Another two weeks have gone by and we continue to explore the amazing world of the Business Event Industry and the talented patchwork of people that form the building blocks. Today’s episode is the unexpected story of a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) brimming with talent and a love for sourdough. 

It’s been a few years since the Auaha squad observed Wellingtonian Raewyn Tse make the brave switch from Sales Manager at Positively Venues Wellington (now Venues Wellington) into a full-fledged PCO at Conference Innovations.

Her journey is a testament to the opportunity that comes with nurturing transferable skills and trusting the wisdom of instinct. But above everything else, it’s about allowing life to surprise you and finding your mojo in the midst of it.

‘You can’t transition from a venue environment in to a PCO environment’- Or can you?

The above quote is mine, believe it or not.

Worse… I made it during a conversation with Raewyn. Boy, did she prove me wrong. I love it when that happens. Making the switch from a Venue Sales Manager to a PCO is a professional leap not everybody can pull off. But Raewyn did.

Raewyn’s story starts with an innate interest in people and relationships. It’s what got her to pursue a Bachelor of Psychology and Criminology. The simple suggestion of a friend- ‘You can do this, Rae’- introduced her to the Event sector.

Although she never thought of herself as a salesperson, diving in head first helped her understand that sales is not necessarily the bad thing it’s made out to be.

On the contrary, Raewyn soon established it’s about helping people. It’s about using your skills and talent to come up with a solution for their problems. Raewyn took matters in her own hands, leaned on the tools and turned a reactive junior role into a proactive position that saw her soar.

The rest is history.

The buzz of being a PCO

The complexity of a PCO role may be a challenge to others. To Raewyn, it’s a bonus. She thrives on the variety the job offers and the opportunity to interact with people across all industries.

Her favourite moment is when the event finally comes together and the fruits of all the hard work pay off.

‘There is no such thing as a unicorn event. You always have to have a Plan B and be able to think on your feet. But nothing beats the moment when everything comes together and the client thanks you for the top-notch experience. There’s a real buzz about that.’

What the future may bring…

The positivity that characterises Raewyn and her roll with the punches attitude is not only a necessity in her day-to-day activity. It’s proving to be an unexpected perk with today’s challenges.

There is no doubt that the Business Event Industry is currently being tested to the core. Raewyn solidly believes that when the carpet is pulled from under you on this level, the only way to stay afloat is to manoeuvre with the new environment.

Luckily, as a PCO she is good at that, but the scale of it scares her.

‘I love being a PCO and I would like to say I’m in it for the long haul. But we’ll just have to see what the future brings.’

Rae’s favourite Ah-ha moment

‘Like everybody, I’m currently reflecting on what’s important in life.  All the classic stereotypical quotes come to mind.’

The Ah-ha moment that stands out is the question of who her ideal client is. It helped her figure out what she values so much in her job. It’s the team spirit.

Recognising that, with or without a virus causing havoc, it’s difficult for everybody. But people pulling together and supporting each other, makes all the difference.

‘I love it when we all row our boat in the same direction and ultimately come out stronger.’

Scary as these times may be, the experience is full of hope for what’s to come. When all is said and done, no matter what the future holds, people will always need to keep meeting and the Event Industry will be there to help them organise it.

Raewyn is an experienced business events professional with a strong background in project and event management, business development and team leadership. She has been a PCO with Conference Innovators since 2016 after almost 9 years in venue sales with what is now Venues Wellington.

Rae has a BA and BSc majoring in Criminology, Education & Psychology from Victoria University and is a born and bred Wellington. Rae has a passion for food, with a slight obsession with sourdough and loves the outdoors.