Interviews with Planners - Richard O'Malley

Richard O'Malley, known as the "How Behind the Wow" has been wowing event clients and attendees for nearly 20 years. He has been featured by CNN, AP, Newsweek, Time, Vice News, Inc., Money, and Business Insider on all the best practices that make events "special" and the businesses that produce them, thrive.

What is the best advice you have ever received as a planner?
Never forget the "special" in "special events".

What is the most unique location you have ever planned an event at?
We had to create a "ballroom" in a concrete parking structure in Baltimore for a movie premiere

What advice would you give to someone entering the business today?
Don't waste your money on college degrees in "hospitality" or "events". Get real world experiences while getting paid for it. Be a roadie, stagehand, design assistant or charity fundraiser.

What do you see as the most challenging aspect of being a planner, and how do you overcome that challenge?
Avoid being repetitive in design without just doing something to be different. Quality and creativity need to be combined. 

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How do you think our industry will evolve in the next five years?
Sadly, it seems to be devolving into cookie cutter styles, less interesting ideas. My hope is that technology advances will help push events to new realms.

What makes you successful as a planner?
My ability and understanding of both the operations side and design side of the event.

In your opinion, what is the best and worst industry trend of the year?
I abhor trends in general, by definition they are just lazy design. We plug in some trend because it is easy to sell in the moment. However, the best trends are usually advances in technology. The use of augmented reality can be hugely creative with a ton of ROI for the right client.

What is the best industry book that has helped you as a planner?
It is really more of a standard business book; every person should read "Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results" by Stephen C. Lundin.

Richard O'Malley
Event Buddah at The O'Malley Project 

Lead in photograph by: Al Ojeda Photography.

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