Rachel Parker embarks on her new role as director of the Association of Event Venues (AEV).
It’s with a little trepidation and a great deal of excitement that I’m embarking on my new role as director of the Association of Event Venues.
Having worked at Earls Court and Olympia for eighteen years as group halls director, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to bring my skills and experience to bear on the sector in a flexible role, and work for the benefit of the industry.
The AEV has gone from strength to strength under the auspices of the outgoing director, Chris Skeith, and my thanks go to him for handing over an association with a solid and growing membership, great financials and a superb reputation for serving its members and taking the lead on industry related issues.
I’m reassured that ESSA, AEV and AEO all have new people at the helm as we go into 2015; it’s a golden opportunity for some fresh thinking.
I’ve spoken at length to ESSA director Andrew Harrison, and Chris Skeith and we all share the desire to build and expand on the excellent cross-association collaboration that demonstrates we really are stronger together.
2015 is going to present its fair share of challenges, that much is already apparent.
The spectre of CDM enforcement is still hanging in the air.
I’m confident that the cross association task force leading the industry response will continue its excellent work, not least receiving plaudits from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for its mature and constructive engagement.
I’m very keen to commence a review of the eGuide, another great AEV success story, and update it with greater input from the contracting and organising industries.
The eGuide has evolved since its inception to become a vital industry resource for managing health and safety and promoting best practice.
The AEV has a lot to offer its members for 2015. The success and growth of the association’s working groups has been a clear indication of the value placed on them by its members. They reached the total of ten working groups at the close of the year and spanning everything from technology to communications, catering to security, and many more.
The working groups are, in many ways, the engine room of the association, and represent a key benefit for our members with their work on peer to peer networking, information sharing, best practice recommendations and influencing change in the industry.
I’m making it my mission to attend every single working group for at least one meeting, as well as cheerleading for the working groups and encouraging our members to contribute to, and participate with, them.
Research will be in focus for 2015 too. The cross association project to drive research into industry data is really gathering pace.
The AEV is leading and funding this analysis, which will be carried out by a specialist research firm, and the project is fully supported by the AEO and ESSA, another example of cross industry collaboration for the benefit of the industry as a whole. This year we will be able to look at 2014 with a level of detail and understanding previously impossible. We are also going to continue championing the FaceTime initiative, and I’m really looking forward to see the uptake for the FaceTime Exhibitor Masterclasses.
In closing, I want to reach out to all the venues not yet members of the AEV, to extol the benefits of membership, as well as engaging with all our existing members to ensure they are getting the maximum value from their membership.
The AEV board has a significant number of new faces, and I’m encouraged by a much more even gender balance amongst members.
This has emerged organically, rather than by diktat and reflects a welcome trend in what was once an entirely male-dominated industry.
It’s an exciting time for venues and the association, and I’m looking forward to working with our peers, members and the industry on building a better visitor experience, and by extension a stronger industry.
This article was first published in the January issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne