Tonia's role within the Edit team is Business Operations Manager and PA. This definitely keeps her busy as she looks after the day to day logistics of running a business whilst supporting our MD, Sarah. We talked to her about her career in events and the journey she's been on to get to this current role.
Good morning Tonia!
WHERE DID YOU STUDY AND WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
I studied event management at Leeds Metropolitan. I loved my degree as I made lifelong friends and felt I built invaluable life skills. However, if I am honest though, in terms of events I am not sure a degree was quite the right direction. As part of the course you were required to do a placement, which I did at MASK where I met Sarah. That was the most useful part of the four years for definite. During my degree we did one event and beyond that it was mainly theory. I found the live experience so much more valuable. I also met Sarah and we've worked together in numerous companies since.
I see courses within the events industry such as The Event Academy which focus on practical internships which I think are great. I think work experience and building relationships is the most important thing.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO EVENTS?
When I was younger and at school, I organised lots of activities, get togethers and parties and really enjoyed it. I'm a naturally organised person. I didn't know though what I wanted to do however I knew I wanted to go to university. The course at Leeds sounded really interesting and it stemmed from there really. After my internship year at MASK, I knew wanted a career in events.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
I live in Hertfordshire - currently with my parents however excitingly we are about to move out. I love it because I like being in the countryside but I have the best of both worlds. I come into London two days a week for my job but then I get to escape again to the greenery. I love being close to my family too.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE IN JUST THREE WORDS, WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT EVENTS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
I would say.... Creativity - it's just endless. The social side of the industry - I have made really great friends through my jobs - it's definitely a very friendly industry. Meeting new people clients and building relationships.
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?
I hate when proposal images are not in line, blurry or don't fit our template. I always take ages to ensure that they look great. It's the first impression the client gets after that initial brief and it needs to look professional.
IF YOU DIDN’T WORK IN EVENTS WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
I would work in floristry! I actually have a floristry business - Tonia Hart Floral. I'm lucky that my job with The Edit is flexible - it's part time and allows me to follow my other passion at the same time. I really like that I can still be involved in the events industry as I love it. I have always loved my career in events and would never want to move away from that so I'm thrilled to have the balance I have.
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 know I wont be the only one to say this but for breakfast definitely Duck and Waffle. It's just amazing. The views are breathtaking but the duck and waffle dish is what I'm there for - it's just incredible. If you can get a table at sunrise, order your breakfast and have a glass of champagne - that is just perfect.
Everyone in the office knows how much I love a good lunch. My favourite is Tortilla. I always order the vegetarian burrito with extra cheese, sour cream and guacamole. I instigate 'Fat Friday' in the office - we're healthy all week then really go for it on a Friday lunchtime and order in.
Dinner - I'd say Bob Bob Ricard. The food is just lovely and the 'Press for champagne' buttons are so much fun.
IT’S A HARD ONE – FAVOURITE VENUE?
That is a hard one! I have always loved the Wallace Collection, always. The Courtyard is just so beautiful. There are so many amazing spaces out there but I'll stick with that as throughout my whole career in events I've always had a soft spot for it.
CANAPÉS ARE LIKE LITTLE BITES OF HEAVEN – FAVOURITE CANAPÉ YOU’VE EVER HAD?
Definitely the ham and cheese croquette at Aqua Nueva.
FAVOURITE CATERER IN THE INDUSTRY AND WHY?
I like JGC for creativity - I was first introduced to them at a showcase where with each course they showed a different side of their business and all the event types they do. The creativity is amazing but the food tastes incredible as well which is so important. Jimmy is so up and coming and he's everywhere at the moment. He catered at Sarah's wedding and I loved the food there. Tapas style reception dinner, chocolate desserts and then a delicious paella the next day.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR WORKING STYLE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
I do love a to-do list. It clears my head and makes things make sense. I learnt early on at MASK that they allow me to ensure I don't miss anything and also how to prioritise things.
WE ARE REALLY ADDICTED TO OVERINDULGING IN LEFTOVER PICK & MIX FROM EVENTS, WHAT’S YOUR GO TO SWEET?
All of them!! Actually anything except flying saucers. I'm not fussy! Pink mushrooms. Fizzy cola bottles, gummy bears. So good!
TOP TIP FOR ANYONE WANTING TO GET INTO THE EVENTS INDUSTRY.
Get out there, network, make contacts. I learnt at MASK - the more people you network the better. You just never know when you may work with them or come across them Be nice. It's a social, tight knit industry. Not being nice, will come back on you.