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Can Anything Slow Down Angela Smith?

The 2019 Changemaker has been on a “crazy ride” at Atlassian, bringing together all global events and field programs.

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 20 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.

Angela Smith

Head of Global Field and Event Marketing

For building a department of 12 people handling more than 100 annual events in just three years

Making Change
It wasn’t something that I or the company expected when I started in August 2015.  I was hired to work on our two flagship events each year, but early on, I saw a huge opportunity for us to operationalize and consolidate a lot of events across the company that weren’t part of my portfolio, and build strong assets not just for event marketing but also for our field marketing activities. 

Most of my strategy was focused on building replicable practices because headcount has always been at a premium and you always need more resources. I figured I’d show our leadership team how I can improve efficiency through scalable processes for the flagship events that would translate to other things. After just four months the results were significant, and it happened to be a time when we were doing fiscal planning for the following year. So I went in and said, “Look what we’ve been able to do—imagine the results if we consolidate and build partnerships with vendors and agencies for all shows and partner programs companywide, to save money and also make each program stronger.” 

Well, fast-forward to today and now all global events and field programs and the trade show portfolio are on me. I’ve had to move fast and furious ever since. It has been a crazy ride; I cannot believe where we are compared to then. 

What’s Next?
Now that I’ve taken on all the field marketing efforts, not just events, I’m figuring out how to change my team around to do a lot of cross-functional things. I believe in creating career paths, and that everyone on the team should eventually know how to do each other’s job, so I am working towards making that happen. The more they know as marketers as opposed to being simply event marketers, the more valuable they are to the business and the more promotable they become. 

Managing Change
Any idea has to be data driven and supported, so we have to be prepared with the right information. In fact, sometimes the idea is to cancel an event because new data and insights show there probably won’t be enough benefit to a sponsor or attendee. Just make sure that for any new idea or potential change, there’s some proof that it will align with the event strategy and goals, e.g. increase revenue or leads, increase brand awareness, or increase efficiency. I’ve still had my leadership say “no,” but presenting ideas with proper data increases your credibility and influence in the organization. Be bold!

My Mentors
My mentor circle has someone in the same role as myself; someone in a role I aspire to; someone who can give me C-level coaching; and someone who is junior to me but who is a rising star, because that person will help you understand the change that will surely come from the younger generation of clients and colleagues. Also, I mentor three people myself; there’s so much value in exercising your mind by giving situational guidance to others. 

Best Business Advice 
Change is the only consistent thing in business, so you just have to embrace it. There is no other option but to be agile

Got a Spare Hour?
I have not taken care of myself as well as I should over the years. This is a stressful job! However, I use spare time to get my mind and my health right. I read, I take an online personal coaching series, and I work out. 


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