My Event World - Robert Persson

Robert Persson, operations director at event staffing company Off To Work, joined the company in 2003 as general manager. He talked to Event about staying alert, coping with late clients and wanting to create events for developing countries.

Off To Work's Robert Persson shares his event world
Off To Work's Robert Persson shares his event world

I got into the event industry because the opportunities are almost endless as long as your focus is firmly on quality.

I have worked here since October 2003.

I was attracted to this particular role because Philip Atkins had created an innovative company with great values – it was obvious to me it would be a long-term success. The role felt tailored to me and I knew that hard work and a refusal to compromise on standards would lead to great things, and a job in which no day is ever the same.

Not many people know that we have an accredited hospitality academy in Camden, a highly successful office in Birmingham and another in Edinburgh.

My worst experience at an event was at a wedding where the bride and groom were three hours late for their own reception in Kew. It was an extremely hot day with only one Pimms per person offered and very limited water, as the bride and groom had requested to bring their own. When they finally arrived, a two-hour ceremony followed. That’s not how you do it.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s to be alert and sharpen your eyes as there is always something you can improve. Also, have an almost obsessive sense of urgency. You obviously need to take time to listen and digest information, but once you know what to do, do it and do it fast.

The best event I’ve been involved in was…very difficult to choose, but I will say The World Childhood Foundation at 8 Northumberland Avenue, as so much money was raised for children in great need. I also love the Champions League finals, Ryder Cups and The Opens.

If I could do it all over again I would probably lose the plot.

The one thing I can’t stand is negativity.

Outside of work I spend my time with my wife Laura and our son Jack, or playing sport, ideally golf.

If money were no object I would travel the planet looking for people to help in developing countries and create amazing events for these people, just for the fun of it.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be Michel Platini.

If I ruled the event industry I would instil a great sense of pride in people working in the industry. Being Swedish, I still sometimes find it shocking how frowned upon working in hospitality is by some here in the UK. I would also raise the minimum wage for anyone over 18 years old.

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