work. The on-site part of the job has extremely long hours (up to 12 hours daily for 5 days in a row). This can be difficult. Managing thousands of people on-site is a challenge as well, but it has its high points and low points.
1. If you are already working for a company that does this, make sure it is reputable. There are many conference companies that are not trustworthy.
2. Make sure someone who runs the business and manages the money knows how to do it properly!
3. Make sure your content is good and you know how to write about it.
Additional Thoughts: Understanding the content, however, is less important for putting together a conference than organizational skills. People hire for spirit and willingness and, in the end, it is always about making another person's job easier. Be smart and pay attention.
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