Tamara Cook – Philanthropic Events Junkie

A self-confessed philanthropic events junkie living the motto ‘People before Profit’, Tamara established Known Associates Events in 2007. Her network stretches far and wide – once you meet her, you will be in her fold for years to come. Tamara’s professional background began in Hotel Management where strong and meaningful contacts, outstanding customer service and attention to detail were of the utmost importance. A highly-skilled events professional, Tamara has project managed multiple high profile events including 1000-seat black tie balls for royalty, intimate cocktail soirees, countless marketing campaigns; always contributing a community focus and considering social responsibility. With a Communications degree and over 20 years of experience, you’re in good hands.

Can you share the story of why you started your business? 

I was working at the Dockers AFL Club as an Events Manager and although I loved my job I was tired of being trapped by a corporate branding code, not to mention styling everything in deep, deep purple!

I started Known Associates on the side so I could throw lavish events my way but with an altruistic purpose. I had a hunger for giving back and not just running an event for the sake of enjoyment; there had to be a long-lasting benefit for others. Known Associates was a way to unleash my creative flair, love of people, and passion for togetherness, simultaneously connecting people and serving our community in areas of need. Once this business concept was on paper, and with the encouragement of family and friends, Known Associates was born!

With a commitment to creating my own exclusive themed events for a niche market I donated the majority of profits from each event to various Australian charities. After some extremely successful maiden events, eventually I left the Dockers on maternity leave and never returned. Known Associates Events was growing organically and I began to nurture a young family and a business together.

Ten years on and Known Associates is cemented as a boutique Event Management Consultancy with a focus on bespoke events and bettering our community. We love what we do. We do it to change lives.

Tell us more about the services you offer?

  • The business has grown from producing our own events to specialising in consulting to a variety of not-for-profit organisations and corporates, creating and managing bespoke events and marketing activations, including high-end corporate occasion events, fundraising and awareness-raising events. We integrate Public Relations strategies, Brand Activation and Social Media Campaigns to complement and coincide with high profile events.
  • Due to our commitment to points of difference and ‘wow factor’ we are constantly engaged to produce launches, campaign activations and events with difference, always collaborating with the most appropriate teams.
  • The second arm of the business’s community focus is an Intern Academy, assisting young people in getting started in the events industry in Perth, particularly students in their final year of university or other tertiary studies. I do this by facilitating real, hands-on experience and exposing our interns to networks with the aim of creating lasting relationships through introductions to event professionals in Western Australia. They are given management duties, creative license and are considered an integral part of the team. Many of my past interns are still part of my life as friends today. I’m extremely proud of them and honoured to have been part of their journey.

What’s your favourite part of your job? 

My favourite would be the creative process – dreaming up new and exciting ideas and then figuring out how we can actually make them happen. I love producing an event end to end. Creating intriguing and unusual invitations is a bit of a specialty of mine. Once, for a media launch, we designed and delivered over 100 bunches of fresh flowers in ornate vintage teacups, complete with a tea bag in ‘positivitea’ flavor. It was a lot of work and came to fruition by collaborating with some incredible people but we got there and the result was overwhelmingly positive!

Mentoring would be my second favourite part of my role. I love to see the young team learn, grow, shine and take credit for their individual achievements. I’ve always been maternal so I guess it’s a way of feeding that part of my soul. I’m a firm devotee to believing in, and exalting others.

What’s your #1 tip for those just launching their business? 

Seek the knowledge of those before you. You and your ideas may be unique, but there are some definite rules to running a business and you should be aware of them, even if you don’t want to follow them! Have a coffee with a trusted entrepreneur who can share their experience and help you with the curly questions for free. If that’s not enough, definitely consider a business coach.

I went into business with passion and vigour and almost no clue of what I was doing in a commercial sense. Due to hard work resulting in fast success, my business was marked for a hostile takeover very early on and I learned some hard lessons about protecting my intellectual property and myself. I honestly thought most people were trustworthy and in it for the greater good, like I was. Unfortunately greed rules many people’s actions so you must be prepared, savvy, educated and commercially aware. You have to be primed to fight for what’s yours, if and when the time comes. You built it, you deserve it, ensure you protect it.

Anything exciting in store you’d like to share? 

We’ve never had a birthday party but we turned ten last year! Woo hoo! Time to throw an overdue party just for our nearest and dearest! Time to show gratitude to all the wonderful people who have helped Known Associates Events become what it is today. Check your mailboxes for an out-of-the-box invitation! Xx

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