Third Year Event student Hollie Brown recently represented all UK Events students at the annual Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) Chairman's lunch.
Held at etc.venues, St Paul's, London, this very prestigious event was attended by 55 high-profile delegates from some of the country's key conference and meetings events companies.
Following a drinks reception and four-course meal, the conference debated the role of the 'new' professional conference organiser, industry standards and the future professional in the changing world of conferences. Guest speaker was Rhodri Thomas, Professor of Tourism and Events from Leeds Metropolitan University, who described the definition of a professional conference organiser.
Hollie even found herself in the spotlight, giving a passionate and spirited defence when a delegate expressed the view that the new generation of events organisers were not prepared to put the necessary hard work in to achieve results and expected success to be handed to them on a plate. She received a round of applause for her argument and was mentioned on Meetpie, the Conference and Meeting Industry's magazine/web portal.
Hollie took time out from studying to talk about her experience: "This was my first trip to London and it was amazing. I spent two days sightseeing, exploring the capital and enjoying the conference. Following the initial fear or arriving into a room full of managers, directors and CEOs, I soon found my feet.
"I cannot express how welcoming all ABPCO members were - everyone was very interesting, passionate and engaging. During the discussion I was chosen to submit feedback from our table. I used this opportunity to argue against all the negative points raised about students and 'the new professional' and the amount of positive feedback and applause was overwhelming. This has by far been my best experience and career enhancer to date.
"The support from UCLan and ABPCO has offered fantastic opportunities which, when matched with a dedication and passion for the industry, will hopefully help me find a good job when I graduate."
Hollie certainly made an impression, coming home with lots of business cards and requests for her CV. Heather Lishman, Association Manager at ABPCO said: "We were all in awe at how pro-active, professional and purposeful she was. Martin Lewis certainly put her on the spot, and she rose to the occasion admirably and was a credit to herself and her university."