One of the primary roles of Kate Power as an executive assistant at Twitter is to throw epic events. Here, Connect catches up with Power, who recently celebrated her three-year “Twitterversary,” to hear what it’s like to work at the social media giant’s headquarters in San Francisco and her best event planning hacks.
Tell us about working at Twitter headquarters. What’s the best part?
There are a ton of perks. The Twitter Café serves free meals throughout the day—everything from comfort food to a juice bar with kombucha on tap. The "Twitter 20” is a running joke among new employees.
What type of events do you plan?
I plan all kinds of events—large ones for 1,000-plus people to small executive meetings for Twitter’s C-level executives. Most of the experiences I prepare and execute are for our team at headquarters.
Tell us about the large events.
We hold large events twice a year for employees and their families, which amounts to more than 1,000 people. We recently rented out a food truck venue. It was an urban playground with a sprawling grass field, so we rented bounce houses and offered face painting, carnival games and crafts for the kids.
What’s the most challenging event you’ve ever planned?
Our 2018 holiday party was challenging. We took an empty shell of a building—an abandoned drag show bar that was way off the beaten path, but close to the office—and made it into a glamorous event. The venue was cheap to rent but came with absolutely nothing. It was filthy when we got there—covered in dust and cobwebs. We had to quickly hire cleaners and move out old furniture before we could even set up.
What’s been the most surprising thing about event planning at Twitter?
Murphy’s law! I can plan and plan and plan, but something will still go wrong every time, guaranteed. I’ve experienced electrical problems, vendors failing to show up and a glaring typo on the invitation. I’ve had giveaway swag stuck in floods in other states. I’ve scheduled an event at HQ when the building underwent construction. It’s all about being flexible, problem-solving and thinking outside the box. My motto is, “The event must go on.”
Power’s Top 10 Event Planning Hacks
- Host events close to the office, conference or retreat. No one wants a long drive to or from a party.
- Always offer an activity or entertainment
- Plan and place orders far in advance
- Research venues and vendors using Yelp.com or talk to a few friends who live in your host city for recommendations
- Learn the art of negotiation. Just like anything, it gets easier with practice.
- Support local businesses whenever possible. Not only is it a good practice, but they’re often more willing to work with you on prices.
- Market your event well. Figure out what guests want, weave it into your event and advertise it well.
- Encourage organization leaders to attend your event. Team members want face time with their bosses.
- Offer incentives for committing and showing up. Offer a drawing to win prizes to the first 50 who RSVP and a door prize to the first 10 who show up.
- Think fast, easy, fun and inclusive