Party Clinic: Words of wisdom - Unlikely Party Planner

Debbie Sinclair, PA to GlaxoSmithKline vice-president of business projects, reveals all.

How did you first get into planning events alongside your normal job? I was asked to organise a finance conference for 150 people by the vice-president in 2000. This was a first for me and a good opportunity to prove myself.

How much time do you dedicate to events? Usually we have one major event each year where I am expected to source information on venues and come up with new ideas for the entertainment. Last year we held a two-day party on HMS Belfast for all of our US and UK employees. I usually fit the organising part into my normal job as and when required.

What is the best event you have been involved in? It would have to be the first finance conference I did, simply because it kick-started my party-planning role.

Which venues do you think will be this year's top corporate party spaces?

I'm a big fan of Hanbury Manor in Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire's Tylney Hall. They both offer a great assistance team which is on hand at all times to help with anything from table plans to audio-visual equipment.

Can you recommend a supplier? African drum band Umbanda certainly went down a storm at last year's party. They teach guests how to play the African drums and it was one of the most fun and successful things we've introduced to an event.

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