What’s Event Management School Like?

By Becky Genoways, CFEE | Posted on November 12, 2013

If I told you that Event Management School has been described by the International Festival and Events Association’s (IFEA) CEO Steve Schmader as part “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and part “Celebrity Apprentice,” I’d bet you’d want to be in on the fun?  

Well it is true, it has been described like that and I’ll tell you more about what Event Management School is like, but first let me tell you that as an instructor, Event Management School is one of the highlights of my year. The attendees are 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.


Blog-Events-at-Parks-and-RecreationI have been fortunate to be part of a remarkable team of event professionals who present this week-long program that is designed to bring the latest trends and best practices to attendees in a concentrated, focused environment.   

Part Learning, Part Competition 

Here’s how the school works. The first-year class spends their days attending one-hour sessions that cover the fundamentals of event management. 

The second-year attendees spend their mornings exploring topics in-depth and then work in teams to create a new event for an IFEA World City winner. This is where the reality TV-show-type challenge comes to play. 

The event teams have valuable resources from the IFEA city winners at their disposal to aid them in their event research and development. Through the week they have to work in a comprehensive way to manage the project and at the end of the week provide a formal presentation that “pitches” the event to several event industry judges.  

Event Planners, Wearer of Many Hats 

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 was that event planners must possess skills and knowledge that are universal to many 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.  

Overall, the learning and exercises during Event Management School 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. 

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 to create successful events while making it appear effortless. That is what makes accomplished event professionals so indispensable.  


What is your most popular event hosted in your community? How is your agency staying on top of the event trends? Share with us in the comments below or tweet with us  @NRPA_News


Editor’s Note: Register now for the Event Management School, presented by IFEA and NRPA at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia.  


Blog-Becky-Genoways-Event-School-InstructorBecky Genoways, CFEE is a leading industry consultant and former President and CEO of On the Waterfront, Inc., a multiple-event production company located in Illinois. Genoways is a 30-year veteran of the festivals and events industry and is the Immediate Past Chair of the IFEA World Board of Directors and a member of the President’s Council of the International Festivals & Events Association.