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An Interview With Maryann Manasseh From ‘Switch Events and Experiences’

Spontaneous, proactive, resilient and passionate, are just a few of the many qualities that best describe our next guest speaker. Mum of two and caregiver to her husband, Maryann Manasseh has over the last 20 years managed her home life alongside establishing her business with sheer determination and hard work.

Having started her career in the year 2000 as an emcee, Maryann went on to become an employee engagement expert before starting her own event company, ‘Switch Events and Experiences’ where she is currently the Director of.

Playing the role of a mentor to help and guide budding emcees, Maryann is all about making the best use of opportunities and living in the moment.

Her Story

Maryann began her journey in the industry way back in her 8th grade when she gave an introductory speech on behalf of the emcee during an event in which she was doing an opening dance for. It was her voice that got her recognised and she went on to do various live commentary projects and since then there has been no looking back.

She hosted IIT Saarang for close to 5 years and got great support from the event fraternity, all the while still in college and soon after which she went on to do various corporate events as well.

When she graduated from college, Maryann was already at the peak of her career and is immensely grateful for the support and well wishes that she received from the entire event fraternity.

Maryann followed on this path for close to 10 years before deciding to branch out. When she got married, Maryann had to deal with the societal pressures of having to balance her career and personal life but believes that the journey only helped her grow as a professional.

She became a mum 2 years later and performed till she was 8 months pregnant doing corporate events and enjoying her time on stage hosting some of the biggest events of the time.

She then went on to take a break for 4 months and upon returning wanted to do something different, something new and since she had already studied NLP- Non traditional psychology, she began creating programs and workshops for various corporates.

Maryann also got involved in the space of employment engagement for a good 8-9 years and loved the role she played in that.
She has also started mentoring young emcees and is immensely proud of all her students and enjoys interacting with them. When she decided to get more involved in event management, she soon realised that it wasn’t for her and wanted to take a break to focus on her family.

When she got pregnant again, she decided to rejoin and went back to SWITCH and is grateful for all their support she received and has done a lot of events and shows till date with the help of an incredibly talented and dedicated team.

2020 And Her Take On The Pandemic

Contrary to what others might feel, Maryann believes that the year 2020 has been one of the best years of her life. While she says that she too has been affected by the pandemic in more ways than one, she is also grateful for the time she has had to give herself the much needed break.
As someone who has been on a long and tiring journey for a long time now, having to not only care for her ailing husband and look after her children all the while managing a successful business has not been easy.

This year has been a good break to take a breather and get herself involved in a lot of self initiated projects that she was passionate about doing for a long time. Beginning in the month of March, Maryann started her journey with meditation and went on a 10kg weight loss program as well. She has also done a lot of studying in the field of psychology and has started documenting 9 years of her journey as a caregiver on her youtube channel.

Maryann is a proud and active member of a community called the ‘Kidney Warriors’ through which she has started a chat show called the ‘Warriors Journey’- a thoughtful and informative series of sessions with nephrologists to help those going through similar situations understand what they are dealing with better.
Till date, they have recorded around 25 episodes to help address various issues helping caregivers throughout the country.
Maryann has also been working on putting together fun and creative activities such as, ‘Engage the child in you’ where patients from the Kidney Warriors community are given the chance to get on their feet, dance, sing, write poetry and just enjoy some time being carefree. Working with several artists, Maryann is keen to put up a massive virtual event for the members of the community very soon.

Apart from that, she has also been doing communication/ training programs with corporates, to address topics such as emotional wellness and organising various other workshops.

From the 14th of November she began her very own chat show- ‘A Chat with a Warrior’ that revolves around her journey and in the process, helping others do the same. Her dream to help those in a similar situation by reminding them that in every adversity lies a great learning opportunity, one that will make you a stronger person is what she wishes to achieve through this show.

What Keeps Her Going

“Love from the universe and all the people in my life” is what Maryann believes is the secret for her undying spirit and positive mindset. Gifted with the ability to detach herself from situations while playing multiple roles, from a caregiver and mother to a successful event professional, Maryann has overcome every obstacle with grace and courage that is truly inspiring. She is quick to add that it is through the tremendous love and support that she received from the event fraternity that got her through some of the most difficult times and she has but the utmost love and respect for everyone who has been there for her. “Love and be loved” being her go-to mantra, she says that she has never single handedly faced any problem as the people in her life have helped carry her through it all.

2021 And Her Plans For The New Year

With regard to the industry, Maryann believes that events will start coming back slowly from the month of July or August but will not see the peak until the beginning of 2022. On a more personal front, she wants to take it slow and get back to doing more slow paced events. Her work with patients undergoing various types of nephrological treatments has made her want to get back to working with her team at Switch.

Maryann is also looking to get involved in more training related work and bigger collaborations to be able to create a genuine difference. She has also gotten very particular about whom she decides to work with and together with her business partner is looking forward to doing great things in the new year. 2021 she says will be a new chapter for the industry where the need of the hour will be to focus on the significance of human
connection and the need for events to come back. “We need to open for there to be laughter and positive emotions and to spread love,” is what she has to say about the changing event landscape.

Parting Thoughts

Maryaan takes this opportunity to extend her warm welcome to every budding event aspirant and wishes to tell them that the industry needs them. While the pandemic has changed the manner in which events have been taking place, it does not put a stop to events as we have come to know of it.

She goes on to share 2 heartfelt pieces of ‘love’ as she likes to call it, firstly, to every event management student to ask themselves one simple question, “Why do you want to be an event manager?”
If they are able to answer the question, she truly believes that they are destined for greatness and will do every project that comes their way with absolute dedication and love for the job and will be able to do justice and see a deeper purpose to all that they involve themselves in.

The event industry she says is a service industry, where they work to create a difference, one that is not only about the glamour but the experience.“If you want to create an event, it should be an event that will change your life” is her mantra and one she hopes every student will follow as well.

Secondly, Maryann says that it is an experience that a person will remember the most and take to his death bed and as event planners they are given the honour to be responsible for creating some of these truly wonderful moments in a person’s life and so she hopes that every event management student will see the magic that they are capable of creating and do justice to everything that they do.

Speaking with Maryann was nothing short of amazing, a session filled with the spirit of positivity, enthusiasm and above all, love, for the industry and the people who make up the industry. It was incredible to hear her share her story with us and we wish her the very best for all that she sets out to do.

In case you missed out on attending the live session, head on over to our Instagram Page to watch the recording.

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