Who made you an expert?

Photograph by Wesson Wang


Recently I watched an online webinar about Social Influencers that’s title implied I would walk away with 6 strategies for Higher-Return Content Marketing!

I was sold.

The person holding the webinar was a CEO of a company, an author of a course in Content Marketing and has written best-selling books in this specific area. Great someone with experience and knowledge.

Well, it was a waste of time.

Firstly, they read directly of the slide that we could all see. Word for word.

Secondly, they didn’t add any of their personal experience. Nada to show how the ideas might work in practice.

and finally, everything they said was common practice that most of us do on social media already. Plus it is all written in 1000’s of free articles online.

If you’re an expert I’m expecting to learn something new. Maybe the steps are the same as in all the thousands of blog posts already out there on the subject. BUT then give me the personal experience. Give context and understanding.

Don’t try and sell simple social media tips as strategies for connecting with influencers!

Am I an expert in Snapchat because I use it every day? If that all it takes then I could be an ‘expert’ in so many areas; Commuting via trains, Netflix, Podcasts, Spotify.

Does the fact I use my Fjallraven Kanken backpack every day (and own 4 different designs) mean I can talk about the backpack industry as an expert?

The answer is no.

To be an expert you have to provide new thinking, new ideas. Be a challenger. Be at the front of the line trying new things.

What do you think? 


This was first published on Medium as a Series post.

@BlogByKobrak – @ImDamnStudent  Facebook

Very Exciting News

Photograph by Martin James

**Exciting News Time**

I am very (very) proud to be taking on the role of Vice President of Education for 2017/18 and continue to sit on the Board of ILEA UK 🙂

Being part of ILEA has helped me progress in my career, it has helped develop my understanding and knowledge of the events industry and improve many skills – all which I better articulated in the post on the Benefits of Joining an Industry Association.

I don’t know if it is obvious but I want nothing more than to see this industry grow and progress. I love seeing event students graduate into amazing event professionals, and see the paths everyone takes.

With ILEA, under the direction of the fantastic Carlo Zoccali and this year’s Board, I cannot wait to offer more educational opportunities for all event profs – from interns through to CEOs – to learn and develop.

It is an exceptional group of people joining forces this year to continue the amazing work done across the last couple of years and I cannot wait! It’s going to be an exciting 12 months!

@BlogByKobrak – @ImDamnStudent  Facebook

Benefits of joining an Industry Association


Here is a crazy realisation I’ve come to recently; the three years I have been out of education and a fully fledged Event Prof, is a tiny % of how long (I hope) my career will last. With the retirement age increasing to being over 65 – I’ve got another 40 plus years to account for!

Now, this isn’t a case of me A) looking for sympathy or B) trying to scare any soon-to-be graduates or event students! It is more a moment of joyful clarity, and a reminder that I am only at the very start of my career.

Why does this make me happy?

Well, we all know that you never stop learning – and when I look back at me post-university in comparison to where I am now, god is there a difference! Which brings me on to the main point of this post – apart from telling you how youthful I am – which highlights a space that I personally feel has enabled these changes.

Here is what I’ve gained from being part of an Industry Association.

I joined the UK Chapter of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) back in 2015 – a few months after starting at GPJ, and about a year after leaving University. I then decided to become part of the Education Committee, and last year I took on the role of Director at Large for Education, and joined the UK board.

Why? Because, let’s be honest, it is a far better use of my time being part of something that makes actual changes, rather than solely shouting into the ether on this blog!

To give you some background ILEA is a global association for event industry professionals that are passionate about knowledge, networking and event creativity. Which I’ve no doubt very similar to what other associations claim to be – however there is a fair amount of truth to this statement.

Every single person I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through ILEA is striving for something greater, they are passionate about this industry – be it that they work for an agency, creative company, in tech production, for a caterer, etc etc. And that is the joy.

I’ve been able to connect and learn from peers who work in a wide variety of jobs and in a wider variety of job roles. And even better, I’ve been treated like a peer by everyone I’ve met – no matter the position they hold from CEO or founder to intern or student! That’s a credit I cannot give to a lot of networking events I’ve been too!

But from a personal side, being an active member of ILEA has allowed me to build my confidence in networking, take on more public speaking, talk about GPJ in a quick elevator pitch style, connect with students across many different universities, and learn about other aspects of the industry. I’ve made friends, gained mentors, built a support network that transcends the place I work. I’ve had the chance to learn for a wide group of people, and more likely build an ever wider set of skills that I can’t even name!

The greatest part, personally for me, is that I have been able to continue learning about the industry as a whole. Spot places where there are gaps and start to see opportunities.

And this all means that I come back into work with a greater confidence in sharing my thoughts with colleagues.

A greater confidence in speaking directly to clients.

A confidence in my own opinions and ideas, which in turn builds a confidence in my own work.

Each aspect has made me far better at my job, and a far better employee.

All of that for the cost of membership, which in comparison to many training course and the time it takes for someone else to ‘train’ and ‘teach’ – is pretty small!

I am in no way saying it is an insignificant amount to spend, but as an investment into your own future, or the future of your employees it is one that I highly recommend.

but BIG NEWS – the opportunity to join and become part of the UK Board is now available! I am especially keen to see some new faces within the Education Committee – whether you are a student, graduate, or Event Prof who wants to help shape how we continue to educate individuals at all stages of their career and at all levels!

Please come join us as we continue the amazing work in 2017/18! 🙂 🙂 Deadline is Wednesday 31st of May 2017




None of the pictures featured in this post are taken by me, but they do all feature my face, and have all be taken at ILEA events!

They have either be taken by the very talented Darren Bandoo or Present Communication