How Did You Get That Job? Rae Baker, Entertainment & Events Manager
The Edinburgh University Students Association entertainment and events manager explains her job
Name: Rae Baker
Job title: Entertainment & Events Manager
Company: Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA)
When did you start your job? September 2008
So what does your job actually involve?
I lead a department within EUSA that looks after all the programming, and production for all events within our four buildings at Teviot, Potterrow, Pleasance and King’s Buildings. Within the department we have 30 or so skilled technicians that we develop and train to look after events ranging from Grad Ball, Freshers Week and the Pleasance Sessions to society events that are held within our venues. I’m responsible for all programming and hires within the venues, and an annual budget that means we have to run a very tight ship. I programme annual events like Freshers Week, Grad Ball and the Pleasance Sessions as well as a whole host of events throughout the year in our multiple venue spaces. I’m also part of an eight-people strong management team that look after all commercial services which we provide within the venues, including bars, retail and catering. As you can imagine, our year changes regularly with three of our buildings being used during the Fringe, which keeps us all very busy. It’s a big job, but I’m really lucky to have a great team on my side.
Best / worst aspects?
The good definitely outweighs the bad. I love the team we have, and the fact we deliver such a wide range of events at such a high standard. A real highlight of the last 18 months has been the introduction of the Pleasance Sessions to our programme, which allows us to programme some amazing talent from around Scotland and showcase some of our best labels, festivals and promoters we have here and offer that out to an Edinburgh audience, which traditionally has less gigs than Glasgow. I also love the fact we are creating some of the best memories for students to look back on from their time at uni. Which Edinburgh student won’t remember the Teviot Nachos, the Big Cheese or the Hallowe’en party? As for the worst, probably the inevitable politics that comes along with working in an SU, but nothing we can’t handle …
Looking back, what advice would you give to someone starting out in your sector?
Just treat people as you would like to be treated. You never know who you may need to pull on in the future and having good relationships across the board will make your life a LOT easier. Time management, multi-tasking and organisation are key skills that you’ll need to master, and learning how to work effectively under pressure is useful. I suppose just figuring out why you are doing it, and sticking to that is important. Don’t get involved in events if you are just after the glamour; it is not glamorous, it’s relentlessly hard work, but it’s massively rewarding work.
And finally ... what has been your biggest achievement in 2014 so far?
Our little festival: the Pleasance Sessions has been shortlisted for Scotland’s best small festival at the Scottish Event Awards, and I’m so chuffed. We also won ‘Best Live Music Provision’ across all Student Unions in the UK, and ‘best late night operator’ across Scotland this year, which is a brilliant achievement.
The Pleasance Sessions run until Sat 18 Oct. See eusa.ed.ac.uk for details.