Speakers Corner Celebrates National Careers Week
National Careers Week takes place 1st-6th March 2021 and we’re going to celebrate the achievements our team has made over the past year!
The pandemic has created a tough year for the events industry and we’ve had to adapt in lots of different ways, not least getting used to virtual events and remote working.
This time of year comes at a time when the future of work looks daunting and overwhelming with all this uncertainty. However, we hope this blog provides some advice for anyone, regardless of their career experience, to become the best version of themselves!
Mohammad Musa (aka Moe) is responsible for the day-to-day finance operation of Speakers Corner. That sounds quite daunting, but Moe makes it look easy, managing the accounts payable functions, credit control, month end reports, VAT returns and any other finance related project we can think of.
However, the financial operation of any business is critically important. Cash is King, so managing the company’s finances to ensure we can pay our bills while receiving our invoices on time is Moe’s primary role.
We asked Moe why he fell into accounting and it all stems from a work experience placement:
"Before I decided to get a qualification in accounting, I received the opportunity to gain work experience in the finance department of a company owned by a family relative. It was after this experience that led me to decide a career in finance and accounting is something I would like to learn more about and pursue."
Running the finance operation of Speakers Corner requires lots of plates to be spun at the same time, so we asked Moe how he does it!
"There are parts of my day that are always constant and parts that vary depending on day, week, or any unexpected issue that require my immediate attention. However I generally start with 10 to 15 mins in the morning planning out my day and what needs to be done, I also look through my to-do list from the previous day and move over any uncompleted task from the day before.
The first hour or so of my day is mostly spent answering emails, that means liaising with clients and suppliers about any issues with invoicing and bills or negotiating payment terms and such.
I would spend a few hours working on different functions of the finance department, which could mean generating reports on credit control and chasing client clients for any unpaid invoice, processing bills for payments to suppliers, and putting together the weekly payment run.
I always also leave time throughout the day in between my normal daily activities to respond to requests I receive both internally and externally. If I need to do any reporting or analytical work I’ll concentrate on that in the afternoon."
We regularly hear from external speakers, so we asked Moe what would be the most important thing he’s learnt so far…
"One of the most important things I learned from the futurist speakers I heard while at Speakers Corner is the importance of upskilling, especially with the forecasted trend of automation. I believe for accountants and people that work in finance this means we need to continuously upskill in areas that can’t be easily automated.
Many futurists believe the future of the accounting industry lies more in business consultancy i.e understanding data and what things mean, rather than tasks that can be automated, so that’s where I focus my learning and development.
Therefore, my advice for anyone working in finance is to keep learning, trying new things, the more you know, the more skills and experiences you have therefore the more indispensable you will become to your employer."
Debbie Price has been with Speakers Corner for what seems like an eternity. Debbie, a well-loved and respected member of our account management team, has bundles of energy and builds up awesome relationships with our clients.
Debbie’s already had a varied and interesting career so we thought why not ask her just how she ended up at Speakers Corner…
"I ended up in the speaking industry quite by chance. I was living in Sydney, Australia and working in recruitment but I was looking for my next challenge. I went to a friend’s baby shower and got chatting to a friend of a friend who worked at a speaker bureau and her job sounded like exactly what I was looking for! And then she mentioned that they had a vacancy for an Account Manager and I should send her my cv. Two weeks later, I was working with her and I have not looked back!"
That really is the epitome of taking an opportunity and not looking back. I think anyone would agree that to make a career, you need to find an opening and often it can be a case of simply asking your network of friends!
So Debbie what does your role entail?
"My role is to work closely with clients to develop the brief for their event and to discuss things such as event objectives, target audience, business goals, etc. I will then produce a shortlist of relevant speakers for their event and consult with them throughout the booking process, advising on everything from format and speaker presentations through to artist riders and fee negotiations.
It is also my responsibility to build close relationships with the speakers, so that I have a thorough knowledge of their topics, to best advise clients. I try and attend as many events as I can so I can see the speakers in action (whether it is in-person or on a virtual platform)."
That’s interesting, what’s been the most important or relevant thing you have learnt from a speaker?
"I have learned so much from the many different speakers we work with and it is impossible to identify one important or relevant piece of information – but one message that has stuck with me is from Samantha Renke.
Samantha has so much sass, I love her! She has brittle bone condition and is a full-time wheelchair user, but she doesn’t let this affect her confidence. We can all learn so much from Sam about being confident in our own skin and making others feel confident in theirs."
Debbie, you’re always cheery and upbeat. Surely nothing gets you down?!
"Haha well unfortunately there is and, in the events industry, things can go wrong and sometimes (thankfully not often), with travel disruptions, sickness, filming schedules all disrupting a speakers diary, it is my job to deliver the bad news to a client that the speaker is not going to be able to make it to their event. I hate having that conversation.
However, I have become good at reacting to unforeseen problems, quickly identifying a solution and managing my response, so much so that I have never had a client disappointed with the end result (even though the initial conversation is tough on both sides). However, the new virtual world has decreased this risk significantly and I am loving that part of it!"
Well that’s wonderful Debbie – you’ve turned a negative into a positive. We like to think at Speakers Corner that every bad experience is a learning opportunity and we think that’s sound advice for anyone out there, regardless of your career status.
For further information or to book a speaker, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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