Whether it’s booking a party bus at 40,000 feet in the air, hosting a roulette table at the National History Museum or exhibiting at the biggest events in gaming, life for Keira as Events Manager is diverse, exciting and very, very busy.
I am responsible for organizing and scheduling our events. For this year that’s just over 50 events – both internal and external – and covers everything from attending to exhibiting to hosting.
So, as you can imagine, my role is pretty varied. There’s a lot of travel organization – booking flights and hotels and making sure the team has everything they need to have a stress-free trip. Some are more demanding than others (ahem…Jarrod).
Then there are the fun bits. I love looking through different sponsorship packages and being part of the conversations around what would provide value to the company. We recently sponsored London Baby and hosted our own roulette table at The Natural History Museum which was an absolute hit – it was busy all night.
We have also started hosting our own events. They’re super fun because they’re all about giving the attendees the best time. We’ve done Ascot Racing, Crystal Maze Live with our game server hosting customers, and we are considering possible events outside the UK for 2024. Our business is based on building relationships so being able to get to know people better while running around wearing satin bomber jackets and solving puzzles seems like a no-brainer.
Exhibitions are probably our biggest demand of the year. We run the process from picking the right spot for our stand to being the last to leave the expo hall at the end of the event. We get to be involved in the creative side of things – overseeing the designing of the stand and the merch for the event – as well as managing all of the many, many bits of paperwork.
My favourite event of the year is our Sales and Marketing Kick Off. Everyone loves it and gets super buzzed. It’s our chance to get together, away from screens, to talk about plans for the year and understand what we’re all working towards, together. And there may also be a few drinks consumed..!
I try to get up early and go swimming 2-3 times a week. But, you know, I’m human so I’m currently in my “staying in bed for a bit longer” phase.
Whichever phase I’m in, I always make a coffee to drink in the car. During the hours’ drive to work I like to catch up on my current favourite podcast – The Girls Bathroom. They do a question of the week which I like to bring to the office and start the day with some lively debate. We recently covered the very important question of ‘do you tell your nail artist if you hate your nails or be polite and walk out?’.
I’m a morning person so I get to work early and eat breakfast, which is usually smashed avocado on a wholemeal bagel. If I’m feeling extra spicy, I’ll add some cherry tomatoes on top. Then tea, chat (love a chat in the morning) and by 9am I’m at my desk ready to crack on.
Lots of hard work, obviously. In fact, I’m definitely the hardest worker in the building (lol).
We work a lot with companies and suppliers in America so my first port of call is usually to go through emails that have come in overnight to action.
Because we do so many different tasks for events, some of which can take five minutes and others days, it’s super important for me to prioritise what I’m doing that day. Generally, I have meetings in the morning, catch up with my fellow events manager Liana and then save the fun tasks for the afternoon. Researching hotels, branded items or party themes are definitely post lunchtime-slump jobs.
Sadly, it’s not all branded cups and roulette tables. In fact, I probably spend about 50% of my time managing budgets to justify the money I’m spending.
I trained as a stage manager, so I have always been very organized. I really enjoy project managing and the buzz of a performance or event when it’s taking place. But I wanted to move from theatre because I didn’t like the culture of the industry.
I was attracted to servers.com because of the company ethos – the trust between managers and employees, the attitude to flexible working and the ability to train and learn – as well as the opportunity be part of the fastest growing industry in the world. There is always something new. Even since I joined a year ago, there are new events popping up or events that were tiny last year that have had to move locations because of their popularity.
Q4 is hands down our busiest time of the year. We have 14 events and three sponsorships taking place in those three months so we can’t leave things to the last minute. Which is why we’re doing everything we can now to make sure we are as prepared as possible.
In fact, we are already starting to think about 2024. With the summer holiday season starting to kick off, before we know it September will be here, so this is our chance to get ahead on January events.
And then I’ve got this colleague called Jarrod Palmer who’s a diva and likes to request lots of things. Lovely guy but high maintenance. (For legal reasons I can confirm that I’ve told Jarrod this directly.)
Being promoted within six months of being at the company was a massive moment for me. Particularly as this job and this industry were completely new to me back when I started in July 2022.
Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March this year was also very memorable for so many reasons. It was the first big event we exhibited at that I worked on and it was a bit of a baptism by fire. But I learnt so much. From cancelled flights, booking a party bus at 40,000 feet in the air, attending a gaming event for the first time, and making the mistake of ordering fish on beans for dinner (never something I’d recommend) it was a trip to remember.
But it wasn’t until I got home and finally had time to reflect on the event that I realised what a massive achievement it was for me. I even wrote about it on LinkedIn!
There is so much variety in my job because we work across different industries and the number of events that we attend, host and sponsor. It means I get to work with pretty much everyone in the business and different types of audience for each industry.
That said, I also like that my day-to-day is very routine. I’m generally in the office or working from home and that helps me deal with all the different tasks that comes my way. But then I also get to host a roulette table until 11pm in London or travel to San Francisco for a week to mix it up every now and again.
And then of course, there’s my work wife. Hannah and I started on the same day, on the hottest day of the year (a melting 40oC) and have been inseparable ever since. We even won Worst Couple in the servers.com awards-as-a-service ceremony at our Sales and Marketing Kick Off.
Accept that things go wrong. It’s unrealistic to be an event manager and expect that everything will be perfect. Things happen and they are usually out of our control.
So, make sure to put plans in place to fall back on when things do go wrong. And have the confidence to make a decision in the moment. Cut something that isn’t quite going to work or spend money that you hadn’t prepared to spend…from your contingency budget of course.
I have dinner, which is usually cooked for me because I’m a princess (and my partner is generally home before me). And then my evenings have been quite varied recently.
If I want a break from the screen I like to crochet. I recently crocheted a rainbow-colored baby blanket for Website Steve to welcome his new baby. Or we play board games – Battle of Hogwarts and Villainous (we’ve got all the expansion packs) are favorites in our household.
If I’m into a series, then I’ll usually binge some episodes. I’ve just completed Big Bang Theory and now I’m on to How I Met Your Mother. And then I like an early night so I’m in bed by 9.30pm.
Previously stage managing theatre productions to now supporting on events for servers.com, dog-lover Keira is enthusiastic, organised, loves meeting people and can put on a great event.