If you do what you love …

JessGoodwinThe past couple of months have been a bit of blur, travelling across the South West and UK whilst working at a variety of events – I am writing this sat in my hotel in Manchester having spent the week at Tatton Park Flower show. Earlier this week Joey and I were chatting over dinner and how we came to know about Mackerel Sky, which I thought would be a good intro into my first blog.

I first met Claire 5 years ago; I was an enthusiastic events management student in my 2nd year at Plymouth University. Claire was a guest lecture sharing her knowledge about sustainability in events and talking about her company Mackerel Sky (then known as Event Cornwall). I didn’t speak to Claire after the lecture but I left inspired, thinking what a cool company Mackerel Sky would be to work for.

Wind the clock forward and I now work for Mackerel Sky Events. I have now been an associate for nearly 4 months and I have already had a great (and busy) summer! From day one I got stuck in, spending my first weekend at St Ives Food & Drink festival. Despite it being a long weekend, I enjoyed every minute of it. Meeting lovely traders, eating delicious food and spending 3 days on Porthminster Beach in the sun, who could complain?!? Since then I have worked at Tunes in the Dunes, 2 prestigious flower shows and I am getting ready to pack my bags for France to go to Lorient Festival (I’m a little excited for that!).

I have been welcomed into the Mackerel Sky family with open arms and so far it’s been a blast. As they say ‘if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life’.

Jess Goodwin, Event Associate, Mackerel Sky Events homepage

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Professionalism should never be underrated

Sometimes it is only when one is working with people who are unprofessional that one realises what being professional is all about. I have tried to define this a number of times but fail to find a definition that works completely.

Is it about wearing a suit? Sometimes

Is it about complying with industry standards? Yes but so much more

Is it about being paid to do a job? Not necessarily

Is it about knowing it all? Definitely not!

Is it about paying attention? Yes

Is it about caring about the quality of your work? Yes I think so

Is it about how other people define you? Important perspective but not vital

Perhaps if we look at those we consider to be professional we can get a clearer picture of this. David Cameron? Richard Branson? Karen Brady? We might not like them or agree with them but I think all are professional in their fields. More locally, I look at people like Toby Parkins, Sarah Trethowan, Allyson Glover, Michael Rabone and Simon Tregoning who are consummate professionals in their fields. Successful, yes but also have integrity. They always get back to you when they say they will. They don’t belittle the new emerging talent in their industries, but rather foster it. When you meet with any of them, they pay you full attention. They are honest and believe in what they do wholeheartedly.

And I think most of all, true professionals are those who rise above the challenge of working with those who are difficult, obstreperous, stressed, thwarted and encumbered, to focus on achieving objectives and creating positive impact in all they do. Importantly, they also recognise that sometimes we fail and that this is ok so we learn from it and move on. Professional people find a balance between not taking things personally but taking valid points on board and they are brilliant at managing and developing the people they work with, partly by setting a good example and partly by recognising their own strengths and weaknesses.

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events homepage

New is Good For You

Steve JobsI attended the AEME conference hosted By Mackerel Sky’s Claire this week and had the privilege of sitting in on a key note speech by Dr Jen Otter Bickerdike. The conference, and Jen’s talk, was themed ‘Creative Risk’.

I really liked the sound of those two words together despite the fact they could be seen as polar opposites; one suggesting innovation and excitement whilst the other, well, scares the living hell out of most of us.

Google tells me that ‘risk’ literally means “a situation involving exposure to danger”. This alone is terrifying – why on earth would anyone willingly expose themselves to danger?! ‘Creative’ means ‘To use imagination or form new ideas’. So for me, the two words together are a perfect union and bring about a whole new meaning, that is; Embark on the new. New thinking. New action.

It is not a revelation that new is what drives business forward. New is what makes sales happen, connections form, careers develop, businesses start and grow. Every new step is arguably a risk, moving from the comfort of where you currently are to where you haven’t been before with absolutely no guarantee that things will work out (oh hi danger part!) But what Jen outlined in her speech is what is key here – Things don’t work out… ‘as you planned’ but they always, always work out. The risk becomes then a challenge to trust that the new will leads you to places you simply can’t imagine… and that’s ok. What’s the worst that can happen?

