For Quin Gable, Wittenberg class of 2014, reverse psychology is the key when putting together a big show.
The marketing director and event producer for behindthechair.com (BTC), the largest online community for hairdressers worldwide providing online education in more than 80 countries, Gable is excited to share her tips for virtual personal branding during a special Alumni Tiger Talk lunch-and-learn from noon to 1:20 p.m., April 14. To register and learn more, click here.
“My biggest piece of advice for this career path is to go into the event thinking everything will go wrong, and you will be successful,” said Gable, a resident of West Chicago, Illinois, who majored in communication and minored in sociology. “If you go into the event thinking everything will be perfect, you won’t be able to think on your toes; if you go into the event thinking everything will go wrong, you will always think of 1, 2, 3 backup plans. It’s a little morbid, but this has helped me so much with the stress of an event.
“For anyone considering event management, it is an amazing career, but know that it is a stressful, 24/7 position. I almost always have my phone on at night just to make sure nothing is wrong with any of the upcoming or current events. Depending on how many shows you are doing per year, you don’t have much free time, and when you do, it’s for unpacking your suitcase,” she said with a smile.
After interning with BTC for two full summers during college as an editorial intern, she joined the company full-time in 2014, five days after graduation. She started as an account manager handling advertising campaigns for companies such as Moroccanoil, Bumble and Bumble, Unilever, Ulta, JCPenney, Oribe, R+Co, Davines, and CHI. In 2016, she shifted career paths and started producing events ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 attendees. She produced her first show at the Chicago Theatre for a two-day sold-out crowd of 3,500 at age 23. Since then, Gable has produced more than 25 events for more than 35,000 hairdressers in the U.S. and United Kingdom.
“Prior to the pandemic, I was on a plane every other week going from location to location to scout the perfect venue,” she said. “You have to make sure the venue has enough stage equipment and features, electric, space for attendees and sponsors, and has that overall ‘cool vibe.’ You also have to make sure the venue is easy to get to and keep in mind the following: is there parking, who is flying in, is it a union house, etc.? You have to map out each area of the venue/hotel to make sure everything flows perfectly for sponsors and audience engagement.”
Then, of course, there’s the marketing and selling of the show in addition to planning the logistics of the show. Gable’s team is also responsible for selling the show out, which includes the social media and marketing campaigns, logistics with the ticketing company, and making sure the onstage talent is popular.
“At our largest show, the BTC Show and ONESHOT Hair Awards, more than 4,000 hairdressers flew in from 25 countries,” she said. “In total, these hairdressers have over 42 million followers, which means the show isn’t just for 4,000 people; it will be seen by millions. Because of social media, every aspect of this event needs to be flawless or else the show’s reputation could be affected, so my team has to make sure everything from the creative experiences, to the bar lines, to registration, to seating charts, and tickets are perfect.”
Gable enjoys the pre-planning and location scouting. In 2019, her team planned a 20th anniversary tour in three countries and eight cities. She goes to each city to make sure the venue is perfect and to help visualize how things will come together. In 2018, after working with a few members of a large hotel chain, she was nominated and awarded the youngest member of the Connect Corporate’s 40 Under 40 honorees in event management skills world-wide.
“Overall, I love that BTC gives so many huge opportunities to young people,” Gable said. “Most of my coworkers are under 40, and we are all friends actually. This is a very fast-paced company, and we have all been through so much together as a team that I feel so lucky and blessed to work with them. After working with a few different hotel chains for events, a few of my clients nominated me for the 40 under 40. It meant so much to me because as a female in the event industry, and a relatively young one, my age is always brought up as a negative thing. This really helped my confidence in the event scene, and I look at this award as a reminder that anyone can do anything at any age.”
In 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Gable’s job slowed a bit due to not having live events so she pivoted her career path once more to become a content creator on TikTok. She created an account last May, and it has since grown to 192K followers and more than 20 million video views focusing on solo female travel, how to take your cats hiking, and travel itineraries. She's now road tripping the entire U.S. while living in a van with her two cats.
“I have been able to create content for amazing brands such as Under Armour, Clif Bar, Vessi, Spindrift, and city specific Tourism Boards,” she said. “This journey is just beginning, but without Wittenberg, its Integrated Media Corps, and broadcasting opportunities, I don’t think this would have happened. Having the skills I learned from Wittenberg really helped me create my TikTok videos.”
Gable was a member of the women’s volleyball team and on the 2011 National Championship squad. She also competed on the women’s rugby team as a senior, was a member of Delta Gamma, an Oral Communication Center advisor, a broadcaster for women’s sports, and studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, and with Scott Rosenberg, Hirt Endowed Chair in History, in the Lesotho program.
“To be honest, after Witt, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Gable said. “Even at BTC, I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do, so I just kept trying everything. I just kept saying yes to every project that came my way until I found something I absolutely loved: event management. And then, back in early 2020 when the pandemic started, I started to try more and more side projects until I found one that I wanted to really stick with. With live events on hold right now, I am so grateful that I can express my creative side on TikTok with my adventure videos. My career goals really are to keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and to try new things always. You never know where that can take you.
“Wittenberg was some of the best years of my life,” she continued. “I love Wittenberg so much, and I am so grateful for everything it taught me.”
You can follow Gable here: