Last week I went to the University of West London to join a panel of people working in the events sector to speak to the UWL final year event students. The students had shared their own questions and areas of interest ahead of time, and we covered a whole range of topics.
The panel consisted of Matthew Wall (Chief Creative Officer, Whitewall), Benedicta Asante (Founder, Events 101), Evelina Bucinskaite (Hosted Buyer Account Manager for IBTM World, WTM and ATM Portfolio, RX Global), Robert Kenward (Fitability® Recruiter) and Natasha Butt (Co-Founder & Recruitment Director, Expocast), and was facilitated by Liz Quick (Senior Lecturer, UWL).
We discussed current issues, including Brexit and the war on Ukraine, and the impact both are having on the events industry and the supply chain.
We shared insight on some of the big topics the events industry are talking about the moment: sustainability and DEI. How can the industry be doing more to position these topics as central focuses and create an industry that is more climate conscious, and more equitable? And what are the challenges to these things progressing? Clients can be resistant and budgets can be tight, but in a world where customers are boycotting brands on an ethical basis, doing the good work is the right choice both morally and financially.
We touched on technology, too, discussing the virtual vs hybrid model, the possibilities associates with new technologies as well as concerns around Artificial Intelligence such as Chat GPT. Thinking creatively and innovatively, the panel agreed, is something AI still cannot do.
Panellists shared their advice on how people entering the events industry can stand out from the crowd to employers and recruiters, and discussed the importance of building an effective network within the industry, both in person (at events) and online (via LinkedIn). Make the most of every opportunity, we advised, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Be kind to everyone you meet, because the events industry is small and you never know who might be at your next interview on the hiring table!
It was a pleasure to hear from my fellow panellists and to get their thoughts on the key issues facing the industry at the moment, as well as what there is to be excited about. As Matthew Wall reminded us: the War in Ukraine will end with a meeting, an event. That’s how important what you are studying for is. Thank you so much for having me UWL!