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Jessica Stark

Event Strategy Manager, Poly

Based in the mountains of Santa Cruz, CA, just south of Silicon Valley, I have the amazing role of planning and executing tier-one tradeshows and events for Poly. The objective of course is to generate leads, but my underlying goal is to always put on a fantastic show! Some might say party-girl turned Corporate Event Manager…

From as early as I can remember, I would gather all the kids at family dinner parties, assign each one an acting or dancing part, as well as a job selling tickets or refreshments and put on a production, forcing all the parents to sit and attentively watch our show!

Fast forward many years, and my passion for entertaining and making sure every detail is met has never waned.

(My friends call me Julie, the cruise director from The Love Boat for those of you who might remember)

From my kid’s outdoor laser tag birthday party where even the cake I made was camo, or an Italian-themed dinner party where I collected chianti bottles from local Italian restaurants so that every table would have a classic wine bottle candle holder, to a Tech Tradeshow where my Platinum Sponsor company Poly presents our solutions to ~50,000 attendees! Each event I touch is done so with heart and soul, a lot of sweat, sometimes some blood and usually a few tears.

The tears are coming for a different reason these past few weeks though, and I’m sure you can all relate. Being in an event role during a pandemic where our events are being canceled, social distancing and shelter in place orders instilled, and the uncertainty of our livelihood feels stuck in our throats. The lack of control for a cruise directing, control freak is hard to swallow, so it comes out in tears and some anxiety which isn’t typical for me.

If there is any advice I can share from my experience of being sent home to become an expert in “Virtual Events”, while homeschooling my 8th and 10th grade unappreciat…er, uh kids, would be to lighten up just a bit. We may think we have control, control over our jobs, our households, even our children, but all of this is very much out of our control and all we can ask for is serenity to accept the things we cannot change!

I have faith we’ll get through this, not without challenges, a lot of changes and yes, even tears, but we’ll get through it, and when we do, we’ll be even stronger, more sympathetic and more resourceful than ever!

We’re going to need those gyms to open up first, since in my homeschool wisdom I heard cooking was a great alternative to math! My kids are baking non-stop! Pizza, cookies, calzones, brownies… after all, it’d be rude of me to not eat their culinary masterpieces.

Until I get to see your beautiful faces again- be well my friends.