My Event World - Kelly Baker

Kelly Baker is sales and marketing director at Spaceworks and Well Dressed Tables, as well as the current president of ISES UK. Event talked to her about her career highlights, female role models in the industry and the '15 minute rule'.

Kelly Baker, sales and marketing director of Spaceworks and Well Dressed Tables
Kelly Baker, sales and marketing director of Spaceworks and Well Dressed Tables

I got into the event industry because as soon as I started working at Haymarket with RSVP magazine, which was later incorporated into Event, I got the bug for the industry. I always enjoyed keeping a busy schedule, meeting new people, and facing creative challenges – so luckily for me, the events industry turned out to be a perfect fit. 

I have worked at Spaceworks and Well Dressed Tables since 2011. Starting my career with the magazines helped me find my niche for sales and taught me an invaluable amount about the industry. It was a great start, introducing me to numerous people, many who are still friends and colleagues today and ultimately helped me find my feet in, what can be, an overwhelming but incredibly dynamic industry.

I was attracted to this particular role because before Spaceworks, I was senior business development manager at Northfields Linen Hire. Spaceworks was my biggest client there and I loved hearing about the exciting, big-name events they were always working on. 

When the opportunity arose to move across, I couldn’t resist the chance to expand my experience and creativity by facing some new challenges. I’ve been at Spaceworks now for three years and have never looked back. 

Not many people know that I have a very serious and very secret phobia of feet. I hate them all, especially hairy ones. Pedicures should be an industry requirement – people need to look after them, we’re on them enough.

The best event I’ve been involved in was... For me, the NOAH Conference is an annual favourite.  It’s one of the events I keep my diary clear for, ensuring I am hands-on, from initial meetings to site visits and the actual exhibition. 

The event welcomes delegates from all around Europe and I love that international vibe. This will be the third year we’ve worked with the exhibition, but the scale of the event, with trucks and trucks of furniture arriving, never ceases to amaze me. 

If I could do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been lucky to work with some fantastic people and experience a host of wonderful events. There’s not much more I could ask for. 

The one thing I can’t stand is lateness. I have a 15 minute rule – there’s no excuse for being more than 15 minutes late and not calling me. I’m very strict about it. 

Outside of work I spend my time... You’d expect me to be tired of events and parties after working at them back to back most weeks, but surprisingly, I’m not. I love socialising and spending time with my friends on the weekends. I’m a massive foodie, so always looking for an excuse to celebrate and test a new restaurant, my favourite at the moment is the delicious Great British on North Audley Street.  

If money were no object I would go on a property shopping spree. After purchasing my dream home in central London, I would head over to house-hunt in the sunny US. That way, I would have an international escape for when the events industry quietens down - because that will happen eventually, right?

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be... I have a huge amount of respect for Zanine Adams, head of events and business development UK at London & Partners. She’s a leading lady in the events industry and is a role model for many women looking to pursue a career in events. 

She took the position as ISES UK President in 2009, meaning she was the first female ISES UK President in over a decade. She’s a very talented woman and I feel honoured to follow in her steps.  

If I ruled the event industry I would make standardised tender formats compulsory – myself and colleagues waste so much time filling in the intricate information for individual tenders. It’s so unnecessary. 

Looking at the bigger picture though, the events industry is one of those few sectors that evolves and progresses at an incredibly rapid pace. It makes it hard to pin down any thing I would change as the industry can change from one day to the next - you never know what you’re going to get and that’s one of the main reasons why I love my job.

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