De Pfeiffer-Key talks to Event about her London 2012 Olympic Games experience, musical background and love of London.
I got into the event industry because I thrive off the adrenaline that comes from a live event, I am a stickler for organisation and have a scarily good memory for detail, which all benefit me in my role.
Being at an event that you have worked on is a fantastic feeling, although sometimes you are so tired from the build-up that you can’t enjoy it for what it is. It is all worth it when through the foggy view of your sleep-deprived eyes, you see a consumer light up with a smile, or a guest on your programme enjoying a once in a lifetime experience.
I have worked here since the start of 2010, so have seen the agency grow substantially around the London 2012 Olympic Games, and I have ridden the wave of our merger from three separate companies; Experience Worldwide, SportsMark and GMR into the one brand of GMR Marketing.
I was attracted to this particular role because of the diversity that GMR Marketing offers through sponsorship, brand experience and hospitality. As a member of the brand experience team, the range of projects that come in through the door are very diverse.
I’ve had the pleasure of touring around Europe with Take That, hiking up a mountain with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and pushing a treadmill down the Strand at 2am for House of Holland and Canon.
I am currently working on a hospitality programme for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games that will involve plenty of caipirinhas – those Brazilians know how to throw a good party.
Not many people know that I have an eclectic musical background having dabbled in the recorder (didn’t we all?), piano, guitar, flute, drum kit and percussion. None that I am particularly talented at, but if the event world gets too much for me, look out for me on Embankment Bridge as a one-woman band.
The best event I’ve been involved with was the London 2012 Olympic Games. We were so fortunate to be heavily involved in the event and my particular role was the design, build and running of the P&G salons across London, which were based in the Athletes' Village, media centre and central London.
Although it was incredible to meet all of the Olympic athletes and create the idea behind the Olympic flag nails that went viral, working in the Athletes’ Village during the Paralympics was incredible. The ‘super humans’ really are ‘super’ and I will never forget hearing about an ex-soldier feeling a tingling sensation in his paralysed legs during a head treatment. Incredible.
If I could do it all over again I would probably do everything the same but maybe slow down slightly. I’ve had some incredible opportunities and experiences and although the speed of life is challenging at times, given the wonderful people I have met along the way and fantastic places I’ve had the opportunity to visit, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
The one thing I can’t stand is laziness. I’m not talking about having a lie-in at the weekend – this is a rite of passage for weekend days – but instead, laziness within work. If something needs doing, then one should get on and do it. Why wait around and see if someone else does it first? Maybe that’s my issue…I’m the sucker that just wants to get things sorted, so I take on others’ to-do lists. When will I learn?
Outside of work I spend my time enjoying what life and London in particular has to offer, whether that be a pop-up restaurant, supper club in the middle of east London, crazy golf course in a snooker hall or an underground immersive theatre experience (the latter two were both part of last week’s adventures). The more experimental the better. We are lucky to have so much culture on our doorstep in this brilliant city, and I try to make the most of it.
If money were no object I would buy an island in the middle of nowhere and host endless events for friends and family as well as any brands or agencies that wanted a slice of paradise. What a life that would be.
If I could switch places with anyone in the industry it would be the event manager at Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Imagine waking up to that view every day.
If I ruled the event industry I would love to create an immersive experience that shows the journey that us mad events people go through when putting on an event.
It would provide an amazing insight into our world and educate friends and family, as well as our clients, what is actually involved in this weirdly wonderful industry we are all addicted to.
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