Eventify Co-Founder and Director Samantha Burton gives us an exclusive peek into her illustrious events back catalogue and tells us why her job is out of this world.
If you had to explain your job to a Martian, what would you say?
I make event dreams come to life. Cheesy, for sure, but honestly it’s true! First off, I listen – to my client’s needs, likes, dislikes, worries, concerns and sometimes most wild and crazy dreams. Once I have a full picture, I work my magic to make it a reality. Sure, some days are more glamourous than others. For example, venue site visits and menu tasting are the Instagramable days. Compare these to the full-on 16-hour office days developing schedule spreadsheets and delegate data. Add these to the craziness and metaphorical (and sometimes literal) plate-spinning of onsite event management, and you start to get the picture. No two days are ever really the same, which is what makes my job sometimes tricky to explain, but exactly why I love it.
Tell us about your eureka moment, when you knew you had found your forever job
I was part of the organising committee for my school prom, standing back and watching it all come together left me on such a high. I knew, there and then, I had to work in events. I actually enjoyed that feeling more than being there as a guest. Still to this day, I’d much rather be organising the event than attending it!!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t sweat it. Believe in yourself, stay true to your belief and values. And, never worry what anyone else is doing.
Are you a ‘think outside the box’ kinda person?
Absolutely, I always have been, but it has definitely been a reoccurring theme over recent months. But they do say that the necessity is the mother of invention. Since COVID-19 struck the live events industry as we know it has had the carpet whipped from under us. At Eventify, we have gone back to the drawing board on many occasions to help our clients deliver COVID-safe engagement. With the rules and regulations ever-changing, it has been a steep learning curve for everyone. Over the years, we have delivered several virtual and hybrid online events, but these have gone stratospheric over recent months. I must confess, as hard as it has been, this year has been such an exciting ride for us at Eventify. We’ve experienced new, fresh adventures which have pushed us to think more creatively than ever before. Who’d have thought our most popular events for 2020 would be virtual horse racing, online game shows and connected cookery classes.
Remaining calm under pressure is a must in your line of work, we bet you have plenty of tales to tell?
Too many! But the one that sticks out, and sometimes gives me goosebumps, was when a fire alarm went off during an event for 1,000 people. The occasion was for a highly prestigious client; it had taken years of planning and was one of my most logistically challenging projects. Annoyingly, a fire alarm triggered by an over-steaming oven was not on my contingency list. Luckily it was a false alarm, with no need to evacuate guests. What is for sure, I had to keep zen-like calm, especially with an extensive team relying on me to lead by example. Not to mention, a collection of demanding clients and 1,000 hungry guests!
Tell us about some of your career highlights
I will never forget managing my first event Bar Mitzvah. It was a real milestone. Private events are hugely rewarding but also steeped with enormous pressure as you are working with personal budgets and long life dreams. I had only been working in my role a few months, having taken over the event from my predecessor. You could say I was thrown in at the deep end. The party was a huge success, and witnessing the happy family was a fabulous feeling. Another personal highpoint was delivering a charity gala dinner which raised over £100,000 for an amazing children’s charity… oh and how could I forget meeting my brilliant co-director Rebecca Thomas and starting Eventify of course!
We’ve all had a ‘challenging’ event. Go on, share yours
This would probably have to be an event I delivered at Madame Tussaud’s London, renowned as an operationally challenging venue. Made even harder with only one hour to turn the space from a busy international daytime tourist attraction into a 5-star event setting. The event was a full capacity corporate party for 1,200 guests using every part of the venue. A variety of street food offerings were positioned in each area alongside full bar service and various entertainment acts performing throughout. I think I clocked up nearly a marathon’s worth of steps on my pedometer that night! A closely-run second place for the most challenging event is a charity dinner featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (AKA William & Kate), and Prince Harry all speaking. The level of security required was unreal and really tested my logistical planning skills!
And how about an unusual memory of when you have gone the extra mile for a client
A somewhat quirky one, I once managed a birthday party for a very wealthy gentleman; his wife arrived wearing her first of four outfits for the evening. I ensured that each time she wanted to change attire that I was on hand to allow her discreet changing room space!
So what do you love about your job?
Everything, but most of all I love that no two events are ever the same. The reward of seeing the occasion come to life with happy guests and clients is second to none.
What characteristics do you think someone needs in your profession?
Passion, resilience, and mostly an ability to think on their feet.
Describe yourself at work in 5 words
Organised, Passionate, Determined, Confident and Experienced