The portfolio event manager – niche events at Fresh Montgomery and two-time EN 30 Under 30 member on workplace equality, growing up in the industry and the tangibility of events.
I was born and grew up in Bristol.
My family are small and very close, I have one younger sister who has always been my best friend and grew up with my mum and dad just north of Bristol. Mum and dad were very relaxed and supportive parents and filled me with self-belief and instilled in me confidence that I could do anything I set my mind to. Going home to see mum and dad is always such a relaxing time and I love being back in Bristol to spend time with them.
Mum was an estate agent for most of my childhood and I think having a working mum was imperative to my view on the importance of women’s career development and how to balance a family and work. When I was in second year of university, mum had quit agency and started university to retrain as a social worker and start a new career from scratch, which was pretty inspirational!
Dad worked in events and managed Cardiff International Arena while I was growing up, so was in events for most of my childhood.He’s now a motorbike journalist and travels the world riding bikes and writing about it.
The weirdest customer email I have received was working on BBC Countryfile Live when a potential visitor asked me if he could bring his pet albino crow to the event, to sit on his shoulder! Unsurprisingly this wasn’t covered by our FAQs so I checked with our H&S team and the good news was that he could.
I started stewarding at Cardiff International Arena with dad when I was about sixteen and just loved events from the beginning. I watched dad being the manager of a big team and thought that managing events of that scale looked brilliant, I loved getting seeing concerts every night and being exposed to so much live music was exhilarating.
While I was freelancing at Fresh Montgomery in 2014 I met Miranda Martin who bought me into SME London as a freelancer later that year and my first day at SME was working on the Independent Hotel Show, which was sold to Fresh Montgomery in 2017.
Depending on the publication date of this issue and when you’re reading it, I could be getting married as you read this! I’m getting married on 2 August in Bath and I’m very excited.
I love the tangibility of events; for a whole year you work on something behind the scenes but at the end you get this tangible end product. I enjoy the element of performance, I can always be found at the entrance of the show when the doors open on day one, seeing people pour into the event is my favourite part of the day onsite. I also love lists and spreadsheets so this job is perfect for me!
I am an ardent feminist, so my primary agenda is always gender equality in the workplace. I’m lucky that at Fresh Montgomery we have lots of women in leadership positions with Lori Hoinkes at the helm and Soraya Gadelrab and Miranda Martin as portfolio directors. I know however, that this is not the case across the industry, and I think it’s so important that women entering a workplace see women at the top of their game who’ve smashed the glass ceiling for them. It’s essential that as you move up the career ladder you stay focused on helping women coming up below you to progress, so there are always women ready for the top jobs.