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My Journey to the Main Event

Last updated April 30th, 2015

A perspective from current online diploma student Helen Moon.
When I left 6th form college (I won’t mention the year!) I had no real idea what direction I wanted to go in so having gained the relevant qualifications at school decided to work in secretarial and administration. At the time there was no such thing as an event management diploma or degree, and there was no mention of events as a occupational choice at school or college career days, the nearest option available was to study hospitality and tourism so I had never come across or heard of ‘The Events Industry’.
Fast forward 6 years and after a number of PA and admin roles around Greater Manchester, I found myself back in my home town of Southport at the Prince of Wales Hotel being asked by the General Manager “I don’t need a PA but I do need an Event Co-ordinator, would you consider giving it a try?”. I have never looked back and 17 years on I am still working and involved in what I think is one of the most rewarding industries out there.
At the start of my events journey as I like to call it, I worked in venue event co-ordination and operations working my way up into proactive venue and hotel sales and business development after moving to central London in 2004. I’ve had the opportunity to travel most of the UK, as well as Europe and America and work at some stunning venues including Hanbury Manor, Riverbank Park Plaza, Barbican Centre and the Grand Connaught Rooms and, I’ve met some fantastic people along the way many of whom are good friends to this day.
I would not say it’s been easy, there have been periods of extreme hard work and very long hours but if there is one thing I’ve learnt from working in this great industry it’s that you can’t shy away from a bit of hard work and my passion has always kept me motivated.
I’ve had a few achievements over the years but one of my proudest is the creation of the EC Collective, a new concept to help promote the City of London as an events destination that incorporated livery halls, conference centres, banqueting venues and hotels during my time at the Barbican Centre.  I also devised and launched it’s inaugural familiarisation weekend in September 2008, the EC Collective being better known today as the London City Selection and they still hold this event annually!
Approximately 18 months ago I decided that I wanted a little change of direction away from venue sales and more towards marketing and communications, so I started an Introduction to Marketing course with the Chartered Institute of Marketing in 2013.  Having gained my CIM foundation certificate in September last year I also started looking at diploma courses that would suit my experience and give me the necessary qualification I wanted to move to the client side of the industry, that is when I came across the Event Academy and Eventcourse and thought perfect!
Why do a diploma when I have industry experience? There is much debate in the industry at the moment regards academia v experience and which is better. I personally feel both are equally important, I’ve been a part of venue sales for many years and whilst I have good knowledge of how to plan and execute certain elements of an event I felt there was lot that I could learn from completing a diploma course if I was to be the best that I could be as an Event Manager.
What most attracted me to Eventcourse is the fact that it is managed, run and taught by event professionals who are experts in their field with many years of experience and not just scholars. I’ve opted to do the online course so I could fit the study around work and other commitments such as my event blog ‘Diary of an #Eventprof’ and the flexibility it provides me is fantastic. The modules and online lectures delivered are insightful and reflective, I like the fact I can test my learning and also that it tests my knowledge of the industry encouraging me to think differently about certain aspects and from the shoes of an Event Manager and Marketer.
The chance to gain valuable work experience through volunteering at events via Ashdown, meeting other students and event professionals is also fantastic and I encourage anyone to get involved and apply for the many opportunities as they come up. What is also great is you’re actively encouraged to get out there and network! Networking is crucial in the events industry, it is the blood that binds us all together and enables you to stay on top of what and who’s hot, building good relationships and a list of reputable good contacts, essential as Eventcourse tells us to being a good Event Manager. And you’ll pick up lots of tips, the events industry is full of very approachable ‘people’ people who are always happy to offer guidance, there’s a few running the Event Academy as well!
Would I recommend the course? Most definitely! If you’re looking to work in the events industry or are already working in the industry and looking to change your direction like me then the Eventcourse I feel offers the right mix of theory and practice to make that happen.  Mix that with lots of patience and commitment, excellent organisation and people skills and most importantly a great sense of humour and you’ll have the winning formula to becoming a fantastic Event Manager!

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