Goals and Aims; Personal Reflection!

Photograph by Jordan Whitfield

One of my favourite Event Profs to follow on Snapchat is the ever fantastic Mary Baird-Wilcock (follow The Simplifiers on Snapchat). 

Mary is currently on a retreat in Spain working on her goals as a CEO and for her business – I’ve found it fascinating watching her share this journey and the process over the last 2 days. The daily list of early morning meditation and dance parties mixed with real business focused objectives. The point that gave me the food for thought and spark to write this post, was when Mary shared the process of writing and creating her own personal goals of what she wants. Having started the process & shared them on the first day,  she revisited them and adapted them so they moved away from needing other people to help her achieve them. 

I might not run my own business, but I do have ambitions and goals. Mary’s snapchat story made me take a look back at these last few months and I’ve realised that this year has been a turning point in me working out what I (singular Caitlin) want to achieve both within my career & outside.

I have been striving to be a part of the bigger picture within the event industry. It is the reason I took part in the Eventice back in 2014. It is the reason I became active on social media with event conversation. It is why I continue to write this blog. It is a core reason as to why I am active within the industry outside of just being part of GPJ. It’s a massive reason as to why I genuinely love my job because as an organisation they support and encourage this.

But my aim is  no longer just to be a part of the industry – but rather to be part of the change.

Whilst events continue to develop and grow it seems the age-old conversation of experience vs degrees – women in events – keep popping up. Great points are raised but still I struggle to see any real action happening!

I want a seat at the table that is at the forefront of making the difference and creating the shift.

I’ve never actually vocalised that aim, but it is why I took on the role of Director at Large for Education and sit on the ILEA UK Board. It is one of the reasons myself, Priya and Elena created Event: First Steps. This table might not already exist, but even if it doesn’t then I’m up for creating it!  

Thanks to the amazing friends, mentors and all round awesome event professionals I’m proud to know, I’ve realised that the real success and change comes from people who go out and do things. It is all good being passionate but it is time to channel that into something productive!

Time to be the change. Time to create our own tables and chairs!

It links quite nicely with the fact the Event 100 Club shortlist was announced yesterday & I am exceptionally proud to be on the 30 under 30 shortlist. Voting is open till next Friday 25th November, and it truly would mean a lot if you went to vote HERE.

Also many of my wonderful colleagues & friends are on that list;




Taking those First Steps in the Events Industry


Logo designed by the fantastic Francesca Stephens

A few weeks ago I had planned to write a post sharing a new event that myself, Elena Clowes & Priya Narain are running called Events: First Steps – which is aimed at anyone who is working towards gaining their first steps into the industry – either whilst studying or as a career change.

However something mad happened & we sold out of all tickers within 7 days (& from just three tweets worth of marketing) But whilst there are no more places available for Tuesday’s event (1st November) we now have a twitter set up & will be sharing a lot of the event on here – so worth a follow even if you’re unable to join us for this first event!

So what is First Steps? Why are we doing this event? Well if you’ve not already read Elena’s fantastic post from a few weeks back – here’s a little description! 🙂

The events industry is vast.

It brings together a breadth of different people striving to create sparks of interest, from suppliers providing lighting/AV /furniture/catering for large B2B events through to festivals. Event organisers who are the day-to-day logistical masterminds able to seamlessly bring together weddings, conferences, exhibitions for crowds of 30 through to 30,000. You have event technology bringing Virtual Reality into the fray alongside gamifications, and apps. Agencies that take everything under one roof, Venues providing the home ground for all the different elements, creative designers bringing ideas to life. And to top it all off you have associations that continue to develop and enhance the industry, taking the reins after the academic learnings have ended.

There are so many different paths that you can take when you enter this industry, and it can feel overwhelming knowing where to take those first steps.

How do you know where you should go?

