Due to the current global health crisis and concerns around the spread of COVID-19, events, both large and small have been canceled across the United States. Where does the industry go from here? How has event planning changed and adapted? In this podcast, Deidre West, director of special events and celebrity relations at the Children’s Health Fund, will discuss her experience navigating this new reality.
DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL EVENTS AND CELEBRITY RELATIONS FOR CHILDREN’S HEALTH FUND
M.A. (New York University)
Deidre West's experience in event planning includes a wide range from luncheons, dinner and conferences to high-profile events for celebrities and professional athletes, product launches, consumer brands in fashion, food and beverages industries, galas, retail stores, and a hotel grand reopening.
West is a native Ohioan and has always had an interest in conceptualizing an idea and bringing it to life. At Ohio University she created a multidisciplinary Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree in Advertising that included courses from Public Relations, Marketing, Business, Journalism, Telecommunications, and Interpersonal Communications.
West's love of music and understanding the business aspect of identifying talent and marketing artists piqued her interest. After graduating from OU, she went on to study Music Business and Entertainment Professions at New York University, where she received a master’s degree. During graduate school, West had the opportunity to plan events for the NYU community as the Special Events Graduate Assistant in NYU’s Program Office. Her team was responsible for planning “Big Fun Days” around campus for students, faculty and staff. These events included All Hallow’s Eve, Chill Out Day (during finals) and Strawberry Fest.
Working for Sony Music enabled West to gain event experience during her first full-time job out of grad school. As the label representative for The Source magazine’s “Fashion Nation Tour,” she was involved in on-site execution of the tour at college campuses. This lead to her next role at a men’s magazine where she served as marketing/promotion and event manager, conceptualizing, planning and implementing various integrated marketing programs and events. In addition to the events in NYC, West planned events across the country (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, Chicago, Miami, and Boston) as well as in Puerto Rico.
At Metropolitan Home and ELLE Decor magazines, West wrote integrated marketing proposals for advertisers and planned events in NYC, Los Angeles and Miami. The largest project that she managed was two months of private parties and public walking tours, as well as third-party rentals for the Metropolitan Home and Showtime Networks' Showhouse . The launch event won the Silver Award for "Best First Time Event" at the FOLIO: FAME Awards.
After leaving the publishing industry, West spent more than five years at NYU planning large scale events that included Open House, Junior Day, and CSAW Cybersecurity Conference and Competition - the largest cybersecurity competition and conference in the world – and many other events.
West is currently the Director of Special Events and Celebrity Relations for Children’s Health Fund, a New York City based nonprofit that provides medical, dental and mental health services across the country via state-of-the-art mobile medical clinics. She is responsible for planning fundraising, donor and other special events, and finding ways to engage celebrities for events as well as awareness campaigns.