Spotlight: confessions of an Event Manager
Ever wondered what being an event manager entails, and what the best and worst parts of the job are? We thought you might like to get to know our team a bit more, learn what makes them tick, and why they love working in this busy, creative, and sometimes crazy industry we call events.
From being a stand-in for the chef, to hosting a party at the bottom of a volcano, our Deputy Head of Event Logistics, Amelia Windsor has done it all!
What does being the Deputy Head of Event Logistics involve?
I lead on larger logistics projects like conferences & incentives, and I work with the senior team to manage resource requirements and career development for our event logistics team, including leading the intern development programme. Day to day I work on client pitches, line manage members of the team, and have responsibility for one of our key client accounts.
Which colleagues and departments do you work with?
Logistics touches every department so I work with everyone! Large projects mean complex plans, so I work closely with all teams across the business such as production, creative studio, finance of course, and the warehouse team. Away from events I also work with the sales & marketing team by supporting on pitches, and attending industry events on behalf of Strata.
What industry trends excite you?
Sustainability is at the forefront of the process now, particularly after recent events. Working with my team we make sure we give options to our clients to make their experiences more sustainable, even when being delivered virtually. Hybrid and virtual events have an obvious lower environmental impact, but there is still very much a place for sustainability across the entire planning process. Everything from build materials, to catering and travel has an impact, and our clients are asking for more ways to offset their carbon footprint. Looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions or how you can offset your footprint are now a given in the brief response.
What’s your top tip for fellow event planners and clients?
Things change or can even go wrong very quickly in a live environment, as so much is out of your control. Something that makes someone excel in this industry is the ability to stay calm and work out a solution.
Events are fast paced and can be stressful – how do you manage your own time and stress levels?
I work better under pressure, otherwise I’m an excellent procrastinator. I love a list, and working to thorough project plans means everyone involved knows the state of play. I’m also realistic with my time pressures, so if I know a project needs additional resource then I work with the senior team to arrange that. There is no weakness in acknowledging when you’re too busy, so ask for help and don’t be afraid to say no.
There is no weakness in acknowledging when you're too busy, so ask for help and don't be afraid to say no.
Tell us about your first event job?
I fell into events, as back in Australia I originally started my career as a producer on a breakfast radio show. But I had the opportunity to start a new position at the Australian Institute of Sport, looking after Olympic & National sporting teams, and coordinating things like their travel, catering and accommodation. This suited my anal personality perfectly and I was instantly hooked. (I also enjoyed telling people what to do!)
Why do you like working in events?
I love working with lots of other creative people. My favourite projects are those that require team work and collaboration.
The lead up to an event is so exciting, knowing all your hard work will culminate into an amazing experience for the audience, that you created, is so rewarding. A lot of our work really is creative and magical, and you get to create once in a lifetime experiences for people.
I even had someone on an incentive ski trip before who have never even seen snow! Seeing people’s pure delight makes all the hard work so worthwhile.
How do you keep your clients happy?
I’m straightforward and trustworthy, so I don’t over promise when I know something isn’t realistic. So when I say I’ll deliver something, my clients know that my word has value.
Tell us about….
Your favourite venue
The Sea Containers in London is stunning. We’ve hosted an annual press event there for a number of years and it’s just so beautifully designed. Plus you get impeccable service and it has a strong ethos behind it.
Costa Rica, as it’s completely different to anywhere else I’ve been before. They say “Pura Vida”, which means “pure life” but it represents so much more in their way of life. The scenery is stunning, with beaches and rainforests making it a fantastic destination for incentives, but as a country it is very sustainable and is in fact one of the world leaders in recycling. So if you’re looking for an innovative and sustainable destination then consider Costa Rica.
Your best event?
My most memorable event was a press launch in Iceland (the country, not the shop). The product being promoted was a camera, so we designed the whole experience to be photo worthy throughout. As well as doing the traditional Icelandic activities, we worked with the local DMC to host a private party at the bottom of a volcano just outside of Reykjavik – something you’d never get to do as a tourist. It was truly stunning and one of those parties that literally went on through the night!
This is followed closely by an incentive in South Africa we hosted a couple of years ago. Some of the winners hadn’t even been outside of the UK before, so taking them on their first trip with a Safari was such a privilege.
And the worst?
I once had to step in at the last minute to run an awards gala dinner. When I got there for the briefing with the caterer it was clear they were ill prepared and unexperienced. As a result, service for the first course took 25 minutes, and despite my best efforts working with the waiting staff, the main service was even worse, resulting in a very unhappy client. However the catering manager was not best pleased with the feedback and walked out along with the head chef before completing dessert service! So I had to don the chef hat, plate up 500 desserts, and coordinate the waiting staff to get the service finished without a glitch. Never again will I shout at a catering manager.
What’s the best perk of the job?
Hands down it’s the travel. Right now it’s on hold of course, but we know it will make a come back soon enough as there is a hunger for everyone to get out and see the world again – myself included!