College of Charleston alumna Liz Strozier ’06 plans major events for Forbes, managing speakers like Oprah Winfrey, Bono and Warren Buffett. Strozier, who earned her B.A. and M.A. in Communication from the College, has helped Forbes Media grow from one summit a year to a projected nine in 2015.
Q: What is your job title and how would you describe your job?
A: I am the senior manager of event marketing & conference programming for Forbes Media.
I began working at Forbes just as the company decided to build out a series of major summits. In the time I’ve been here we’ve grown from one summit in 2011 to a projected nine national summits in 2015. My job consists of event strategy, planning and execution for these events as well as content programming, speaker recruitment and speaker relations.
On most of our events, I work with the executive producer to build the agenda, determine speakers, prep them on their topic and make sure they are ready; then on-site I run the show backstage and manage the speakers.
Q: What is the coolest thing you’ve done as part of your job?
A: I’ve done some really amazing things working here, but the highlight of my career so far has been working on the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy the last three years. In this event, billionaires, social entrepreneurs, celebrities and industry leaders come together to effect real change in the world. We’ve worked with some incredible people through this event – Malala Yousafzai, Oprah Winfrey, Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, to name a few.
Q: How did you get this position?
A: After college I worked in the food and beverage and hospitality industries for a few years, then went back to the College of Charleston for graduate school. As I neared completion of my graduate degree I decided I was ready to fulfill my dream to live in New York City, so I moved there over the summer and searched for a fall internship while working at a restaurant.
I found my internship with MBooth PR through the website MediaBistro.com. I had to interview for three different internships before being hired; but it was worth it, because the PR firm truly provided me a crash course in the world of NYC events. The internship I secured was on the wine and spirits team, so my extensive food and beverage knowledge made me a great fit.
After a year of working on many product launches and events, I discovered an ad for an event management position with Forbes. My background in restaurants, resorts & events again was instrumental because the director wanted someone who understood the industry from multiple angles.
While this narrative may not highlight the role of my graduate degree in getting me to where I am in my career, it was invaluable in helping me to find grounding in my life and giving me the confidence to pursue my dreams when for many years they seemed unattainable.
Q: What is your big career goal?
A: I really am living out my dream – my job is consistently challenging and exciting, and I never have a boring day. In the distant future I have a goal of opening my own event space on a farm, but for now I’m happy growing into my career and building upon the skills I’ve gained so far.
Q: What advice would you offer current students?
A: I think the best advice is to always conscientiously employ your resources. Professors, advisors, colleagues, bosses, people you meet randomly, all can help you immensely in your career if you know what to ask for and how to ask.
When you can, meet for coffee with people and get business cards because the connections you make even when you don’t need them can prove useful when you least expect it.