First Steps brings together 6 fantastic speakers, all working across the industry in different roles, all at different stages of their own career path. Taking 10 minutes of your time to tell their own story & give you that nugget of advice that could make jump starting you career that little bit easier. TED Style!

The sole aim of this event is to give you, the next set of powerful event professions, a chance to really understand the many career possibilities, and a few ways you can move towards taking you own first steps!

Being completely frank I would not have ended up in my job, with the connections, confidence & understanding of the industry if I hadn’t had the opportunity to see a few more examples of what opportunities there are outside of becoming an Event Manager.

We’re all on different paths, with different skills to offer & getting to hear from real people about why and how they have ended up in the positions they are in now can be one of the most inspirational & interesting conversations!

Give First Steps a follow on twitter to keep in the loop for future announcements! And as always if you want to ask any questions drop me a message on here or via social media 🙂





Shifting Opinions

A photo by Annie Spratt. unsplash.com/photos/ZVQhy9KGoSY

Photograph by Annie Spratt

I have a lot of opinions. I mean seriously if you have a couple of hours – okay more like a couple of spare days – then hit me up on anything to do with politics, feminism, the UK education system, global warming, lack of education/understanding/communication on most issues, diversity in the events industry (or shall we just talk about the lack of diversity in EVERY industry). I am more than happy to have a conversation on all of these and MANY many more!

Yet I know that none of my opinions on these topics are set in stone.

My opinions develop and change as I grow up, experience more things, meet different people, and when I get challenged by others who counter my facts with their own.

The last post I wrote on here was about Brexit & the Events Industry. Whilst we are unlikely to know how Brexit will effects jobs till next year when Article 50 will be triggered by March 2017 – I have had some conversations in the past few months that have made me reconsider my personal view points on this topic. Or at least have opened my eyes to a new way of looking at the topic.

So here is a post where I retract/explain how some of my opinions have moved on and why.

I voted remain.

A vote I think I would give again if the chance came up. However I attended Future Fest a few weekends ago & sat in on a debate that looked at the Future of Europe; this conversation, filled with experts, brought to my attention many things I wasn’t previously aware of.

That it is not just the UK who have bad feelings about the EU. In fact many Eastern European countries don’t feel listened too, they feel left alone on dealing with the Migrant crisis, the debt crisis + other issues. And before Brexit the whole conversation was about Grexit – and where Greece would go.

This made me realise that I actually don’t know much about the EU, my knowledge and understanding on European politics is distinctly lacking & to really have an opinion I need to know more. How can I really call out people who voted to leave when I don’t know anything about how the European Union actually functions?!

Of course it’s going to effect our industry, when people have the choice of where to hold their event are they really going to pick a destination that has decided to segregate themselves & basically say ‘you’re not welcome’?

The above point is one I want to retract. I made a very judgmental point that grouped together the 52% who voted to leave, took myself out of the equation and basically said I am not part of the problem.

But the thing is I am.

We as citizens have a responsibility to listen to all views, 52% of the country feel that the best opportunity is for the UK to leave the EU. That means we – you & I – have a duty to understand why people voted this way and address those issues, fix them & help create a country we’re all proud of. It was at Future Fest where I learnt that many people’s reasoning for voting to leave stems from them feeling like they have no control with what happens in their local community. Rather it is the bigger cities such as Liverpool, London and Glasgow – the majority of who voted to remain – who have seen value and gained from being part of the EU.

I don’t agree with the Brexit vote, but I would rather make the best of this situation by understanding more about why people voted this way and helping to craft a country and community that I am proud of. I feel it is a chance for us to be part of something the will come to shape the UK for many generations. Might as well make it count, right?!

There are a lot of things that might not look like they have a direct relevance to the events industry, or to gaining a degree in events management. But knowing more about the world, understanding people & how they think and behave, will ultimately allow you to create the best events that answer a need.

So with the new academic year just starting I would urge you to continue to pay attention to those areas outside of the events industry, and don’t be afraid to admit when some of your previous opinions have changed!