My Event World - Spencer Green

Spencer Green is the chief executive of international event company GDS International, which has been operating for 20 years and has offices in the UK, Australia and the US. He talks to Event about his love of tennis, the importance of industry experience and his need for teleportation.

My Event World with Spencer Green of GDS International
My Event World with Spencer Green of GDS International

I got into the event industry because it made sense. For the first ten years GDS International was a publisher with writers, readers and advertisers. Why not bring them together? We’re 20 in 2014. For the last ten years we have been an events company. That’s how much we loved it.

I have worked here since I was first into the office on day one, January 1994. But then, I did start the company.

I was attracted to this particular role because I love working with great, creative people, and the events industry is full of them. Sponsorship teams and attendee teams, analysts and speakers, marketing, design, the list goes on. You work towards a common goal and get immediate, face-to-face feedback. What’s not to love?

Not many people know that I have an (almost) encyclopaedic knowledge of tennis and tennis players.

My worst experience at an event was seeing a good friend walk up to give a televised speech straight from dinner and with sauce around his mouth. He was too far away to reach in time. These things are all relative, but I know how much the opportunity meant to him.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it's so many things. There’s a quote by Maya Angelou that sums up a lot of what I believe. She said: "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." No one is unimportant in our industry because, if you want to be around for the long-term, the experience you provide is everything.

The best event I’ve been involved with was… can I cheat and say my wedding? I can hear the groans from here and my wife correctly pointing out that all I did was turn up. Choosing one of ours is too difficult. It’s like being asked to choose between children.

If I could do it all over again I would take everything we do for our clients today and make sure we did it all from day one. Of course the reason we do everything we currently do is because we’ve spent 20 years building close relationships with our customers.

The one thing I can’t stand is… globally - persecution. In my little bit of the world, people who don’t speak up and then say "I knew that was going to happen. This is what you should have done…".

Outside of work I spend my time walking the children, cleaning up after my wife and laughing with the dog. Or some combination of the above.

If money were no object I would bring the whole company together for one big 20th-year birthday party. We’ve offices in Bristol, Miami, New York, and Sydney, so it would be an expensive endeavour. One thing is for certain, with those fantastic locations to choose from, a winter party wouldn’t be in Bristol.

The one thing I can’t do my job without is my smartphone if I have remembered my glasses. My laptop if I have forgotten them.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be… I follow LeWeb founder Loïc Le Meur on Twitter. He meets some seriously interesting people.

If I ruled the event industry I would invest all my resources in teleportation research. Travel is such a pain in the arse.

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

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