Updated: Apr 11, 2021
I remember clearly at the age of 14 being sat with the girls in biology talking about growing up, making our own money and where we should start looking for our first jobs. We talked about what we could do at that age and whilst many girls wanted to work in the beauty industry and started work in salons, I had no idea. Over the weekend I scoured the local newspaper and asked my family to keep an eye out for any notes around the village. Knowing it wasn't going to come to me, I started calling around the local pubs and asking if they had any waitressing work. One pub in particular was and needed someone to start the following week, on the Tuesday, I took myself to The Haxey Gate and without knowing, started my career in events & hospitality.
I worked at the pub for 6 years and I LOVED it. The owners became my second parents, I went on holiday with them, the girls became my best friends and I am bridesmaid for one of them in 2021. I will forever be grateful for my start at this pub. But I still didn't know what I wanted to do. I went through sixth form and whilst all my friends went to university, I stayed behind. I looked at a lot of office based roles and because I was young with no experience, no one took me on. In the summer I had a 'fuck it' moment, split up with my boyfriend, applied to uni through clearing and 10 days later, I was in London. I chose event management as it was something I felt was a natural progression as I had done hospitality. It felt right.
I spoke about my thoughts on education vs event experience here, in brief, no I don't think university is worth it. Get out there and get experience. Which is what I did alongside my degree. I started at Wembley Stadium in the February of my first year and worked there for 3 years. Here I started as a bar maid and worked my way up to Bar Manager and Hospitality Supervisor. Managing on bowl events and conference and banqueting, I had a role in leading the teams and the event through its entirety on the day. I was made up. But this wasn't stable enough to make sure I could cover rent in London once I had left uni.
Soon after graduating I got a job with a staffing agency who supplied team members to events across the UK and I quickly became an account manager looking after stadiums due to my experience. In a team of 5 guys (love you boys) we would go from Emirates Stadium to Goodwood Revival to Newmarket Racecourse supplying 5* teams to events. After 3 years though, I knew this wasn't the side I wanted to be on. I wanted to be creating the event, speaking with the client coming up with the ideas and leading them.
I transitioned from this job into the same role at a different company - silly mistake, waste of time and I stayed for 1 year only. My boyfriend made a move to Oxford and I followed suit, knowing the next role I was going to take was going to be exactly what I wanted. Wrong, hotels don't give you that freedom either. And wedding venues? Most are stuck in their ways and inflexible with their ideas, but you know, I got a taste. Then, I made my dream move to an events agency. I got a real taste for what it was to thrive and be busy and creative and be responsible for influencing certain parts of events. Knowing you can hit the nail on the head for a client and their vision is priceless. Unfortunately my time here came to an end as another move was on the cards to Winchester where I am currently with corporate and feeling pretty settled. I started right at the beginning of the pandemic so having the chance to work on any live events has been 0 even now. Instead I have thrown myself into social media and research and education.
2021 looks to be much of the same - virtual. And you know what, it's time to embrace it and think of it as a live event - but with an online element. It's still live, it's still happening right now, I'm still have live conversations in this very moment with you. This is a new take on our new normal in the industry and for one that has been working in the same patterns for years, it's nice to learn something new and watch how it develops.
Life has many ups and downs, twists and turns. No two journeys look the same and you have to remember to enjoy life along the way. Throughout my events career I have enjoyed travelling, moving to new cities and made sure I've made the best of each situation. Don't put pressure on yourself to be the best straight away, and enjoy those twists and turns, they give you stories to tell.