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Celebrated on March 8 every year, International Women’s Day is dedicated to honoring the achievements of women throughout history and across the globe. It’s a day for women from all different backgrounds and cultures to come together and promote women’s rights, and to celebrate women’s achievements in the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres.

This year, International Women’s Day will be celebrated with the special 2020 theme, #EachforEqual. With around 75% of the events industry being female but less than 20% in top level positions and a gender pay gap of 28% in favour of men, there’s still some work to be done in promoting equality in our industry. 

At the eastside rooms, women account for 57% of our senior leadership team. We champion women from all backgrounds and  understand how women’s equality in the workplace is key to our success.

As the world comes together to celebrate, at eastside we’re recognising some of the women leading the way for future event professionals. We’d like to introduce you to 5 event management trailblazers who are championing women in events…

Jade Ball 

With 13 years experience in the events industry Jade is currently Operations Director at Top Banana, C&IT & Evcom’s agency of the year 2019. 

Top Banana’s mission is to help businesses communicate better through the creation and management of events and creative communications that excite, engage and deliver. Working with global brands from Costa to Kelloggs she consistently makes a true and measurable difference to the brands she works with.

Holly Moore

Nominated for a PWC Private Business Award in 2018, Holly Moore is the Founder and Managing Director of Manchester based Corporate Events Agency, Make Events founded in 2012. Holly is also a Board Member for the Manchester PA Network. 

Holly is an inspiration, she’s built her events company into a £3.5m turnover business and it all started at her kitchen table. Inspiring entrepreneur Holly has done it all without any external investment, preferring to build her Make Events business organically over the past seven years through hard work and perseverance. She now counts some of the UK’s biggest businesses among her clients including BetFred, Puma, AutoTrader, Vimto, LNER and The Hut Group.

Holly says that her proudest achievement since founding Make Events is to be able to look at her client list, which includes Virgin, Kellogg’s and Betfred, and count those who’ve been with her since the beginning.

Holly is a guiding light for young event professionals – “In the early days I never thought I was good enough or cool enough, I was never the cool person at school… But you have to fight through that fear.”

Fay Sharpe

Starting as a graduate trainee with Hilton International and quickly progressing through the ranks; at 23 Fay Shape was the youngest Director of Sales in Hilton. It was at this point in her career that she was awarded a coveted Acorn Award which recognises the industry’s future leaders. 

Fay is now one of the founding shareholders of Zibrant, which was recently acquired by BCD Meetings & Events. Zibrant was one of the first organisations in the events sector to sign up to the government’s ‘Think, Act, Report’ initiative. The report provides a framework to help companies think about gender equality in the workplace, particularly in relation to recruitment, retention, promotion and pay. Fay is a fierce advocate that people should be remunerated on their merits and abilities, not on their gender. 

In 2015 she set up Fast Forward 15 that offers women the opportunity to be mentored, encouraged and advised by industry experts, as well as becoming part of a wider community of successful women supporters. The scheme was set up as Fay recognised the struggle faced by women in the sector to get impartial advice and support in planning for career progression as well as managing their personal ambitions. 

And if that isn’t impressive enough in 2018 Fay was awarded ‘Mentor of the year’ and an Honorary Doctorate for her services to the sector from UWL, recognising her outstanding achievements in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector. She’s also a charity champion (since 2013 she’s been Chair of Trustees of the Muscle Help Foundation), budding bake off contestant and enthusiastic globetrotter. 

Jennifer Davidson

Jennifer Davidson is the Founder and Managing Director of Sleek Events, a boutique events agency based in Richmond. Having worked in events for over 10 years, in 2015 she launched her company and grew it to nearly £7million in its third year. The team has now grown to 21 supported by a group of trusted suppliers and freelancers. 

Having started out in the corporate world, Jennifer soon decided she would be happier with a broader range of clients and the freedom to create a greater variety of events. So, in 2010 she became a self-employed event manager and began working with agencies, researching and developing new event concepts for their clients and managing events, on and off site.

Jennifer has worked with clients across the retail, broadcast media, technology, sport, finance and motor industries, managing multi-million pound budgets and events for up to 15,000 attendees.Sleek Events are small but mighty and like to remind themselves every day how they started out with one employee in Jennifer’s spare room. To support young entrepreneurs each year they provide one startup company with event consultancy advice from their award-winning team.

She’s also a former Fast Forward 15 Mentee helping to nurture female talent in the events and travel industries by developing individual’s competencies and broadening their skills.

We also love that Jade’s a Disney fanatic.

Hannah Luffman 

Involved in events from her mid-teens when she took control of the college social committee, Hannah gained a degree but volunteered in events from a young age and took every events work experience opportunity she could get her hands on. Having previously worked in events for 10 years she’s now the Managing Director at Unicorn Events, is the Director of Education for ILEA UK, a business wellness expert, and keen Marathoner and qualified VI guide runner.

Hannah and Unicorn Events have been driving the live event experience through content and engagement working with well known brands such as Boots No7 Laboratories new skincare collection and Ogilvy. They recently opened their new office in New York City as they incorporate Unicorn Events in the US. With a proposition that’s ‘redefining possibilities’ we can’t wait to find out what she does next. 

Who inspires you? Get in touch and let us know.