ERIE, Pa. — When Jon Wolff wrapped up his last Lion Entertainment Board (LEB) After Dark event before graduating from Penn State Behrend in May 2013, he felt a sense of relief.
“I thought, ‘I won’t have to worry about planning events anymore,’” he said.
The joke was on him. Wolff’s club activities would be as vital to his career preparation as his classes at Behrend.
Just 10 years after he managed a $150,000 LEB budget, Wolff, 33, is now in charge of a $5 million budget as the global events manager for the Solutions & Services Group of Lenovo, a computing products and services company. He works in North Carolina, where he “leverages experiential and digital marketing tactics for enhanced brand management.”
In simpler terms: Wolff puts together events that showcase Lenovo products and technologies to meet the company’s strategic business objectives. And today’s event marketing encompasses far more than just a table with a banner.
“It includes a spectrum of strategies, ranging from digital marketing, including website, email and social media, to traditional approaches, such as outdoor ads and magazine placements, as well as collaboration with sales teams,” Wolff said.
The work also requires strategic planning to meet key objectives and goals, he said.
“We consistently seek to generate memorable and impactful moments.”
In October, Wolff and his team scored a “wow” moment when they hired DJ Diesel, otherwise known as Shaquille O’Neal, for a Lenovo-sponsored reception in Orlando, Florida, that also featured a miniature Formula 1 Lenovo remote-controlled race track.
Until recently, Wolff was a one-person show, managing 30 to 40 events a year and flying around the world to oversee Lenovo programs. He’s been to London, Lisbon, Barcelona, Singapore and Amsterdam. While it sounds glamourous, Wolff said most of his time is spent in airports, hotels and convention centers.
“Thankfully, we’ve brought in a new team member to assist with many of the events, allowing me to concentrate on the broader strategy,” he said. “I have full confidence in her ability to bring our vision to life at the events.”
Wolff works long hours — 12-hour days are not unusual — but he said the most challenging part of his job is navigating a global market on a daily basis.
“The most demanding aspect of my role is orchestrating activities across multiple time zones,” he said. “I am constantly strategizing, ensuring we utilize the available time efficiently to deliver results to the local team."
He enjoys the challenge. One of the things that excited him about the job with Lenovo was having the opportunity to create a global events strategy from scratch — from concept to execution.
“I liked the idea of putting a strategy in place and then seeing it come to life,” he said.