My Event World - Sylvia Manser

Sylvia Manser, chief executive of We Are Nottingham, on outspoken celebrities and her double jointed elbows.

My Event World - Sylvia Manser
My Event World - Sylvia Manser
I got into the events industry because my first Saturday job was in a large hotel and I was seduced by the glamour of it all, little did I know then.

I have worked here since August 2009, but in events since 2002.

I was attracted to this particular role because I loved the concept of a Business Improvement District – which involves businesses working together to attract more visitors to a city.

Not many people know that I have double jointed elbows.

My worst experience at an event was at a big press launch where a celebrity, who shall remain nameless, forgot he was hooked up to the microphone backstage and proceeded to slag off individual members of the press… smooth.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s never to assume. Successful event management is all about checking, and checking again. I shudder to think of some of the things that could have happened.

The best event I’ve been involved in was a pharmaceuticals conference where we transformed a huge indoor sports hall at a hotel into a magical Harry Potter land, complete with the dining hall from Hogwarts, a Quidditch field and Diagon Alley, the shopping haven for wizardry supplies.

If I could do it all over again I would delegate slightly more. I tend to get "in the zone" sometimes and believe I can do everything myself.

The one thing I can’t stand is people who try to cover up when they have made a mistake. It can sometimes have near-disastrous consequences for an event. It’s always better to own up, which avoids the situation getting worse and allows remedial action to be taken quickly if necessary.

Outside of work I spend my time making over my house. I love interior decorating and can always be found either carrying out improvements or with my nose in a magazine dreaming about what to do next, much to the exasperation of my boyfriend.

If money were no object I would take a career break for a year and take a round the world trip, there’s so many places I’ve not been yet that I’m desperate to see.

The one event I will never miss is the Hockley Hustle, a music and arts festival in Nottingham. It always features fantastic local bands and artists and it’s only £8 to get in to around 20 venues in Nottingham city centre. Our company contributes the basic funding to get the event off the ground and then loads of people give their time for free, as it’s all for charity. Last year raised £22,000 in one day.

The recession has meant that you have to be much more creative with your budget and find opportunities in ingenious ways.

The next 12 months will be difficult with the public spending cuts – Nottingham normally has a brilliant events calendar, mostly laid on by the city council, so I am waiting with crossed fingers to hear what will happen regarding those.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be no-one. I love my job and I know there is so much more that I can do here.

If I ruled the event industry I would have the best parties ever.

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