Emma Mills: Jumping hurdles

jumpin-hurdles.jpg

It was during my time working in Kenya as brand manager for a high-end brand distribution company that I was faced with one of the most terrifying experiences in my life, a moment where I realised I can deal with any challenge that comes my way.

 

One night, when walking home from the local cinema, I was confronted by a gang of gun-wielding muggers intent on taking everything I had on me. In that moment of profound fear, where the noise of my heart thumping nearly drowned out their incomprehensible screams, I remained composed and relatively calm, and came out of the situation alive; many before me in the same situation haven’t.

 

After that episode, which wasn’t isolated (another night I narrowly escaped a kidnapping attempt, saved by a courageous taxi driver), I decided to leave Kenya and fly to the UK, where I would seek pastures new away from the unpredictable streets of Nairobi. I wanted to apply my skills in logistics and ability to perform under pressure, so joined Prysm Group, and my journey into the world of operations began.

 

Everyone needs inspiration and a guiding hand when seeking a career path, and my boyfriend Jamie, a former Olympic 1500m runner, provided this for me; he made me perfectly aware that overcoming life’s hurdles is down to your own attributes, and I’ve found in my relatively short operations career that diligence, patience, and a hunger to learn helps you to reach your desired end.

 

As with pretty much any job, a collaborative effort is imperative and I count myself incredibly lucky to have a supportive team around me that continues to teach, entertain and inspire me.

 

From the very start John Pearce, Prysm’s operations director, has passed on his knowledge, ensuring I’m able to lead the running of the Business Show, which attracts 30,000 visitors alongside 350+ exhibitors and some of the business world’s most important figures.

 

Under John’s control, I’ve managed to come a long way in a short period of time. His method of teaching, where he combines hard work and fun over a mix of his favourite hip hop tracks, has enabled me to successfully act as the ‘main hub’ to the shows we run – from the Business Show to smaller events like Flood Expo.

 

It isn’t unfair to say that without the work my operations colleagues and I put in, our shows wouldn’t exist.

 

Creating an exhibition demands several cogs to perform collectively, but the work of operations is what brings each ingredient together to create a fully functioning event that brings about the desired results for each separate participating party. The sales division are the ones bringing in the exhibitors, the marketing team fill the exhibition hall full of visitors, the content team create fantastic show guides and websites, but operations is what makes all these cogs function effectively.

 

The job’s major source of satisfaction comes from seeing the end product.

 

Months and months of hard work, frustration, deadlines, phone calls and emails go into just two days of activity; but if the exhibition halls are full, exhibitors are happy, visitors come away having experienced the event they imagined and my colleagues and I achieve the objectives we set ourselves – this fills me with an enormous sense of pride.

 

I firmly believe that hard work breeds success, and without a diligent approach to your work then you can’t expect to come away with the results you crave.

 

Each event my team and I help to organise is the result of hard work, knowledge and enthusiasm. There’s no way the Business Show could have achieved the fantastic success it has done without an operations team that both love what they do and thrive on the challenges ingrained into the nature of the job.

 

My terrifying experiences in Kenya have helped shape my outlook on how I deal with the pressures that come with my job, and I always remember – whether it’s a gun in my face or an incorrect floor plan – every hurdle can be overcome.

 

This article was first published in the January issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne

Emma Mills
Posted by Emma Mills
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

AEV publishes Size and Scale Index of Events

The Size and Scale Index of Events (SASiE) has published its latest report analysing the data collected over 2015 from the participating venues and organisers.

SMG Europe appointed operator of AECC

Aberdeen City Council has appointed venue operator SMG Europe to manage the existing Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) ahead of the move to its new purpose-built home in 2019.

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.

Others on EN

Apps – what are they good for?

Apps – what are they good for?

Exhibition apps are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, says Reftech’s Simon Clayton.
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.

CONFEX 2017 LIVE

Most Read Stories

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.
Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.

Latest News

IGNITION to return to the SEC

IGNITION to return to the SEC

Following a successful inaugural event in 2016, IGNITION Festival of Motoring will be returning to the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) on 4-6 August.
Exhibition World launches Global Exhibitions Day Awards

Exhibition World launches Global Exhibitions Day Awards

Exhibition World, the sister magazine of Exhibition News, has launched the inaugural Global Exhibitions Day Awards, celebrating the diverse creative initiatives occurring globally around 7 June.
Future In 15 episode 3: ExCel London's James Rees on co-operation and using space

Future In 15 episode 3: ExCel London's James Rees on co-operation and using space

In Episode Three of Future In 15, James Rees, director of conferences & events at ExCel London, shares how the venue repurposed under-utilised space to create CentrEd.

Latest Features

Alt Venues: Stamford Bridge

Alt Venues: Stamford Bridge

In our monthly Alternative Venues feature, EN pays a visit to Stamford Bridge.
Breaking barriers

Breaking barriers

The London Muslim Lifestyle Show is bringing Muslim businesses to the world stage, despite the occasional far-right protest.
My Working Life by David Chalmers

My Working Life by David Chalmers

The senior marketing director, Europe, at Cvent discusses how he got into the industry, his inspirational children and why he’s called The Doctor.

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.