June 29, 2020
By Caroline Lutz, Events and Marketing Coordinator
There’s something about the Akron Zoo that draws you in, keeps you engaged, and leaves you planning your next trip before you’ve even left the park. Whether that “something” is seeing your favorite animals up-close, knowing you are playing an active role in conservation efforts, or attending your favorite annual event, the Akron Zoo has a special way of connecting your life to wildlife while inspiring lifelong learning and conservation action.
Knowing I am an essential part of that process not only humbles me, but provides a sense of pride incomparable to any job I have experienced. The mission my position supports has also kept me coming back for more! In 2017, my journey started as the communication intern, which eventually opened the door to become a part-time events specialist in 2018. In January 2019, I was lucky enough to become a full-time member of the communications team as the events and marketing coordinator managing events like Brew at the Zoo and Boo at the Zoo.
The event world is constantly evolving, riding the waves of current trends and established traditions. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, but stay one step ahead of coming and going movements. These conflicting narratives are constantly in the forefront of my mind when revisiting flagship events as well as revamping and creating new staples. Trend events are a lot like a roller coaster; Be proactive and jump on the trend while the car is on its way up, ride it to the top, then reevaluate and revamp after the car hits its highest altitude. Traditions, on the other hand, are a different story. They are a critical part of our integrated culture and provide a reason to celebrate history and family. Knowing I play a role in creating lasting memories for family and friends weighs heavily, and it is imperative for me that the experience is a positive one.
My goal for both event trends and traditions alike is simple: give the people what they want! Although I have an incredibly hard time accepting that I cannot please everyone all of the time, it’s critical to think about what will be best for the majority of guests, and anticipate problems before they arise. Researching and tailoring crafts, activities, food, entertainment, music, layouts and many more details to the correct audience is crucial to executing a successful event that guests truly enjoy and want to return to! I get to dream big, but cannot let the micro-level details fall by the wayside. Attention to detail and focus on inclusion will transform a good event into a great event.
After a long road of big plans, crumbled then rebuilt ideas and seemingly endless details, it’s event day! A successful event is done collectively, not alone, and it takes incredible patience, understanding and involvement from all departments throughout the zoo. I am supported by so many creative and passionate people who play a key role in creating and executing a successful event. After an event concludes, it is not just a win for myself, it is a shared achievement that we should all be proud of. Shout out to EVERYONE!
A strategic, detail oriented plan, clear communication, and a dedicated team are the key ingredients for cooking up the perfect event. We are all working toward something bigger here at the zoo. A beer fest isn’t simply about drinking beer and Boo at the Zoo isn’t just about collecting candy. While creating lifelong memories during events, you are supporting numerous conservation efforts that span locally to globally, helping care for the animals right here at your Akron Zoo, and galvanizing a lasting relationship with nature. The zoo is where education and fun join forces for a better cause, and I feel so blessed and fortunate to play a small role in that process.