On the Job with Kirsten Stava

What is the biggest lesson you've learned working in the profession?

I’ve learned that it’s always a good idea to have as many emergency backup plans as possible and to be ready to change plans at the drop of a hat! No matter how much we plan and prepare for an event, there’s always the high probability of small last-minute changes and a chance that something catastrophic will occur to disrupt the event. It is much easier to facilitate those fixes when there are multiple options waiting in the background.

When working with events, what factor is most likely to make or break its success?

Adaptability, followed closely by patience. Change comes rapidly and frequently, especially when dealing with a student population, and being able to accommodate that change is critical.

What is one project or innovation you're proud to have helped implement?

I recently received the opportunity to chair our new sustainability committee, which has brought together members of our staff who are truly interested and excited about environmental issues. While it has sometimes been a slow process, seeing tangible results is one of the most rewarding aspects of work for me, and I love that I have coworkers whose goals and enthusiasm match mine.

Describe a memorable day on the job.

There was a 24-hour period when I first started in my current position that really jumpstarted my “have a thousand backup plans” philosophy. We had a Saturday jam-packed with VIP events. I asked our night and weekend manager to handle the evening event, and I came in for the morning one. The morning turned into a perfect storm of major last-minute changes and additions combined with an almost complete audio-visual failure and power outage, some late employees, and a recovering bathroom, which had flooded out into our atrium the night before.

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