Stressful jobs - Event director: ‘There’s no time for stress’

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By Nancy Kennedy

INVERNESS — As special events director for the city of Inverness, Sharon Skeele-Hogan describes her job as “herding cats, juggling continually moving parts and trying to organize chaos.”

For every city event, of which there are more than 40 each year and growing, she plans for the worst-case scenario and hopes for the best.

And she always packs three pairs of shoes and her iPad in her backpack that she carries with her everywhere, plus her phone with an extra battery pack in her back pocket.

“You can’t be stressed,” she says. “There’s no time for stress. You can’t let it overtake you. You have to be calm in order to be rational, in order to make good choices. The way you do that, you make sure you have a plan, and if it means you take your laptop home with you so you sleep better at night, that’s what you do.”

She says most problems work themselves out and often no one notices. If a band is late, there’s back-up music. 

If a parade entry doesn’t show up, oh well. 

If she leaves Sunny Cooter’s head at home, her husband will bring it to her.

“If you’re stressed, you’ll stress out everyone around you,” she says. “You have to look like you’re having a party. I was a flight attendant and I know how to smile.”

Skeele-Hogan says she is aware of stress in her life and is diligent about eating well, working out at the gym and getting enough sleep. She relies on her husband, who’s retired, to take care of things at home.

“The only thing that’s my number one issue with events is weather, and I can’t stress about it,” she says. “You have to have a positive outlook and a Weather Bug app, which gives me radar. When I’m dressing for an event, I just plan on getting wet. You just go out and embrace whatever comes. 

“Besides,” she says, “our events are free, so it’s not like I have to deal with giving people their money back.” 


Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.