Point of View: Lou Kiwanuka

Lou Kiwanuka
The Shaper Group

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

Lou Kiwanuka is the owner and founder of The Shaper Group, focused on delivering exceptional people and events in the Exhibition and Conference sector.   With over 20 years in the industry as an Organiser, Show Owner, Contractor and Venue Manager, Lou has overseen some of the largest and most technically challenging events.  Always wanting to ensure her team and company are at the heart of industry discussions and developments, coupled with her broad knowledge and experience, led Lou to become Chair of ESSA – The Event Supplier and Services Association and subsequently Chair of the EIA. Her role within ESSA has allowed Lou to become increasing involved in driving efficiencies and change, in order to create a more dynamic but calmer, safer and more sustainable working environment within the Events Industry.

Q What does the IEM mean to you?
A Professionalising our industry has been a passion for years which manifested itself in launching OpsShaper in 2019. OpsShaper focuses on enabling brilliance by delivering at source knowledge from industry experts to our operations professionals. Joining IEM is an extension of that dream, to be part of driving an industry that we can be proud of and create recognition within our sector. Recognition of individuals is essential in attracting the best talent as well as putting our best foot forward to represent our industry in line with other professions.

Q Why did you decide it was important for you to get involved?
A As we come out of this pandemic, we have a duty to learn from the lessons we have endured and put ourselves in a better position for the future. Whilst I am fundamentally an exhibitions gal at heart, our skill sets cross boundaries across the events landscape. IEMs focus on recognising the skills needed to create exceptional events is something that enables a common thread. I personally believe that in finding our common threads we will also find benefit.

Q Where do you hope to see the IEM in 20 years’ time?
A At the forefront of developing brilliant professionals in a dynamic and creative industry.

Q What is your favourite event related memory?
A I feel privileged to have been part of the closing events at Earls Court, both the staff and ‘friends of’ events but also to sit in the audience at the final concert. It was desperately sad to see the doors closed on the old girl but wonderful to remember everything I had been part of within that building – the conversations, the relationships formed, the special memories created. It was the place the I started, paused and then reignited my love of events.