It’s not every day that you meet an event professional with a degree in civil engineering.
Ibironke Ogunye began her career as a field engineer in Oklahoma for an oil and gas company. She caught the events bug in her next role at U.S. Energy Association, where she coordinated an international program. Though unconventional, Ogunye’s trajectory is a testament to her innate passion and knack for the work.
More evidence of this fact is that before joining her current company—co-selling platform WorkSpan—she organized community events after-hours on a freelance basis.
“I was doing it for enjoyment because I like to bring people together,”
she says, adding that the opportunity to meet new people and network was also key in her decision to become an event marketer.
“People do business with people they trust,” Ogunye states plainly. “There’s always going to be a need for in-person interaction to build solid business relationships.”
Luckily, in-person events are highly valued at WorkSpan. And as a member of a lean team, Ogunye’s eclectic experience is an asset. On a given day, she could be securing sponsorships, writing copy for landing pages, or negotiating contracts. She could even be project managing a marketing program because, as she puts it: “Events are marketing.”
Though Ogunye wears many hats, she’s not precious. Few in her line of work would disagree that having a close working relationship with sales is important. But Ogunye views collaboration in a truer sense as a two-way productive partnership. She involves account executives in brainstorming processes and sometimes even deputizes them to host events.
For example, a colleague recently suggested that the company host an event for CROs—one of WorkSpan’s ICPs. Instead of taking the idea and running off with it, she asked the sales rep for more input. They’re currently working together to plan content for the event, and the account exec will likely be the main presenter.
“That’s not conventional, but I think it’s a really good idea to put our salespeople out there as experts because, in their own right, they have a level of expertise that can be used to help navigate conversations with other thought leaders,” she explains.
The benefits to both parties are obvious. Ogunye is able to craft content based on intel gained from actual conversations with an ICP. The account executive, meanwhile, has the opportunity to demonstrate his expertise and boost his credibility among an audience of prospects.
Of course, not everyone is cut out to be a presenter. Ogunye works with sales reps in other ways that are mutually beneficial. Recently, a co-worker shared with her a list of prospects he believed would make for good speakers in an upcoming virtual event.
“That is powerful because ultimately, whatever searches I do on LinkedIn or Salesforce aren’t going to be as good,” she says emphatically. “My events are supposed to help push the prospects which they have top-of-mind forward, and if we’re not aligned on that, there’s nowhere else to go.”
Ogunye is currently busy planning for WorkSpan’s Ecosystem Business Summit in April:
“It’s a great opportunity for people considering looking at a partnership SAAS tool and co-selling, whether they’re evaluating us or not.”
The user-centric, pragmatic way she frames the event is telling. Ogunye’s career journey evinces her ability to navigate new environments through the simple act of “bringing people together,” whether those people are clients or prospects, or insightful members of her own team.