The sales and marketing director at The Event & Exhibition Partnership on Brexit worries, a stint working at the Masonic Lodge and her love of the events industry.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Leicester but grew up in Essex. I’m an Essex girl at heart.
Tell me about your family? Describe the dynamics in your family as you grew up? Has it changed since?
We had a big family, there were five sisters. Sporty, good fun. I’m the oldest. We’re all still best mates.
What did you parents work as?
My dad was health and safety executive for Nuclear Power, and my mum brought us lot up. Plus dogs, fish, Guinea pigs…the lot!
What were you like at school?
I wasn’t very studious. I had fun at school, which doesn’t really come through in exam results.
What was your first job?
Paper round. I was maybe 13 or 14, it felt like I did it forever. I also worked in a sweet shop. They made me add everything up in my head, there weren’t any computers or calculators back then. I was also a waitress at the Masonic Lodge, which was interesting. Working on Lodge events taught me a lot.
How did you get into events?
I didn’t do any events until the José Carreras concerts we did when I was working for Pinkertons. Offshore Europe was one of my other first ones. I was sales then, but also tear tickets…do whatever you need to do.
How did you start at your company and where you are today?
Then in 1997 we set up ourselves, so we’ve had the company 21 years. The Americans took over the security company I was working for and they didn’t really understand the peaks and troughs of events so we decided to go it alone and bring a family-run, private company that only dealt with events to the industry, not a corporate global company. We’re 100 per cent events. We started off with the Chelsea Flower Show and we’re still doing the Chelsea Flower Show.
What do you enjoy most about this industry?
It’s fun. Fun with a capital ‘F’ sometimes! It’s great, I love the people. It’s an ever-changing environment, you’re going from one day to the next. That’s why our staff like it; each week you’re doing a similar job but in a different format and a different place. It’s outdoors, indoors, snow…
What’s the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?
For us it’s recruiting and what will happen after Brexit. We’re not sure how we’ll get the staff because they won’t be coming in from Europe any more. But generally as an industry I think we talk quite a lot about what’s going on. There aren’t any hidden agendas, everyone just talks about it.
What do you currently have on your desk?
A mess! I’ve got about six piles of paper. I don’t even know what’s in some of them!
What do you do at the weekends?
If I have a weekend off it’s golf, running or drinking with my mates.
Are you married? Do you have any children?
Married yes. Children no, but I have lots of nieces and nephews to keep me entertained.
Where and when was your last holiday?
My last holiday was August, we went to Bordeaux in France. It was lovely; nice and hot.
Tell me about your favourite event you work on?
If I had to name one…it would be Goodwood Revival. It’s one big fancy dress party. It’s pre-1966 so it’s vintage and there’s something for everyone. You don’t have to like cars, you can go there for the music or to dress up. It’s one of those events that you can’t not enjoy.
Have you won any awards (in and outside of the industry)?
I’ve got my medal for running a 4k, which was good! And we’ve won an Event Production Award and an AEO Award.