Paulo Gouveia, event operations executive at the Science Museum, on working his way up from the gift shop to ops.
When did you first start working at the Science Museum and how did you get into working in the events team?
In 2013 at the age of 16, I began working as a product demonstrator of toys in the Science Museum’s gift shops – I was throwing a boomerang for a living!
In 2014 I became a retail assistant at the museum and a photographer at what was then our Green Screen Studio. A few months later, I became a commercial visitor experience assistant as well as managing the Green Screen Studio. Being a commercial visitor experience assistant permitted me to be an events host as overtime, so in 2015 I was head-hunted to be an events supervisor and then again for an events operations executive role three months thereafter. They haven’t been able to get rid of me ever since!
What do you enjoy most about working in the events sector?
The events sector enables me to work closely with a variety of industries, such as technology, catering, production and film to name just a few. Working alongside a wide range of industries is what makes the events sector so unique and exciting as each individual client brings something new and exciting to the table.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the events team at the Science Museum?
I feel privileged to work for a charity that inspires the future. The Science Museum is such an established institution and hearing memories of previous visits from the clients and guests is what we try to factor in when managing an event, as well as focusing on the visitor experience simultaneously.
Talk us through a typical day on an event.
Prior to supplier arrivals, I ensure I have all my paper work in check as well as ensuring relevant museum departments are updated. This is then followed by a museum walkthrough where we check for any changes or potential hazards, cross checking with my Risk Assessment.
You know it’s kick off time when the caterers arrive at the venue, usually at 16:00. Shortly after, the flight cases are rolled out by the production team ready for the 18:00 strike. 45-minute set-up – and the rest is a blur!
Once the event has concluded, load-out of the equipment commences. We are always the very last people standing.
What is your favourite gallery/galleries to manage an event in?
The Flight Gallery has to be my favourite gallery to manage an event in; not only are you amongst significant objects in aviation history, the Flight Gallery is extremely versatile for events. Within the gallery, I’ve managed drink receptions, gala dinners, awards, parties or a combination of all four with our amazing accredited suppliers and museum staff who make it all possible.
What has been your favourite event to manage to date?
I’ve been lucky enough to have managed events with some amazing brands from the toy and film industries – both of which I have a huge interest in. Warner Bros. London Summit 2018 and Mattel Wonder Summit 2017 are amongst my favourite events to have managed.
Their use of creative branding in our IMAX and our temporary blank canvas spaces have set the bar high for those to follow. Most importantly, their goal to break social norms and stereotypes is inspiring to both adults and children alike, which fits in perfectly with the Science Museum’s mission: Inspiring Futures and our values Think Big, Reveal Wonder, Share Authentic Stories, Ignite Curiosity and Open for All.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into the events management industry?
Approach the events management industry with an open mind. There are a wide-range of jobs available in the industry from venues, agencies, catering, production, entertainment and the list goes on. Always build a strong working relationship with anyone you bump into as any connection may lead to a new opportunity!