By Ruth Rowlands
After a 11 year break pursuing challenges in the worlds of corporate fitness, recruitment and local politics, I have recently returned to my first love – event management, and my how things have changed. Suppliers who want paying before the event!, Dragon’s Den style price negotiations, and of course the development of social media and online event management tools such as C-Vent, I would have loved this website 11 years ago, I just had the Conference Blue and Green CD!
I am now a lucky member of the incredible team at Clearwater Events. After 11 years out of the event management world, I hoped that my first event in the summer of 2013 would be something simple like a one-day conference or a gala dinner, but no, our MD Stephen challenged me to organise and project manage the exhibition stand for an international construction company at the bi-annual Plantworx Exhibition held at Stoneleigh Park. So armed with an enormous exhibition manual, I sat down and started reading. The first thing to do was get all of the forms returned, from ordering water and electricity, confirming the number of delivery vehicles to giving details of how deep we would be digging on the demo site and of course the obligatory health and safety forms!
Using some great suppliers including OneBigStar Productions and Eve Flooring, I was able to change a 24m x 24m grass plot to a great exhibition space, full of humungous equipment from backhoes and diggers to cherry pickers and scissor lifts. A newly restored show trailer provided sanctuary from the rain and the pièce de résistance was the Spyder Inflatable Marquee, which scared us all to death, but once inflated was really impressive and could be seen from almost everywhere on the exhibition site and rumour has it, from space!
The live days were long days, but I enjoyed every minute of it, the weather could have been better, but it was only May!
I would be lying to say that I doubted my ability to pull this event off, but with the help of Stephen and the team, I did it and it helped build my confidence for my next challenge. I’m still learning about all of the new technology available to me (which I love more with each passing day) and sometimes get a bit overwhelmed by the changes in the industry, but I am also getting such satisfaction and pleasure from the events I have managed in the last few months, the wonderful feedback from our clients, and not to mention the hugely exciting projects and venue finds I have for 2014! And I must say, being part of the Clearwater Events team that is Stephen, Jonathan, Lucy and Jenifer makes my second bite at the event management cherry even more delicious! It’s great to be back.