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Exploring the Events Industry: Account Director - Nicola Roodt

This week on exploring the event industry I speak to Nicola, an Account Director at Green and Pleasant Events in London. Nicola has had an amazing career over the last 7 years in the industry, starting out as a stage manager in theatre she crossed over to event agency as an event coordinator and has built her career since then. Being listed as a C&IT A List in 2018 and constantly raising her profile in the industry.

About Nicola

Company and Job Title: Green and Pleasant Events, Account Director.

How long have you been in your current role: Just completed my 4th week in this role.

How long in the events industry: I have been in the events industry for 7 years.

Dream event to work on: Right now is any live event! I’d love to create and produce an immersive day of musicals event, with everyone dancing and breaking out in song, there is something magical about live performances, imagine all delegates being involved from creating music, dancing and singing, something like a musical themed festival!

How did you get into the events industry and your current role?

I used to be a Stage Manager in the theatre industry, I loved the excitement of organising and running shows, but there was uncertainty when a show would closed where I would find my next role and also working on the same show 8 times a work could get a little repetitive. I love people and I love creating, so thought I must get into events! If I can plan and run a theatre show, I will be able to put on an event!

What does an average day in your job look like?

An average day would be as follows:

On ARRIVAL TO WORK: Always start with a cup of tea, catch up with my team, discuss any events we went to, go through my LinkedIn and emails.

AM: Start working through my to do list, which could be anything from working on any tenders, creating proposals and working on budgets, catching up with clients, supplier meetings, arranging client meetings.

LUNCH: Would either be a walk or meeting a client for lunch.

PM: It is important to get moving, especially when you need to be creative so I’d work in a different environment, whether that be a beanbag in a board room, or a quirky venue I could work form for inspiration and spend time creating ideas with my team.

AFTERWORK: There is always a networking event to attend, I always try to go to everything, there is always something to learn and someone interesting to meet.

How does a day working for an event agency look like during lockdown?

Still busy as ever! I am so lucky to be working for a small agile company who is financially stable, we have the ability to quickly adapt and adopt to any situation and it is an incredible journey to be on in diversifying our offerings. This time is scary, but I feel inspired by my team and how this situation is allowing us to really home in on our creative skills and finding solutions for our clients.

You recently started a new job, how have you found making this transition during lockdown?

So incredibly lucky and the calmest I have been! This is a huge thank you to my MD Frances Green, she is such a calming influence and is full of joy and enthusiasm which resonates through our team and our brand values. Frances was in constant communication with me so I knew where I stood at all times which made me feel safe and secure. I can understand why it may seem odd to start a new job from home, but we just got on with it, clear objectives were set and our team just gelled together and we doing the best we can to deliver and add the best value to our clients. We have a lot of exciting projects that we are working on so currently I feel a real sense of excitement mixed with uncertainty it just making us push even harder.

What kind of events do you work on?

Our speciality is in gastronomic global incentives and within the last couple of years has developed into designing our client conferences globally too, and now have diversified to producing a 360 experience for our client’s online events!

We have a mix of corporate clients from different industries, we are constantly exploring new ways in which to create event design experiences.

Our events sizes are from 50 – 700 guests.

Whats your favourite event you have worked on?

There are so many!! My favourite still must be running my first largest event for 1000 attendees at National History Museum! Not just because of the incredible setting, but because I was tested throughout with things that went wrong (all back of house) I was kept on my toes (literally, with blisters that what seems to have lasted for weeks), I was constantly tested but I look back now and feel a real sense of achievement that I was able to think on my feet and overall was a sensational event!

What do you think are the most important skills to do your job?

Interpersonal and networking skills -Relationships, relationships, relationships!

Creative skills – you are producing an experience; how can you make it the best?

Organisational skills – preparation and process

Negotiation skills – constant exchanging in discussion to reach agreements for your clients and suppliers

What is the most difficult and the your favourite thing about working for an event agency?

Most difficult: Meeting client expectations with small budgets, however having these boundaries means I get to prove my value in creating something spectacular within their budget! I get a real sense of achievement!

Most Favourite: Being part of a team, constantly learning and developing new skills, knowledge building and knowing the new best thing, being able to work on a variety of different events, creating different solutions and experiences, not one day being the same, the adrenaline of seeing your hard work pay off and most of all being part of the events community and being able to enjoy incredible experiences first hand.

What advice would you give anyone looking to work at an agency?

For people new to the industry:

Relationships! Network with as many people in the industry as possible, at networking events, via webinars, connect with as many different people on LinkedIn and go for coffee’s, lunches etc. There is such a variety of events, agencies and client side it will take time to find out which type of sector you want to work in whether that be agency, client side or marketing or sales. Gain as much experience as you can so that you understand where your skills and personality aligns.

Also ensure you have patience, resilience, a hard work ethic and passion, this will help you develop quickly, the more you put in the more you get out.

For people looking to change from corporate and venue:

To focus on your values as an individual, what do you like most about your current role, what do you not like? What do you believe in? what value can you add? How does your skills match a certain company, and then research different agencies. Agencies provide a service but each agency offers something unique, you want to work for the right agency and leader that has some values as you.

How do you think the event industry us going to change as as result of coronavirus and lockdown?

We are seeing many events turning virtual, great way to for delegates to communicate, however many clients are missing live events, and I feel as soon as we can start again people will be more inclined to meet at an event with safety precautions in place. We are already seeing venues getting set for social distancing events. I think there will always be a virtual element to events especially around conference sector with delegates or speakers not necessarily needing to travel, but live events will be back with a boom!

Follow Nicola on social media

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