An event to remember

Student practicum leads to full time job with Explore Edmonton

Tarwinder Rai - 19 August 2022

Amanda Nord was 15 years old when she first got a glimpse into the world of event planning, as a children’s summer camp leader and programmer with Sturgeon County. Little did she know that her new-found experience was going to ignite a spark that would lead her to a professional career.

“I loved event planning so much that I decided to take a degree that would help me get involved in the event industry,” says Amanda, who recently graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism from the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation.

As part of the practicum experience for her degree, Nord planned events for K-Days, including the New Food Contest, Monday Morning Magic and the K-Days Talent Search.

“What drew me to this role was the fact that I would be able to plan and attend the events that I planned,” she says. “This practicum placement showed me how much I really enjoy working in events. It is exhausting but really rewarding seeing people enjoy the work I have put into something. Helping run the event is my favourite part.”

For the New Food Contest, Nord was responsible for choosing 17 foods from a list of submissions that she considered new, exciting or weird. She finalized her panel of judges and prepared the Spotlight Stage for the event.

“I made sure the show ran smoothly and if there were any issues, I had a solution to fix it,” says Nord.

Over 30 community groups attended Monday Morning Magic, where Nord was in charge of ensuring all logistics were in place.

She held open-auditions for the K-Days Talent Search and rented a dance studio to conduct a bootcamp, where all the contestants had time and access to practice their skills with three coaches.

“After the bootcamp came the performances at K-Days, where three days of semi-finals were held. For all these events I ordered the supplies, organized sponsors and the groups involved, worked with committees and was a professional wrangler to get everyone to the events on time,” she says.

Nord says the practicum provided her with the real-life experience she needed.

“My biggest takeaway from this experience was that hard work pays off and you will get far in life. I had the most growth in my communication and organization as a part of this practicum,” she says. “If you are passionate about event planning, I would recommend this degree route for you! It is very rewarding.”

And she leaves this piece of advice behind for current and prospective students.

“Remember to take time for yourself. It is easy to get swept up in the event, especially when it is happening. But remember, you need to rest and recharge so you can give 100% the next day.”

Nord’s passion and drive in the field of event planning, along with completion of her practicum placement, has led her to secure a full-time position with Explore Edmonton as an agriculture specialist; she will be the event coordinator for Farmfair International.

“I’m inspired by seeing how people react to the experience that I create,” she says.