Newsletter Issue 13 : April 2015


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It's been a busy month here at Global Conference Network, the shortlist for this year’s Conference Awards has been announced – and it is an impressive group of companies, events and teams. We have also added a new category which is free to enter, simple to complete – “Best Conference Company to Work for” , it's open to all so please do enter. Tables are already booking fast, so please do contact us to confirm your place.

At the end of February we hosted the inaugural Association Excellence Awards which brought together both Professional and Trade Associations to celebrate and recognise their dedication in serving their association members. With more than 40 C-level association leaders in the 300 strong audience, the importance of these awards for Professional and Trade Associations was underlined.

We are delighted to reveal that the GCN Talent team has been expanded, you can read more about this here. We have formed new partnerships with Merit Group, a leading provider of research and data services to work with us on a number of research projects in the coming months, and Triggerfish who are specialist experienced marketing communications company dedicated to the business tourism and hospitality sectors to support all aspects of our PR campaigns.



Fiona Paterson is Incisive Media’s Group Head of Event Operations. She is based at their head office in central London.

Having worked at Incisive for nearly 13 years now, I have come to see it as my second family. Spending as much time as we do at work, it is important that you have a job that motivates you and that you enjoy. There is a great work dynamic and ethic amongst staff at Incisive, least not from my incredibly enthusiastic and hard-working operations team. There’s never really a dull day in event operations and having started my career in events over 20 years ago, I am fortunate enough to be still doing a job I am passionate about.

My day always begins with a bowl of porridge. It’s my essential fuel for dealing with whatever the day may throw at me. With a move to flexible working, I am now deskless and enjoy the freedom of being able to work anywhere in or out of the office. I typically work from the office 4 days a week and one from home. Having the opportunity to work flexibly has made me more productive and I enjoy being able to sit with my various teams in different parts of the office.

I start the day checking my emails before prioritising my main tasks for the day. With so many events running throughout the year, most weeks will involve a trip out of the office to one or more of our events to see the team in action and to ensure best practice standards are being maintained. The size and geographical scale of our event portfolio coupled with the need to oversee a large team has meant that I travel far less frequently than I used to, relying instead on my trusted and very capable deputies in our Hong Kong and New York offices to ensure our Asian and US events adhere to our global service expectations.

I meet with my senior managers for catch-up sessions each week to get an update on their team’s events and to discuss any challenges they may be facing. I also check that their teams are adhering to best practice as well as sharing new initiatives across brands and divisions. My day will normally include a couple of these meetings and once a month, I will schedule a meeting with all my senior managers to discuss projects I have tasked them with implementing. These may include work groups tasked with identifying new event technologies, improving the attendee experience or looking at working practices that enable us to work more smartly.

Venue negotiation is a critical part of my team’s jobs. With a portfolio of over 400 events, we book a lot of venues across 5 continents and an important part of my remit is to ensure that our costs and risk are strictly managed as well as ensuring we leverage our booking volume to get competitive deals for the space and dates we need. Contract due diligence is equally critical and every day I am consulted by my team on various contract issues. I may have to meet with our in-house lawyer to discuss a specific contract challenge. Alternatively, I may need to meet with accounts to discuss VAT or company trading requirements for our overseas events.

My remit as Group Head of Event Operations also includes responsibility for overseeing the company’s business travel team. With a large international events portfolio and overseas offices, the team are kept very busy looking after the company’s business travellers. I ensure that the business travel manager and her team work closely with the events team to ensure they manage event room blocks carefully as well as booking event and non-event travel efficiently to optimise savings.

I have normally prepared my lunches for the week at home so will grab my soup or salad from the kitchen and head back to my desk for a working lunch. Occasionally I will go out for lunch with a supplier to discuss our forthcoming plans and requirements. I also sit on Incisive’s Foundation committee, helping to raise funds for our chosen charity partners so once a month we will meet over our lunch hour to discuss opportunities to promote fund raising challenges and volunteering opportunities as well as looking at initiatives to raise more money from our internal and external events.

During my day I will usually engage with some of the publishers, Event Directors or MD’s about their feedback on a particular event or issue. As part of the centralised events department, the operations team is tasked with managing expectations of both our external stakes holders (sponsors, delegates, exhibitors and awards guests) as well as those of our internal stakeholders, Incisive’s publishers. Managing the latter can often be the bigger of the two challenges. Finding appropriate venues they like (and can afford), maintaining best practice, securing cost savings from lean budgets, and introducing new event initiatives are all daily priorities for me and my team.

There is never a shortage of opportunities to enjoy some nice hospitality courtesy of the many venues and suppliers we work with. Every week a number of nice invitations for familiarisation trips, drinks receptions and dinners will drop into my in-box and I encourage my team to take advantage of these opportunities to expand their industry knowledge. I also participate in an industry cooperative group with my fellow operational heads from across the commercial event sector. We aim to meet every couple of months to raise issues common to our roles and teams. We all have found this network a really useful resource for sharing information, be it venue challenges, new supplier leads or recruitment ideas.

My day may end with one of these networking events or conversely, with an outing to one of the many awards dinners we run each year. The highlight of our awards calendar is back-to-back events at the Royal Albert Hall in July where we organise 2 spectacular evenings for over 3,000 guests, allowing my team to really flex their creative talents. With over 40 awards events running throughout the year, I have certainly become adept at rotating my awards wardrobe!

