Our people

BackStrategic Events TeamInterview

Strategic Events Team

We spoke to the dynamic Strategic Events Team in the Marketing and Communications department. Together they co-ordinate over 40 events a year such as Congregation, the HR Strategy Forum, the MBA Welcome Weekend, The Worldwide Alumni Celebrations and the Real Innovation Awards .

Who’s who?
In the photo from left to right - TG: Tania Gonzalez, Events Manager, SG: Simeran Ghataora, Events Manager, KW: Karyn Wild, Senior Events and Team Manager, CW: Charlotte Wilson, Lead Events Manager, MC: Melanie Calatayud, Events Assistant, MF: Marta Federici, Senior Manager, Thought Leadership Events, EB: Emily Briday, Senior Events Manager.
What does your team do?
We manage and deliver a series of impactful events across London Business School. As well as generating our own Thought-Leadership events, we also work with other departments across the School (from Advancement and Degree Education to Executive Education and Research Centres) on the seamless planning and delivery of high-profile events. Our aim is to create first-class experiences that are engaging and memorable.
Between us:

  • We have a combined 55 years of experience in the events industry

  • We have organised 35 events this academic year, welcoming over 10,000 guests to the school over the last 12 months

  • We’re all foodies!

  • Countries we are from: Essex (!), France, Italy, Spain and the UK (including a little place called Hereford!)

  • Languages we speak other than English: French, Italian, Punjabi and Spanish

  • Our hashtag: #makingeventsgreatagain

Tell us a bit about your job and your typical day…

TG: Usually a typical day involves working through different projects at the same time. If there’s an event in the evening on campus, half of the day will involve finalising admin and logistics details and the other half setting up.

MF: A typical day would start with reading the news and/or listening to a podcast. Then there might be anything from meetings to talk through new LBS research and content opportunities, touching base with speakers, coordinating PR opportunities or promoting events on social media. And of course, running live events with the team!

CW, KW & EB: Honestly there isn’t a ‘typical day’ in this team and that is what makes working in events so exciting. We are always prepping for next event; whether that be searching for venues; reviewing proposals from production companies or briefs from stakeholders. We are in consistent communication with our stakeholders and suppliers making sure we are up to date with the planning and logistics for our upcoming events.

What part of the role do you enjoy most?

SG: Meeting new people and working on a varied list of events. It’s great to have the opportunity to work on new projects with great people!
TG: I enjoy that every event is different and each project is a challenge that allows you to learn and grow professionally and personally.
MC: Being onsite at events and welcoming guests to the school is my favourite part of the role.
MF:I genuinely enjoy most of it, but probably generating an event idea and recruiting the panel of speakers tops the list. Also, working with LBS faculty and the incredible guest speakers they bring in.
KW & EB: The feeling of achievement that you get when you see your ideas and hard work come together at an event, receiving lovely thank you emails from colleagues across the School after a successful event and also, for me, working with such a dynamic, talented and hard-working team of events professionals!

It’s a particularly busy time for the team, can you tell us what exciting events you have coming-up?

MF:The second instalment of the events series ‘Big Ideas for a Changing World’, which will be a panel discussion titled ‘Brexit, Phase Two: The Business View’. I’m also working with the Wheeler Institute to host the Greek Prime Minister at the School next week!
CW: Congregation is the next big event that I’m managing.
KW: We are also busy planning for the next academic year including the Worldwide Alumni Celebration events.

What new events are you running for the first time this year?

MC: The Likierman Library opening and donor reception, which took place in January.

MF:The ‘Big Ideas for a Changing Word’ series, for which we’re partnering with a sponsor. The first instalment was ‘AI in White Collar: Will Intelligent Machines Take on Knowledge Workers?’

KW: The MBA Welcome Weekend has been running for many years. It was great to see new students making connections and enjoying the whole experience. We even got a thank you card sent to us directly from one of new students after the event.

EB: We got to work on the Opening of the Sammy Ofer Centre last year, which was an exciting opportunity to do something different and creative. And HRH Princess Anne’s presence made it that much more special.

What’s the most exciting event you’ve ever organised and why?

MF:It would probably be Kristin Forbes’ valedictory speech last June. She was leaving the Bank of England as the most hawkish member of the rate setting committee, at a time when the interest rate debate was in full swing. For me, that was a textbook case of having the finger on the pulse.

CW: Hands down it has to be the live link up with the International Space Station and our alumnus Colonel Tim Kopra. As a space geek myself, liaising with NASA to organise the live dialogue between Col Kopra and a group of 100 guests in LT6 was absolutely ‘out of this world’ (excuse the pun!!) It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget.

KW: Delivering events for LBS in places like New York, Shanghai and Beijing, I have had far too many exciting moments (so far) in my events career to count!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

SG: Keep calm and eat a lot of pizza!

TG & EB: Never assume anything, always check every detail

MC: It’s OK to put yourself first

MF: Floss, every day. Seriously.

CW: Keep people around you that build you up to be the best you can be and let go of those who don’t support you and hold you back.

KW: Don’t be too scared of failure. If you don’t try something, how will you ever know if it works?! We are always looking for new and innovative ideas when it comes to event delivery.

Tell us something surprising about you.

SG: I used to compete in dance competitions on behalf of my university. My old dance teacher is now a backing dancer for Kelly Rowland!

TG: I was a candidate for “Best Production” for the Spanish Film Awards (Goya)

MC: I feel at home at LBS.

MF: I have been a massive Arnold Schwarzenegger fan since age two.

CW: I’m a trained singer and have won a few Irish dancing competitions (no….I wasn’t dancing and singing at the same time…I’m not Beyonce!! )

KW: I have done two sky dives, even though I am terrified of heights!

EB: I was caught in an Earthquake. In Mexico City. The night before one of my events. Enough said.