My Working Life by Soraya Gadelrab

Soraya Gadelrab, event director at Fresh Montgomery on her decade-long events career, her Big Fat Egyptian Wedding and being a secret geek.

Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn
Soraya-NEW-resized.jpg

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.

Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

And that’s a wrap!  

The EN Awards are over for another year. Awards were won, achievements were recognised and booze was drunk, not necessarily in that order.

Searcys collection launches event showcase

Searcys, a collection of UK restaurants, bars and venues, has announced a series of summer pop-ups and event spaces designed to showcase several of its 29 venues.

Kent Event Centre to host its first outdoor cinema experience

Kent Event Centre has announced that it is set to host an alfresco cinema experience with open-air cinema events company, Alfresco Events.

Elsewhere on EN

Movers & Shakers 26/04/17

Movers & Shakers 26/04/17

People moves at Blitz|GES, Gallowglass, Mojo Barriers and more.
RDS launches RDS Venue brand

RDS launches RDS Venue brand

Philanthropic organisation the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) has announced that RDS Venue will be launched as a separate visual identity from the main RDS brand.
Multiplay launches event hardware rental arm  

Multiplay launches event hardware rental arm  

Mutiplay, organiser of events such as MineCon, Insomnia and BRICKLIVE, has announced the launch of Multiplay Rentals, its new event hardware rental arm.

CONFEX LIVE

Most read Stories

Building emerald cities

Building emerald cities

From Malaria to Blenheim, through to UBM, Jane Risby-Rose – the 20-year story of her yellow brick road industry journey.
Come to Confex and be inspired

Come to Confex and be inspired

The exhibition and events industry is all about the power of face-to-face, the art of exhibiting and networking with old friends and new, which is why EN would like to personally invite you to attend International Confex to learn more.
5 top marketing tips from AEO Forums 2016

5 top marketing tips from AEO Forums 2016

Looking to the future and learning from the past at AEO Forums 2016.

Latest News

Movers & Shakers 26/04/17

Movers & Shakers 26/04/17

People moves at Blitz|GES, Gallowglass, Mojo Barriers and more.
RDS launches RDS Venue brand

RDS launches RDS Venue brand

Philanthropic organisation the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) has announced that RDS Venue will be launched as a separate visual identity from the main RDS brand.
Multiplay launches event hardware rental arm  

Multiplay launches event hardware rental arm  

Mutiplay, organiser of events such as MineCon, Insomnia and BRICKLIVE, has announced the launch of Multiplay Rentals, its new event hardware rental arm.

Latest Galleries

A sneak peak at Somerset House's new event space

A sneak peak at Somerset House's new event space

Some of the industry’s leading event organisers were treated to an exclusive preview of Somerset House’s largest and most versatile indoor event space at an open house event on 19-20 April.
EN Awards 2017

EN Awards 2017

The best of the exhibition industry were out in force on 30 March at ExCeL London for the 11th annual EN Awards.
Natural & Organic Products Europe 2017

Natural & Organic Products Europe 2017

The 2017 Natural & Organic Products Europe celebrated its 21st edition earlier this month (2-3 April) as well as attracting its biggest attendance yet to ExCeL London.

Latest Opinions

Fit for the 21st century

Fit for the 21st century

Andrew Harrison, ESSA director, says we should always fight to bring talent into the industry and encourage an appetite for success.
I'm a believer

I'm a believer

Sam Cande, group commercial director at Centaur Media, says no secret sales technique can compete with belief in a product.
Happy to help

Happy to help

Customer service can make or break a show, warns Media 10 event director Nathan Garnett.