Career Spotlight: The Life of a Special Events Director

Posted by Kellee Wallace on

Parties, glitz, glamour and more…when you think about large events such as birthdays and weddings, these fun words may come to mind. But when you think of events, you don’t really think of someone who graduated from FIDM with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. This is exactly the case with PBS SoCaL’s Director of Special Events, Melissa Carter.

Melissa’s story is really pretty amazing. After graduation, she thought she would be a personal shopper for the rich and famous. Instead, she landed a job as a Regional Sales Manager for Washington Mutual. It was here that the seeds of event planning were planted as she began to organize meetings, golf tournaments and parties for the branch. This then led her to KOCE (now known as PBS SoCaL) where she became an Executive Assistant and took over the role of planning various company functions. In 2008, the 35th anniversary for the station, Melissa was tasked with the very first KOCE Gala. She did such an amazing job that it became an annual event. This year on Saturday, May 17th, we are celebrating the 7th annual PBS SoCaL Gala where the theme is “Putting on the Glitz.”

Now, as the Director of Special Events, Melissa facilitates and fosters relationships with many of PBS SoCaL’s partners, plans galas, manages donors, handles budgets, fundraises and much more. That's a lot of work for a department of one but, with her team of interns, Melissa gets the job done.  “You have to be very organized and detailed oriented to do this job,” she says. The art of organization is a key skill she instills in her interns from the very beginning. And at the end of every event, she and her interns stand back, take 3 deep breaths and take it all in.

Her road may have started in fashion, but she detoured into a career that she performs with enthusiasm and pride. So, while planning events can be a lot of fun, it is also takes a lot of hard dedicated work.