Our Team's Highlights From 2017
We're nearing the end of Speakers Corner’s 17th year and moving into 2018, which means it's time to reflect on the last 365 days and our role in the speaking industry that keeps us constantly inspired and driven to do what we do!
"Our account management team and the logistics team have delivered some of the most incredible speakers to create truly memorable events for our clients across the world", says Nick Gold, our Managing Director. "In a year where the stark realities of the world is a picture of uncertainty, we have taken great pride here at Speakers Corner at making sure that we are delivering to our customers to the high standards we set ourselves."
Learn more about how we work here. Indeed, thanks to the impartial, expert advice of our friendly Account Management team (Adam, Debbie, Lucy B, Verity, Dan and Tim), the seamless delivery of those running our unique Logistics service (Anna, Helena, Matt and Ela), the coffee-powered creativity of marketing (Lizzie and me!), the mystical gift for numbers of our finance department (Paula and Jaden), our wonderful Head of Operations (Rebecca) and the brilliant organisation of our office manager (Louise), we’ve helped our clients to find their perfect speaker for 1000 events across 6 continents throughout the year - not to mention having a lot of fun while along the way!
Kicking the year off with our away weekend
As ever, our team has seen some changes in 2017, but our values have remained the same . To remind ourselves of what we stand for and what we strive to deliver our clients, we take ourselves off at the beginning of every year for an Away Weekend. This time we headed to Maidenhead for 2 days of strategy, charades and snacks!
"The Away Weekend was definitely a highlight," says account manager Debbie. "It set us up for the year, focusing on delivering end-to-end luxury service to our clients'. Our Head of Operations Rebecca agrees, describing the experience as "fruitful and fun", and we're looking forward to our next one in the new year!
Read more about what we got up to in January here .
The first Knowledge Guild of the year - "Extraordinary Lives: The Path To Achievement"
Each year, we host three speaker showcases - known as The Knowledge Guild - in partnership with London venue The Brewery.
In February, our first Knowledge Guild of the year - "Extraordinary Lives: The Path To Achievement" - focussed on motivation for the year ahead, with an amazing line-up of mountaineer Cathy O'Dowd, blind adventurer Miles Hilton-Barber, and Paralympic Champion Liz Johnson, and the hosting prowess of star TV host and comedian Clive Anderson.
A high point of the year for Verity, she says "Miles Hilton-Barber was so inspirational, he's such a funny, warm-hearted and incredible man and the fact that his speech is strong in my memory ten months later is a testament to this.
Highlights from our February Knowledge Guild!
Our annual Comedy Collective
Our 2017 Comedy Collective (our second one ever!) was a roaring success in May! Hosted by Russell Kane , our comedy showcase was headlined by the brilliant Al Murray and featured the hilarious Ellie Taylor , Holly Walsh , Harriet Braine, Ali Cook and Phil Wang .
"It had a fantastic lineup and had some great draw cards," says Tim. "For the second event of its kind, I can only see it having a bright future, so now we just need to find a larger venue with the same level of intimacy as the ACE hotel!"
Rebecca, our Head of Operations, agrees. "The Comedy Collective was my favourite SC event we did this year!"
The new website launch
May was also an exciting time for our website! As a bit of a design nerd, I have to claim this as a personal highlight, and it's been great to see how the new tools we've provided online are helping clients with their speaker search and have made it easier than ever to contact us.
Our Managing Director Nick comments, "We have re-launched our website focussing on the service we are delivering with great pride. We have worked hard in 2017 to increase our unique content portfolio, especially with respect to video footage to help our clients really get under the skin of the speakers we work with."
The Knowledge Guild #2! "Let's Talk: It's Time To Look After You"
As well as an unexpected bout of beautiful weather in London, June also brought along with it our summer Knowledge Guild, which adopted the theme of mental health.
"For the first time, the rain actually held off long enough for us to hold the reception outside!" remembers Lizzie from our marketing team. "But that wasn’t the best part... what made the whole event really special was how the speakers were able to share their personal stories in a truly candid way."
She adds, "After the event finished, I think Clarke Carlisle had hugged most of the room, Bryony Gordon was offering our clients really personal advice and Dr. Nerina’s book had disappeared in seconds. I felt like we had taken a personal conversation into the corporate world and offered people the tools to continue talking about it in their own workspaces. Although we’ve still got a long way to go, in some way I felt that our showcase helped to break the silence on mental health and that’s why it was a highlight for me."
The 3rd and final Knowledge Guild of 2017 - "What's The Big Idea? Growing Creative Thoughts Into Brands"
Building on the precedent of our first two Knowledge Guilds of the year, November saw our biggest one yet! Taking on the much-in-demand topic of marketing and branding, we enjoyed the likes of Jo Malone of Jo Loves, Dan Germain of innocent, Rafe Offer of Sofar Sounds, Kate Ancketill of GDR Creative Intelligence, and Holly Tucker of notonthehighstreet.com sharing the secrets behind their brands, with the witty and energetic radio broadcaster Jeremy Vine as our host!
