Conference News September 2021 - Page 21

21 Fast Forward 15

AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

CN speaks to Emma Barr , events and training adviser at The Royal College of Midwives ( RCM ) about her passion for working in the events industry and giving back , alongside how her journey is a prime example of how anyone can enter the industry .
he events industry is so unique , that there is no one way to enter it . Like many other eventprofs , Emma Barr says she never actually intended to go into events . Instead of completing her children ’ s nursing degree , Barr decided to take a gap year and travel around South East Asia and Africa doing charity work and , in the process , she discovered her love for working with people , particularly working with charities .
Back home , Barr continued to pursue this passion and began working for the Institute of Development Studies based at Sussex University , which she describes as a charity think tank . “ At the charity , I took up an admin role working with lecturers and researchers , where I was responsible for writing budgets and supporting them in short courses either in the UK or in the developing world ,” she says . Despite setting up
Emma Barr
various events at the charity , Barr was unable to attend them as they took place in locations such as Kenya or Peru , she says . “ While I enjoyed setting up the charity ’ s events , I longed to follow the whole process through and meet people face-to-face ,” she says , like a true , budding eventprof .
Charity work wasn ’ t Barr ’ s only passion , she also always wanted to work in London .
“ When an events administrator job popped up at the Royal Collage of Midwifes , it was a no-brainer as the job combined event work and charity work ,” she explains . “ RCM ultimately gave me an opportunity to still work in a health environment and give back in another way ,” she adds .
Soon , Barr ’ s events industry journey came full circle , as she is now able to enjoy what events are
“ It doesn ’ t let you back away from your goals , it makes you accountable .”
all about : meeting with people . “ I really enjoy working with midwives and maternity support workers and seeing the smile on their faces ,” she says , and which she attributes to her care and commitment to events .
Now in her eighth year at RCM , Barr has been promoted to an events advisor . Although this was an exciting new role , Barr says she felt mentorship would help her take the next step in her career : “ I wanted a little bit of support and a perspective outside the RCM to see where I was going in the industry as a whole ,” she says .
And what better place to seek support than the Fast Forward 15 programme ? “ After feeling ready to apply in January 2020 , I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the programme ”, she says . While the mentorship was challenging , Barr was full of praise for the programme : “ It doesn ’ t let you back away from your goals , it makes you accountable ,” she says . “ But at the same time it doesn ’ t make you feel like you were failing if you couldn ’ t achieve a goal on time , as living and working during Covid-19 has served as its own challenge .”
If you ’ re a fellow eventprof who is considering enrolling on a mentorship programme , Barr advises to make sure you are “ in the right headspace ” before applying because , as she says , although the events industry can be an unexpected journey , it is also an amazing journey . CN
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