After more than two decades in the event planning industry, Mahoganey Jones still wakes up each day with a real love for the job.
“The event landscape is ever evolving and I love the opportunity to re-imagine a traditional event format,” says Jones, founder and CEO of Event Specialists in Toronto. “I am passionate about leveraging new technology to help me personalize the client journey and I am always focused on new engagement strategies that foster lasting connections and enrich the overall guest experience.”
She founded Event Specialists in 2004 with a passion for bringing event ideas to life. She is an event expert and strategist who has extensive experience producing a variety of experiences from conferences and trade shows to fundraisers and corporate meetings.
Recognized as a leader in the industry, Jones has won several awards over the years including Event Professional of the Year (2021), Top 100 Most Influential People in the Event Industry, 40 Under 40 and others.
“Although I have won awards for my contributions to the events world, I am still the most proud of my team at Event Specialists and their commitment to excellence for our clients,” says Jones.
Her advice for those wanting to enter the industry is to focus on learning about new event technology.
“Event tech has become so essential to the events industry that anyone looking to enter or grow in the industry will need to get comfortable with tech and data themselves, especially with the resurgence of virtual and hybrid events,” says Jones, who was the first Canadian event professional to become a Certified Digital Event Strategist.
What types of training/education has been helpful for you?
I am an avid reader and I care about personal and professional development! I have been inspired by many other entrepreneurs who have impacted how I run my business. I recently read a book called “Unreasonable Hospitality” by Will Guidara that reminded me to focus on elevating my work by assessing every aspect of the business and by empowering everyone on my team to make decisions and recommendations. If you work in the hospitality industry (in any capacity), you need to read this book!
What are some challenges for the industry?
Implementing sustainability in live events can be a challenge, especially where budget is concerned. But live events can have a wide range of environmental and social impacts, and so it should be at the forefront of event planning, as organizations seek to reduce their environmental impact.
Do you have any predictions for 2024?
As the events industry continues to evolve, the resurgence of hybrid events highlights the industry’s recognition that both virtual and in-person experiences have unique value propositions. They offer accessibility, cost savings, interactivity, and a ticket to a sustainable world. As technology continues to advance, virtual events are poised to become even more immersive and engaging. The future will continue to be about crafting seamless hybrid events that harmoniously blend the best of both worlds.