International Women's Day

In the spirit of International Women’s Day (8th March), we’ve spent some time with our Director of Live events, Janet, to discuss her motivations, career, aspirations for the future and of course, live events.

You’ve been the Director of Live Events at Identity for a little while now but how long has been it been exactly since you joined the team?

I joined on the 1st October 2018. Time has flown by and I already feel very much part of the Identity family.

How have you found it – is it everything you hoped it might be?

And more! I love it – the team are so talented, focused, supportive and determined to do the very best for our clients. It is teamwork at its very best. The fact that we have so many services in-house, including pioneering strategic, creative and design capabilities means we’re really able to offer our clients an integrated service and with our ISO 90001 accreditation, quality assurance and delivering exceptional value for money are very much key to our proposition as is our passion for continuous improvement.

With such a varied and demanding role, what would you say is the most exciting aspect?

Working with lovely people who are very talented and the opportunity to grow the company, specifically the events offering. Identity has had phenomenal growth in recent years and I’m very excited to be part of the next leg of our journey.

What does the future hold for Identity?

As the saying goes, the sky’s the limit and we are masters of our own destiny. We have so many exciting opportunities in the pipeline and news of some amazing wins, to be announced in the very near future, so watch this space! 

That sounds very exciting but let’s talk more about your experiences and how you got to where you are…

What was your first job and how has it led you to becoming the Director of Live Events at Identity?

I always wanted to work in theatre or be a writer, so when I had the opportunity to work backstage at my local theatre, I jumped at the chance. I did everything from stage hand, to lighting designer to stage manager and even follow spot operator and it gave me an excellent grounding for the events world. After a short stint managing an employment agency, I was given my lucky break when Mark Wallace (a well-known guru in the events world) invited me to join him as employee number two at MWA and I’ve never looked back since.

That’s quite a journey! While it might be difficult to pinpoint, what would you describe as your biggest career achievement to date?

I’ve been so lucky in my career that it’s difficult to name just one achievement. I’ve worked on some major high-profile government summits with some exceptionally talented clients and team members. I have had some truly amazing experiences at these events, and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to be a part of them and history in the making. I’ve also worked on many private sector events, which has given me the chance to travel all over the world, meet and work with some incredible people and work closely with some truly international brands. I’m passionate about innovation and working on both public and private sector events has meant I’ve seen innovation at its very best in both worlds.

There’s no doubt that you’ve achieved a lot but what is it that motivates you to keep pushing yourself forwards?

The determination to always do the very best for our clients – I’m a bit of a perfectionist and while that definitely has its downsides, it does mean that I am always striving for the very best and will never settle for anything less.

So, have you set yourself any targets or specific career goals?

To ease up on the perfectionism a bit! Seriously, one of my career goals was met when I joined Identity as a Director as this was the next obvious step in my career path. I’m loving the new challenge and focus that this has given me. Aside from that, we have a very defined vision for Identity with a clear plan on how we will achieve this and I’m looking forward to turning the vision into a reality.

You joined Identity at a very exciting time but like every industry, live events continue to evolve… how would you say the industry has changed over the years?

As it is International Women’s Day, I think it’s really important to say that when I first joined the industry there were hardly any women in senior management roles but in recent years I’ve definitely seen a big shift towards women in senior roles – long may that continue. The three S’s (safety, security and sustainability) are definitely major considerations for any event and quite rightly so. Identity has a particular focus on these areas, for example we are actively removing, where possible, single use plastics from our supply chain and including more sustainable materials in all of our designs.

Finally, do you have any words of advice for anyone looking to work in the events industry?

Attention to detail makes the difference between a good event and a great event. Be prepared to work hard, remain calm under pressure and to always be prepared – risk management and contingency planning is an absolute must. It is a tough industry but one that’s also extremely rewarding. You will meet some incredible people and have some amazing experiences which will stay with you forever.