With no previous experience in Conference Production, Taya joined IQPC London back in April 2018 and has already produced four industry leading conferences. We caught up with Taya to share her insights on the life of a Conference Producer at IQPC and to provide some tips to aspiring producers on what they can expect.
Meet Taya, CX & EX Conference Director, IQPC London
Let’s start with your role, Taya…what exactly do you do at IQPC?
Whenever someone asks me what I do for a job I really struggle to explain it concisely because there is so much involved! No one from outside my work circle is familiar with the term “conference producer”, so I have to do that a lot. I’ll do my best to summarise:
As a Conference Producer, I put together B2B conferences, aimed at helping businesses achieve their growing potential and closing the demand/supply gaps in the market. What that means is our events are not just knowledge sharing platforms, but also an opportunity for organisations to find and establish partnerships with solution providers, such as software vendors and consultancies, who share the same vision and can meet their needs to help them on their journey.
I am working on the Customer Experience and Employee Experience portfolio, meaning all of my events so far have been focused around how businesses are strategizing to improve experiences both externally, in how their customers interact with their brand and internally, in how their employees relate to the company, carrying the brand’s vision forward to their customers.
In terms of the role itself, it works on a project-by-project basis, with each conference producer running multiple events in the background at the same time. A project begins at a point when I’ve been given an event topic and ends once the event has run and the feedback has been collected and analysed. The lines become a little blurred when you work on one portfolio, like myself, because everything overlaps and you keep collecting ideas for the future.
It starts from in-depth market research to be able to create quality content for your event, sourcing expert speakers in the field and creating a go-to-market strategy. We are often referred to as ‘project managers’ within the company, as we don’t just create the content for the events we produce, but we also oversee and manage the campaigns leading up to them. That means I work closely with other functions such as Marketing, Sales and Operations, to ensure that we get the most out of each opportunity. And finally, I get to run the conference onsite, which is my favourite part!
What were you doing before you joined IQPC?
After I graduated, I worked as a Recruitment Consultant within the data and business intelligence scene. It really was a great start to the ‘corporate world’, as it got me familiar with business language and taught me the power of persistence and communication, which are great qualities for Producers and everyone else!
So what does a typical day look like for you?
There is no ‘typical day’ as such, as in it largely depends at what stage you are within your production cycle. However, there is one thing that remains largely constant – you are always talking to people. Whether it is externally – exchanging knowledge with business practitioners and consultants, or internally – tracking numbers and engagement with your Marketer or discussing the vendor market with your Sponsorship Sales Rep. You are constantly learning something new and then reviewing/adjusting the strategy and targets accordingly, alongside your event campaign team.
I spend a large chunk of my time on LinkedIn, sourcing industry news, updates, key players, influencers and decision makers to be able to put together an event agenda that encompasses the most relevant topics and individuals. To me, LinkedIn is an incredible tool which allows you to be a part of your industry community, rather than just a person on the other end of an email or a phone call.
Which project are you focused on at the moment?
I have recently started work on a new event – Employee Experience for Global Enterprise, which is a launch, meaning it is the first time we are running it. I am honestly incredibly excited to see how it will come together. There are so many aspects to ‘employee experience’ such as employee engagement, digital platforms, onboarding, learning and development, workplace design, inclusion and diversity, rewards and benefits and general wellbeing and it is really encouraging to see how much companies are doing to make workplaces more humane, more engaging and more fun for their people. I am currently sourcing the most interesting case studies and designing the programme to create an unforgettable 2 days for our attendees.
How would you describe the culture in your team?
The production team is very close and I’d say we hit the perfect work and play balance; we genuinely have fun, as well as help each other whenever one of us is struggling with something. With the event team, everyone enjoys what they do and gets invested in the project, feeling a part of it. We are currently trying to do more as a company to align the goals of different functions better and to get to understand each other’s responsibilities more.
What’s your favourite thing about working at IQPC?/What is most rewarding about your role?
Working at IQPC…the management! I have had a great experience personally and I can see that the management are doing a lot to really understand the needs of their team and adjust to their rhythms and personalities to let them “shine” in their own ways.
About the role – it’s the people you get to work with. I have already met dozens of incredibly talented, passionate, smart and inspiring business leaders and had the privilege to learn from them what they have been gathering over years of experience. We keep in touch and I am always looking to create opportunities to cross paths again at our events. Oh and travelling!
In just over half a year with IQPC, what has been your proudest moment?
There have been many little moments of feeling like you’re really growing as a professional, but I’d say that’s just a journey of trial and error and learning to thrive in a corporate environment. So to answer the question, I will have to go with the feeling you get closing each of the events. It is very rewarding and heart warming to see that the work you’ve put in has resulted in people walking out from the event with new connections, new friends, new knowledge and inspiration to keep doing what they are doing.
What’s one thing readers might be surprised to know about your career?
I have been lucky enough to travel almost every month for events, although that largely depends what you’ll end up working on. Also, if you want to sound extra cool at parties you can just say you’re a producer and leave people to assume 😉
It’s not all work…who is Taya outside of IQPC? What keeps you busy?
I travel a lot, take photos and dance Latin pretty much everywhere and all the time.
And finally what advice would you give to job seekers considering a career in Conference Production?
Ask a lot of questions! Especially if you don’t fully understand what the role entails – it might sound a little complicated at first but you really get into the flow with practice. Make sure you are good at and enjoy working on a few things simultaneously – I didn’t realise how difficult it is in practice until having to do so. However, it means your job is never monotonous!