ANNA ROBBINS - EVENTS SALES MANAGER
Anna Robbins, or for those old school AV folk you may remember her as Anna "Banana" Dickinson, has the enviable role of Events Sales Manager for Scene Change in the Hunter Valley. For Anna working in events was her dream job - being in the right place at the right time is how she found her way into events and the AV industry.
How long have you worked in AV?
Approximately 11 years in total, 18 months with Scene Change.
How did you get started?
A long time ago I was a Team Leader in Sydney for one of Australia's largest retailers. One of my lovely team members asked me one day Ïf you could be doing anything, what would you want to be doing?" I replied "Ëvent Management". It was quite bizarre as she proceeded to tell me that her daughter worked for an AV events company, and perhaps I should chat to her.
I remember walking into the meeting my team member had set up with her daughter, to a large venue in Sydney. The day was hectic, there was crew running all over the place, equipment going in and out of the ballroom. There was a sense of urgency and purpose in the air. One of the first things she said to me was "some days are awesome and some days are hard bloody work!" I loved the honesty!
Next thing I knew I was meeting the GM of the company, another amazing female in the industry, and was signing contracts to start work with them. No AV training whatsoever, all I had was management, sales and people skills.
It's where it all began, right place at the right time.
What does your current role involve?
I'm an Event Sales Manager at a large venue in the Hunter Valley. My role involves initial discussions with clients to understand what their AV brief is for their event, what they are wanting to achieve. Whether it's a small boardroom meeting of 2, up to a large awards gala dinner for 800. I work on the proposal and once all locked in, I work with my colleagues (Operations & Technicians) to ensure a smooth delivery of the event.
I get to work with a great sales team at the venue as their preferred in house AV supplier, and I love going to work every day. Past roles within AV have included Business Improvement & Business Development.
What do you love most about working in AV?
I love that every day is different. Each client has their own goals and needs for their events, and it's my job to understand this and create an event that achieves this for them. I get to be creative (love me a good lighting show), work with the client, and genuinely care about what their event will look and feel like.
I love that AV has taken me all over the country. I've worked across a lot of venues in Sydney, relocated and lived in Perth for 4 years, relocated back to NSW, all whilst working for AV companies.
I love that I've made some amazing life long friends. The kind of friendships where you may not have spoken to them for a couple of years, but when you catch up, you pick back up where you left off.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I have had a few years out of the industry, and over that time, got married, had a child etc etc. I was a little nervous to be coming back into the industry as so much had changed in my life, and I remembered the demand of the industry could sometimes be full on. I am super lucky that I have bosses who are very understanding of work life balance and that family matters.
I've had no trouble easing back into AV life, now full time with flexible working arrangements available to me. Loving being back!
I'd love to encourage women to reach out to each other, just like what happened to me. You never know, you may just be in the right place at the right time to get into the industry you've always wanted to!