Rae Simpson, project manager for Preston Bailey Entertainment and Set Design

There are few ways better to celebrate the special moments in life than by putting on a grand event. When celebrities, royalty and the affluent wish to do so, they usually contact the award-winning and acclaimed event design company, Preston Bailey Entertainment and Set Design. Rae Simpson, project manager for the company, ensures that each event is a success.

As project manager for the past four years, Simpson handles the painstaking details of events such as budget, timeline, risks and resources from conception to execution. Simpson has been responsible for coordinating high-profile events for clients such as Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ivanka Trump and royal figures throughout the Middle East.

Rolling out spoke with Simpson about the three essential tips for anyone seeking to do an event, how she handles major risks, the importance of communication and more.

As a project manager, what is the most valuable skill or talent you utilize to ensure the success of a project?

Communication is by far the most valuable skill to possess and utilize.  Effective communication not only keeps everyone up-to-date on the project’s progress; it also allows resources and stakeholders to make better project decisions.  Some of the things I deem as important that should always be communicated on a regular basis are: project expectations, goals, needs, resources, status reports, budgets and purchase requests.

How has the recession impacted the event planning industry when it comes to sponsorship opportunities, clients or both?

With the downturn of our economy, some professionals in this industry have experienced reduced client opportunities.  I have witnessed a steady trend where our once potential clients are now becoming their own event managers and planners. While entertaining still ranks highly, many would rather skimp on the costs associated with hiring a professional and do the job themselves.

What are your top three tips on how anyone at any income level can plan a successful event?

The secret to planning a successful event, regardless of your income level, is by planning in advance, tapping into your resources and setting goals. It is first critical to plan in advance in order to avoid simple mistakes. Second, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family or colleagues; they are sometimes your best resources. Finally, set clear and realistic goals for your event.

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