Backstage Pass: Event & Arena Marketing Conference - A Day With the Digital Voice of Staples Center

Meet Cara Vanderhook, an EAMC honoree, as she does social media for Romeo Santos

During her more than 10 years with Anschutz Entertainment Group in Los Angeles, Cara Vanderhook has helped manage media campaigns for numerous high-profile events, including the Grammy Awards, the NBA Finals, the NHL's Stanley Cup championship, the groundbreaking of AEG's $3 billion L.A. Live district, hundreds of concerts and the public memorial service for Michael Jackson.

As director of communications and social media for the Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and L.A. Live, Vanderhook, 34, is the digital voice for those first two venues (a separate team posts for L.A. Live) with a total audience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of nearly 300,000.

Vanderhook also is vp agenda for the annual Event & Arena Marketing Conference. But one item she definitely did not place on the confab's schedule: her own honor. The EAMC has selected Vanderhook for its hall of fame. (She is co-honoree with retired World Wrestling Entertainment executive Ed Cohen.) She will be inducted during this year's event, which will be held June 11-14 at the New Orleans Marriott.

On May 22, as Latin star Romeo Santos stopped at the Staples Center on his current tour, Vanderhook offered a look at a day in the life of a social media director for one of the nation's top concert venues. (Hint: It's not all about tweeting.)


\7 a.m.\ Woke up and checked my email for anything urgent, then took a walk through my neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills/Los Feliz. After breakfast I headed to L.A. Live.

\10:15 a.m.\ Posted a funny video from 2012 of our staff singing Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" to the Staples Center's Facebook and Twitter accounts for Throwback Thursday. We like to show some personality with our social media.

\11 a.m.\ Call with Los Angeles Dodgers entertainment coordinator Cat Belanger. We discussed whether an artist playing the BET Experience at L.A. Live [June 27-29] could also appear at a Dodgers game to cross- promote our events.

\12:30 p.m.\ Romeo Santos is playing the Staples Center tonight [May 22]. I spoke with his publicist Nordhia Centeno about space for the 12 photographers and 13 television crews covering the show. It's the tour's second date and one of the bigger media turnouts we've had lately.

\1 p.m.\ Emailed the Los Angeles Kings' PR about media Wi-Fi for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs at the Staples Center and printed signs for the press areas.

\1:45 p.m.\ Lunch at the Farm of Beverly Hills downtown with Staples Center marketing director Allison Wright. I'm one of the coordinators for her wedding in August.

\3 p.m.\ Our fiscal year ends on July 31, so I met with AEG HR coordinator Ryan Cabrestante to discuss plans for the following year.

\5:15 p.m.\ Reviewed a monthly report from our finance department to make sure all charges are appropriate.

\6 p.m.\Delivered a gift from the Staples Center to Romeo Santos. It was a customized iPad with artwork from his tour and an engraving of the show date on the sleeve. Afterward, I grabbed a quick bite in the arena's Chairman's Room.

\8 p.m.\Coordinated a trade shot backstage with Romeo Santos, Staples Center GM Lee Zeidman and the venue's vp events Christy Castillo Butcher. Pulling off a photo that only takes 10 seconds can sometimes be the most stressful part of the night.

\9 p.m.\Checked on the media during the first three songs of the show and found one guy setting up a GoPro camera on the stage. I told them they couldn't do that.

\10 p.m.\Slipped back into the Chairman's Room to post photos of Romeo Santos from our house photographer on the Staples Center's Twitter and Instagram accounts, using my cell phone. We post a full photo album the next day on Facebook.

\11:30 p.m.\Left the concert a little early so I could stop at the grocery store before heading home. After a long day, it takes me about an hour to unwind before I can fall asleep.


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