How I Got Here - Lizzy Walmsley

Lizzy Walmsley, deputy head of production at agency Slice, has been working at the company for two years, starting as a freelancer before becoming permanent. She talked to Event about how a university project became her career, a painful interviewing experience and why she thinks it pays to be inquisitive.

Slice's deputy head of production, Lizzy Walmsley
Slice's deputy head of production, Lizzy Walmsley

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

I'm currently deputy head of production at Slice. We're the experiential and event marketing experts at marketing communications agency Engine. I’ve been in this role for over a year now and it’s very diverse, covering everything from overseeing the delivery team on all live projects to working on pitches.

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

After completing my events management degree in Leeds I jumped straight in at the deep end evolving a university project into my own events company. I learnt an unbelievable amount in an incredibly short space of time. It was pretty daunting and sometimes a little lonely. The most important skill I learnt was to be self-motivating, which has stood me in good stead so far.

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

The project I was working on with the business didn’t move in the direction I’d hoped, so without a moments hesitation I put a rucksack on my back and moved from Yorkshire to London where I secured my first agency role at Itch. From there I cut my teeth navigating through the recession with a number of freelance roles in a few different agencies. More recently I worked as a freelance producer which was a fantastic springboard into my current role, both in terms of management experience and the wide range of projects I delivered. Ultimately this led to an introduction to Slice working on the LSA Live Project and a permanent role too good to refuse.

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

I'd always known I was going to work in events, but I didn’t have a detailed career plan, just an end goal and a strong desire to get there. The industry tends to reward those with determination and the ability to spot an opportunity.

Would you do anything differently?

No, I am absolutely where I want to be in my career. I am very proud of what I have achieved within the industry so far.

Who has inspired you along the way?

I've worked with and been supported by some great people. Some of those that stand out include my inspiring and talented sister, plus my other half has given me the odd piece of good advice (he also works in the industry).

Outside of my family, I'm inspired by entrepreneurs such as Kathryn Parsons who founded Decoded to encourage absolute beginners to learn code and gain a better understanding of the tech world. Also, those who have broken the mould and tried something different or innovative - both commercially and from a social enterprise perspective - often inspire me.

Finally, the Slice team, under the watchful eyes of Alec Braun and Tom Rutter, inspire me at least once a week while delivering our clients’ work.

Have you ever had a job interview that went particularly well or spectacularly wrong?

On the whole I've been lucky enough to have a number of great interview experiences. However, one that sticks out for the wrong reasons was when an interviewer told me I was not right for the role within the first 20 seconds and then proceeded to interview me for another 30 minutes, rounding off the painful process with a written exam.

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

Always remain inquisitive; it sometimes pays to be the person that asks "why?", even when everyone else is behaving like lemmings.

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

Never stay out past 2am, nothing good ever happens after then.

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

I cycle to and from work every day. It’s perfect for clearing the mind and sorting my ‘to do’ list. In the morning it's the main tasks of the day and on the ride home it's, what am I going to eat, watering the plants and the thought of soaking in the bath listening to my favourite music.

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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