There is a youtube clip that made a real impression on me a few years ago and inspired me to take a significant risk in my career and personal life. It’s a fifteen minute video of the late Steve Jobs addressing Stanford University at their graduation ceremony. He speaks of, amongst other wonderful things, how the worst things that happened to him in in his career (*getting fired by apple) led to his greatest achievements (*starting Pixar… and then being re-employed by Apple!) He talks of how you can’t connect the dots between events in life looking forward, only looking back – and I love that. I bet there are situations or experiences you can look back on now and say ‘wow that was painful/risky at the time but my god I’m glad it happened because it lead me here’. Maybe you met someone, started something, did something amazing as a result of that experience.

Taking a risk is scary. Risk is putting yourself, your ideas, your business out there. The danger is fear of the world rejecting or criticising you, or it all going wrong. But what if we viewed risk creativity and realised that staying the same could actually be more dangerous to us either personally or to our businesses. What if we take away the concept of fear (the danger) and see risk as a creative action to invite new experiences and opportunities into our lives and trust that it will lead us to places we simply can’t imagine.

Taking a risk doesn’t have to be as grand as starting Pixar but it can be something that puts you out of your comfort zone. Writing this, my first ever blog post to go up on my new employers website, is utterly terrifying but this is my new, my risk. SO, here’s the challenge for you today – do something that scares you and put yourself out there; pick up the phone to your dream client, send that press release, go to that networking event you’ve been putting off. Take a risk. Be creative. Somewhere along the line we may realise, when we look back to connect the dots in our lives and careers, that the ‘dots’ are in fact when we’ve taken creative risks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

 

Joey Hulin, Business Development Manager

 

There’s Nothing Wrong With a Bit of Healthy Competition!

rushI just watched Rush, the story of two fierce competitors, Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Both very different characters competing beyond excellence. Their competition was before I was even a twinkle and yet their story has really resonated with me.

Both excellent formula one drivers in the 70s for very different reasons – one a technician, a perfectionist, the other a passionate risk taker. Both confident in their abilities and capacity to develop and handle a fast car in (almost) any conditions. In 1976, at the German Grand Prix, Lauda had an extraordinary accident with deep facial burns and no-one thought he would race again. James Hunt continued through the season and won enough points to contend for the world championship. It was watching James Hunt win those points that got Lauda through numerous surgeries and back on to the track in only 6 weeks! At the end of that season, Lauda is head to head with Hunt for the championship…..a deep competitive spirit between these two individuals.

Towards the end of the film, after Hunt has won the world championship, they meet and Lauda says to Hunt to get back into training so that he has someone to compete against.

The point is that we don’t want to beat our competitors, but rather have competition who is worthy of beating! Good competition means that we all do our best, work our hardest, fulfil our potential and achieve great things….so bring on the competition!

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

What’s Your Luxury?

crownOne of the current exhibits at the V&A museum is ‘What Is Luxury?’ And I am fascinated by the concept of what we would each constitute as luxurious.

Maybe it’s about investment of time as much as money. I know that for me, time to myself is an incredible gift. As is spending a small fortune on a dress that I might wear four times. Or it might be the incredible skill and expertise in the creation of a gold pocket watch. We often think of luxury as being expensive and it often is, but it is relative to our earnings, background, ethics etc. What I perceive as luxurious will be different to yours but that doesn’t make it any less or more valuable.

In business particularly, time is also a currency of sorts and can be very expensive! Think about the amount of money that a meeting costs in terms of staff salaries, room hire, catering….let alone the time that could be spent on other aspects of work that directly generate income. So are we getting the maximum benefit from our time? Is wasting time a luxury that we can’t afford?

Perhaps it is but I would argue that what might be perceived as wasting time for one is a productive informal chat with a colleague whilst making a cup of tea. So it becomes about how we value our time and manage it as a resource that has a cash value against it. Think about what is most important to you. And how much time do you spend doing that?

