Point of View: Kathryn Jones

Kathryn Jones
Events Officer at University of Central Lancashire

As part of our commitment to championing the industry, we are talking to people about their careers and what IEM means to them.

Kathryn has worked in her current role of Events Officer for just over two years.  Prior to that, she completed an MA in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management while working at the University of Cumbria organising careers events for students.  She also has experience in the corporate sector organising networking events, dinners and exhibitions for Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

Key events in Kathryn’s current role at the University of Central Lancashire include: Student Recruitment Events, Conferences, VIP Events, a Royal Visit, Building Launches, Business Events, annual Degree Show, annual Science Festival and University Graduation Events.  The university’s science festival welcomes around 15,000 people over three days and Graduation events 30,000 over two weeks.

Kathryn has experience in event operations and safety management, with a focus on creating Event Safety Management plans, Event Control Centre processes and Crowd Safety Management plans for our large on-campus festivals and events.  Leading on operations management and crowd safety management on the ground at events is something she particularly enjoys and she is developing her skills in this area on the University of Cumbria’s Event Operations and Safety Management advanced diploma course.

Q What does the IEM mean to you?
A A chance to network, work on my development and meet other event professionals. I also think it’s important to have a professional body that represents the events sector. The work we do is specialised, and is not covered by the majority of other professional bodies.

Q Why did you decide it was important for you to get involved?
A I’ve been looking for a professional body to join for a while now.  However, I did not feel that the others available fully represented the work I do.  Some look at conferences, others at marketing and I work on a wide variety of events and in a range of different areas of events so  I want the opportunity to connect with others that do the same.

Q Where do you hope to see the IEM in 20 years’ time?
A Members from across the events sector (those working on different types of events and in different areas of events), offering regular relevant CPD programmes, an annual IEM conference (or similar) and regular networking opportunities.  Supporting the development of new Events Professionals, offering mentorship at different levels, e.g. for those at different points in their career.  Offering a professional voice on relevant government policy and industry developments.

Q What is your favourite event related memory?
A It’s tricky to choose just one, but our first on-campus graduation event comes to mind.  In summer 2019, Preston Guild Hall, traditionally the venue for our graduation events, closed unexpectedly.  This left us six weeks to rearrange the event and no venue to do it in.  On top of that, we were about to begin the build for Lancashire Science Festival, a large three day event held on-campus at the end of June.  There were no other suitable venues in the city, so we decided to host the event ourselves.  We transformed our sports centre into a graduation hall, hired in a large marquee for the post-event celebration and repurposed surrounding buildings to make space for gowning and photography.  One of my key areas of focus at the time was Event Safety Management, including the coordination of our Event Control Centre.  Having done both for Lancashire Science Festival, I was asked to transfer this work to Graduation, making sure we had sufficient safety management and command structures in place.  We were only successful because we worked collaboratively with teams across the university.  Particularly the Health and Safety, Emergency and Security Management and Estates Teams.  We came together as an extended team, putting all we could into making the event happen.  The first on-campus graduation event has left a legacy.  We continue to use our Preston campus for the summer and winter graduation events.  It also improved our relationship with teams across the university, enabling us to continue to host successful large events on campus.  I look forward to getting back to our large physical events once we are able.  My favourite memory from the above? Having a drink with the graduation team once the final ceremony was done.  We all deserved it I think!