As someone who is looking to go into the entertainment industry, I was absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to interview Allyson Wadman, who currently works in Media Relations for the Las Vegas Raiders and in Public Relations for MGM Resorts, about her career journey.
Allyson is an alumna of Chapman University, where she graduated from in 2017. Speaking about her time in college, she cites her education as what best prepared her for her career.
“Graduating from a prestigious private college like Chapman University and most importantly with an integrated degree in Strategic & Corporate Communication taught me versatile skills that could be applicable in multiple industries, thus making me a well-rounded professional,” Allyson said.
Going into the entertainment industry is an idea that is daunting to many, including me. Especially for people who have not previously worked in entertainment, getting a job in the industry can seem like a lofty aspiration. But despite not having prior experience in entertainment, Allyson’s first post-graduation position was in public relations for MGM Resorts, where she has now worked for three years and what she calls her dream job. Though entertainment was a new space for her to jump into, Allyson was up for the challenge.
“I have always been eager to take on new challenges and adventures,” Allyson said. “I felt that I was fully prepared with a multi-talented skill set and a can-do attitude that is needed in the entertainment industry. My colleagues were also very supportive and provided guidance when I needed it. I will say, it was so much more than I ever thought it would be while I was just dreaming about it in college.”
A job in public relations is not your typical 9-5— with differing hours and a wide range of tasks, no two days look the same.
“Some days I’m bound to my computer and other days I’m running around The Strip,” Allyson said. “Something that remains consistent in every day is communication. In order to complete projects and attain PR goals, you must be able to communicate with team members, partners, and media members. Event day schedules (back when they were a thing pre-COVID era) are more unique than most days since it requires us being on-site to staff, execute PR needs, and troubleshoot any operational situations that come up.”
Working in public relations for entertainment and nightlife at a large company like MGM Resorts has a lot of perks. There is much planning that goes into such large-scale events and Allyson said that the most rewarding part of her job is when all of the preparation results in successful events.
“It’s the pretty bow on top of accumulating all my hard work,” Allyson said. “My favorite part when I’m on-site for an event is watching guests have the time of their lives. It’s why I love what I do. Knowing that I’m in some way contributing to people living out some of the best times of their lives ignites my passion.”
But being in such a fast-paced environment, the job can be extremely demanding, with Allyson stating that the most challenging aspect of her job is multitasking between multiple projects and giving each the attention it needs while also being able to collaborate well with others and their various work and communication styles.
In addition, the side of entertainment that many of us see is full of extravagance and fun. While this is true, this is not all there is to the industry and a lot of hard work behind the scenes goes into making entertainment as glamorous as it seems.
“One common misconception of being in the entertainment industry is that it’s all fun, that you just show up to the concerts, fights, red carpets, etc.,” Allyson said. “It is not the case AT ALL. There is so much work and strategy before the actual event like announcing shows, planning events, executing media opportunities, operational logistics, etc. From the outside looking in, you don’t see the non-glamorous part of being in the industry. For example, it’s a demanding schedule with long days and weird hours, but we stay bright-eyed and bushy-tailed even though we work 16-hour days that end in the middle of the night.”
Through all of these long hours, Allyson’s work has paid off. She has received several promotions during her past three years with MGM Resorts. Though she has already landed her dream job so early in her career, she is determined to continue her growth with the company and hopes to work toward being a part of MGM Resorts’ senior leadership later down the road.
“I always dreamt and told myself ‘I want my life to be one big party,’ and I am thankful for each day and each project I work on,” Allyson said. “However, I haven’t stopped my ‘big picture’ goals and aspirations because of it. Now that I’m at my dream company, I want to continue to grow with my dream company.”
She also adds, “Working in the fast-paced corporate industry, especially in Las Vegas, humbles you quickly. I feel that I’ve grown so much personally and professionally starting my career at MGM Resorts and now also working with the Las Vegas Raiders, but I want to continue growing and move up in my career. I want to be an inspirational leader that motivates others that with hard work, anything is possible.”
For anyone aspiring to have a career in the entertainment industry, Allyson offers this advice.
“I always say you have to have a special type of personality to thrive in entertainment or else the industry will eat you alive,” Allyson said. “You need perseverance and grit to make it in the entertainment industry and the way to show that is with your initiative. Take the initiative and open doors yourself, make connections, reach out to people currently in the industry and learn from them, throw yourself into any opportunities that may lead to gaining more experience, approach everything as a learning opportunity, do before you’re told what to do, and say yes. I learned at the start of my career by taking the initiative you were showing that this is exactly what you want to do and you will do anything to make it happen. This type of attitude and energy is what separates those who think they want to be in entertainment from those who know they’re made for entertainment.”