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

How To Build Your Events Career.

Photography by Danielle Macinnes 

A couple of months ago I had the absolute pleasure of co-running Helen Moon‘s EWL Coffee Morning discussion, with two of my co-collaborators and great friends; Elena Clowes and Priya Narain.

As co-founders of Event First Steps the discussion was around how to build your own career within the events industry – a topic which each of us has very different stories and experiences to pull from!

As I said in my last post (which happens to tie in very nicely to this one) I’ve come round to the fantastic conclusion that in the overall grand schemes of things, I’m still only at the very start of my career journey. For any of you who are just graduating, I’m not sure if this is as great a statement or rather counterproductive – but I can promise I mean it to be seen as empowering!

Helen’s formats these events so they incite discussion rather than have people ‘present’. It was very much a chance to have a conversation with other event professionals, and I can honestly say I came away feeling inspired, they each bought a different point of view to the table and challenged points so that we justified much of what we said!

One of the points we championed was being active outside of your job.  Attend events in the evenings, be engaged and interesting with the wider industry. Be curious.


Personally I do it is because I want to make myself indispensable. I want to give something bigger back, and bring more to the table than just what is expected of me.

With so many people coming into the industry, either from education – like you and me – or from changing career paths, there is even more competition for job roles.

Sure you need to show you are competent at doing the job, but being active and engaged outside of work shows that are striving to bring the best, you want to continue to learn – and with that you’re not just expecting your employers to be the ones to teach you. It shows that you’re looking for opportunity. 

Of course you need to balance where you spread yourself. If you’re in full-time employment then make sure your job has your full attention. However work is only 8 hours of your day, how you spend your lunch break or evenings – that is down to you. 

Some people will be content with finding a good job, giving that their attention and then using their free time as they feel fit – that is fantastic. We all have different priorities. However if you want to make the most of your time in the early stages of career progression – get active. Be curious.




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