- Event First Steps
Taking the Leap: From Physiotherapist to Event Manager
Starting in the events industry can be as overwhelming for a fresh graduate, as is it is for someone who has worked in another industry for years. In this post, our co-founder Priya meets with Brenda Obwona who made such a career leap after creating a name for herself in the physiotherapy world.
Brenda kindly agreed to share her experience on how she made the transition from physiotherapy into the events sector, to help others who might be going through the same thing. Read on to find out how she did it:
Priya: Can you tell us a bit about your past career and what you are currently doing?
Brenda: I trained as a physiotherapist and worked in that industry for 7 years. I specialised in an area called Musculoskeletal, which involved treating injuries and conditions affecting muscles joints and soft tissue. Currently I am a freelance event manager.
P: What made you decide to make such a change... what made you want to get into the events industry?
B: I had always had my hands in events in some capacity! From helping friends and family plan and coordinate parties/weddings or organising dinners, retreats and events at church. The last wedding I did I remember I had so many people asking me about my services, but at the time I was still doing Physiotherapy. When I decided to leave that job, I just didn’t consider any other industry because putting events together is something I truly enjoy.
P: So ,what steps did you take personally to ensure this was the right move?
B: The decision to change careers came when I was 30; therefore going into a new industry would have a big impact on my life as I knew it. To make sure it was the right move for me, I researched, prayed and discussed it with my husband.
P: And how was the actual transition process between industries?
B: After I quit my physiotherapy job, I travelled to Asia for 3 weeks and then had a break for about 4 months before starting to actively looking to get into the events industry - but as I had known this was something I had wanted to do for a while I had some savings to fall back on during that four month break. I also did take a short events management course to give me a little 'technical' understanding.
P: How easy or challenging was it to find your first events role?
B: I came to the understanding very early on in my transition that I would need to start from the bottom in a new industry. I applied for internships (unpaid and paid) and was given an opportunity by one company! Upon completion of this internship I was asked to stay on in a paid role - which was great.
P: So now you're settled in events, what do you enjoy the most?
B: Honestly, I love the fact that there is so much variety within the events industry, not only in terms of the sectors within it - but the types of events available. I also like the fact that you get to work with a lot of different people. Everyday is different!
P: And finally, what advice would you give to someone in a similar position looking to make a career change?
B: Have a realistic perception of the industry and don’t go into it thinking it will be all champagne and parties! The transition can take time, so be humble and be willing to work your way up. This may involve having to take a lower paying job, or going from a senior position to being the most junior person in the team. It is all part of the learning process and whilst it can feel disheartening at times, remember you have a lot of valuable transferable and workplace skills that you bring with you from your past career!
You can connect with Brenda on LinkedIn and Instagram.
If you want to share your story with us, get in touch!