What’s Event Management School Like?


by Posted on November 12, 2013

Written by: Guest blogger Becky Genoways, CFEE, Chair of the World Board of Directors and a member of the President’s Council of the International Festivals and Events Association.

As an instructor, Event Management School is one of the highlights of my year. The attendees have been from many different sectors, including park and recreation departments, municipalities and branches of the military. The enormous depth and wealth of the knowledge and experience of the attendees has been impressive and the atmosphere at the Event Management School at Oglebay encourages the development of life-long relationships with your fellow students.

I have been fortunate to be part of a remarkable team of event professionals who present this weeklong program that is designed to bring the latest trends and best practices to attendees in a concentrated, focused environment.   

Here is how it works:

The first-year class spends their days attending one-hour sessions that cover the fundamentals of event management, while the second-year attendees spend their mornings exploring topics in-depth and then work in teams to create a new event for an International Festival and Events Association  (IFEA) world city winner.  Described by IFEA CEO Steve Schmader as part “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and part “Celebrity Apprentice,” the event teams have valuable resources from the IFEA event city winners at their disposal to aid them in their event research and development.  A comprehensive exercise in project management, the week culminates in a formal presentation that “pitches” the event to several event industry judges.  


Events and festivals are important tools for parks and recreation and having the right training can lead to success.

Overall, the process exemplifies what makes the event industry so vibrant. To be successful you must have skills in event development and production and be educated in the elements of many diverse and specialized professions. Event planners not only apply their skills to produce events but there are always several wild cards that have to be managed to ensure positive outcomes. You have to be able to interact and partner effectively with people from many professions and walks of life, including government officials, vendors, sponsors, entertainers and volunteers.  

When I attend conferences or teach seminars throughout the world, I always take new perspectives, ideas and insights back to the event industry. 

But perhaps the most profound realization that I gained at the Event Management School last year, was that event planners must possess skills and knowledge that are universal to many professions. What other profession integrates so many specialized areas of knowledge, including marketing, sales, logistics, programming, sponsorship, concessions, contingency planning, finance and operations to name just a few? Event managers are required to wear many hats and possess a broad set of skills.  

They are masters of successfully integrating all of these elements in order to create successful events while making it appear effortless and that is what makes accomplished event professionals so indispensable.  

I hope you will join us at the Event Management School in January!

In your park and recreation agency, what type of events are you hosting or developing for your community?  What do you think is an important skill to have for executing successful events? How would your agency benefit from additional development and education around event management? Leave a comment below or chat with us on social media

Editor’s Note: Event Management School is presented by IFEA and NRPA and takes place at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia.  Event Management School will be held January 19 – 23, 2014 and registration is open

About Becky

Blog-Becky-Genoways-Event-School-Instructor Becky Genoways is a leading industry consultant and former President and CEO of On the Waterfront, Inc., a multiple-event production company located in Illinois. During her 12-year tenure as CEO of On the Waterfront, the organization expanded their product offerings to include a concert series, music walk and golf event.  She also established a seasonal City Market in the central city.

Genoways, a 30-year veteran of the festivals and events industry, is a Certified Festival & Event Executive (CFEE) and currently serves as Chair of the World Board of Directors and a member of the President’s Council of the International Festivals & Events Association. 

Comments (1)

I didn't even know that there is a school for Event Management. I wonder what subjects students have to take and how long is school in for. Very interesting course though. by Shirley Martinez on 11/15/2013

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