And remember that it is not just about what you spend your time doing but are you the best person to be doing it? Is it your strength? Is it your interest? Perhaps there is someone out there who can enable you to focus on what you are good at by looking after the stuff that you don’t actually need to do. Those tasks where you don’t actually add any value but it costs in time that could be spent on delivering your product or service.

It might even feel a little luxurious to be building a team, or handing over the accounts, or letting someone help you with your admin, but what is the cost of not doing it?

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events

Positivity Can Be Infectious!

Photo from theguardian.co.uk

Photo from theguardian.co.uk

Firstly, a huge congratulations and well done to all those who took part in the London Marathon this weekend. I truly respect your determination, spirit and fitness to make it round and raise so much more for your causes.

Passion is a vital part of success in any field and sometimes it really takes all we have to make it work, to make every wish, dream, ambition come true.  There are always set backs but we learn by overcoming them and our passion keeps us going, believing that what we are trying to achieve is creating a positive impact.

At our recent Company Gathering, we talked about many things but the over-riding theme was our intent to enable positive impact in all we do. Whether that is through training or event management, through consultancy or project management, everything we do it about enabling positive impact on people, places and projects.  This enabling purpose is something that engages the passion in all of us. To help, to make stuff happen, to achieve, to make a difference.

On Tuesday, Claire is speaking at the Institute of Fundraising Conference in Bristol on the theme of making money from events. The focus here is not just on making the cash though, but rather about creating positive impact and in terms of charity and fundraising events, generating both money and social impact.  Imagine what the positive impact is of all the money raised at the London Marathon – around £50m for a huge range of charities! So, again, well done, congratulations and thank you to all those who have raised money by being passionate and putting themselves through physical challenge to make the world a better place.


Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events

Roll up roll up! To the Cornwall Variety Show

Variety Show logoAs well as being MD for Mackerel Sky, our very own Claire is often found teaching the BA course in Creative Events Management at Falmouth University. It’s a huge benefit to the course students to have someone take them through the theoretical side to events management but by someone who is actually a highly experienced events practitioner and who bridges the gap between the worlds of academia and industry.

Two great examples of how well this can work is Hannah Williams and Isabelle Compton. Alongside their studies, Hannah and Isabelle are organising and managing another charity event following success with their Cornish Charity Ball last year. Here’s a few words from them on the event itself and how to get tickets – hats off to you girls!

 

“Although Cornwall is bursting with artistic talent there are very few events that showcase the variety and depth of creativity within the county. Abundances of music specific showcases appear throughout the summer months, niche dance performances and comedy gigs, yet there are no inclusive events where all types of artists are shown together. The Cornwall Variety Show will fill this void by bringing real creative diversity. Whether you want to be enthralled by daring circus skills, moved by enchanting dance pieces or brought to tears by comedy gold, The Cornwall Variety Show has something for you. All within the backdrop of an exciting and glamorous royal circus theme, guests will be mesmerized and amazed at the outstanding quality and professionalism of the show. The Cornwall Variety Show promises to be a true night of entertainment and elegance.

The first Cornwall Variety Show will take place on Saturday 30th May, at The Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (previously known as The Performance Centre), Penryn. The event will showcase a variety of performance acts celebrating the quality and diversity of artists within Cornwall. Acts include comedy from renowned Cornish comedian Colin Leggo, a professional circus performance, musical acts including emerging star Patrick Gardiner and local folk band The Saturday Boys, enchanting dance pieces and many more yet to be announced! The show aims to raise awareness and money for the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, a vital charity to the Cornish community. Through a royal circus themed evening, guests will be immersed within a romantic and daring performance environment; décor, costumes, photo booth, themed bar, concession stands and multiple other engaging elements will enthral and enthuse attendees.”

 

Saturday 30th May, 7pm for a prompt 19:30 start

The Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, Penryn


Tickets £10, Concessions: £8 (students, 65+ and services)
All profits in aid of the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust.

To purchase tickets and to find out more about The Cornwall Variety Show visit the event website, follow on Twitter or email:
http://www.thecornwallvarietyshow.wordpress.com
@CornishVariety
cornwallvarietyshow@gmail.com