What do you do and how long have you been in your current role?
I recently moved to Dubai where I am working for Dmg Events, a subsidiary of the British media company Daily Mail and General Trust, organising its special events. My largest project is The Oil Barons Charity Ball which is a huge social event for the oil and gas sector in the Middle East, and a project I’m extremely proud to be working on.
Where was your first job? What was the most important thing you learnt there?
I worked in promotions which gave me a taste for the industry. I loved that no two days were ever the same. This job taught me how important it is to have a strong work ethic and, crucially, that flat shoes are the way forward in events.
How did you get from there to where you are now?
I think it is important to get as much hands-on experience as possible and networking is also key. I have met some wonderful people along the way who have provided me with advice and opportunities for which I am very grateful but you do need to put yourself out there.
I haven’t been afraid to take on big projects and I am always looking for new ways to develop my skills and improve my abilities as an event manager. The decision to move to the Middle East wasn’t an easy one, running events in a country with a very different culture comes with many challenges, however, often the hardest decisions are the most rewarding ones. It has been both educational and inspiring to see how events are run internationally and there is a lot of opportunity here so it feels like I am part of something really exciting.
Looking back, did you expect your career path to take the course it has?
When I was doing my degree at Sheffield Hallam University I knew I wanted to go into events but didn’t have a clue how I was going to get there. I took it one project at a time and once I had a bit more experience was able to take on roles in the areas that interested me the most. I feel very lucky to work in such a creative and inspiring industry.
Would you do anything differently?
No I honestly wouldn’t. I might not have always approached things in the right way but every experience has been a lesson. Learn from each situation and move on.
Who has inspired you along the way?
I have been very fortunate to have had some fantastic managers and feel I have learnt something from each one of them in some shape or form. My main source of inspiration, however, has come from my parents who worked hard to provide me with a good education and have always instilled the belief in me that anything is possible. I wouldn’t have had the courage to pursue my dreams in the UAE without them and they keep my feet firmly on the ground when the glitz and glamour of Dubai gets too much.
Have you ever had a job interview that went particularly well or spectacularly wrong?
I did used to get terribly nervous in interviews but now I quite enjoy them. If you’re well prepared, relaxed and genuinely enthusiastic about the position then I think this goes a long way. It’s the suspense of waiting to hear whether you have been successful that’s the challenging part.
Is there a piece of career advice you’ve ever been told that has stuck with you?
Not to be afraid to ask for help. Moving abroad was quite daunting at first doing business in a different country and all advice was greatly received. Working on international events it is essential to respect different cultures and to work closely with local representatives to ensure the event runs smoothly and no offence is caused.
The five Ps - Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance - also rings true, as organisation is essential to a successful event.
What career advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
Talk to as many people as possible and not to put too much pressure on myself. The event industry is tough to break into and enthusiasm, hard work and the right amount of assertiveness are essential but it will all be worth it in the end.
How do you wind down and relax after a hectic day?
I find pilates really helps me unwind. Failing that a couple of glasses of wine with friends always does the trick.
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