How I Got Here - Lara Akka

Lara Akka, director of London-based Organise Events, founded the company eight years ago. She talks to Event about climbing the career ladder, how a job in events was always on the cards and working with famous clients.

What do you do and how long have you been in your current role?

I am an event planner and founded my company Organise eight years ago. We co-ordinate and plan parties as well as press days, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, album launches, premier parties, weddings, barmitzvahs and birthday parties. Our briefs have ranged from intimate dinners to three-day celebrations. We organise events from inception to completion bringing a range of creative and innovative ideas realised in exciting and unique venues. Each event is designed and presented to accommodate the individual clients' requirements.

Where was your first job? What was the most important thing you learnt there?

I began my career over 20 years ago at the Cafe Royal, rising to becoming responsible for sales and marketing and organising some of the venue's major events. Working in a venue which hosted up to 21 events simultaneously, this demanded that I organise an efficient chain of communication from the front of house to the kitchen and ensured clients’ wishes were adhered to.

How did you get from there to where you are now?

Subsequently my career path led me to run the events department within hotels, private members' clubs and restaurants for a series of famous industry leaders - Anton Mosimann, Marco Pierre White and the Boutique Hotel genius Ian Schrager - as well as re-launching Home House. More recently I was involved in launching the events side of Whisky Mist with Nick House and Piers Adams.

Looking back, did you expect your career path to take the course it has?

My long term plan was always to have my own events company and I was fortunate to work alongside and learn from the very best.

Who has inspired you along the way?

Charles Morgan, the then general manager of Mosimanns and Savoy, inspired me to follow my intuition and be my own person, endeavouring always to push the boundaries. He was focused and dedicated, passionate about his role and a great inspiration throughout my career.

Is there a piece of career advice you've ever been told that has stuck with you?

The best piece of advice has been from Ian Schrager: "There is no such thing as bad publicity." How prophetic this turned out to be. I organised a post-Brit Awards party during the launch period of the St Martins Lane Hotel. A lead singer of a very famous band had an altercation with a member of the press outside the hotel. This was captured by the world's media and ended up headlining the newspapers for the next three days. You couldn’t have bought such publicity.

What career advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?

I would have told myself to list all the events I ever did so that I could easily reel off the famous clients for whom I have acted without having to check my records.

How do you wind down and relax after a hectic day?

I begin each day by riding my horse Courage which helps me keep me calm and well balanced, as well as getting me out into the countryside. Organising parties for a living means my job never winds down and every day is exciting and hectic.

Want to share your career story with us as part of the Women in Events campaignEmail news editor Samantha Edwards to feature in a future How I Got Here.

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