The CEO of CHS Group on not sweating the small stuff and turning problems into opportunities.
What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?
We are facing a shortfall of large exhibition venues; I feel that the industry has to be more creative and look outside of the ‘traditional’ venue pool.
What are the three things you would change in the industry?
1. Wastage: it breaks my heart to spend thousands of pounds on a carpet that is only used for one day. Yes, we recycle, but there has to be more that we, the industry, can do.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff: our industry can get fixated on the smallest of things that are really not important. The level of conversation needs to be elevated to more serious and impactful issues.
3. Training and development: I would like to see more investment in the training and development of stand staff and people working within the industry.
Which speaker has most impressed you at an exhibition?
Sir Clive Woodward OBE. He spoke about how he coached the England team to victory in 2003 by addressing lots of little things and how making lots of small improvements can really impact on the final result. He was a brilliant speaker and the topic really resonated with me.
Which member of the industry is least likely to get a round in first?
The CHS team is always first to the bar when we are hosting our events, so we wouldn’t notice.
Where is the best place for a nightcap and what would it be?
A G&T or a Baileys at the Hand and Flower, it’s so convenient after a show at Olympia and they always look after us when we stay there.
What’s the worst idea you have seen at an exhibition?
Having seminar sessions on the exhibition floor, because the noise pollution from the speakers then battles with the entertainment and noise from around the hall.
Favourite restaurant – best dish?
The Morton Bay Bugs at Café Sydney
Most prized possession?
I am very inspired by other people’s stories and I have a huge collection of biographies, business and leadership books.
What’s your karaoke song of choice?
Pearl’s a Singer, which I can belt out (there is video footage somewhere to prove it…)
What one thing do you do better than anyone else?
Being able to turn a problem into an opportunity.
Having too many ideas…
Who would play you in a movie?
Jennifer Aniston, because I’d like to think that I’m a bit like Rachel from Friends, but I may be deluded.
Biggest achievement/proudest moment?
Becoming a UK ambassador for the Clean The World initiative; our business can have a real impact on the world.
What do you do to let off steam?
I visit my best friend. She isn’t in the industry so it’s a great way to escape.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records!
Worst item of clothing you own?
I have a couple of sweaters that I call ‘home alones’
Most embarrassing song you own?
I think I have a Bros album somewhere…
Describe the events industry.
Amazing, exhilarating, hard work and bad for the liver.
Favourite place to go at the weekend?
The beach for a long walk.
Worst job you’ve had?
Waitressing at a fish and chip restaurant in Whitby – actually, all I did was butter bread.
Who is your hero/inspiration?