Our fourth in our ‘Choose Your Own #CareerAdventures’ interview series has landed! Thanks for your patience as we prepared to launch our next story.
Big thank you to Chrissie for sharing your adventures in the events industry – going from Brighton, to London, to Stateside and beyond! We hope you all feel as inspired as we are by her adventures to keep on trying everything and be open to all new opportunities.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Christianne, an Event Director with 14 years of experience working with high profiles brands like Google, YouTube, Nissan, Virgin, Shell and Disney to deliver large scale events all over the world. I’m from Brighton, but living in London and have a passion for feminism, comic books, small dogs and pizza 🙂
What are you working on now?
At the moment I’m working as an Events Specialist in house at Shell. It’s a fantastic company to work for, they are very focused on staff wellbeing and we get the opportunity to work on incredible international events. Right now I’m working on a large conference which travels to four key hubs spread internationally, as well as a 10 year anniversary celebration for one of our departments.
What past projects spark joy for you when you look back at what you have worked on?
I’ve been incredibly lucky and have had the opportunity to work with amazing brands to deliver awesome things. I worked at Virgin Atlantic / Virgin Holidays previously to deliver their Brighton Pride parade floats a few years running which meant a lot as I’m a massive supporter of diversity, inclusion and human rights. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world for work (like Cuba, Bangalore and Hawaii to name a few!). I believe travel is important for personal growth; to understand and celebrate cultural differences and to broaden your mind.
How do you choose what to work on?
I weigh up a number of different elements – does this role/project fit in with my personal and professional values, will this challenge me, will I develop throughout the project and will I enjoy it. If the answer is no to any of the above I won’t work on it!
I usually judge how I’m feeling about my role and refer back to my values. If at any point I don’t feel like I’m progressing or I need a new challenge that is when I start to look for the next step in my adventure. I never let myself stay anywhere longer than I need to be – people change as do job roles and sometimes the two don’t align. We don’t have a lot of time on this planet so I figure I want to be as happy as I possibly can, in and outside of work so I check in with myself often to make sure I’m not wasting time!
Could you tell us about how your career adventure started, about what experiences, challenges or opportunities you came across over the years that led you to choose your own adventure?
I studied music performance and culture and when I finished I began performing and organising new music nights in Brighton. Those grew and got more successful, and then expanded up to London as well. After a while I realised I preferred organising the nights more than I did performing and the bright idea of managing events as a career crossed my mind! I moved to London and started out in experiential event management at age 21; over my career I have made an effort to try everything and not limit myself to one industry, business type or role within events.
I began supplier side, then worked my way into an agency, then worked my way brand side. I’ve worked in beauty, automotive, energy, travel, charity, FMCG, media, entertainment, technology and everything else in-between. I absolutely LOVE helping brands solve a problem or achieve an objective through the medium of events – I am heavily motivated by the transformation and the collaboration it takes to make something incredibly cool happen!!
Events has helped me keep the creativity in me, but maximise my skills – developing relationships and keeping organised. The challenges within my industry are mostly stress related and monitoring your work / life balance.
It’s a busy industry and you can get caught up in it, but you’re the master of your own calendar and understanding your own limits, so if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious you should speak up.
I am lucky to have gotten to the stage now where I can work from anywhere and I generally manage my own schedule, it’s nice to be in an office environment and be motivated by my colleagues, but also lovely to work from a quiet cafe or at home in my pyjamas!
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career adventure similar to your own?
A career in events is hard work so make sure you’re ready to get your hands dirty and graft hard. Always be nice to people at every level; as it makes life far more enjoyable but also you never know when you might need that person’s help in future. Get yourself a mentor who can help you through any challenges and help guide you on your career adventure, and when you feel ready ‘give back’ and mentor someone yourself. And finally, network network network.
My career has taken me on a fantastic adventure all over the world, meeting amazing people and delivering incredible things.
What I would say to anyone looking to start a fresh is be open to all and every opportunity.
Even if you’re not sure you have the right experience but have the passion to develop and learn new skills you can learn on the job!
Could you describe your day-to-day at “the office”?
I’m usually doing one of three things at work. Either in the office preparing for an event which will be conference calls, project planning, administration or research. Or I could be travelling on a plane, train or automobile. Or I could be working on site to deliver an event. I tend to work more hours than I’m contracted to (such is life in our industry) so I combat that with plenty of healthy food, water and exercise. This job can be stressful so I try to use apps like Headspace to keep together, and step away from my desk for a walk around the block when I feel stress coming for me!
Work life balance is important.
So when I’m not on the clock I try to fully switch off and not think about work. It’s hard to do but your brain and body thank you for it.
Where do you feel you work best and thrive the most?
I always work best in the mornings, and I can work from anywhere – home, cafe, on site or an office. I love working in an office but I like to hear about what everyone else is working on and their challenges so sometimes I get a bit distracted with chatter. So occasionally, I’ll lock myself away at home if I have a lot to do and a lot of calls to take. In terms of what makes me thrive, I prefer working autonomously but within a larger project team with stakeholders and a team of reliable suppliers. I don’t like to be micromanaged!
What inspires and drives you everyday?
What I love about my job is that events are so incredibly broad and can achieve so many things. Essentially I work with stakeholders across a business to achieve a specific objective – I really enjoy creating experiences that achieve those goals in different ways and using new technology to do it. Events are a fairly new medium of marketing but very exciting and an industry that has a lot of area for growth. I love my job, and because of that I feel like a bring a passion and drive with me everyday.
Although I’m not saving the world, I’m helping business achieve their goals while getting to travel to beautiful places!
What advice would you give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?
I got a great bit of advice once from an inspirational female leader which was – ‘Try to always think about the job role you want, after your next one!’ which blew my mind! But now I am constantly thinking three steps ahead in most things I do. I always used to never really think about my next step let alone the one after that, so think about your career adventure as a long term plan as opposed to here and now and next.
See more on what Chrissie is working on here!
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