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Labours of love: Working up the entertainment chain with Mike Anderson

If you’ve attended a concert or comedy recently, it’s likely because of the planning of this NAIT alumni. Former NAITSA Vice President Mike Anderson and the owner of Trixstar Entertainment, an events management company located in Canada and the US, spoke to the Nugget about his early days as a NAIT student and how his campus experiences led to him managing his own business. 

First starting as a school mascot, then class rep for the business department and finally president of the business department, Anderson took on whatever opportunities came his way. Over time, he also began volunteering and sitting in on different counsels, which eventually led to his run for NAITSA’s vice president of campus life activities. In this role, he planned the first ever tailgate Ooksfest in 1998, where Nickelback performed for $500 and volunteers sold beer from the trunk of a car, near the old HP building.  

Anderson’s interest in managing events happened by coincidence though. “When I started getting into student politics and planning parties, I got bitten by the bug that when you create an event, you create an experience for people and you see how people react to that experience. It’s quite addicting because you get this big high,” he said. 

A photo of Mike Anderson. Photo from techlifetoday.ca

But before someone undertakes large-scale events, like a jamboree or concert, he recommends that a person start “ground-level.” By that, he infers to volunteering at events, calling to get into places and being willing to do clean up–those labours of love.

“It took almost 20 years to get to that point. You always have to start somewhere and not expect to have the most glamorous job at first. Be willing to put yourself out there to move supply wood around, pick up trash, scan tickets, sling booze, do security, do every job possible,” said Anderson. 

As for team projects, Anderson claims (without wavering) that working with classmates handed him the tools to succeed in life. “When you’re in college, being put with groups of people you don’t know, that’s how real life is…You’re going to be put in real life situations where you don’t know anybody and you might not like them, but it forces you to adapt to the different egos and mentalities in the room so that you can thrive,” he said.

While he emphasizes the importance of learning and studying, Anderson believes that “there’s so much opportunity outside of the classroom and that’s what’s going to land you your dream job. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but you have to be able to put yourself out there, be creative, work.”

“Everybody’s competing for the same job after school, so it doesn’t matter what your mark is. It’s what you’ve done with your time at NAIT and the people you’ve met and all these other things,” he said.    

Cover Photo via trixstarlive.com

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