Pat Shields sculpted a career around her organizational talents, now her influence reaches thousands of people at a time. As a producer for some of the most exclusive events in Los Angeles and beyond, Shields represents women of color that shattered several glass ceilings within her industry.
In an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel, Shields discussed her trade and how she grew in demand.
“I’m a producer,” Shields said confidently. The noted event engineer reflected on her role in orchestrating entire moments at some of the most complex venues and handling audiences that reached over 30,000 people at a time.
“I pull things together and I’m extremely organized–I am a connector, I’m always trying to introduce people,” Shields said.
Looking back on how she built her contacts, Shields admitted she had to develop her networking skills, because it didn’t come easy to her.
“I just quietly do the work—I know that it’s necessary though,” Shields said, “I’ve gotten all my jobs because of who I know.”
Shields explained the process in growing a supportive network, “It took me a lot to walk into a room by myself, I had to introduce myself to people– and then I got to the point where I would walk into a room, and I knew half the people already.”
Shields advised to put one foot in front of the other and the circle of contacts will grow.
“It’s necessary to put yourself out there and just get to know people–get to really know who they are as a person, and not what they do.” Shields emphasized the key to networking is not just what someone can offer, it’s about what one can do for someone else.
One of the most sought-after event producers shared a great way to build a network, is to connect with other people that may have come alone to an event and just start talking to them. Using herself as an example, Shields said, “What I ‘ll do is, I’ll see somebody who’s by themselves as well, and I’ll make the first step. I’ll go introduce myself.”
Shields did a lot of traveling, expanding her reach across the nation as representative of Warner Bros., artist relations. Reflecting on her nomadic days, Shields said “I was travelling with artists on their tours; promotional tours, concert tours– being introduced to more people.”
The former Warner Bros. artist relations representative shared that she fell into event production after finding her mind was great at engineering the Star Quest stage at Taste of Soul, one of the biggest events that made history in South L.A.
“The event production actually came around from the Sentinel [L.A. Sentinel] asking me, if I could help produce the StarQuest stage for Taste of Soul,” Shields said. As a partner in the Black Dot LLC, she oversees various fundraisers, award galas, conferences, and events for historically Black colleges and universities.
Other projects that Shields will be in charge of coordinating include the Marketing Opportunities In Business and Entertainment (MOBE) event and the Living Legends Foundation Awards Gala, October 7.
Shields shared her experience as a event producer, she stated, “Being an Event Producer, we are responsible for everything that brings that event to life. It’s heavy on organization and logistics.”
She continued, “We do the planning, budgeting, hiring the vendors, catering, audio and visual, design, signage, secure permits, hire the entertainment, promotion, advertising, publicity, ticket sales, the flow of the events, and executing the final plan.”
Considering her inspiration, Shields named a few other Black-owned event production companies that she admired, she stated, “There are two event producers in particular who I’ve always admired –Tammy Dickerson, of The Baker Group, and William Miller, of W.P. Miller Special Events.
She continued, “They had a Facebook group called The Black Table, where they held panel discussions with other Black event producers to share information, triumphs, and challenges. They are amazing humans. I’m also a fan of Bill Hammond, Hammond Entertainment.”
Shields closed with the following statements, “For anyone thinking about getting into the field, they have to be honest about their strengths,” she continued, “Start small with a family party or a community event. Start with the end in mind and work backwards. Figure out everything that’s needed to make it happen.”
For more information on the following events produced by Shields, websites are provided below.
Living Legends Foundation Awards Gala-livinglegendsfoundation.com