I thought I’d start this new page on my website by sharing with you all a bit about the beginning of my journey into the events industry. There are lots of similarities between the publishing and events industries, and I think that really helped me when I realised I wanted to work in events as I wasn’t brand new to world of work, I had already gathered some experiences that would help me move into a different industry (some tips on how to do that here).
Although I have always loved creating special moments for those around me, it wasn’t until fairly recently that I realised that it wasn’t just a passion or something that I could do as a hobby (as I was led to believe when I was back in Italy). Back when it was time for me to choose my career path, events was an industry for people with money and of a certain social class. I didn’t fit in and I certainly didn’t have the financial security to work for free for years to gain experience. But after getting into the publishing industry, which has also traditionally had a reputation for being very middle class and not so inclusive, I knew it was time to give it a shot. I was, of course, financially independent and had made a good start in my publishing journey, so I felt ready for another challenge.
I talk a lot about being strategic when it comes to career, and when it came time to pursue my dream of becoming an events manager, strategy and patience were the two things that helped me succeed. At the time, I was working in sales in publishing, with few opportunities to gain specific events skills. So I made a plan for myself. I was going to get some experience by volunteering wherever possible, I was going to get some training to learn the basics of the event industry and I was going to network. I’ve recently been asked to share the steps that helped me get into events and these are some highlights:
- Completing an evening Diploma at the Event Academy gave me a good understanding of the events industries and helped to appreciate the different types of events, the knowledge and skills required to work in various parts of the industry and gave me some really good volunteering opportunities and practical projects to get my teeth into.
- Volunteering as events coordinator/assistant with different teams gave me the chance to learn some of the practical skills of being an event professional and really helped me to understand whether this was the career for me. I volunteered as Events Coordinator for the Society of Young Publishers in London for 1 year, as well as volunteering on weekends at one-off events (some highlights were with my company’s events team on author events, and a WIRED Money event through the Event Academy).
- Networking is an important part of any industry and finding the right contacts can take time. I made sure I started with the easy things: reaching out to my company’s event team, then speakers and colleagues at the Event Academy, and then using social media to connect with other professionals (check out the #EventProfs on Twitter and Instagram).
Thanks to all this, I was able to tailor my CV to the events industry with knowledge, practical skills and contacts that helped me showcase my passion for events and my commitment to getting into the industry. Those are the basis for any successful career move and they certainly worked for me.
Ultimately, I wanted my plan to be realistic, so I aimed to move into an events role in the publishing industry. The advantages of doing that rather than just trying to land any events job was that I had already build a healthy network, a good reputation and I was trying to create a career path that was unique to me (as B2B events in publishing aren’t as popular).
So that was how I did it!
And now I’ll finish off by sharing some fun facts about my event journey so far:
My first job in events was… As Sales and Events Executive at Oxford University Press. It was a new role and I had the chance to shape up my responsibility and focus on strategic B2B sales events.
The best event opportunity before getting into events was… Attending the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Before getting into publishing I worked in the hospitality industry and often worked with catering companies. It wasn’t very glamorous, but definitely came in handy later on in my career journey (so many transferable skills).
An event I would love to organise in future… Milan Fashion Week – completely out of my area of expertise, but I would love to get involved.
I hope this was useful. If you’d like to know more about my event journey, do get in touch or check out some recent pieces where I shared more of my story:
Inspirational Women in the Events Industry with Juliet Tripp
Pursuing Publishing – Events with Audrey Linton