Heather – HBAA next generation workshops

Next generation
September 05, 2019 / Posted by Ele Hardman / in Incentives / 1942 Views

The next generation of event superheroes!

We’ve been helping our clients for over 24 years now and continuing to grow as a team. Part of growing is developing new talent, and we feel that we do this well. I started with First Choice Conference & Events 4 years ago as a placement student, taking a year out from university to gain industry experience. Since then I have developed within the team, gained plenty of industry knowledge and advanced to an Event Consultant. Knowledge is key and as we continue to grow, keeping up with the latest trends, venues and best industry practice is vital. It was therefore a pleasure to attend the HBAA Annual Forum at the new voco Solihull this July to be part of the HBAA next generation workshops; a series of discussions with other industry professionals – all of whom have been in the industry under 3 years, or who are under 25 – to learn all about the ‘next generation’ perception of the corporate event sector and how to develop within it. This blog is to give you a quick run down of the topics of the day!

Personal Branding

Who are we, what are our strengths and weaknesses and how do we present ourselves? These are all key questions when reflecting on ourselves as people and our careers. For years, people have been keeping their ‘home’ self as separate and different from their ‘business’ self – however, the key message of this workshop was that the best way to ‘brand yourself’ in business is to be true to who you are, be authentic in how this is portrayed, be consistent in your portrayal, be unique and be passionate. This session highlighted that if you brand yourself in this way, your relationships will be stronger.

Social Media

Following on from the above discussion on personal branding, once we have decided how we want to brand ourselves, how do we then portray this on our social media? Would you share with your friends the same content on social media as you would your professional contacts? Not many of us would, however, should we? Maybe surprisingly, this session suggested that to be authentic, and to develop relationships in the current environment which is so driven by social media, that there should be less rigid rules regarding what we post, again reinforcing that we shouldn’t be afraid of letting our colleagues, industry contacts and clients into our personal life. When networking, would you ask about someone’s life, children etc, or what they were up to on the weekend? If you are happy to have this conversation, then why be so secretive of your life on social media in order to portray a ‘corporate’ image of yourself? This open discussion went back and forth, not necessarily with any answers, but it triggered further questions into how we should use social media as a tool for interaction, and how ‘next gen’ employees can spearhead a change of perception by changing the way we use these social media channels. Which social media channels are key? This was very clear – for ‘next generation’ Instagram is the way forwards and Twitter is very much in the past.

Managing Up

For many of the ‘next generation’ attendees, learning how to develop and progress within their company was a key focus point, and the answer given was simple…Manage Up! Managing up was described as making your boss look good, so that they recognise your value, which can trigger conversations of job progression and growth. You might not know everything that your manager does, however this workshop focused on how you should use your personal strengths to shine, again linking back to knowing yourself and your talents in order to ‘brand’ yourself to those around you.

Supplier Relationships

At FCCE, our relationships with our clients are key; we love to get to know our clients and we like them to know, like and trust us. However, this workshop was all about how it is also key for us to build similar relationships with our suppliers – whether that be a venue, a group of hotels, a team building supplier or the entertainment at our events. We think we have some great partnerships and relationships with all of these suppliers; however this workshop really highlighted the need to continue developing these networks, and to recognise when people/ venues are doing a great job. As an agency, we couldn’t survive without our wonderful clients and we would also loose competitive advantage without our supplier relationships, so the ‘next gen’ need to continue building these relationships in order to grow and succeed.


The ‘next generation’ discussions above were not full of wrongs and rights; they were simply conversations to make us think about ourselves, our work and the future of the events industry. As FCCE continues to grow, we hope to continue developing this knowledge and passing this on to others, helping to progress the events industry. Any thoughts of your own on these topics? Please get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading ?

Heather Didcote
(Only a year left as a ‘next gen’ – yikes!)