My Event World - Jill Pinner

Jill Pinner, chairwoman and proprietor of Fizz Experience, has more than 25 years of experience in the marketing, promotion and event industries. She talked to Event about her past careers in beauty and cuisine, why she can't stand liars and why the industry shouldn't have a leader.

Fizz Experience chairwoman Jill Pinner
Fizz Experience chairwoman Jill Pinner

I got into the event industry by default to be honest. Having worked in the catering, beauty and wine trades beforehand it came as a natural progression, having always been either attending an event or working for an event within those trades. So many events were either badly organised or were not giving all they could to promote themselves or the product. Just having a body behind a table was not only insufficient but a waste of time in my mind. The client and more importantly the customer deserves so much more than that.  

I have worked here since I joined what was Powergirls in 1999. In 2002 I was made a director and in 2005 I bought the company. The company was then given a makeover and a rebrand to become Fizz Experience.

I was attracted to this particular role because it was such a challenge to see if I could make a difference with all I had learnt from being behind the table; a consumer, a client and a supplier. However, most of all, the challenge for me was to turn a failing company into a successful one. I didn’t do it on my own of course, I have a fabulous team who support me and are such fun to work with. They all have their skill sets and over the years we have been together in the downs and the ups of the business. I am eternally grateful to the fact I have never felt I lacked support from the company.

Not many people know that I am a trained chef and beautician and have qualifications in the wine trade. However I have no formal education certificates, my teachers at school said I was too unpredictable to be put in to do O Levels. My mother always said the best I would ever do was work in Woolworths although, I must confess, I could never see what was wrong about working there.

The best event I've been involved in was... well to me every event I attend is the best so I don’t really have a particular one; they all have had their special moments. The thing that gives me most joy and job satisfaction apart from a successful event is watching members of my staff grow in knowledge and confidence to then move on and into more senior roles or further their careers whether that be with Fizz or another company. I never begrudge anyone’s success.

If I could do it all over again I would probably look after my health more, but other than that I would not change much really. I’ve done every job in my career from the bottom up and learnt so much along the way, therefore in my position now, I feel I can have empathy with my employees, my clients and colleagues.

The one thing I can’t stand is... there are three things I can’t stand. People who lay blame and those who make excuses. Which probably brings me to my third - I can’t stand liars either. We are all human, we all make mistakes, so be honest, don’t blame someone else or make up excuses; in essence tell the truth and be upfront. I have the upmost respect for people who do not pay me lip service and just tell me how it is.

Outside of work I spend my time thinking about work. Well that’s not strictly true but it’s rare that wherever I am, I'm thinking of how I could improve a service or rearrange a business model. The most important thing in my life is my family and I spend as much time with them as I can. But I love to dance and sing as if no-one is watching, when I am alone of course. I also love to walk, travel, go to the theatre and eat out. My favourite thing of all though is to laugh - I find it takes all the stress away.

If money were no object I would… this is difficult as I am not money driven but I do love to help new businesses get started. I have to have a passion for the service or product but I love watching a new business flourish knowing that I had a part to play. I also love to help small charities who are starting up.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be Andy Youings our marketing and PR manager at Fizz Experience. He is truly inspirational and has a true flair for marketing. It is a skill I would love to learn more about and it’s great to watch him turn the most inane product or event into something spectacular. He is a nice guy too.

If I ruled the event industry I would… well if there was a ruler it would not be me. We need diversity in the industry to always keep it fresh and innovative. There is no room for a ruler  - how boring would that be.

Want to be featured in a future My Event World? Email news editor Samantha Edwards for further details.

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