The size of this event - in terms of both the room and number of attendees - was a memorable moment for both Head of Account Management Adam and Director Tim. "Our last Knowledge Guild grew so much in size that we had to move to the biggest room available. Since our partnership with the Brewery began, I always held lofty aspirations to hold a showcase event in the infamous Porter Tun and we finally managed it. Box ticked!"
Our TV debut and growing profile
As Rebecca points out, our TV debut at the end of November was an exciting moment for us at Speakers Corner! Our team featured on the warm-hearted BBC 2 series Employable Me, advising 52-year-old Andy Ibbott, who had suffered a life-changing stroke, on how he could develop his speaking career. You can read more about it here .
We've also enjoyed seeing our MD Nick Gold's thought pieces appearing in esteemed publications such as Huffington Post, GQ, Esquire, City A.M., and more. For Tim, one of his highlights was a piece about himself and our MD Nick in Director magazine . "It was really enjoyable to get the authentic story across of working together as brothers and building a business."
How could we discuss our 2017 highlights without mentioning our clients?
Throughout the year, we've loved building relationships with the people and organisations that we work with, going out to meet our clients and putting faces to names at the various events we attended this year, including Confex, Event 360 and The Meetings Show.
"I've loved going out to meet my clients and gaining a better understanding of their companies, events and wishes!" says Debbie. "I always find it so much better to put a face to a name – and it's just nice to grab a coffee and have a chat!
Managing Director Nick comments "Building our profile in the events industry and the wider business environment through exhibitions, conferences, press and opinion pieces has led us to be working on an ever-expanding portfolio of events across all types and sectors. We've also had unprecedented numbers of people to our Knowledge Guild showcases and had, to enormous success, our second ever Comedy Collective (more to come of both in 2018 so stay tuned!)."
Everyone in our team agrees that one of the perks of our jobs is getting to hear, meet and learn from amazing speakers from all kinds of backgrounds on a daily basis.
Our finance manager, Paula, is a huge fan of Cher... so we weren't surprised to discover that her favourite part of the year was meeting Mark Shulman - not only P!NK's drummer, but also Cher's - when he came to visit us in our offices! Paula describes the moment as "epic".
Rebecca adds that she loved going to the London premiere of Losing Sight of Shore (the film about Natalia Cohen and the Coxless Crew), Adam was happy to see Jodie Marsh go on the database, and Verity particularly enjoyed visiting Brompton Bikes' Managing Director Will Butler-Adams at the Brompton Factory! "It was totally fascinating to see how the bikes are made. Everything is made on site in a very clever production line!"
However, as Debbie points out, it's impossible to choose just one favourite speaker. "All of the speakers who have been into our office to present to us this year have been amazing. I don't want to name individuals because there are too many and I don't want to miss anyone out! We are so privileged to have such amazing speakers come and present to us so that we can speak to our clients with the utmost knowledge of these speakers." We completely agree with you, Debbie!
Our team... and looking forward to the new year!
We work hard here, but we also like to enjoy ourselves. This year, we've enjoyed celebrating a Speakers Corner wedding (congrats, Adam!) and two 30th birthdays, and we've also had some great socials as well, notably the summer party where we witnessed Tim and Nick Gold fight it out in the sumo ring!
Our team has also seen some changes. For our Head of Operations, Rebecca, 2017 has been a time to get into her new role - "I've enjoyed diving deep with two new teams and learning heaps about different parts of the business!"- and we've also had some great new additions to the company including Dan in the account management team, and Ela and Matt in logistics!
As Director Tim says, "It's always great to see new fresh faces to the Speakers Corner family", and Head of Account Management Adam adds "The exciting addition of our new team members shows how much we are growing!"
Matt, who joined Logistics earlier on in the year, says "Even over the short time I’ve been here at Speakers Corner, there are already too many highlights to mention them all. Meeting our clients and showcasing some of our fantastic speakers at the Knowledge Guild event, and devouring the legendary Speakers Corner staff breakfasts are just a few of the moments I enjoyed over the past couple of months. However, all of these were trumped by my colleague Verity’s incredible rendition of Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush at the staff karaoke night – something I will never forget…"
Ela, our newest member who joined the Logistics team in October, adds, "I haven’t been with the team very long but it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know everyone in the office! The team has been extremely supportive and welcoming and has made moving to London and starting a job all at the same time a pleasurable experience (despite all the ups and downs). Is it weird to say that I’ve also really enjoyed my weekly logistic meetings? Well, I do! I’m loving being part of such a fabulous team. Our karaoke night was very memorable, and I can’t wait for the next one!"
On that note, we're thrilled to see that our newbies are continuing the legacy of Speakers Corner karaoke... and we're looking forward to another great year in 2018!
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