Jamal Gittens EVENT OPERATIONS NAME: Jamal Gittens AGE: 32 ROLE: Operations Manager COMPANY: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Jamal took an unconventional path into the events and exhibitions industry. He started in a labouring job before he moved to Brisbane where he worked his way up to Project Manager at Moreton Hire. Jamal left school in Year 10. He imagined a career working on boats as a skipper. He says his younger self would probably be surprised at where he is now. “I had a completely different idea of what I was going to do as my career.” Jamal says. Jamal says it has been difficult at times not having that “piece of paper”. However, he says there are still opportunities without a degree. The important thing is to network and make relationships with different people. “It’s an amazing industry, you learn so much about so many different things. It’s an industry where you don’t always have to have a degree. A lot of it is experience and skills.” He says. Jamal joined Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) as Logistics Manager before his current role as Operations Manager. A leader in technology and innovation, MCEC captures Melbourne’s creative and vibrant character through memorable live experiences. As Operations Manager, Jamal is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the venue and ensuring each event is delivered for MCEC’s 2.5 million visitors. “It’s an amazing industry, you learn so much about so many different things. It’s an industry where you don’t always have to have a degree. A lot of it is experience and skills.” Jamal works on and off-site, co-ordinating multiple departments, resolving issues, approving requests and ensuring upkeep of the venue. With 30,000 square metres of pillar-less exhibition space and 52 meeting rooms at MCEC, this is no small task. “A big part of my day is solving problems and providing advice. I like to problem solve and think outside the box. That’s the enjoyable part for me. Every day is very different.” He says. MCEC hosts a range of events from concerts and expos to sporting events and conferences with big name speakers. Jamal says one of the interesting things about his job is learning about different industries that he works with. These are the clients who hold events at MCEC. “It is important to learn about their industry to be able to understand what they want. Different things are important to different clients. I look after most of our big events including National Manufacturing Week, Austec and all those big machinery ones. I get to learn about the machines and what those industries do.” He says. In a fast-paced, 24-hour industry, Jamal says it is important to make time for yourself. For Jamal, this includes camping, four-wheel driving, kite surfing and motor cycling. “Make sure you give yourself some of your own time. Having that work life balance is a key thing.” He says.