Vinay hedge is regular fun-loving, god-fearing guy;while one part of that keeps him curious, adventurous and exploring, the other helps him stay centered. He is the branch head (south) of 360 Degrees, the event management division of the Times of India. “I’ve have been a self-starter and have always create my own path in life, but I’m grateful for the opportunities and experiences I’ve been exposed to, the people I’ve met along the way and for results my efforts have borne. I believe I have the ability to change course and adapt to circumstances deftly. I believe that it’s as important to have faith, as it is to beware of dangers. I believe that what you give is what you get. I like to share my learning and experiences with as many people as possible, because I think that the best way to express gratitude is to give back,” he says.
Tell us a little about your work?
Although I chanced upon it, luckily for me, my passion is my full-time profession, so it never feels like work.
I am a mechanical engineer by education. I helped my parents with the family business for a while, right after college, but all that while, I was looking for something that would really excite me and engage me, some place that would utilize my full potential.
I found an opportunity with an organization called CARMA (Creative Advertising Resources Marketing Associates). I worked with CARMA for 2 years, but I stayed with events and entertainment, ever since.
Soon after CARMA, I joined 360 Degrees, the event management division of the Times of India, as a Branch Head for the South. I executed high value, large format like Film-fare Awards, Femina Miss India, Brand Equity Quiz and War of DJs among others. I also garnered a lot of new and sustained customers for 360 Degrees in the market I was give charge of. After X successful years with 360 Degrees, I joined Percept D’Mark as Associate Vice President and then HSBC Global Resourcing as AVP Corporate Communications.
In 2008, I started my own event management company, Colors Event Solutions, which continues to run successfully. In 2015, I entered in into a partnership with Voila Events, bringing in production and technical expertise. At Voila, I have been instrumental in getting International Electronic Dance Music, events like Sensation White, Tomorrow land Unite & Sunburn Arena to Hyderabad.
How has the journey been so far?
A roller coaster ride without a finish line in sight!:D And as with any roller coaster ride, there have been ups and downs, laughs and fears, excitement and surprises galore. My ability to take things in my stride and adapt, has held me in good stead.
Then again, I wonder if I’d have it any other way!
Your morning, evening and weekend routine for the day?
Mornings start with fresh air at the KBR Park when I’m in Hyderabad. This is also my thinking time, when I plan my day. I believe in the power of prayer, so I set some time aside for that too at the beginning of my day and then the workday begins.
When there’s an upcoming event or event idea in the pipeline, there is a lot of ideation, there are meetings, discussions, presentations and so on, throughout the day over several days,with different stakeholders.
I prefer to leave evenings and weekends unplanned for the most part.
Once the event itself, the concept and finer details are finalized, the days are taken-up by co-ordination, procurement, people management, problem solving and supervision. As the D-day approaches, it’s round the clock hands-on involvement, tying-up lose ends, crisis management and on-ground execution. At this stage it’s 24*7 action, mornings, evenings, nights and weekends no bar.
During this time, the only parts of my routine I try to keep are a little time for exercise and a little time for prayer; the latter is sacrosanct.
What do you do in your leisure time if you are not working?
I spend months working on an event or on a new idea for an event and I do this sometimes without a break, so to those watching me, it could appear like work, but to me, it’s not work, it’s what makes me tick! That’s one part of my life.
The other part is when I take time off from anything events and entertainment, only so that I can go back with fresh perspective.
During that time, sometimes I’m home watching sport, sitcoms or movies in my own company. Friends, food and movies are a huge stress buster for me, so very often I make plans with friends to watch movies on the big screen or simply to hangout over good food and conversation. I really enjoy having my friends over at home.
If there’s a new place in town to eat at that I haven’t been to yet, that will certainly be the first on my to-do list for after-work hours.
I love to travel. I love watching sport live on the field. I love attending new and different kinds of events and shows happening around the world as a spectator or a fan or a guest. At least once a year, I try to combine these three loves and plan a trip for myself to some part of the country or the world.
There’s yet another part of me that simply loves to be surrounded by friends and the people I love, giving myself quality time with them. I ensure that I make time for that and for some “me” time too. It recharges my batteries like few other things do.
How do you manage your work and personal life?
Like I mentioned, I set aside time to spend with the people I love, ever so often.One of the things I do to stay in touch, not just with immediate family but also with extended family and friends, is that I attend key festivals back at home and occasions like weddings, where one usually gets to meet everyone.
There have been times when I’ve been immersed in an event and my family has needed me to be with them; at such times, no questions asked, Iensure that I’m there for them too.
Tell us something about the difficulties one can face in such huge events?
Difficulties at an event can range from the weather, people, to technologyand so on. With experience, a lot of these can be anticipated, so thinking ahead and planning for them helps alleviate difficulties to a considerable extent.
There are other scenarios like sudden changes in policies and regulation, unexpected change political scenarios, natural disasters and so on, which also one tries to cater for to the extent possible.
Beyond that one needs to stay alert, stay calm and stay focused.
How is your usual day at work?
A life in events and entertainment has no room for “the usual”. This business imitates life – it’s exciting, unusual and brings out the extra ordinary in you, everyday.
What is next for you? Are there any upcoming big gigs in the city?
Voila has a plan in the pipeline to create an event intellectual property.
Among the big events for the city, Sensation 2 is coming soon. Talks are on to surprise Hyderabadis with a few of their favorite international artists who cannot be named at the moment.
3 things you don’t leave home without?
Sunglasses, mobile phone and house keys
Where would you take your next holiday to?
Amsterdam. I have been there twice and want to go back again, soon.
Soundest advice you have received by far?
To err is human but to forgive is divine.
One thing that cheers you up immediately?
Good humour,any day
Your idea of a perfect day?
A successful finish to a big event without any hiccups is a perfect day for me
My ability tohandle a crisis during an event while remaining calm
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself diversifying into other verticals of entertainment like producing and directing a Broadway show like Beauty and the Beast.
Your inspiration and why?
My inspiration comes from my spiritual guru, Mata Amritanandamayi. She inspires me to be a better, stronger and kinder human being with the passing of each day.
Your favorite cuisine?