Britton Hogge #009
In this episode, we sit with my former Director of Operations, Britton Hogge who now works as a Software Analyst for the government. We begin with a Flaviar tasting of Bourbon and plenty of Virginia based cocktail snacks to keep us going while discussing tasting events at wineries, surprise bus tours, and bedazzled merchandise. We continue with a tasting of Rye, through TV show tapings, city logistics, and the daunting task of event debris removal. Finally, we end our Tasting with Scotch as we go over finding your gaming Clan, the benefits of the Twitch platform, and how digital events allow ease of global programming and audience.
Reuters “New York’s same-sex marriage law sets off waves of engagements” By Barbara Goldberg June 25, 2011 http://jp.reuters.com/article/
New York Times “At Clerks’ Offices, Girding for More Weddings” By Nicholas Confessore and Michael Barbaro June 25, 2011 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/
Adapting to Change
By Amanda Younger
Humans are perceptible to change. The seasons change and it rains, but we adjust our wardrobe. The train is down for maintenance and we adjust our route. We changed how we socialize from high school to college to work environments and for Director of Operations guest, Britton Hogge, he adjusted to creating experiences at Jefferson Vineyard right out of graduation.
If anyone that has visited a distillery or vineyard knows that event experience starts when you exit the bus and enter the tour and end in the tasting room. By the time you are done, you are a little buzzed and happy to enter a gift shop with your new best friends and a new favorite beverage. And like any event, it takes a team to make sure the attendee experience is fulfilled even when the amount of attendees exceeds what the event has planned for. “A lot of times [a bus] would come unannounced, and as we both know in events, most of the time is spent putting out fires and dealing with stuff as it happens…You hear a rumble outside and someone goes ‘Oh my God, there’s a bus outside’ and now you have 60 more people.”
Operations usually have a plan in place for inclement weather, backup vendors, and something up their sleeve on programming if talent arrives late. The important adjustment to make for the attendee experience is knowing your team, so when you are staffed for a certain number of attendees and more arrive, you know the skillset of the team and their limits. A seasoned event manager can adjust staff placement and readjust on the fly. We learned from Hogge to know your pressure points – slim down the tasting and touring crew to fill the cashiers and pourers.
Adaptation continued for Hogge as he moved to New York City and answered a tweet promoting a job posting for NYC Pride filling in roles and responsibilities undefined and missing in the organization. Slowly putting on different hats to get the job done from Media to Insurance; Permits to Sanitation/Sustainability; Technology to Grant filings. As the organization grew, more staff could come on board and be delegated tasks so new needs could be executed. “Spent about 9 years [in NYC] total, and 8 ½ of that was with Pride….and I can proudly say that while I was there all of the events went off without a hitch. We never had a major safety issue; never had major security concerns.” A basic tenant from Hogge is to learn the role before assigning it to a team member, that way you know not only how to manage its execution but you can teach and guide your staff along the way.
Taking that technology prowess with him, Hogge returned to Virginia as an IT maestro for his hometown County, in October 2019. Settling into his new career, with the onset of COVID-19, his background in events took hold as he pivoted with the rest of us, coordinating virtual meetings, workshops, and discussions for the local government during lockdown. “I didn’t take this role thinking that I would still be an event producer, but I am sometimes.” Coming full circle he learned how to manage technical difficulties at home and remotely fixing connections and troubleshooting errors so emergency protocols and options can be discussed and communicated in real time. Producing trainings and workshops, Hogge’s tech role has mirrored the live experience he directed in his previous occupations, a role we have had to quickly learn to advance our own skill set into a technologically advanced one in this new virtual event world.
Finally, we discuss our love of video games and the way community and connection have been built virtually. And no system is a better example of virtual experiences than eSports. In the online gaming community you can find ways to improve your skills, watch gaming celebrities play their favorite and best games, and talk with people you have never met to cooperate, build, destroy, and conquer without leaving your bedroom. Twitch has emerged as a platform to further discussion within the community and even sports retailers like Fanatics can sell you clothes for your favorite gaming teams in multiple eSport Leagues. If you or your brand are ready to fully immerse yourself in a virtual event forum, find the multiple arms of engagement within the gaming community and play on!
Articles Cited in the program:
Reuters “New York’s same-sex marriage law sets off waves of engagements” By Barbara Goldberg June 25, 2011