A Happy Band of Professionals

One of the things that is most satisfying to me is meeting and working with people who are truly professional in all that they do.  Whether it’s marketing, construction, accountancy, teaching, event management or any other discipline, a true professional behaves with integrity, working to the highest possible standards, ensuring that the job gets done, enabling the whole team to achieve and with a sense of self that creates confidence (but isn’t at all arrogant).

I have the pleasure and privilege of working with a great number of professionals over the years in a wide range of circumstances and contexts and it is from this experience that I have noted the above qualities.  It doesn’t actually matter what their job title is or how high up they are in an organisation or how much they get paid.  People who are professionals are not only good at their jobs but they understand where they fit in the team, in the project, in the organisation and where they are in relation to that wider world.  They don’t expect others to do it for them or for jobs to be offered on a plate but rather recognise that by hard work, skill development, collaboration and personality, they will create their own opportunities.

In the process of expanding our pool of Associates, I have been delighted to meet yet more of these professionals who bring experience and expertise in further areas of the events sector.  Ian Ley, who runs party planning and private events company 5chip, is a specialist in hospitality and front of house operations.  On meeting him today, I instantly got an impression of someone who knows his stuff and has a direct and clear management approach whether working with volunteers or paid event staff.  We could consider each other to be competitors but actually we both understood how we could add value by working together.  It’s a professional respect thing – I don’t do what he does and similarly he doesn’t do what I do.  And that builds a great team to deliver great results for our clients.

I have always tried to employ people who are better than me in their areas of work so that collectively we achieve that synergy and this is absolutely true of our Associates, and I hope will be true of our Operations Manager who will shortly join us.  I am hoping this person who can look after the ‘today’ and can recognise their absolutely vital role in the success of all of us as individuals and collectively as a business.  I am hoping that this person can bring new perspectives into the business and make sure that we are working as effectively and efficiently as possible.  I have high hopes for this particular new collaboration and, as with all of our Associates, I look forward to raising the bar with them, working professionally and achieving great things!
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events

You’re Only As Good As Your Team


You are only as good as the team you are part of.  I think this might be true.


In fact, I know it’s true and I know this because I have been part of all kinds of teams, those built by me, temporary project teams, established organisational hierarchies, those I have been put into… I wrote this when I was on a train to London for the Eventia Awards because one of my team was shortlisted for the Rising Star Award.  I nominated her because she has innate talent, is invested in her role and the company, is passionate about quality and the people we work with, and works incredibly hard.  She also knows me well and can anticipate exactly what I need and want in order to make the event work more effectively or to support the wider team.  She exhibits leadership at every stage of a project and she simply gets on with the job.  I am so proud of her and of her work and she is, without doubt, a fantastic asset to the company.  I know that without Amy, my work would be more difficult, if not impossible. We make a great team!


Similarly, having the right advisors and supporters behind you is vital in developing and running a business, whatever the sector. Last week I had a meeting with a relatively new contact who has offered to support me and the company and help us to grow.  It was this conversation that made me realise anew how vital this support is at a strategic level.  All too often, I have carried far too much on my shoulders as the business owner and manager. Whether that’s been because I haven’t wanted to share or because I haven’t felt able to trust or I have been very British and not wanted to burden anyone else, I don’t know which but that approach has taken me to breaking point.


If the owner/manager breaks, then the organisation disintegrates and even before actually breaking, the impact of this pressure on the wider team is significant.  With the boss under pressure, it means less communication, increased tension, worry, instability and stress and it’s at this point that I found myself several months ago and realised that I needed to step back from the brink.  It was my advisors, non-exec directors and associates who enabled me to figure out a strategic reconfiguration of the organisation which means that I do, of course, retain the same directorial responsibilities but that I am supported, part of a team making this business work.  


It may seem strange to admit weakness and to recognise that being in business is not only hard work but is also lonely. For me, it is in recognising this that I can create a team around me that is more than the sum of its parts, that is effective, communicative, engaged and proactive, that is helping to grow the company.  I and the company are only as good as this team of advisors, supporters, staff and associates and I am making it my business to seek out those who want to be part of that approach; finding those who want to play, to add to the team, add to the direct support and enable all of us to succeed.


Claire Eason-Bassett, Managing Director Mackerel Sky Events and Event Cornwall