Lauren Gough, AAA 30under30 member and director of corporate sales at Wildfire Experience Agency, discusses her career to date and offers advice for the next generation of event professionals.
When did you first know you wanted a career in events?
I was invited to attend a charity event in Tanzania in my final year of sixth form. For me to attend, I had to fundraise £1,500 in a short amount of time. I organised a range of fundraising events such as charity gala dinners, raffles, days out and parties to raise the funds. At this point, I knew events was the career for me and I’ve been working in the industry since I left school.
Is there anyone in the industry that has influenced or inspired you?
Absolutely. The wonderful Hannah Robson was and still is a strong female lead for me. We worked together for a few years, and with her help and support, she helped me grow as a manager, advance my knowledge and help me develop my team into their careers. I’m also grateful to have worked with and currently work in partnership with Nathan Angus, my managing director. After working together from the beginning of my career, Nathan has helped me broaden my knowledge, progress my career and supported me to organise large-scale projects alongside building an experienced team. It’s an honour to work with them both.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Great question. The last 10 years have seen me start as an intern and work my way through the ranks to director of sales, and I never want to stop learning and growing my career. Who knows what will happen but I would love to help continue expanding my team, their knowledge and grow our individual partnerships. The sky is the limit.
What is your favourite thing about working in events?
The variety, the excitement, the buzz. I absolutely love taking on new and exciting briefs from clients and planning with them to see the project form from conception to completion. It’s such a rewarding job and you’re never bored, as each day comes with its own surprises, challenges and quick wins.
What would you like to see changed in the events industry?
I am delighted to see sustainability and social responsibility have been highlighted as a challenge in the industry and steps are being taken to reduce waste such as single-use plastic drinking bottles and straws. However, I feel we still have a long way to go to reduce our carbon footprint and waste.
What advice do you have for someone starting in the industry?
Don’t be afraid of hard work, always have a plan B (and sometimes, C and D) and don’t be afraid to be creative and think outside of the box! The events industry is a fantastic buzz of knowledge and creativity, learn from everyone you meet, and each event you attend. You’ll always be learning, no matter what stage of your career.