How I Got There: Event Strategy Management | Allie Prescott (COL ‘14)

Posted in Student & Alumni Stories

Allie Prescott studied American Musical Culture in the College and is now an Event Strategy Manager at National Public Radio (NPR). Learn how Georgetown shaped her path, what led her to her current position, and more insights regarding her company and the broader non-profit/media industry:

What activities at Georgetown did you find the most valuable and why?

Georgetown University Radio Logo

WGTB Georgetown University Radio was my primary on-campus activity for all four years at GU. It was an opportunity to make friends, gain leadership experience, and to quite literally find my voice when preparing and presenting my weekly radio shows. 

I also had a part-time job at Georgetown Cupcake, which was a way to earn some spending money, gain work experience, and meet people outside the Georgetown bubble. I also had summer internships and a part-time internship during some academic years in the music industry in DC.

How did you find your current position?

Between my graduation in 2014 and my full-time start at NPR in March 2017, I lived in New York and worked for a creative agency that builds and operates boutique hotels. In my role there, I helped curate and execute community- and arts-based event programming across the company’s portfolio, which gave me experience in marketing, budgeting, working with a design team, and collaborating with sponsors. I kept in touch with my previous supervisor from an NPR internship, and she let me know in early 2017 that she was hiring for a similar role back at NPR. Once the position was posted online, I applied, interviewed, completed an event-planning assessment, and was selected for the position.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My role is in live events, so the days and weeks differ depending on when the next show is. If I’m producing an event within a week or so, I’m focused on finalizing the content with the podcast producers or journalists I’m working with, confirming logistics and technical details, doing one last marketing push if needed, and generally checking in on everyone involved with the show to see how they’re feeling and if I can offer support. If my next event isn’t for a while, I’m probably working on long-term planning for several events, mapping out our team’s strategy, closing out our monthly budget, or working with our sponsorship team to see what kind of offerings they can sell against live events.

Critical thinking, a collaborative spirit, and a strong work ethic [are critical]. The rest you can learn.

What surprised you the most when you started working at NPR?

Both of the positions I’ve held have been new, meaning that there was no precedent at either workplace for my duties, how I would be managed, how my days would look, or how I would interact with colleagues in other departments. It was surprising to see how long it would ultimately take to adjust to my roles and to get into a groove with my supervisors. It wasn’t without frustration, but once I realized that the lack of precedent meant that I could carve my own path, I think my patience increased and I became more optimistic. 

What skills are most needed in your role?

Critical thinking, a collaborative spirit and a strong work ethic. The rest you can learn. 

What are the best ways for students to learn more about your industry?

Social media, particularly Twitter. For better or worse, I rarely use it. I prefer to subscribe to media and events e-newsletters in order to have a bit more control of when I’m being bombarded with information.

Technical skills [like accounting/finance, management, and marketing] are needed to make informed business and strategic decisions in any field. 

If you could go back and change one thing, what would that be?

I would have taken more technical, skills-based courses in accounting/finance, management, and marketing. After learning some of these skills on the job, I realized I liked them and had a knack for them – but the learning curves were significant. More importantly, technical skills like these are needed to make informed business and strategic decisions in any field. 

Interested in hearing more stories? Check out the rest of our How I Got There series.