Andrew Shields

Andrew is a strategic communications consultant, mostly in mega-events and specialising in bidding. He works with technical subject experts to develop content for ‘bid books’ – formal submissions on behalf of cities or countries that convey not only how a potential host intends to stage an event, but also why.

Andrew moved into the world of strategic comms and mega-events at London 2012, where he spent more than four years as Head of Editorial Services for LOCOG, the London 2012 Organising Committee.

He wrote, edited and developed content for more than 2,500 publications (ranging from high-profile international brochures to large operational manuals) and several websites, and was editor of the Official Report of the Games. He also supported a commercial publishing programme (61 titles) that remains the most extensive in Games history.

At Games-time, Andrew had the privilege of being located in the Athletes’ Village, where he managed and edited the bilingual daily Village Newspaper during both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Prior to London 2012, Andrew was an award-winning journalist, most notably with Time Out magazine. He is also the author or co-author of seven books, including best-selling football title ‘The Lad Done Bad: Sex, Sleaze and Scandal in English Football’, and ‘Master the Art of Running’, described in one Sunday newspaper as one of the ten best fitness books ever written.

Andrew was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in August 2022.

How did you hear about the IEM?

I was approached by a fellow RSA Fellow! Although the work I do is very niche, many of the components of small, sector-specific events are the same as those for mega-events.

What does the IEM mean to you?

It’s often (wrongly) thought that anyone can ‘do events’. That’s why so many people come into the industry as a result of doing something else. The events sector needs the IEM as an independent champion of professional standards; as a supporter of academic development, training and skills; and provider of a route to professional recognition.

Why did you decide it was important for you to get involved?

The events industry is a crowded space, with a lot of shouting. I wanted to support the IEM not to try and shout loudest, but to communicate calmly and clearly about professional standards, skills and training, and professional recognition.

Where do you hope to see the IEM in 20 years’ time?

With a charter and royal patronage, and as RIEM to rank alongside the UK’s other leading professions. The events industry is worth more than £40 billion to the British economy – and that figure will only increase.

Please share your favourite event related memory.

London 2012 has been the pivotal event in my professional life. For much of my time at the Organising Committee it was a relentless grind of extremely long hours, intense and often uninformed scrutiny from both stakeholders and the media, and constant uncertainty about whether the million moving parts would all come together. Being based in the Communications and Public Affairs department and co-located with senior leadership meant always knowing what was going on at the highest levels.

Those million moving parts did of course all come together, thanks to the brilliant people in every team – those ‘Olympic veterans’ who had delivered the Games before as well as those of us for whom this was the first time.

The fact that so many individuals who worked on London 2012 have gone on to enjoy stellar careers in events speaks for the standard that was set by inspirational CEO Paul Deighton. He told everyone to ‘prepare to do the best work of your lives’. Everyone did. It’s fantastic that Paul, now Lord, Deighton has become a Patron of the IEM to inspire the next generation of event professionals.