Soraya Gadelrab, event director at Fresh Montgomery on her decade-long events career, her Big Fat Egyptian Wedding and being a secret geek.
I was born in Dublin to an Irish mother and Egyptian father. We moved across to England when I was four and I then grew up in Chester.
Our house was always busy. Both my parents’ cultures are known for having big families. Now as a grown up, things are exactly the same.
My dad is a businessman and always had some sort of food and drink business. My mum was an English teacher – so no excuses for bad punctuation.
My family have always called me Susu, I don’t really know why but it started when I was a baby and has stuck until now. I’m not sure I’ll ever lose it and now I’ve told the whole industry!
My first job was working in my dad’s luxury chocolate shop in Chester on Saturdays when I was 14. It bodes well now that I run the Speciality Chocolate Fair.
Maths was always my favourite subject at school but I wasn’t a geek. My favourite office tool is Excel and my colleagues find it strange that I love doing budgets (maybe I am a secret geek?).
When I was young I used be part of a theatre group and appeared as an extra on Hollyoaks a few times.
I’m not known for being very sporty, so some people might be surprised to know I used to row competitively and came eighth in the National Championships back in the day.
I got married to my lovely husband Joe last year in Sharm el Sheikh – it was my Big Fat Egyptian Wedding and I loved every minute of it. Sadly it happened to be the day of the Russian plane crash so we all ended up with an extended holiday.
My weekends go one of two ways; planning fun child-friendly family days out with my husband and stepson or catching up with my friends with good food and lots of good wine.
I love snowboarding and most years go to a snowboarding music festival in Austria; where you board all day and party with the likes of Fatboy Slim, Rudimental and the Prodigy at night. Perfection.
Like most people I didn’t plan a career in events but during my uni days I was always organising some sort of event at the union – my friends still call me the social secretary today, so I guess it was meant to be.
I studied Italian and International Politics at uni, when I graduated I had no clue what to do.
I started at Fresh Montgomery 10 years ago. It seems a long time to be at one company especially when it’s your first job in the industry, but I can honestly say that I love the business I work for.
I began as a sales manager on IFE and Hotelympia. I then became event manager of Speciality & Fine Food Fair and then event director and added ScotHot and IFEX to my portfolio.
Last year I became event director of one of our two largest brands, IFE, and I still keep Speciality in my portfolio along with Pro2Pac and Waste-Works.
Personally I feel that I have been challenged and developed greatly in my 10 years.
It’s a pioneering company that is always looking for exciting new opportunities which makes it an inspiring place to be.