Farmer of the Year: Melissa Spitz of DigitasLBi

Lauren Taylor on 1/30/17 10:30 AM

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Event professionals are notorious for their incredibly hectic and often stressful schedules. When they’re not sourcing venues, finding sponsors, sending invitations, accommodating dietary restrictions (there are a lot!), or hiring entertainment, they’re probably busy working out the logistical details of an event to ensure that everything runs smoothly—or spending time worrying that it won’t.

But ultimately, event pros jump through these hoops to get back to something basic: humans. Our Farmer of the Year, Melissa Spitz of DigitasLBi, understands the impact she can have doing just that.

Not only has Melissa been a champion of our brand and helped shape a strong Event Farm-Digitas partnership, but she has also built a successful career around the importance of human interaction. It’s a simple idea, but one that is frequently lost in the noise of online and digital, and it’s a tenet that is central to Event Farm’s core values.

Join us in congratulating Melissa, and keep reading to learn more about her work in and thoughts about the event management space.

melissa-spitz-farmer-of-the-year-digitaslbi.jpgWhy do you think it’s important to throw events?
Any opportunity that brings people together and allows them to create new ideas, build relationships, and drive business is important. Events also greatly contribute to the economy, and I think by being an event professional I do my part.

How do you leverage events to strengthen business relationships, particularly in a B2B space?
Events give people the opportunity for face-to-face interaction. With clients all over the world, it’s important to have moments that bring them together, especially with events that are related to our industry.

Events are particularly useful for us in the advertising industry not only because they allow for face-to-face time with our customers, they also give us the opportunity to interact with our partners. Everybody has the chance to be in the same room, which doesn’t always happen in day-to-day business.

What do you enjoy most about your career in the events industry?
I’m sure everybody would say that we’re a bunch of crazy nuts, because on paper it’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks it is. I’ve made it my career because of the people that I work with—the people in my company, the suppliers I work with on the ground, the partners I work with to get to the end result. It’s really about the joy of working with other people. If you’re with a group of people and you’re able to just laugh or dance it out, it makes the project fun.

I also think it goes hand-in-hand with my love of traveling. I like having the ability to be in other places, learn from other cultures, and see how other people do what they do.

What is a typical day for you?
It’s a little bit of everything and a lot of logistics. It’s anything from making calls or digging through the funniest and latest unicorn tchotchke on the internet to thinking through the strategy of our next meeting or talking with partners about our activation at the next ad industry event. Sometimes I’m ordering catering, and sometimes I’m unpacking a bunch of boxes.

How has using Event Farm made your life easier?
It’s made things easier in a lot of ways. One, it has provided a database of our customers. We’re able to see and know about their habits and what kind of events they’ve attended. The check-in app has also been a life saver for me—we rely on it in order to get the best data on-site about who has attended our event.

What do you value most about your partnership with Event Farm?
It’s two-fold. First, it’s the people. The team members at Event Farm are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with, both from a business standpoint but also just as real people. I find that I truly know a lot of the folks that I deal with day-to-day. I also know I could call anyone at Event Farm at any time and they will help me get anything done that needs to be done—which is helpful in a world where things can change so quickly.

Second, it’s the company. For us at Digitas, there are some insights that we need to make our events better year over year. The flexibility from a discovery standpoint on the Event Farm side to help us make our lives easier provides the roadmap and tools within the software that we need to do our jobs efficiently.

What is the best event you’ve ever attended?
There’s nothing better than watching a marathon live. One particular experience that stands out was when I was in London and realized it was the day of the London marathon. Being able to see the professional runners finish was a very exciting moment. I won’t ever run a marathon, but being able to watch that type of community is really exciting.

If you were a real farmer, what would you farm?
Grapes. A vineyard is technically a farm, and that would probably take me back to Portugal, where I traveled for my honeymoon. Although working on a vineyard (from all of my experience touring them) is incredibly hard work—so I’m not sure I’d be so quick to trade in my event planner hat for vineyard life.

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