Stephanie Jayko is a passionate creative and an accomplished event operations/production manager who is well known for her leadership of theatrical productions and live events. She specializes in corporate event management and high-profile productions.
How did you get started in the industry?
I actually came to the events industry from having worked in theater. I went to school for, and later worked in, production technologies and management for theater. I was mostly working as a Stage and Production Manager for different companies. While I was working as the Production Coordinator for a regional theater company, I was given the task of handling the production for their annual fundraising Gala. I got to be a part of the process all the way through from design to execution. It dawned on me after my second year doing this event, that of all the productions I was working on every year, the Gala was the one I enjoyed working on the most…and it wasn’t actually a theater production, it was an EVENT. I soon after decided to leave the theater world, and have been working in the events industry ever since.
What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in technology?
I’ve found the biggest challenge is getting people to take me seriously. Not only am I a woman, but I am also on the younger side. These two things put together make the uphill climb even steeper. Despite my education and extensive experience (which can be proven by my resume and portfolio at any time) getting the people around me to recognize my expertise is not as easy a task as it should be. I constantly get second-guessed, fact-checked, taught how “how things work”, or completely cut out of technical conversations altogether. It’s frustrating because I’ve spent so much time and energy learning and perfecting my craft, it would be great to be able to do the job without such hurdles.
How do you think women have an advantage in the technical world?
Women are (generally) better at multitasking and handling stress. And this is the ultimate advantage in the technical world, especially where events are concerned. There’s no telling when something might go wrong or change mid-show or any number of “oh crap” moments might happen. Being able to keep your cool, think on your feet and track changes through, all in the same breath makes you an invaluable asset to a tech team!
What is your favorite tech tool?
I’m a BIG fan of Show Flow! It’s a production software that keeps changes in event documents in one place and accessible to your entire team in real time. No more having to print 30 copies of the Run of Show or wondering if you have the most current version. Can you say lifesaver?!
What advice can you give to young women who would like to begin a career in production?
My biggest advice would be to get out there and DO! No matter what discipline you’re looking to get into, whether it’s specific like Audio, Lighting or Projection, or more broad like Production Management, get your hands dirty in every department. The more you know about all the different equipment, needs and uses for it all and how things work, the more valuable you will be to any tech team. Also, remember that any experience is good experience! Whether it’s a paying job or you’re volunteering, your resume lists where you’ve worked, not what you got paid.