Future talent: The rise of the intern (part two)

In the second of our two-part series Event speaks to two senior-level industry professionals - former interns - on how they got to where they are today.

We speak to event profs about their journey up the career ladder from their starting point as an intern
We speak to event profs about their journey up the career ladder from their starting point as an intern

Hollie Sebire, head of event operations, Paragon

How did you come to be an intern?

As part of my international events management course at the University of Brighton I was able to have a year in the industry, a fantastic opportunity to gain first-hand insight into events.

I applied to Paragon as an events executive and started in September 2011. My main duties consisted of supporting our director and head of events with client proposals, event operations and administrative tasks.

How did you make the move from intern to employee?

I was grateful to be offered a full-time events manager position once I returned from my final year at university. Moving up the ladder was a very smooth process that simply occurred through natural progression and team expansion.

Any memorable anecdotes?

I believe that everyone learns best by getting thrown in at the deep end.

That was certainly the case at the first 'An Evening with the Stars', held in aid of BBC Children in Need.

In my first week I assisted at the event, which hosted 1,000 guests. Five years later and I have just organised the event for the fifth time, with sole responsibility for it - an amazing achievement for me.

What advice would you give agencies on getting the best out of interns?

I would recommend that other agencies treat the interns as full-time employees, take on board their fresh ideas and allow them to use their initiative.

Hopefully they will grow with the company and become part of its future.

Michael Chidzey, marketing director, Chillisauce

How did you come to be an intern?

There is no substitute for experience when it comes to the event world. So when I was fresh out of studying event management and marketing at university and threw my hat into the ring for a job at Chillisauce, I was sure I wouldn't get it. Luckily they seemed to like me, despite my lack of experience, so they offered me the chance to build up my hands-on knowledge through an internship.

How did you make the move from intern to employee?

I only had a short time to impress so I spent my days getting stuck in at the office and my evenings working on project ideas that I could pitch to them the next morning. Clearly the extra graft did the trick, because within two weeks I was offered a permanent role, working across event management, supplier relations and developing concepts for events.

At Chillisauce I worked my way up to head of marketing, a position that allowed me to specialise in combining digital marketing with traditional PR and eye-catching stunts, delivering campaigns that I am proud to say earned widespread attention. I am now the company's marketing director and during the past eight years I have seen us grow from 20 people to more than a hundred.

What did you learn along the way?

Staying up to speed with developments in our industry and putting in time to continually boost my development has stuck with me from those long days and evenings as an intern. Alongside my day job with Chillisauce, I have shared what I've learned by lecturing on event management at universities, and set up an industry-focused website called Eventjuice, a platform to help me stay tuned in and to connect with fellow professionals.

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