Her Story: Michelle Rees
Michelle Rees is an Events Advisor for Linklaters and has worked in law for the past 11 years. Michelle co-founded Eventprofslive, a networking group for corporate event managers which has grown to over 100 members in the past two years. Michelle is regularly listed in the top 5 Eventopodia #eventprofs social media influencers, and you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @theeventsgirl.
Tell us how you came to be in events?
I was working as a PA in a law firm with a very self-sufficient Lawyer. I was so bored, so I decided to do a few courses to pass my days and I stumbled upon an open learning course in events and wedding planning. I loved the course from day one and shortly after I finished it, our Head of the Events for the firm was looking for someone to be seconded into the events team.
I had been helping the events team in my evenings, so my course combined with my interest helped me land the secondment. It was initially for six weeks but after week one I am proud to say they asked me to stay permanently. It was the best thing I ever did. That was nearly ten years ago and I know I am in the career I am supposed to be in.
What has been your biggest event challenge to date?
Generally I think the most challenging aspect of an event is dealing with delayed and cancelled flights. With very busy internal clients who can only fly on the morning of the event, not the night before, there is literally nothing you can do. If a flight is cancelled or delayed, the whole event is put in jeopardy. Thankfully it doesn’t happen that often but when it does... I cry internally!
What has been your greatest event success to date?
I have done so many amazing things since but, for me, an event I did back in 2009 will always be my favourite. We held an event called Zoofari, where a range of live animals, from pythons to tarantulas took over the office of a law firm. It was an ambitious event, and the front of house team took a lot of sweet talking to allow the animals!
We had amazing feedback, and all of our internal teams worked so well together. No one had seen an event like this in a law firm before! I still think of this project fondly; the team took ownership of it and made it their own #proud.
What one piece of advice would you give young, entrepreneurial women wanting to get into business?
Get a mentor! Find someone that inspires you, someone that is doing what you want to do and ask them to mentor you. They can only say no so you have nothing to lose and so much to gain. The right mentor will inspire you and help you get where you want to go. Find someone with a similar personality if you can; someone who will get you!
What one thing do you wish we could teach our girls at school?
Be brave! Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. I strongly believe you are capable of doing absolutely anything you want to. If you don’t have the brains, have the drive and the determination to do it and will get you there. Put the hours in and be brave, ask for what you want and go for it!
If you could be anything else in the world what would you be?
Literally an event manager, even if I won a billion pounds I would still do events on the side!
What does happiness look like to you?
This. Anyone that follows me on Instagram knows I am obsessed with these cows. My happiness is being at home with my husband, a large glass of Malbec (or two), working on my next event while looking across the fields behind me at Daisy and her mates.