My Event World - Yvette Bradley

Yvette Bradley, general manager at 30 Euston Square, has worked in the contract-catering sector for more than 20 years, specialising in conferences and events. She talked to Event about an early love of events, incompetence in the industry and persuading her staff to don lederhosen.

General manager at 30 Euston Square, Yvette Bradley
General manager at 30 Euston Square, Yvette Bradley

I got into the event industry because it’s what I’d always wanted to do. Up until the age of 14, I travelled a lot with my dad’s job and lived in both Japan and the USA, which resulted in me getting to visit some amazing venues and witness great events. I remember being in awe of the hotels and food in Japan, and going to see the Phillies in New Jersey.

That interest in the industry never left me when I returned to England, so when the time came I took my degree in food and accommodation management and the rest is history.

I have worked here since June 2010.

I was attracted to this particular role because I wanted to get my teeth stuck into a new phase in my career and I was eager for the challenge of working with a new venue. I’d been the general manager  for Leith’s at Excel London before I left to have children and I was keen to take up another GM position within a contract catering operation. I was working for Searcys as group sales manager at the time, so when this opportunity came up at 30 Euston Square I knew it was perfect for me.

Not many people know that I was once featured in a TV programme on the BBC.

My worst experience at an event was asking staff to wear lederhosen and serve German beer and sausages. It took some persuasion and then the keg of beer exploded and we couldn’t stop it spraying. Very wet staff wearing hilarious clothes – it still makes me giggle today.

If there's one thing I've learnt it's to embrace the partners you work with, only then can you create a great event.

The best event I've been involved in was when we hosted an event for Vodafone when I worked at Earl’s Court Olympia. We provided dinner for 10,000 people and got into the Guinness Book of World Records. I was the main contact for the event agency that was looking after the account, so to pull it off was a huge personal accomplishment.

I also used to work on the Brit Awards at Earl’s Court and remember one day when we were preparing for the evening, Take That started to rehearse on the stage. That was definitely a memorable day.

If I could do it all over again I would set up my own event agency, but with the knowledge and experience that I have now.

The one thing I can't stand is disorganised organisers. I once worked with a client managing a large event for 2,000. She didn’t know how many guests had turned up on the day as the auditorium had seats for 2,500. She actually asked me to help count them, which was an impossible task. So at 4pm she asked us to provide 200 extra dinners. It was July and we were serving a Christmas dinner, so this was no mean feat to deliver.

We rose to the challenge and tables, chairs, linen and turkey were taxied over. Needless to say, the event organiser actually got it wrong and we only needed to serve dinner to 2,000 after all.

Outside of work I spend my time mostly with my two children, Preston and Grace, who are eight and five years old. I also have a huge passion for food and drink born out of my career, so I love eating out in great restaurants, cocktail bars and following the latest food trends – a passion which I’ve instilled in the rest of my family. Wherever we go on holiday, I always want to eat at the best places and try out new foods.   

I also love meeting up with friends and trying the best of what London has to offer – from theatre to music gigs, ballet to ice skating.

The one thing I can't do my job without is the great team I have here. The most important thing is to have some fun and laugh at work; Luiz, my deputy makes me laugh every day. I also couldn’t do my job well without my positive work ethic – spirit, passion, commitment, problem solving and hard work.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be the founder of Adding Value Communications Randle Stonier. He showed me how to deliver a truly amazing event where anything is possible as long as you have a great team, an awesome leader and a bullet-proof plan. He was an inspiration in my early career.

If I ruled the event industry I would ban negotiation on rates.

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

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