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Dancing Queen to Event Manager

By Tania TilbrookAugust 24th, 2016

Name: Gabrielle Austen-Browne Home Town: Blackheath, London Course: Diploma, started April 2015


Imagine it: you have one of the coolest clubs in London as a venue to play with. You get paid to use your creative flair to create an unusual, unreal, unrepeatable event for clients who want to use the space to party in the heart of London. Sound like a dream job? About 2 months after finishing our course Gabby applied for job as corporate events assistant with Egg Events LDN. After only one month in the new role, her manager got offered a job somewhere else and asked Gabby to step into the role of Corporate Events Manager! She then had to appoint the assistant …

If I am going to do this, I’m going to get a distinction!

We know why Gabby aced the interview and got offered a top role instead of the assistant role at an amazing London venue. Like most event managers, she’s a perfectionist. She spent 15 years working as a dancer and a performer and when she was injured she realised she could no longer dance at the level she demanded of herself and started looking for a new challenge.

As a dancer and as an event manager you have to be driven and have fantastic attention to detail to succeed as the environments are so competitive. The second Gabby decided she was going to do the eventcourse and get a distinction she was on to a winner!

I didn’t realise that what I do naturally – organising things – is so useful in event management

So what made Gabby think events was the right thing for her? It took her a while before she realised that because she naturally steps into the role of organiser this natural talent would earn her a living and, better, get her into a job she loves.

It started out with organising her best friend’s wedding. Everyone else kept telling Gabby to chill out, it was just a wedding and it would all be fine. Gabby was the one keeping everyone to time on the day and planning for weeks in advance. She drew up her own function sheet (this is before she’d done any event management training!) and managed the whole event. Her reward was seeing her best friend have his wedding dreams come true and have the best day of his life.

I never thought about setting up my own business – I thought I was a Creative Director not a leader

Students often tell us the group projects are a massive turning point – Gabby was scoping out who she wanted to work with from the first day of the course! Classic event manager … and control freak! This should have been the first signs of leadership.

However, when the group project rolled around, Gabby knew she wanted to be the creative director or creative lead on the project. As a performer and a dancer she already knew she is fantastic at bringing the beauty of an idea to life. Our courses don’t simply give students what they want, though, they give them what they need. Gabby’s group persuaded her to take on the role of Team Leader. After some resistance (as I’m sure you can imagine, our Gabby can be very persuasive when she knows what she wants) she finally decided she’d get more out of the course if she did something she wasn’t used to. And … ?

Gabby was a great success as team leader and absolutely loved the role. It gives her some great examples of team management and leadership to share in an interview and get whatever team she’s working with on side. She’s even considering setting up her own business later down the line. Gabby says:

“I would love to run my own business creating private events and celebration parties. It is the best feeling in the world to make people happy and seeing the smiles on their faces.”

Are you interested in doing the things you love, having the confidence to carry it off and getting paid while you do it? If yes, come and have a chat with us at our next open evening or call our student recruitment team. Gabby’s advice is to be open to anything – there’s no harm in trying something and deciding later it isn’t for you.

Gabrielle did our Diploma Course - find out if it's right for you
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