As a successful event planner and entrepreneur sharing my wisdom with those who want a career in the industry has never been more important
On June 16th I’ll be virtually tutoring a group of young event planners; students and professionals who will have the Herculean task of becoming a success in the events industry in a post-pandemic world (booking details can be found at the bottom of this blog).
I say it’s Herculean, not because they’re in any way lacking the talent or drive to become anything they want to be, but because Covid-19 has challenged the events industry in a way that I’ve never seen before.
I personally have, however, survived other incredibly tough times. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that if you can survive the worst, then you’ll emerge stronger, more able to thrive – your resilience and your mindset forever strengthened.
And I want these young people to know that. Because at the moment their future seems bleak.
But everyone at the beginning of their career – whether they’re students or young professionals – needs to know there are things they can be doing now to put them in a much better place for when we come out the other side of this.
Also this is a win-win situation. I know from lecturing at MMU annually, the wealth of talent out there. If we don’t support and nurture that talent into our sector, they will go elsewhere. For me, a person who has built a business with the help of young event industry talent, this would be a tragedy.
Commitment to New Talent
I’ve always committed to having an intern at TLC. And what brings the current situation into even sharper focus is very personal to me. In 2007 I hired my now Events Director Jess Randall fresh from university. She came to us with such energy, enthusiasm and creativity that I simply couldn’t let her go. She was a raw talent and I immediately knew that with the right guidance and in the right environment she would be a force to be reckoned with. So, I told her that once she had graduated there would be a job for her at TLC. The rest as they say is history.
She’s been with us for 3 years and is an incredibly important part of TLC. Creative. Enthusiastic. Hard working. Brilliant with clients, Jess has proved to be everything you want in a young event director. And most importantly she realises you can never stop learning. Developing the next generation of event planners is something I’ve dedicated a lot of my energy to. I love nothing better than delivering my annual lecture to the budding event planners at Manchester Metropolitan Uni. Taking time to share experiences, and my own brand of wisdom.
The Lost Generation of Planners
Unfortunately, the first sector to shut down is likely to be the last to reopen for obvious reasons. But even with all of this going on in the background, the thought of graduates, talented individuals, who will qualify and be sent out into a jobs market where there are no jobs, has been bothering me.
Not only have they had the joy of graduation taken from them. No final exams. Parties cancelled. Post-graduate travels on hold. The final chapter in their academic career simply stopped mid-sentence and carefree university life became a memory. Now they’re being released into an economic wasteland. However, this is about more than just wanting to nurture new talent. It’s about the event industry as a whole and how we move forward to avoid allowing this crop of talented planners to be remembered as the coronavirus lost generation of 2020!
Our responsibility (with Government support) is surely to ensure that these eager, talented individuals realise their potential within our industry and don’t go elsewhere. They’re the future of the profession we’ve given our lives, hearts and souls to.
The Youthful Solution
I believe that the key to our recovery partly lies within this generation. I’m no technophobe. I may be known to Insta post at 3am, but I wasn’t brought up in a world where I learned to swipe and pinch before I could read and write. Young people coming through are digital natives. And now, more than ever, the events industry needs to harness technology and innovation.
In an industry built on bringing people together, we need to find new, safe ways of doing so while we ride out the rest of storm.
When I first started out, people just organised their own parties and meetings, much like they are doing now on Zoom, Skype and Google hangout. Then event planners came along with inspiration and creativity and events were elevated to a level nobody could have imagined. It’s this enthusiasm that we need right now – new avenues of thought that can add value to companies finding their way to doing business in the ‘new normal’. The Coronavirus lost generation of 2020 could be a major part of our recovery. I hope I can help them on their way.
My BUSINESS, BRAINS & BANTER virtual tutorial, hosted by MMU lecturer Dr. Zee Abualhamael, takes place June 16th 2020, 7-8pm. To book on to the FREE webinar CLICK HERE and reserve your place. See you there.