My Event World - Mark Buist

Mark Buist, managing director of events agency Penguins, has almost 25 years of industry experience and has helped to produce more than 300 events each year for both UK and international clients. He talks to Event about his passion for athletics, event fashion faux pas and his admiration for Arthur Somerset.

Mark Buist of agency Penguins shares his event world
Mark Buist of agency Penguins shares his event world

I got into the event industry because my best friend wanted company and someone to talk to.

I was attracted to this particular role because I wanted to run my own business. It’s one of the most exciting things to do. Every day brings a new challenge.  

Not many people know that I have a degree in geology. Random or what?

My worst experience at an event was when I forgot to pack any socks for a black tie event. Black tie with no socks is not a good look when front of house. We all know that black gaffer tape is possibly at the top of all event organisers 'must haves' and I’m no different. Gaffer socks in the 90’s were very fashionable… honest.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that you never stop learning, even after all these years. I believe that you are never too wise to learn from others and you should always listen to your colleagues. Communication is what it is all about. Even in this digitally-focused world, you can’t beat face-to-face interaction, which is why events are more important than ever. 

If I could do it all over again I would have followed my passion of running and would have won a gold medal in 100 metres and probably 200 metres at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and then become a popular athletics TV pundit. I would have been good friends with Gary Lineker and Sue Barker and probably be one of the captains on Question of Sport.

The one thing I can’t stand is rudeness.

Outside of work I spend my time running around after my children. When I do get some 'me time', I am out on my mountain bike getting down and dirty.

If money were no object I would be renovating an old farm in Dorset and running a campsite.

The one thing I can’t do my job without is the internet. Have you ever had a day when your internet goes down? Of course you have. Embrace technology but remember that at the end of the day you have no control over it. It controls you and that terrifies someone like me who is a control freak.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be the late Arthur Somerset. He was an absolute star who I admired greatly and who would say it as it is. I like that.

If I ruled the event industry I would… probably make all clients start their initial enquiry conversation with "my budget is…".

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

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