My name is Ella and I’ve recently celebrated my one year anniversary at Ashfield Meetings & Events. With only a year under my belt I still consider myself a newbie to the industry with lots to learn. Over the next 12 months I intend to share some of these learning experiences with you - via Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) - and talk about the events I will be delivering. I thought learning would be an apt theme for my first blog and provide you with the opportunity to find out a little bit more about me.
After school I decided to take the higher education route and attended the UK Centre For Events Management at Leeds Beckett University. I thought there would be no better way to prepare me for the complexities and challenges of the events industry than a four year degree. In hindsight, anyone that has ever organised an event knows that the theory is not always the reality. With this in mind I took full advantage of the volunteering opportunities available to me and worked at an event venue (8 Northumberland Avenue) for my placement year. These were invaluable experiences that provided real insight into the world of events. I stand by these experiences and encourage any event management student to make the most of the resources and networks within their academic faculty whilst they are available. This will enable them to create and build a personal profile that will provide a competitive edge over other students who may be wet behind the ears after graduating.
I was awarded the Student Of The Year (sponsored by SPARK THINKING) accolade at my graduation and subsequently joined Ashfield Meetings & Events as a Project Executive. Joining a company with an infrastructure such as Ashfield was a great opportunity but I knew it would present an array of challenges both personally and professionally. I relocated to the East Midlands and have to admit to being a little apprehensive about my ability, skills and what I would bring to my new role working alongside seasoned and more experienced event professionals. Although daunting these challenges will be met by most young professionals entering any industry, so I slept easier knowing that my peers would be in the same boat as me.
With their extensive employee induction programme, Ashfield equipped me to tackle any challenges. The induction week presented manageable stepping stones to help familiarise myself with the company and its procedures. Their award-winning, event-specific Bitesize training programme empowered me, enabling me to hit the ground running in my new role.
My first year has exposed me to the intricacies and pressures of working in dedicated client team for a luxury brand. It has enabled me to rapidly build on existing skills and develop the ability to react quickly under pressure within tight timeframes or budgetary parameters. I have had the opportunity to experience some new destinations, including a four-week stint in Seville for a rolling event programme that accommodated over 1,300 guests.
I now find myself at the start of a new journey and will shortly be transferring to a different team that manages events for multiple clients, my first of which will be in Killarney, Ireland. I feel a growing sense of anticipation and excitement for what’s coming next, learning about new clients and delivering new event formats across different sectors. I have come to the conclusion that as every event has different objectives and takes place in a different destination with different attendees, it would be wrong of me to view my career as anything but continuous, vocational education. I am looking forward to sharing my learnings and experiences with you.
This blog was published by C&IT on 29 September.