Valentina Jovanoska needs no introduction when it comes to events. An industry leader Valentina director of ‘The Valentina Group Agency’, is renowned for creating, designing and delivering atmospheric and immersive experiences in the fast-paced world of Australian and International events, such as the Australian Rolex Formula One Grand Prix, The Australian Open and The Melbourne Cup to name a few. VJ as she’s known to many is innovative, creative, and dedicated to bringing your event to life, creating exaggerated spaces, and conjuring up imaginative ideas with her energetic team.
Interview – Up Close & Personal with Valentina
As the director of The Valentina Group Agency which began in September 1997, please tell me a little about yourself, how The Valentina Group Agency was established and where your love of creative productions and experiences began?
“My career started in fashion, an industry that I still love and work with today. I was styling and producing runways both in Melbourne and Sydney, which also took me overseas. After returning home, I landed a role at Daimaru running the department stores promotions, art gallery and events. I went on to become the Melbourne City Marketing Manager that saw me producing annual strategic, marketing, PR, and event calendars to revitalise the CBD. It was my dream job and one that concreted my love for communications and events. It was also a role that provided me with an extensive and powerful network. The City of Sydney had been watching my work from afar and due to our successes, offered me the same role there. I was not keen on moving back to Sydney, so they offered me my first contract, as did the company I was working for at the time, which was the impetus to create my company 22 years ago. I have not looked back since, as it has been a great ride.”
“The journey is as important as the destination”
What was the very first event for TVGA?
“It was the Australian Designer Collections, which was and still is the only large-scale individual fashion runway produced here at home. It was a two-hour show featuring international supermodels such as Linda, Naomi, Sarah, and Eva, 20 leading Australian designers, and over 100 models including local celebrities that showcased new season collections on an 80-metre runway. It was a fashion-forward and high-end production that was enjoyed by 4000 fashionistas on the one night in both Melbourne and Sydney and was further viewed by a national TV broadcast audience. It was a fascinating insight into the industry in its heydays that I could write a book about.”
As an innovator, thought leader and brand storyteller, where do you begin to create the perfect event?
“As a creative and strategic agency, we deliver highly successful brand experiences through our 360-degree vision, perspective, and service, alongside our passion for innovation and creating projects that are truly unique. As external custodians of our client brands, delivering the right and successful result every time is as important to us, as it is for our own brand ID. We take the time to understand the brand attributes and its audience prior to creating a concept and platform that is totally on brand, on the pulse and is always unique. We engage and immerse targeted audiences through strong strategies and highly creative and curated designs, atmospheres and experiences that are enjoyed both onsite and online and seen through the media nationally. No matter how successful our creative concepts are or in demand, we never repeat the same execution or design.”
How do you keep up to date with industry trends?
“I have a deep love and passion for fashion, the arts, music, and culture in general. So, I am constantly indulging and diving into what creative talents are delivering to the world, which keeps me constantly on the pulse and ahead. I am also lucky to have an invested and passionate team and to be able work closely with a great many, and extremely talented established and emerging creative artists across all forms and industries, which keeps me revigorated, ignited and evolved.”
What is your favourite event genre to work on and why?
“This is difficult to answer, as I live, breathe, and work in a strong creative space that crosses over and fuses all art forms across all our event genres. I love producing a runway for a solo designer, as much as I love designing, building, and activating large scale experiences for our major event clients. It is not the scale or budget that drives and motivates me, but the opportunity to produce a project that has never been seen or experienced before and one that integrates all that I love and am passionate about.”
What are the key elements required to pull off the ultimate event?
“The unique curation and the fusion of the perfect guest list, design, visual, atmosphere, hospitality, and music deliver a ‘WOW’ factor. The event launch has to be a perfect experience that resonates and leaves a positive and lasting impression amongst media, guests, ticketholders and the broader market, every time.”
Where does your inspiration come from when designing the planning of a new creative production or experience?
“I like to lead and not follow and therefore, I do not conform to specific trends that ensures our concepts are always unique. When creating concepts, our inspiration mostly comes from the brand attributes and culture, the venue, and the target audience profile. We have an innate ability to instantly see the vision of the experience in totality and then we bring it to life through our 360 perspective to deliver the ultimate results across PR, Social, online and onsite for our clients, stakeholders and the audience.”
What is your favourite event in Melbourne?
“I honestly cannot say that I have one favourite Melbourne event, as our great city offers so many. I love our cultural and boutique event experiences, as much as our major events. Being at a runway, at a course, at a track, at a gallery or at a dinner, all bring me joy equally.”
Name the most inspiring people you have met throughout your career?
“There are way too many to just single out a few. I am constantly inspired by the people I meet, work, and play with, as our industry attracts people that are unique, have great minds, are interesting storytellers, and are talented. I am most inspired by creative artists who are unique in both their personality and their work and business leaders that have high ethical and moral values that they pass forward to impact lives positively. Life gifted me with amazing mentors that not only shaped me as a person, but also as a professional, something I now pass on to those that are wanting to be invested in.”
And lastly how does Valentina unwind after a huge event?
“We normally go from multi projects straight on to more multi projects, so our time to celebrate is limited, especially during our peak periods. However, when we do get a gap whether it’s a minute, an hour or a day, we do indulge in a great number of martinis, fine meals, retail therapy, hitting the dance floor and some time off for R&R.”
“You only have one opportunity to create a first impression”
Interviewed by Editor in Chief Melinda Sullivan
Words by Valentina Jovanoska.