An Interview with Ashwin BN from DNA Entertainment Networks Pvt. Ltd
It is in times such as this that we can come together as a community to ensure that the industry remains standing and in good spirits to continue working towards providing entertainment and hosting events in the coming years.
In our pursuit to foster better understanding and knowledge sharing during these difficult times, we had with us on the 12th of June 2020, Ashwin BN, the General Manager for the Marketing department at DNA Entertainment Networks Pvt Ltd. His leadership skills, organizational proficiency, interpersonal and negotiating skills have made him a truly valuable asset of the industry. With over 14 years of experience working with events, Ashwin has seen the industry grow to what it is today and can help us understand the shift towards online platforms better. He is often known as the man with 360 degree knowledge and someone who most everyone in the industry turns to for advice.
A little bit about our speaker…
Ashwin started his journey with events way back in college when he often played a pivotal part in organising college events and fests. Not aware that it was something he would grow to love, it was merely an interesting opportunity to learn more about what goes into organising and executing an event. As he got more involved, he began to develop a keen interest and passion for the art and started freelancing for several companies including Zeroin. In 2007, he did several events of his own before joining DNA, where his first project included working the IPL event
Why Event Management?
Having studied engineering he understood very young that he was not cut out for a 9-5 desk job, and was not something he enjoyed doing. During his time at college, he came to realize his love for events, and enjoyed the work of organising and seeing an idea take form. He went on to make a career out of it, knowing that his passion and love for the art would drive him to succeed and do better.
His journey at DNA
With over 200 employees, being a part of DNA Entertainment has been an incredible journey for Ashwin since he joined in 2008. He began working with accreditation services before moving on to work with the IPL and other sporting events and some corporate events as well.
The clientele base increased significantly after their first corporate event and they started working with more companies catering to their event needs. The brand name helped them establish themselves in the market while giving them the opportunity to explore various verticals in depth. Today, they handle close to 300 events per year including 50-60 corporate events every year.
His time spent in lockdown…
This time off has made him realise that something bigger and better needs to be done, and has pushed him to start exploring new and innovative platforms, developing technological skills and working with virtual events.
It is important to keep the client engaged by the end of the day and keep them involved in whatever you do, be it physical or virtual. Ashwin has been spending time with family and working on his fitness goals, something he neglected for the past 10 years. “It is the right time to catch up on all the things you neglected for the past few years” he says
“It being a pandemic, we cannot predict how long it will last but slowly things are looking good and positive and we need to have the right frame of mind since we are the ones who need to do something about it. We need to stay positive and continue working. Lots of weddings are slowly starting and small work is coming in so we should be good in the next few months. Work is going to come up, the industry is not dead, we just need to work towards it.”
As of now, engagement events with the clients and small scale stand-up meetings are being organised. “Virtual events are not the way forward. The real fun for an event manager is to get on the ground and work.” He believes that it will fade out slowly and will definitely not run the industry. Innovation and passion will drive you towards the new normal when it comes to the event industry. Virtual events may hold about 15-20% of the total events because of international travel restrictions however small scale on ground events will come back in the next 4-5 months and he hopes to get back to good business.
DNA and team.i: Educational front
He believes that it is the best of the teaching and event management collaboration that is today present in the industry. It is the right time for event management aspirants to learn about the field and gain first-hand experience and be ready to be hand-picked by some of the top event management companies in the next year or so. team.i is the only institute that solely focuses on event management and that caters to overall development of an individual to become a well groomed event planner.
Advice to young aspirants
“When you join the industry, it is the passion, hard work, creativity and innovation that drives you. Work on what suits you, get into the system, get close to your clients and choose an approach that you work with best. Take this time to recuperate and learn more about the industry and when the market reopens, you will be ready to conquer. Event management can never come to an end, this is just a phase that we will eventually come out of. Everyday is a new learning experience and every event a new opportunity. We are the biggest crisis managers in the world, we will come out of this unharmed.”
Ashwin sees a potential paradigm shift in the coming few months that will require a whole new level of restrictions, sanitation and discipline to master but is not going to stop the industry from running. It is all about the new presentation techniques that will be the way forward.
Coming to the end of the session, Ashwin left us with a few words of encouragement
“Use this time at hand to focus your energy on all the things you missed out on and everything you did not have the time for in the last few years. Spend time with your family and reboot yourself cause once we come back to business, there is no stopping us.”