I worked at Terrapinn full-time (More than a year)
I worked at Terrapinn for around 2-2.5 years as a Conference Manager and eventually a Project Director. I entered the office with no conference industry experience and a very low opinion of the work I would be doing. I am happy to say that my opinion changed as I learned the ropes and I wanted to share my experience of working at Terrapinn's New York City office, as I feel it could be helpful for people looking to make the decision whether or not to work here.
On the positives:
-The amount of people you get to meet is staggering in a good way. CEOs, Directors of Companies, you name it - if you are willing to get your name out there, it will get out there. The marketing team puts out mass emails that you write, with your name on them, and the right ones can get people talking in the industry. This is the number one way to get this job to work for you is to network. I can't emphasize this enough. You have to put the legwork in, but it can pay significant dividends in the future.
-The Managing Director of the New York City office (Martin) is, in my opinion, a very idealistic, younger manager who is willing to take (manageable) risks. I can say that he enabled me to take some risks with my agendas, who I invited, marketing strategies, etc. and it helped my industry knowledge to grow and helped me to grow as an employee. I don't think he is as willing to take risks with the more established cash cows of the office, but realistically, who would? The money from those staples enables the smaller events to get creative, and that is where much of the young office shines in developing rich, passionate agendas. I do think he gets overwhelmed by ridiculous corporate demands (more on that in the cons) and it trickles to the rest of the office at times, but overall he helps to create a positive, if occasionally a bit too competitive, environment.
-Young office filled with people who enjoy having fun both at the events and at the office.
-If you enjoy traveling, you will have plenty of opportunity to do so.
-Plenty of horizontal and vertical growth opportunities IF YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT SEGMENT (more on that later)
-Great work life balance as long as you don't have a long commute like I did. You will be out the door by 5 and nobody expects you to stay later (unless you have something that needs to get done and you didn't do it, of course)
-The conference industry as a whole is a pretty awful industry. Terrapinn tries hard to break some of the rote cultural assumptions, but money comes first and you often find yourself creating just another of several similar events in the industry you are in. Management's reply is, of course, yours should be BETTER - and that is what any good employee obviously strives for, but this is a tough industry and you have to understand that before you take on this position. You will need to work harder than you would in similar positions in other industries (or a more established conference company) to get the same payoff.
-Corporate. I can't say anything positive about the corporate governance at Terrapinn. The CEO is, I believe, a friend of the founder of the company who should have retired years ago. I never experienced it myself, but I often heard him yelling needlessly at other employees at his bi-annual visits in a very demeaning tone. The other executives are nominally more competent, but their utility has limits given the buck always stops with the CEO. The less Martin interacted with the CEO and executive team, the better the US office performed and the better the atmosphere. They also have no vision - often, the US and EU offices were competing for the same clients, in a sea of already competing events. Supposedly this was to capitalize on both markets, but in some industries, the audience for these events is already very small, and you do yourself no favors by cannibalizing. The one positive I will say about corporate is that their head of Sales is an excellent teacher for how to sell in the modern environment.
-Some segments treated better than others (for example, if Life Sciences is really killing it, they will get favorable treatment to Aviation). This was often financial, but also more often than I would like based on personality. Management across the board plays favorites at Terrapinn, though the one positive here is that it is pretty easy to be a favorite - do your job, don't complain and (hopefully) make money. Oh, and go to the social events.
-Upward mobility comes to a screeching halt once you hit Project Director. The only position above that is Martin, and outside of that is corporate, and those people aren't going anywhere.
-This is a 90% phone-based job. They will sell you the world on the interview, but understand this, and I hope someone listens to this review: you will be on the phone all. the. time. They track your daily call times, and if you aren't making money, they will REALLY track your call times. If you aren't making calls, you aren't working there anymore. If you are making money somehow magically without making the calls, then they might go easier. The one thing I will say about this, is that it isn't so much a negative, because the only way to really build relationships as I mentioned above is to be on the phone with people (as well as meeting them in person at the shows).
-If you make the wrong people angry, they can make your life miserable at the company.
-The office is all young "millennials" which can be both a positive and a negative. I list it as a negative because it seems like there is constant drama. I ignored most of the office in order to stay above it. Anyone above the age of 30 was quickly gone after I started there, some by their own accord, others not so much.
-Pay is less than other conference organizations, but I will be honest with you, the environment at most of the others is so awful it sometimes makes up for it.
Advice to Management
US office management advice: Be a better filter between the insane C-level corporate demands and don't let their stress bring down the NYC office environment. Try to emphasize that the calling isn't just to hit the times, but during training really focus on WHY the calling is important and how it helps to build relationships. Keep taking risks on and for your employees.
Executive management: I won't bother writing anything, nobody will listen anyway.
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 days. I interviewed at Terrapinn (New York, NY).
It was a group interview with a hands-on project related to the company which was individually completed in-person, and analyzed one-one-one with an employee. The vibe of the company was positive but it was a very, very long interview which did not seem to be that efficiently run.