12 Jun 2017
Event management is big business; behind every champagne flute, every microphone, and every finishing line around the world, someone is working tirelessly to bring an event to life.
After a lifetime of learned experience working in the performing arts and entertainment industry, 2015 TAFE Queensland East Coast Student of the Year, 28-year-old Bindi Balazs, decided to move away from the spotlight and is now working in the leading role she was destined to star in.
Bindi is the Athlete Services Event Coordinator at the renowned World Triathlon Corporation, IRONMAN. She is responsible for managing the athlete experience from start to finish. Bindi organises registration and accreditation, arranges racing kits, coordinates presentation ceremonies, visits schools and consults with communities about things like planned road closures, parking and noise. Every day is different and it’s her job to make sure that people not only leave IRONMAN with fond memories, but keep coming back.
“To be a successful events manager you need to be an adrenalin junkie with a stomach for seriously hard work, the ability to keep a level head when things go wrong, and most importantly… a comfy pair of shoes,” Bindi said.
“I live for those little moments when you see an event come together. Little moments that might be over in a blink of an eye, but may have taken months of planning and hours of coordination to execute successfully,” she said.
For as long as she can remember, Bindi has always been extremely goal orientated and determined to find her dream job.
“The best jobs aren’t always advertised. You’ve got to put yourself out there to not only develop your skills, but also build vital networks in the industry you enjoy being in,” Bindi said.
“The hardest part is knowing what you want to do. Your dream job is out there once you know where to look. Define your goal, and then go after it,” she said.
Reflecting on her childhood, it would appear the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree as Bindi attributes her fated move into event management to her mother who was extremely well organised.
“Looking back on it I actually grew up around a pseudo Events Manager, so I guess my progression into the events industry was inevitable really. Mum was so well organised, she always had us doing something fun to keep us busy,” Bindi said.
“If we weren’t at the beach or trekking through mountain paths, we were playing some sort of game in the backyard. I remember we would have cream pie fights, bob for apples blindfolded, and try to eat donuts hung from the clothesline without using our hands,” she said.
As a teenager, Bindi discovered drama school and fell in love with the performing arts. While others were out playing netball, footy or soccer after school, Bindi was busy learning lines and building props for her next show. Performing soon became her passion and after high school she went on to complete an Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts at TAFE in Hervey Bay.
“I loved bringing characters to life. There’s a part of me in every persona I portrayed,” Bindi said. “I felt so alive stepping into character and performing for people. It’s an amazing experience being able to make people laugh, make them cry and sometimes both at the same time; seeing the looks on their faces as they connect with the story and immerse themselves in my performance, hanging on my every word – it still gives me goosebumps.”
“We were only a small group so we had to take an active hands-on role in every show. We would organise the staging and lighting, create costumes and props, and pound the pavement putting posters in shop windows to advertise each show. We even sold tickets in the box office before the show, and at intermission we would quickly duck out to the foyer to sell drinks and snacks,” she said.
From the hinterland of Hervey Bay, Bindi packed her bags and headed to the glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast taking on a job as a Performing Character Waitress at Dracula’s Comedy Cabaret Restaurant. Renowned for being a crazy live cabaret club show with singing, dancing, burlesque, magic, juggling, and aerial performances, Bindi revelled in her new role.
“It was amazing. I could be crass to customers and get away with it. There’d be very few other jobs anywhere in the world like it I’d imagine,” Bindi said. “I made the most of my opportunities and went from waiting tables to training staff and managing the box office. But hospitality is a lifestyle and after three fun years it was time to move on,” she said.
Unbeknown to Bindi, she had built an incredibly valuable repertoire of event management skills throughout her working life. She had made a habit of entering the workforce at the bottom and working her way up into management roles. It was time to combine a lifetime of learned experiences into another qualification and find the role she was seemingly born to play.
“I’d already had a great experience at TAFE, so I returned to undertake a Diploma of Event Management,” Bindi said. “It really opened my eyes. The scope of coordination and planning behind events is so much broader than I had imagined. Managing events is so much more involved than I had expected.”
“The hands-on practical nature of TAFE really helped fast track my knowledge and understanding of the course content. Not many courses can teach patience, common sense, and the ability to stay calm and collected when chaos swirls around you, but I gained these skills from working in the event industry while studying.”
“Volunteering with TAFE at some of the Sunshine Coast’s biggest events and putting everything we’d learnt into practice has literally opened doors for me,” she said.
Bindi studied at TAFE with one goal in mind, and that was to get as much out of her course as possible and take every opportunity that came her way. Her event management qualification has allowed her to work in an industry that she loves and rapidly progress into a management role.
While her final act remains unwritten, when it’s time for her curtain call there is no doubt that Bindi’s legacy will live on quietly, away from the spotlight. Her hard work will have touched countless people all over the world and will live on forever through the memorable experiences they’ve had at one of her events.