If I am not heading to an evening event, I will pack up my mobile desk accoutrements and head home. With Spring now upon us, the longer and lighter evenings have spurred me into ditching the tube and donning my trainers for an energetic stride along the river to the city where I pick up my train home. I find the walk to and from the office a good opportunity to reflect on the issues of the day and to think about priorities for my week. As a keen cook, I like to unwind from my day with some cooking, Radio 4 and perhaps an indulgent G&T if the day’s events have merited it! I am not a night owl so will normally head to bed around 10.30pm and switch on Classic FM to lull me into restful night’s sleep, hopefully free of event dramas and challenging publishers!


GCN Talent – the recruitment arm of the Global Conference Network – will be one year old in May. In this time we’ve established some great relationships with some of the biggest names in the conference, exhibition and live events sectors and have placed a significant number of candidates in some really great roles; Content Directors, Heads of Production, Lead Conference Producers, Senior Sponsorship Sales and Event Directors to name just a few. We’ve placed candidates with organisations including Euromoney, i2i, Centaur Media, Clarion Events, Hanson Wade, GetEnergy, Institution of Mechanical Engineers and WTG Events. We’re working hard every day to make even more connections. We want to build the biggest and best global recruitment network for employers and candidates in the industry – and are delighted to announce that two new colleagues are joining the GCN Talent team. Both are event sector experts – in line with our key USP of only working with consultants who have direct experience in our industry.

Katharine Mann has 20 years experience in commercial events and publishing sales. Starting her career at the Guardian Media Group selling classified advertising she moved on to live events joining Penton/Ithaca Media to sell space and sponsorship on B2B trade shows. Here she became a Show Director after 5 years and following UBM’s acquisition of Ithaca Media in 2006/7 became a consultant selling on one of Ithaca’s flagship trade shows, Internet World. Returning to work after having 2 children, Katharine took the plunge and set herself up as sales consultant working with key contacts in the events industry. Her first project was a recruitment contract and she went on to win further contracts with a number of leading events and media companies in the UK and globally. Running her own headhunting operation for 5 years, Katharine has built an extensive and strong network of contacts and is excited to be working with GCN Talent to deliver even more value for clients and candidates.

Andy Saunders has a strong background in publishing and event sponsorship sales and is an experienced sales manager. Most recently he has been Head of Sales for Greenlake Media – a specialist recruitment company in the B2B media and events space. He brings excellent experience of the 360 degree recruitment process and is excited to join GCN Talent with a new business remit – to expand opportunities for candidates and ensure that even more clients in our sector have access to the best available talent.

If you’re a recruiter looking for help with a particular vacancy or recruitment campaign, please call us on +44 (0)20 8123 5805 or email and we’d be delighted to discuss your requirements and how we can help. Or you can register your vacancy here.

If you’re a candidate looking for a new role, please have a look at our current vacancies or register your CV. We’re always looking for the very best talent in the sector, so please click here for details of our new referral reward scheme. You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.


For more information about GCN Talent see:

Chief Marketing Officer – Conference Company - £80-£90K plus bonus – London

Sales Director – Renewables Events - £50K base £90-£100K OTE – London

Senior Sponsorship Sales Executive - £35K base £50K OTE – London

Delegate Sales Executive – Think Tank (1 year fixed-term) - £27K plus bonus – London

Senior Conference Producer – Industry Association - £28-£32K plus profit share – London

Commercial Director – International Events - £50-£55K basic £85K OTE –London

Marketing Manager – Industry Association - up to £45K plus bonus – London

Managing Director – Conference Company - London £Neg

If you’re a recruiter looking for help with a particular vacancy or recruitment campaign, please call us on +44 (0)20 8123 5805 or email and we’ll be delighted to discuss your requirements and how we can help.


Andrew Rashbass, chief executive of Thomson Reuters media arm Reuters, is leaving the company to become executive chairman of DMGT-owned Euromoney. Reuters president and editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler will take over Rashbass’s duties on an interim basis from the beginning of next month.


UBM plc announces the formation of UBM Life Sciences, a new product group which brings together medical, dental, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and veterinary brands from UBM Advanstar and UBM Medica, and the Nutritional Outlook brand from UBM Canon. The new business will operate within the UBM Americas division.

The UBM Life Sciences product group provides information and connects professional communities in human healthcare, veterinary medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.


Organiser Clarion Events has announced the acquisition of Internet Retail Events Ltd from SJP Business Media.

Internet Retail Events’ portfolio of market-leading events comprises Internet Retailing Expo (IRX), eDelivery Expo, Internet Retailing Conference, eDelivery Conference and the Internet Retailing Awards.

Held annually at the NEC, IRX (pictured) launched in 2011 and won Best UK Trade Show Exhibition (>2,000sqm) at the Association of Exhibition Organisers (AEO) Excellence Awards in 2014. The organiser launched eDelivery Expo alongside IRX this year.


Accor has made a major new move into the Indian MICE sector with the signing of a management agreement for the Jaipur Exhibition & Convention Centre (JECC) – South Asia’s biggest event facility.

The brand new JECC, which has been developed by the Dangayach-Derewala Group, is spread over 17 hectares and includes two exhibition halls with a combined floor space of 20,000m², plus an open exhibition area of 10,000m². In addition, the JECC has a 1,200-seat convention centre, 20 meeting rooms, pre-function areas, registration counters, interpretation booths, an outdoor event lawn and parking for 4,000 cars.


The practice of data analytics has finally arrived at meetings and events, although the data doesn't qualify as "big data," according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), which today released two reports from a new study on data analytics practices among trade show organizers.

The first report, titled "Use of Analytics by Today's Business-to-Business Exhibition Organizers," documents overall trends in the use of analytics while the second report, "The Roads Traveled to Data Driven Decision-Making," provides data analytics case studies from 12 different exhibition organizers.