On a slightly grey Tuesday we sat down for a coffee and interview with Senior Account Manager Cessa to ask her all about how she got into events.
OK Cessa, let's jump right in;
WHERE DID YOU STUDY AND WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
I studied Sociology & Politics at the University of Leeds. I always knew I wanted to work in hospitality. For me though, I felt that it's something you learn by actually doing it rather than learning from a book hence my decision not to study it.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO EVENTS?
During my uni years and before, I had various hospitality jobs including waitressing on some huge events with At Your Service. I adored the amazing locations so many of them were at. I particularly remember an enormous gala dinner at Royal Courts of Justice, now no longer an events venue, and a big private dinner at Windsor Castle. The attention to detail required is something I clearly remember and had so much respect for. It was when I interned with an events company and worked on a 3 day wedding at Longleat that I decided events was the career I wanted to pursue.
After university I got accepted onto a grad scheme with Red Carnation Hotels in London. It was a scheme where you spent two years doing every job in a hotel in order to learn every aspect of the business. Eventually you would become part of the management team and during this time you are looked at for potential management roles within the hotel. Quite soon into the training though I was offered a Sales Manager role. Sat next to the Events team I was often, (quite willingly!) pulled into their team to help.
I ended up working on lots of events at the hotel and working with lots of different event agencies. This allowed me to see agency life and understand that it was the direction I next wanted to take - cue agency life beginning.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
Bang in the middle of the road between Herne Hill and Brixton. I love it because the Brixton side is lively and buzzy (Friday night vibes). In contrast Herne Hill is quiet and wholesome Sunday vibes. And I also love the lido and park!
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE IN JUST THREE WORDS, WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT EVENTS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
I've cheated with four: Fast paced All about the people, Attention to detail, Seeing the end result
WE ARE ALL QUITE OBSESSED WITH EVENTS, AND WE’RE REAL STICKLERS WHEN IT COMES TO DETAIL - WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU COULDN’T WALK PAST ON SITE OR IN THE OFFICE?
A table not clothed properly – particularly a poseur table! In the office - blurry images (images are everything nowadays)
IF YOU DIDN’T WORK IN EVENTS WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
In a dream world - be a hospitality mystery shopper. I pick up on the weirdest things and am very observant so think I’d love it! OR own a café and continue events on the side.
WE GET TO EXPERIENCE SOME AMAZING FOOD AND RESTAURANTS BEING IN THE EVENTS INDUSTRY, WHAT THREE RESTAURANTS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER TO SOMEONE COMING TO LONDON FOR THE FIRST TIME?
I would say Breakfast at Duck and Waffle but at 4/5am to catch the sunrise as the city wakes up.
Or the Hamyard Hotel at 6.30am in Soho as Soho feels as if it is changing from night to morning at this time and is so heavenly empty) – I once did this for a date and it was great.
Lunch – Can I change to an afternoon tea?! I feel they are so underrated. You always cook breakfast, lunch and dinner but never afternoon tea. There is something about London Hotel service that’s just so special.
Dinner – I love being in Soho for dinners. Flesh and Bun will always be a favourite. London is full of amazing restaurants however I am also a real sucker for a Pizza Express once in a while to feel like a child again!
IT’S A HARD ONE – FAVOURITE VENUE?
I could be here all day! I’m a sucker for any historic venue/gallery venue in London like the National Gallery/V&A. I love the way they close to the public and become so magical. Also I do love the blank canvas venues like the Unit Ldn spaces where we can knock nails in and paint the walls too! I would love to do a house party style event at Old Sessions House. I love its style/furniture.
CANAPÉS ARE LIKE LITTLE BITES OF HEAVEN – FAVOURITE CANAPÉ YOU’VE EVER HAD?
Tricky to remember them all so I will go for a recent one - Somerset House, Smoked salmon macaroon by Bryn Williams.
FAVOURITE CATERER IN THE INDUSTRY AND WHY?
Gosh so hard – I would have to say Jimmy Garcia Catering as I love his enthusiasm to make anything work and push boundaries.
OR Cellar Society as I've always thought they are so chic.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR WORKING STYLE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
Organised (with a heavy focus on musical singing! - my favourite sing-a-long right now is the soundtrack to Waitress, it's so beautiful and fun!)
WE ARE REALLY ADDICTED TO OVERINDULGING IN LEFTOVER PICK & MIX FROM EVENTS, WHAT’S YOUR GO TO SWEET?
The chocolate eggs or the Jazzies. They are all great though and make you feel like you’re at the cinema every day!
TOP TIP FOR ANYONE WANTING TO GET INTO THE EVENTS INDUSTRY.
Talk to as many people as possible and whatever age ask to do work experience on lots of live events.
You’ll have a chance to work out if it is for you.
And that rounds up our questions for today.