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EventLAB 2021

EventLAB 2021: Defining The Modern Role Of The Corporate Event Planner

On a very chilly Wednesday 24th November, the Hire Space team welcomed over 450 delegates online and in-person at Central Hall Westminster for EventLAB 2021.

For our final panel discussion, we were joined by Lizzy Eaton, Founder of Oddity Events & Marketing, Clare Melton, Global Head of Events at IHS Markit, and Sarah Donnelly, Marketing Director at Blick Rothenberg, to discuss the journey they’ve been on, and where they see their role going next.

Watch the full session below and read on for the key takeaways.

Table of Contents

1. Watch The Discussion
2. Key Takeaways
3. Q&A
4. About The Speakers

Watch The Discussion



Key Takeaways

We've had to become better communicators

Virtual tools such as Zoom make it really hard to read facial expressions and body language, so it's important to become proficient at understanding different employees' workloads and perspectives, especially across global teams where not everyone is based in the same country or comes from the same culture.

As leaders, this has made us more empathetic, open and mindful of what our employees might be going through behind the screen.

Back to basics

We have had to go back to basics in terms of how we do things, as the past 'rule books' are now out the window. For example, before, we might have gauged an event's success on attendance rate, but we simply can't do that now, so our success measures need to be more thought through and creative.

We're doing events so differently now, so we also need to re-learn and re-understand the life cycle of planning an event. We need to acclimatise to a new change of pace, understand the value of each team member and the contribution they make, and constantly evaluate new processes to bring them up to date in the new climate.

We all have individual strengths

Everyone has something they bring to the table, and everyone has certain areas in which they shine, so it's important that leaders are able to identify who has which strengths and build a rounded team. The Clifton Strengths Finder is a great resource for this.

It's also important to celebrate each of these individual strengths, and not just the ones that leaders identify with the most, otherwise people may feel inferior. Celebrating your whole team and each individual skill and area of expertise is really important for morale.


"Not having a strength is not a failure."
Clare Melton


Attitude above everything else

People come from all different backgrounds and have all sort of skills, but the ones that will stand out the most are the ones with a can-do attitude, those who want to get on with the team, are willing to learn and want to see the company succeed. That's much more important than those who come in with a long list of achievements - those skills are important but it's much more about a person's approach to life, their work, your company, and someone who wants to enjoy the role, too.

It's also about being open to learn. One particular skill that has become much more of a necessity in recent times is being tech-savvy. This can be a vicious cycle for those made redundant who are therefore out of practice with new tech and running virtual events, but as long as they are willing to learn and put in the time, that's the most important thing.

An outstanding events team is about...

Celebrating each other, trusting each other, and being able to get on, no matter how simple it sounds, is really crucial. Especially for multi-day events where you're working long days, you're tired, you might be sharing an apartment together etc, the best teams are the ones that gel together and constantly have each other's back.


How do you view the future at the moment?

SARAH: The fact that the world is constantly changing has encouraged people to not make decisions, which creates an unhealthy paralysis. It's important to continue to look as far forward as you used to but with a caveat that things might change.
LIZZY: Be transparent with your team.
CLARE: Try and plan ahead, manage expectations, but also give everyone a pat on the back after another really tough year.

About The Speakers

Lizzy Eaton, Founder, Oddity Events & Marketing

Lizzy is the founder and Director of Oddity Events & Marketing, an award-winning small agency which specialises in designing events with personality for high-level audiences (e.g. MPs, business leaders, academics, civil servants and journalists). In her 13+ years in the events industry, Lizzy has recruited, managed and developed event teams with a focus on delivering excellence in fast-paced and high-pressure environments. Lizzy has recently been recognised in the C&IT 35 under 35 A-List of UK Agency Planners.

lizzy eaton

Clare Melton, Global Head of Events, IHS Markit

Clare is a corporate events professional with over 20 years’ experience managing all types and sizes of events. Having started her events life agency-side, and shortly after managing events in the government sector, Clare has spent the majority of her career working in, and subsequently running, in-house events teams, managing events across all geographies within the financial services, real estate and most recently, information services sectors.

clare melton

Sarah Donnelly, Marketing Director, Blick Rothenberg

Sarah is a strategic marketing leader with over 22 years’ experience in B2B Marketing. She has a track record of defining and delivering strategies that support business objectives, raise profile, drive growth and build market confidence. As a senior leader for companies from large global matrix organisations to start-ups, she has delivered high growth and sustained business results across a broad range of markets and industries. She specialises in leading high impact, content-led, multi-channel sales, marketing and communications campaigns.

sarah donnelly

Make sure to check out the rest of the EventLAB 2021 session writeups over on the Hire Space blog, read our recap of the whole event, and follow us on social to keep up to date with EventLAB news and updates.





Author Izzie Lachecki profile image

Izzie Lachecki

Izzie brings a deep understanding of the events world to Hire Space, and keeps busy by writing lots of Hire Space and EventLAB content and managing the Hire Space social media presence.

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