Case Study: EA/PA

Big Win for Executive Assistant at Gala Ball

High performing PAs and EAs are masters of time management, so it’s no surprise they’re the go-to for managing events within the organisation.

It’s a tough gig, however, juggling events, diaries and day-to-day demands, never missing a beat. Joanne Barnes, standout PA at Sydney’s TLE, frees up her time and continually gets stellar results by outsourcing event entertainment.

I want everything to be perfect but I know I can’t achieve this by handling every detail myself.

TLE is the leading distributor of electrical and data components and equipment in Australia. They distribute to the construction, industrial, government, mining, utilities, lighting, residential, data and facility management industries.

TLE have partnered with Enhance since 2014.

The TLE Gala Ball: From Casual Lunch to Grand Affair

As the leading distributor of electrical and data components and equipment in Australia, every year TLE hosts the TLE Gala Ball as a gesture of appreciation for loyal customers, raising funds for charities including Red Kite, Aspect and Epilepsy Australia.

Joanne Barnes helped develop the TLE Gala Ball from its humble beginnings as a ‘Sportsman’s Lunch’ 15 years ago to the prestigious 1000+ head event it is today, featuring celebrity talent like Karl Stefanovic, Dave Hughes and Arj Barker.

Event at a Glance

  • Industry: Electrical and Data Distribution
  • Event: Annual Gala Ball
  • Event Size: 1000+ pax
  • Event Planner: Joanne Barnes, PA
  • Tenure with Enhance: 4+ years

Challenges to Overcome

As with any trajectory to success there have been hurdles along the way: competing priorities that need to be managed by those not in a dedicated event management role, and the pressure to produce an amazing night of nights, year on year.

Even though I know what I’m looking for, it’s hard to keep outdoing the previous year’s event.

Outdoing the previous event

TLE customers have grown to love their industry’s event of the year, with its high profile MCs, comedians and bands that are hand-picked specifically for their tastes.

Joanne knows she has to nail the entertainment every time, but as any event manager will tell you, it’s a challenge to keeping it fresh and upping the ante every year: “Even though I know what I’m looking for, it’s hard to keep outdoing the previous year’s event,” says Joanne.

Extra time during planning

Joanne has sky-high standards and works hard to ensure everything runs seamlessly. The lead-up to the event means locking in dates, sourcing venue, selecting menu, booking and briefing entertainers, AV equipment, just to name a few items.

Joanne has systems in place, including a regularly updated to-do list, to make sure nothing is missed.

“I want everything to be perfect,” she says, “but I know I can’t achieve this by handling every detail myself.”

An extra pair of hands on event night

Joanne always arrives early to prepare the venue, detailed run sheet in hand.

For an event the size of the TLE Ball, however, it’s tricky for one person to ensure everyone has what they need and knows what to do, especially if there are hiccups: “I can only be in one place at a time!” Joanne quips.

Leave It To The Experts

Back in 2014, an acquaintance introduced Joanne to the team at Enhance Entertainment, a speaker and entertainment agency that specialises in sourcing, booking and briefing talent.

Enhance has been involved in some of the most spectacular corporate events in the southern hemisphere, which reassured Joanne they had the right type of experience.

Expert recommendations

To begin with, Joanne briefed Enhance’s Alison Clarke on the TLE Gala Ball entertainment needs, noting details of audience composition and preferences. From here, Alison presented recommendations based on insider knowledge of entertainers and expertise in matching talent to audience.

Less legwork frees up more time

Joanne says it’s been a huge time-saver with Enhance behind the scenes doing the back and forth on talent availability, pricing and briefing. “I don’t have to do all the legwork anymore, such as waiting to hear back on who’s available and who’s not.”

Enhance keeps Joanne updated on all talent options via a single email, so she doesn’t have to trawl through multiple messages to track the project.

A helping hand on the night

An Enhance Talent Manager also attends the event to ensure the talent have everything they need and are familiar with the running order, prompting them when it’s time for their performance.

Joanne describes this service as a ‘godsend’ because she can focus more fully on other areas of the schedule. At times, high profile talent can require considerable attention and it’s a big relief to know this is all taken care of.

Complete Talent Management At No Extra Cost

Enhance’s billing structure for managed entertainment services means TLE only pays for the talent hire, with no extras on top. Enhance Entertainment’s service fee is, in fact, absorbed by the talent.

For busy PAs like Joanne it makes perfect sense to engage Enhance; she saves a lot of time, gets excellent results and it doesn’t affect her budget in any way.

A Success For TLE, All Smiles for Joanne

Sourcing the best fit talent to entertain the 1000+ audience of electricians and partners has been key in the ongoing success of the TLE Gala Ball.

Working with Enhance has only made it easier for Joanne to continue producing incredible events, year on year. She has more time to focus on the bigger event picture, with the added benefit of expert advice.

From a business point of view, customers deeply appreciate the gesture of the TLE Gala Ball annual ball and their loyalty to the company in a hyper-competitive industry has only grown.

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