Working in the events industry for a long time, I have come across impressive work by many remarkable influencers. Women influencers in the events industry have also shown commendable inputs, leading to some major campaigns and their own startups and firms which have gained name and earned its own place in the event industry.
Today’s interview is about one such hardworking and passionate woman who loves her work and has been a part of the industry for over 2 decades — Helen Moon.
Helen’s marketing and events career span of over 20 years. She is passionate about events and values the power of live events and cares about how event makers create and deliver. She truly loves her job!
She has had a multitude of accolades and to name a few:
– Diary of an #Eventprof listed as a top 10 blog that is a must read by every event professional (Pheedloop)
– Top 10 of the UK Event Planners Social Media Top 250 (Eventopedia)
– Peer voted Top 100 mover and shaker in the UK Events Industry (Eventbrite)
Helen Moon founded the EWL Club in 2015, which is a non-profit educational club meant exclusively for event professionals. As the motto for the club goes — “The #Eventprofs unNetworking Network” the club offers a refreshing way to maintain business connections.
She is also the co-founder of the renowned EventWell Ltd. At the beginning of the year of 2018 which is one of the first charitable social enterprise and resource dedicated to offering wellbeing advice and knowledge to UK Event professionals.
One of the most fascinating things about Helen Moon is her all-time favorite quote –
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars!”
Let’s hear a few insights about the events industry from the renowned — Helen Moon:
1. How did you start your journey in the events industry?
Like many in the industry, I fell into it completely by accident. I started my career as a PA and when applying for a new role was asked if I’d be interested in giving event management a try and 25 years later as they say. An accident that I certainly have no regrets about!
2. Enlighten us about EventWell. What inspired you to start that campaign?
My personal mental health journey for one, but I also just want to see a shift to the status quo that had existed for years; events are events and stress is a part of that. For me, it doesn’t have to be. The events industry is pressured absolutely, but it doesn’t have to be stressful, it can 100% be the challenging and rewarding industry that gives a lot of people a huge amount of joy, not just for the ones organizing the events, but the ones attending.
I have a story that I hoped back in 2017 by sharing would help others to make changes to live a happier and healthier life, just as I have. That’s what helped me; listening to someone else’s story, almost in a pay it forward scenario.
Talking about the industry and the health problems that exists, both mental and physical, and facing and challenging them face on is the only way to make improvements, not just for us working in the industry today, but for the legacy of our industry and the future generations that are aspiring to be just like us. Let’s be the best possible versions of those professionals, not just for them but for ourselves.
3. You have been a core part of the events industry for a long time, what changes have you observed over this period of time?
Oh gosh, that’s a good question, I’ve watched the industry shift from paper schedules and fax machines, you would literally have files doorstop thick for one event, and you would be doing back to back show rounds and meetings as it was the only real way to communicate other than the telephone.
Then email and web came to into play creating a new sourcing tool, social media then made a huge impact, and now the vast amounts of technological solutions that have completely changed the way we organize and manage events.
The big change I have seen is that events are much more creative than they used to be, with new technologies and innovations freeing up an organizers time to pay attention to personalization and experience. Content and agendas have become much more impactful, although sometimes I worry that we are trying to go over and beyond what an attendee is able to absorb and take away.
Food and Beverage are light years away from the often-bland menus you would be offered 20 years ago. It’s a huge shift, although I still look back on my former years with great fondness.
4. As an event marketing consultant, what major challenges have you faced with your clients?
A lot of the clients I have worked with do not have their own events team, so the biggest challenge has been ensuring that everything done in relation to an event is objectively led and not done for doing sake, or because it would be nice to do.
That’s the biggest challenge to what we do, as we can’t show the value in the events we produce if we cannot link the results to a strategic business decision or objective. Also, as a lot of us find in events it’s managing those client expectations that can be the trickiest and the most pressured.
5. Networking is an integral part of the events community. How do you think event technology helps in upgrading the current networking scenario?
I think that technology can assist in the lead up to a live event in terms of research and arranging meetings and catch ups, however it should not be used to replace that face to face human connection that’s also so integral to what we do as an industry, and if used alongside live in the correct way then it can certainly enhance and improve how we network.
Technology has a major part to play in events as I have highlighted above, and should not be used for using sake. If used in the right way and for the right reasons, it can incredibly beneficial for an event and an attendee experience.
6. What was your experience in sharing your thoughts and insights in IBTM World 2017, one of the largest global events for the meetings industry?
It was an amazing experience, to speak on an international stage about a subject that I am incredibly passionate about, particularly one that is so personal to me, was one of the major highlights of my career, and one I would gladly repeat.
7. You’ve been an amazing industry speaker and influencer. Any insights that you would like to share with our readers?
Thank you for the lovely compliment. I suppose my best advice I would give anyone is taking the time to research the industry and pick up as much knowledge and experience as you can, listen to the podcasts, read the books, go to the networking events.
Network as much as you can feasibly do, either online or live. Don’t just connect with people online for connecting sake and to get the follower count, engage with them and ask them questions. Try and mix your professional online life with your professional offline life — it’s much better for your wellbeing too.
If you get invited to speak at an event, go for it. Yes, it will be nerve-racking but everyone gets nervous before speaking, well at least the ones who care about what they are sharing do. It really is the best thing you can do to build your professional profile and your personal confidence.
And most importantly believe in yourself and you can achieve anything you set your mind to! This used to be the one thing my mum would say to me on repeat when I was younger, and now that I am a mum myself I totally get it and repeat it to myself regularly, because she was right of course!