October 3, 2019

Course spotlight: Event Production and Design

Professor Lauren Grech teaches Event Production and Design in the MS in Event Management. In this post, she tells us about her background, and the objectives for this course.

What is your background? 

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of LLG Agency, the first global wedding agency that specializes in generating wedding revenue. LLG Agency grew out of LLG Events, my international event management and design firm that specializes in luxury destination weddings and experiential events in New York City and worldwide.

I assisted in curriculum building and serve as an Adjunct Professor for New York University’s M.S. in Event Management program, the first of its kind in the United States. In addition to educating on international business, tourism, hospitality and events in class, I am a Pro Educator for The Knot, a Castell Project Women Speaker in Hospitality, regularly speak at other Universities, at LLG's free monthly meetups for students and young professionals, and serve as a panelist amongst other industry C-level executives. I have been invited to speak at the first-ever International Women In Travel & Tourism Summit in Iceland, the BrideLux Symposium in London, the Exotic Wedding Planners Congress in Dubai, and the Event Planner Expo in New York City. I am also a Global Luxury Expert for the Luxury Institute, and a Top Hotel News Expert and Influencer.

I am a 29-year-old first-generation Peruvian American whose background is in research and development, as my formal education originally led me to a career in forensic toxicology. After planning my own wedding, I became enamored with the industry and began volunteering for 32 hours most weekends, working every job from barback to waiting tables to bridal attending to valet to wedding planning. I shadowed everyone I could, to learn every aspect of the industry. I knew that if I was going to be successful and respected, I needed to also have respect and exposure to every position.

Within three years, LLG Events became the youngest company ever-invited to the Destination Wedding Planners Congress, where 70+ countries are represented by luxury vendors that cater to celebrities and royalty, and was nominated for a 2019 ACE Planner Award for North America. I have been recognized by Luxury Daily; named Corporate & Incentive Travel’s Most Influential Women in the Meeting Industry for 2019; and PeopleMaven’s Up-and-Coming Founders and Top Wedding Planners in the United States.

At the Tisch Center, you teach the Event Production and Design course. What are the objectives of the course? 

The objective for this course is to educate students so that after completion, they are able to design an event in any space, and in any location. My goal is for students to understand the event capabilities at the various venues they might have to work in, and how to translate that into event requirements for the client. A big component of that involves budget and the vendors needed to produce a successful event, so I’m also teaching them about pricing standards and collaboration over competition amongst vendors in the industry. Students will gain perspective on how much an event costs, and how long it takes to plan an event. Many of my students want to start their own business, so I incorporated lessons of entrepreneurship, event sales and business development into the course as well. Overall, students should be able to walk away from the course with knowledge of how to price themselves and their services; how to extrapolate client requirements and translate those client requirements into the right event components needed to produce an event with flawless execution. They will have the ability to determine the right venue based on the venue’s event capabilities and build the right team of vendors based on their level of professionalism and service.

Why are you interested in this specific topic?

This is what I do on a daily basis—plan and produce weddings and experiential events around the world.

I spent the past two years traveling all over the world—from Europe, the Middle East, and French Polynesia, to Asia and Central America. I examined the global event industry from the perspective of the planner, client, venue and event vendors, uncovering fierce competition; pricing disparities amongst vendors from various professions; and no defined criteria for event execution, causing venues to underperform within their events departments. This is all due to the fact that there has never been any formal, accredited training for established event professionals within the wedding and event industries and how the industry applies to hospitality and tourism.

These issues also transcend to a confused clientele with no baseline knowledge of what to expect or who to entrust with their event investment. Not only are clients confused, but new vendors entering the industry also do not know how to price themselves, and have difficulty defining their value and knowing where to start. The industry needs fundamental requirements on what it takes to run an accredited event business—whether within a hotel, event venue, planning business, etc. And just as important, what the criteria look like to actually run a successful event from concept to execution.

As such, I saw an industry-wide and global need for event management standards and vendor accreditation and NYU’s Event Management graduate degree addresses most of the issues I stated above. As I started building my Event Production and Design course, I simultaneously created the first global wedding agency that is industry-focused and multi-disciplined within event management, business development, public relations, data analytics, and event marketing—specifically for luxury weddings. I have since developed the world’s first event management evaluation for social events as a baseline for hotels, resorts and venues to thoroughly understand their event limits and requirements, and how to properly develop, expand, evaluate and scale their events business.

I want to provide my students with this perspective where they learn the fundamentals of event management, production and design. They will have the skills needed to go out in the world and run their own companies or serve on internal events teams where they have a thorough understanding of how to sell events or select a venue based on the capabilities of the venue. This will make them stronger event management experts and event designers.

What sort of impact do you hope to have on your students through this course?

I hope that my students begin to implement event standards across the different companies and sectors that events are just beginning to touch. I want them to be well-versed in event criteria and evaluations of event spaces; have a thorough understanding of client objectives and how to apply their expectations to the event requirements needed to produce the event. Be able to mitigate risk between all parties involved in an event, such as outside vendors; possess deep knowledge of internal event operations and logistics to see through successful event execution; and make history with the first graduate-level Event Management program in our country.

In essence, I am extremely passionate about empowering others to inspire positive change, and educating the next generation to secure the future of our industry. That is my goal, at this job and within this industry, that is what I love. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

I am very much enjoying teaching the course and the work that I do, and I can't wait for 2020! This program and the Tisch Center is skyrocketing and this curriculum is going to set standards for global education reform in the event management sector.

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