My Event World - Celia Scholtz

Celia Scholtz, operations manager at Cavendish Group, on banning internet auction sites, tick lists and swapping places with Seb Coe.

My Event World - Celia Scholtz
My Event World - Celia Scholtz

I got into the events industry because I love putting an event together and seeing it come alive. I am a social person and couldn’t spend my working life sat behind a desk; I enjoy the interaction that events provide on many levels.

I have worked here since May 2005.

I was attracted to this particular role because at the time I joined the Cavendish Group it was undergoing a facelift and I wanted to be a part of that progression.

Not many people know that I have a degree in communications and psychology. Communications has helped greatly in my career but psychology has been equally as important. We are all unique individuals and as such I try to understand a person so I can work better with them.

My worst experience at an event was not having a coach turn up to pick up guests arriving from Brussels. Luckily we assessed the coach wasn’t going to be there and organised taxi transfers just in time.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s double check, triple check and quadruple check – make check lists and be sure to have everything ticked.

The best event I’ve been involved in was the centenary event for Michelin. It was a week long event in London with various lunches, dinners and cocktail receptions for everyone from Michelin starred chefs to employees.

If I could do it all over again I would do the same thing. I love the industry I work in, even if it can be stressful. I love the challenges I face, building relationships with clients and suppliers, and more than anything being at an event I put together.

The one thing I can’t stand is suppliers and venues not taking a brief down correctly, subsequently wasting their time and mine by sending me a proposal which doesn’t fit my brief. It is so important to listen.

Outside of work I spend my time with friends and family. I am a real foodie and love trying new restaurants, cuisines and hosting dinner parties. Great food and good wine can make it all better, sometimes.

If money were no object I would travel the world and spend time volunteering. I love different cultures, having grown up in various countries including Dubai and the Ivory Coast I have a real curiosity for cultures, religions, food and language.

The one event I will never miss... it’s hard to say. I work on so many different events from managing hospitality at the Wimbledon Championships to intimate wine tasting events. The reason I love my job so much is the variety and don’t think I could single out one event, so I’ll be greedy and say all of them.

The next 12 months will be interesting and challenging. London hosting the Olympics is very exciting, but poses challenges for our industry. Many London venues have become Olympic houses making them unavailable throughout July and some of August. Also some venues and hotels have increased prices, which will put a strain on already tight budgets. A lot of our clients are either sponsors or have used a large chunk of their budget on the Olympics, leaving little room for other events. This is not the case across the board and we have started to see more companies spending on their staff with away days, teambuilding activities and parties. It is great to see employees being rewarded again.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be Lord Coe. He is working on the major sporting event of the year, overseeing sponsorship and hospitality. I feel that there is some negativity about 2012 and what it will and won’t bring. It’s a once in a lifetime event that we won’t see again. I know it will be tough for some businesses but still feel we should embrace it and be enthused. I would work hard to make sure that the events industry felt encouraged and worked as a team to make the summer Games the best.

If I ruled the event industry I would ban internet type auction sites, there are companies who have these in place to get the lowest price possible which is damaging to both the supplier and client. The lowest price is often representative of poor service as corners are cut and agencies struggle to survive. These bidding sites are harmful to the industry, what happened to building a relationship, having trust and being fair.

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