Career Connections

Jordan Simon

Major: Event Management

Minor/option/emphasis: Hospitality Management

Year: Junior
Hometown/State: Chicago, IL

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: All Community Events
Company/Organization website:
Title: Race Director
Destination: Round Lake, IL
Timeframe: Fall 2014 to present

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
Throughout my experience I have been responsible for managing several 5k running events from start to finish. I have learned how to do everything from applying for street permits to ordering products for participants. Everything that goes into the production of a recreational event I have done in some form. All tasks are tailored to the different events so my responsibilities change all the time depending on where the 5k is located.

I accomplished...
Over the year and a half I have worked with All Community Events I have successfully completed five events in five different states from start to finish.

My most valuable effort...
The most valuable project that I have worked on was the 5k event I planned in Nashville, TN. The reason why it was the most valuable to me is because Nashville is a very prestigious and particular city. What I mean by this is that they truly have a way about doing things that are unique to Nashville. In order for me to plan the event there were very specific requirements I had to meet. Most other cities we travel to are more lenient and relaxed but due to the sheer size of Nashville there are definitely standards a race director has to meet there. Planning the 5k in Nashville took a great deal of patience, planning, and care. I spent a lot of time working with many different contractors and city council members to make the event happen at LP Field.

I learned...
My most valuable learning experience was when I learned how to properly type an email. I know this sounds simple but there truly is an art to it. Each email needs to be individually tailored to the recipient and I have learned within this industry everyone responds to words differently. My boss has taught me well on how to respond in a professional manor by still being able to get my point across and have tasks completed that I need by other people. I find this skill to be very crucial in this career field because most of the communication between you and a contractor is done through email.

I will never forget...
I will never forget the very first 5k event I planned in Fort Wayne, IN and the smiles across the participants faces when they crossed the finish line. I felt such a sense of pride not only in them for finishing but in myself for accomplishing something I never thought I was capable of doing before. From the moment I woke up that morning to the minute the last participant crossed the finish line my nerves were at an all time high. I was always double checking things over and over again in my head. I wanted to prove I was the right person for the job. I must had done something right because I have planned four more events since then.

A surprising discovery...
One thing that I did not expect from the job is that there are people out there that bluntly do not care whether or not your event happens as long as they get what they want. Meaning the venue gets paid or the proper land use applications get filed. It is important to remember that as a race director it is my actions that predict the quality of the event. This is how I approach all my races because if I do not put in 110% of my effort it shows in the final production.

Advice for others...
For anyone following in my footsteps I would advise them to buy a day planner! With there being so many different entities within just one single event, as a race director I have to be very organized. I am not just talking about writing down what task you have to complete for the day but the fine details so nothing is missed. As a race director I hold the success of the run in my hands and it is up to me to make sure it runs smoothly. I would also advise to never be afraid to ask questions. There are many things that I have never come across in my lifetime and it is better to ask a million questions than do something incorrectly. I know these are cliché words of advice but they are crucial to this type of work environment.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
I learned about this career-related opportunity through a mutual friend who worked at the events on the weekends.

I landed this assignment by...
To be honest I worked a Mother's Day 5k for All Community Events and at the end of the event my boss asked me if I would like a job. He used the event as my interview.

I wanted this experience because...
I worked very hard to get to be at the position I am at currently. I plan 5k events independently for the company All Community Events. I love the freedom my boss gives me when it comes to managing the events and I enjoy how I am always busy with work. I am also lucky enough to say with all my hard work I have been offered a full time position for when I graduate in the fall of 2016.

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