One of the larger side effects from the Covid-19 pandemic is millions of people have experienced firsthand a variety of alterations within their workplace. Furthermore, many associates around the world have even had to change the way they conduct and carry out their once routine professional responsibilities. This is a reality that Jennifer Olson, corporate event planner for Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS), has had to face herself.
Since the onset of the Covid-19, events, especially within a work setting, have become extremely challenging to hold. Many of which, as a result, have either been minimized, postponed or outright cancelled. Olson undoubtedly has had her normal day-to-day disrupted countless times over the better part of the past two years.
Although Covid-19 has introduced a multitude of inconveniences, such as hosting events in a safe manner, it has also taught many how to adapt and problem solve effectively. Olson is one of those people that has learned to pivot, as she recently picked up a special certification to help combat the challenges the pandemic has brought to her area of expertise.
Just a few months ago, Olson sought out and subsequently became certified for planning events in post-pandemic landscape. She did this by taking an online course (equivalent to 30 credit hours) that was offered through a national leader in event planning.
“As part of my team, Jenn will now have the additional tools and resources to plan BVHS event commitments more safely,” explained Amy J. Leach, director of corporate public relations and marketing. “Our family of professionals is firmly dedicated to providing quality events and programs to our community in order to assist them in making informed healthcare decisions. We are truly proud of Jenn for this notable accomplishment that will positively impact those we serve.”
The course’s curriculum covered topics and concepts such as how to plan events and what to look for in a post-Covid setting, event planning surge, re-opening guidelines, risk management, digital and virtual event planning, onsite health and safety logistics, optimizing food and beverage solutions safely and post-pandemic trends.
“I thought it was important to earn the certification because working in a healthcare environment, I feel our risk management expectations from ourselves and the community is held to a higher standard,” Olson stated. “I recommend everyone to get this certification, especially those in hospitality and other event planners. I think it can only benefit our industry.”
The course also provided Olson with a reliable tool by way of a checklist, in which to be mindful of when planning future events, such as masks, sanitizers, social distancing (at six feet apart) measures, proper signage, making digital options available to attendees and reducing touchpoints.
Olson, who has been with BVHS for nearly four years, appreciated that the course that she completed was structured around information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “The training was based on research and science that is proven to be effective measures in help fighting the risk of transmission between people,” Olson added.
While the course rightfully focused on processes and the protection of event attendees and vendors, according to Olson, it also emphasized being prepared – preparing for emergencies and out-of-the-blue developments.
“I think the biggest thing Covid has taught event planners in general is to be flexible. You need to have a plan A, B, C and D. You can’t assume anymore that your original plan is going to go exactly how you pictured it,” Olson concluded.
It remains to be seen if corporate events will ever return to the way they were once before, or if a new normal has been established for them, like several other aspects of our daily lives in the wake of Covid-19. Either way, Olson is equipped with a strengthened proactive mindset to help her plan and adjust future company events in a calculated, safe and efficient manner.