Creating Moments of Connection
PROVO, Utah – Oct 06, 2020 – She might be dealing with a last-minute cancellation or organizing presentations while stuck at a Starbucks in a snowstorm, but Anne Sledd always finds creative ways to make things happen. In her role as a department assistant for the management department at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Sledd also serves as an on-the-spot events coordinator, with a goal of creating moments of connection for everyone associated with the school.
Sledd gained some of her organization and logistics skills that she uses to coordinate events as she studied business both inside and outside of the classroom. “When I was a teenager, I used to go to Barnes and Noble and sit on the floor and read business books for hours,” she says. Sledd continued to pursue her love of business after graduating high school by earning a BS in business from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.
After graduating, Sledd coordinated events for StartX, Stanford University’s startup accelerator program, prior to coming to BYU Marriott. Now she coordinates events for the management department. “Being an event planner is like being a magician,” she says. “You have to make things happen that people say can’t happen.”
Even though putting an event together might feel as unlikely as pulling an object out of thin air, Sledd embraces the inherent uncertainty in what she does. “When an event is about to start, I feel a rush like skydiving,” she says. “No matter how early I’ve planned or how many back-up plans I have, I never know for sure if the event is going to come together the way that I want.”
When problems arise, Sledd finds creative solutions to help the events go on as planned. “A particularly memorable experience was a recent winter conference for BYU Marriott’s strategy program,” she says. “I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to get to Park City where we were hosting the event and left the house as snow was coming down heavily, and I own a car that doesn’t do well in the snow. After thirty minutes of driving, the roads were closed, so I couldn't get to Park City. I pulled over and then went to a nearby Starbucks, called the hotel where everyone was staying, and I coordinated the event from that café.”
Even when she’s not coordinating events from cafés, Sledd puts her problem-solving skills to work as she does everything possible to make events successful. “I try to delegate as much as I can up to the day of the event because I need to be free to deal with unexpected things. Sometimes people don’t show up or get lost, and I have to be creative and come up with a solution,” she says.
Outside of work, Sledd plans a different kind of event as she finds opportunities to spend time with her nieces and nephews. “I try to be the best aunt that I can be,” she says. “I plan memorable experiences with my nieces and nephews each month, so I get to spend time with each individual niece or nephew. For the older kids, we wake up early, and we go do baptisms at the temple. With the younger kids, I’ll do fun activities such as hikes or going to the Curiosity Museum.”
Whether Sledd is planning time with her nieces and nephews or planning an event for the management department, she focuses on creating opportunities for people to build relationships with each other. “In my job, I strive to create moments of connection,” she says. “Events are important because they connect people. You never know when a student is going to meet their mentor or their next employer or their future spouse, and knowing that I can support the success of the students in that way is highly rewarding for me.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce