Member Spotlight: Valerie Ngai— Event Manager
Valerie is currently a 4th-year student in the Accounting and Financial Management Program here at the University of Waterloo. This is her second term at 180 DC as an Events Manager! Throughout high school and university, Valerie had a ton of fun organizing and participating in events, as she was passionate about gathering community and learning from others, which is what led her to 180 DC. Having the chance to engage with people, especially given the remote environment, has been a blast in the past year and a half. In her spare time, Valerie likes reading, hiking, building puzzles, volunteering, and taking care of her plants. A fun fact about Valerie is that she can whip up a mean tea latte!
1. As an Event Manager at 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo, what are some of your responsibilities?
As an Event Manager at 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo, some of my responsibilities include extensive communication and teamwork. When you think of an event, there are a lot of stakeholders involved, which is why there can be a lot going on at once. I work with Harnoor, our branch’s other Event Manager, and Yan, our Events Director, to plan and coordinate our events, where we bounce ideas off of each other: think event ideas, timelines, potential partnerships, and more. We also work with other clubs that we enter into partnerships with on a term-by-term basis, so more collaboration comes into play there. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of our branch president Jasmine who helps oversee things.
2. What are some notable highlights during your time with us?
Some notable highlights during my time with 180 Degrees Consulting come from organizing and hosting branch socials. It’s always fun organizing our internal events because it’s a great chance to see new and returning faces, and I love seeing our entire branch come together. What’s more is hearing what our consulting and other internal teams are up to, and what impact we have all been making.
I also really enjoy them because we always get to play fun games! I remember once I made a Kahoot quiz game for the branch centering around random fun facts, and everyone thought it was pretty difficult, which I got a kick out of. At our last social, we played Spyfall in breakout rooms, which I’d never played before, so it was pretty funny trying to figure out how to play it with everyone else.
3. What do you think are the most important skills for success in your role?
In my opinion, the most important skills for success in my role are communication, flexibility, and leadership. I’ve already covered a lot regarding the topic of communication, but being able to share your ideas in a clear, understandable way is so powerful. In that vein, being a good listener is incredibly important too because of how detail-oriented event-planning is.
Having the ability to voice your ideas, accept others, and make suggestions then helps you become more flexible. Circumstances can change quickly — maybe the proposed event date no longer works, or the event subject matter is going to change. The ability to be flexible and adaptable is invaluable. Both flexibility and communication are, in my opinion, key skills that help shape leaders — the role entails taking ownership of responsibilities and not being afraid to ask questions. With the right mindset, you’ll be able to tackle whatever comes your way (while having fun of course!).
4. What are some skills you were able to improve upon since joining?
Some skills I’ve been able to improve upon since joining are the ones I’ve come to mention: communication, flexibility, and leadership. There have been a few bumps in the road, but the road is always a journey — a journey to self-growth. Like I’ve said since things can change quickly, the ability to respond quickly is important to ensure success. Of course, you’re working alongside the rest of your team too, so being able to talk it out with them is refreshing and helps you keep in mind all kinds of possibilities, which is a part of being flexible.
That being said, it’s okay to make mistakes too — every person is human, and I fully acknowledge there have been times when I think I could’ve handled things better. However, taking responsibility for those actions yourself and learning from them to avoid them in the future is also a part of being a leader, even when you’re working alongside others. For that, I’m thankful for the experiences and growth I’ve experienced since joining.
5. What advice would you have for those who are looking to join 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo in the future?
The advice I have for those who are looking to join 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo is that if you’re hesitating to join, possibly because you think you lack the sufficient experience or because you’re not sure if you’ll like event planning, you should apply anyway. Flexibility and problem-solving, along with other skills, all get built off of experience and time. What is important are the other things you bring to the table: enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, and an open mind.
The ability to meet and work closely with some incredible, passionate people is also hard to come by, especially with 180 DC, where our mission is built on giving back to the community. What’s fun is that every term has something new to offer too, so no matter what team you decide to join, what’s expected is unexpected. Take this chance if you can — it never hurts to dip your toes in the water, and you may even come to love it! If you never try, you’ll never know.