Monday, November 10, 2008

Aki Con Coordinator Nicole Pelham

Is the convention over already? Well yeah, but it does not mean that the fun has to stop (^_^) I had a wonderful chance to interview the very nice Nicole Pelham the Coordinator of the Aki Con 2008, which is also the first Aki Con. Not only is this the first Aki Con, but it is Nicole's first time coordinating an anime and manga related convention.

Nicole is 28 years old and living in Everett WA. She was born and raised in Washington and has spent 10 years of her young life in the Midwest. Her "mother is black and my father is white. I have a bit of Native American in me." So let's get to know about Nicole as the coordinator and the first ever Aki Con.


~What is the mission and responsibilities of the Aki Con?

Aki con is a for the fan Anime and Manga convention.

~Since this is the first Aki Con, whose idea was it and why was it decided that the idea should become a reality?

We have been teaching anime and manga classes for the past 8 year in Washington state. A community group contact us after a newspaper article in a Everett Hearld. They wanted us to help organize an anime convention. We agreed but after working on it for few weeks the community group backed out. We decided to continue with Aki con anyway.

~What was the process or steps that led to the fulfillment of this Aki Con, such as paperwork, meetings, etc.?

Having worked on other smaller events and being anime and manga fans ourselves we just continued and started at the beginning. Thinking about some of the best and worse anime cons we’ve been we began to sort through ideas, event and paperwork. It was time consuming, but we have faith that we have put together a very fun, fan oriented convention.

~Which ideas were accepted and rejected? Why were some rejected and some accepted?

Many ideas had to be cut because of time and size restraints, but hopefully we’ll add them in the next couple years.

~Since you have attended many other conventions, how will Aki Con be different from them? What will make Aki Con stand out?

Aki con is a very fan driven convention. It is 58 hour straight with nearly every room open the entire time.

~As coordinator of the convention, what steps or process led you to your current position and what are your responsibilities?

We’re still a small con and so I have a ton of large and small responsibilities.

~If you can, can you describe for me a typical day when you have to work on related Aki Con items? What is the schedule like?

Wake up; check e-mail, forum, and badges; reply to contact, companies, and venue; go to work; answer e-mails; lunch (I don’t eat bkf); finish work; check e-mails, forum and badges; replying to attendee questions; and forum questions.

~What was the most important experience so far for you during the process and preparations and how did it help you in making the convention they way it hopes to be?

Talking with other con goer and understanding what they like and dislike.

~What lessons did you learn while working on the preparations of Aki Con?

That organization is the key to success.

~Since this is your first time being a coordinator for an anime manga related convention what are your professional and personal expectations? Do you feel that they will be met?

I own and run a childcare center, with 80 children a day, 7 classrooms, full meals and a set daily schedule. I have over 20 employees. Running a childcare center is like running a birthday party every day. Running a convention is like throwing a huge party so as mentioned above it is all about being organized. Everyone has to have fun from the children to the employees.

~Are there any difference or similarities between your previous coordinating jobs and the current one? May you tell me the differences and similarities?

Running an all age event is different from running an event for children, so we have to balance a desire to keep everything PG to PG-13 with the desire of anime fans and parents. The size is also a big different as most event I’ve run in the pass have been under 200 attendees and Aki Con looks to brake 1000.

~What advice can you give to those who are interested in becoming a coordinator? Is there more to it then just being a fan of anime or manga?

Yes a lot more, though you should definitely love anime and manga. You need to have managing skills and business experience, which is a big help. Understanding that your customers (attendees) come first and that it is your job to make sure they have fun. Expressing this to your staff and volunteers is key.


If you want to learn more about Aki Con please visit
Note: the interview was done early November 2008, but due to my busy schedule I ended up posting it after the convention. Sorry!
© 2008 Linda Thai

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