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The event management world is a very competitive one. Not only are there are huge number of established agencies, but the barriers to entry are low. Literally anyone can set up their own venue finding or event planning agency. All the more reason that established agencies need to work hard to innovate, stay ahead of the competition and focus on delivering customer satisfaction. With over 30 staff and responsibility for delivering over 170 events a year, we talk to Lucy Francis, General Manager of cievents UK to find out more about how they aim to stay ahead. 

Lime Venue Portfolio: Hi Lucy, so to start us off, please can you give us an introduction about cievents and what you offer?

cievents is a strategic events management agency for the corporate market and we're currently celebrating our 10th year of operation in the UK. Through offering innovative events, incentive programmes and engaging content, cievents has gone from hosting 19 events in 2006 to overseeing 176 in 2016. With its focus firmly set on the future, the agency is continuing to roll out its 10 year development plan with new technology, creative services, and an expanding footprint in the corporate MICE market.

The company was actually established in 1986, 20 years before coming to the UK. cievents is an award-winning strategic event management agency with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, London, Birmingham, New York, San Francisco, Auckland, Toronto, Johannesburg and Hong Kong.

Our job is to inspire audiences, to stimulate hearts and minds and drive them to achieve business goals.  We connects them by creating engaging innovative events, compelling incentive programmes and exciting branding and communications.

As an event management agency with a strategic service offering, we provide a seamless and dynamic solution from multidisciplinary teams with outstanding creative and meticulous attention to detail. 

We work with corporate clients within all industries from retails, to fashion through to financial services and pharmaceutical.

LVP: A truly global company then. As General Manager for the UK business, how did you start your career in the meetings and events industry?

After working in recruitment for a number of years I was very ready for a change. I sat down and made a list of what I enjoyed about my job. Top of the list were being super organised and working with clients. Events seemed the obvious choice. I then had to persuade an agency to take a chance on me, I halved my salary overnight and started at the bottom as an Event Assistant. 9 years later I don’t regret that chance I took at all, I am a firm believer that if you like what you do then it shines through and you will always succeed – passion for what you do is key!

LVP: That's very inspiring for anyone wanting to change career. It's also testament to the fact that many skills we acquire as business professionals are transferable! As someone with first hand experience on following their dream and making a big change, what are your 3 top tips for other who want to join the events industry?

  1. Do your research on which are the agencies/ companies you really want to work at and target them specifically.
  2. Be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up, there are no shortcuts to success other than hard work.
  3. Know that there will be ups and downs – you have to stick with it.

LVP: So, having made a big move into a job you love, what is the best project you have worked on and why?

My best project was also my most challenging. Each year Flight Centre runs its Global Ball and one year I worked on this event. 3000 people from around the globe flying into Singapore for two nights and three days of the most incredible entertainment, conference, dinners and party. By far one of the most challenging events I think anyone will ever work on, but after that every other event feels easy. 

LVP: What does the future hold for you?

I'm actually going on maternity leave in the very near future, a whole different world and probably my biggest challenge yet. After I return I want to concentrate on continuing to grow cievents to be a global force to be reckoned with.

LVP: As you know at LVP, we represent unique and unusual venues, so it is interesting for our venues to know what the top 3 things you think about when looking for a venue for the hundreds of events you organise each year?

  1. For cievent, location is always key – people need to be able to get there and get home easily.
  2. The service level that the venue provides makes a massive difference to the event manager and therefore client in terms the experience on the day. It is not about star ratings, it is about the service provided by the venue that makes or breaks the event.
  3. Natural daylight makes delegates a lot happier – always look for it if you can!

 

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