Earlier this month, Venues and Events International’s very own: Will Dalzell, Director of Innovation and Hay-Yeung Tang, Event Executive, were each recognised as elite event professionals by C&IT’s annual Agency A-List. The C&IT A List is carefully considered amid the hundreds of nominees and serves the purpose of shining a light on the UK’s top 35 agents aged under 35 years old.
Will’s initial encounter with our company was in 2012, following his initial unsuccess with joining our Events Team. Seeing his potential, we urged him to join Venue Find to obtain the pivotal experience required; Will’s sheer determination meant he was soon leading his own Venue Finding and was frequently volunteering himself to support our wide-scale events where additional help was appreciated. Thus, in 2015, he transferred onto the Events Team, proving our initial eye for his potential right.
Hay, who joined the company through a two-week work experience placement in September 2019, shortly following graduating from the University of Cambridge with a first-class honours in economics, secured a permanent position following his considerable contribution to the Events Team through both personality and professionalism.
In order to delve into what this recognition means to them both, we caught up with them to gain insight into what the journey leading up to their C&IT A List success entailed and their future aims…
Hay: I have not been in the industry very long having joined at the end of 2019. So prior to this, I knew very little about it. I was aware some of the guys in the office had won it before, but once Anita told me she would like to nominate me, I looked into it more and developed a greater understanding of what it was. It is one of the more prestigious awards in the industry so especially for someone my age, it is nice to have the recognition.
Will: It is fantastic! It is very exciting to have received this award. It is great to have that recognition from people in the industry, especially beyond people that I work with. The A-list award is also another great addition to my CN30 under 30 award I received a couple years ago.
Hay: The biggest challenge was that my role completely changed. I came into the company as an event executive, training and learning under the event managers. However, Covid-19 put a massive halt to that. A Client approached us with a new and bespoke project to help them safely transport their offshore oil workers, who live all across the UK, to their oil-rigs. It was the peak of the pandemic with lots of restrictions on public transport and accommodation, but the rigs have stayed fully operational and workers need to complete crew changes everyday. We were asked to set up transport and accommodation solutions to ensure the workers’ safe travel was possible, and I was asked to head up this project.
I went from being this graduate who had just finished university and had been at the company for 5 months, to all of a sudden managing a multi-million-pound budget and a ten-person team. I was definitely thrown in the deep end, but I am really grateful for the opportunity.
Will: The most challenging part of my role has definitely been transforming an events agency amid a pandemic. We typically worked in a face-to-face environment which we were all very comfortable with. The biggest thing was our familiarity with one doing things for years and years and then having to transform and reposition ourselves instantly to ensure we did not go dormant like other events agencies did.
I think the hardest part was ensuring we were offering our customers what they wanted. And so educating our customers regarding how we will run a successful event, differently to how they normally would. It has been a challenge, but we have done it well and we are here.
Hay: The Events industry is a very people driven industry. It is all about personalities and each event is different and tailored to each client; it involves a lot of collaboration and teamwork. Our team is a lot of fun to be around and it’s great to have a laugh whilst working.
Will: Leading the company through a time in terms of reengineering ourselves has been enjoyable. We all got chucked into this deep hole and we did not know what was going to happen. And we still do not know what will happen over the next few months. So it has been enjoyable being a part of keeping the event agency going and having that input.
Hay: I’m still at a very early stage in my career so even though I am happy with what I have achieved so far, there is still a lot for me to learn and a lot of things for me to do. Leading more large-scale events/projects and exploring more areas of the events industry are definitely up there in my personal aims.
Will: I think after the last year, it shows you that you don’t know what it around the next corner. It has been such a big learning curve for us all. But for me especially, it has opened my eyes to evolving technology. I think the main thing is to stay open and ensure I make the most of what I’m doing now.
Hay: I have a pretty good idea of where I want to get to in my career in terms of both personal achievements and doing things I enjoy. The specifics are not ironed out but I definitely have a good, rough idea of where I want to go. Wanting to get there as quickly as I can is what’s motivating me at the moment.
Will: Myself. I have pushed myself to get through the different roles that I have been in so far. I have been hungry since it started, back in 2012, to push myself to where I am now.
Hay: Networking is very important, especially early on in your career. Whilst my degree has come in handy, my initial applications were not leading anywhere as I had virtually no experience. With this in mind, I Googled local event managers and invited them for a coffee. I managed to secure a coffee date with a lady called Louise who used to work with Anita. Louise advised me on how to get into the events industry and gave me Kim’s details (our COO). I soon received a call about an offer for a two-week work experience placement and within that short time I was there, I secured a permanent position. You never know which connection is going to lead to the next opportunity!
Will: It is not all glamour. If you want to get somewhere you have to put the time in. You can only tell yourself where you want to go. And the events industry is not just corporate events. It is so many different things and I think the main thing that we have uncovered this year is a new huge part of the events industry, which is the digital and virtual area. This means we need many more people to assist us in helping put events together all with different skill sets.
The Venues and Events International team would like to congratulate Will and Hay for their C&IT A List success. We cannot wait to continue to watch them thrive and flourish even more, in the future.