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I have worked here for three years and before that I was at Chartered Accountants’ Hall, now called One Moorgate Place.
I’ve been in the industry forever. I was brought up in hotels and at Center Parcs, where my father worked. I started working when I was 14, then while I was at university, I worked a year in the States at a Radisson hotel.
My first proper job was working as an events coordinator for a bank that is now owned by UBS.
I’ll always remember being manager on duty in the States and there was a couple getting jiggy in a jacuzzi. I got a call on the radio saying, ‘Ed, we have a situation’. I took as long as I could to walk down the stairs and luckily they had finished up by the time I got there.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that the devil is in the detail. When you walk into a venue, you have to look at everything. It is easy to get tunnel vision, but you’ve got to look at it from the client’s perspective. The delegate walk is a good idea, so know exactly what they’ll experience. That’s when you notice that things aren’t right.
People always comment on how friendly and helpful the staff are here. And the fact they all speak very good English. We have people on the team from Brazil, Poland and Bulgaria. They’re all very good and they want to help.
I’m inspired by the big set pieces you get in films. The classic is the restaurant scene in Goodfellas. I like to bring a sense of theatre to functions. For certain events we bring in actors. A speakeasy-style Christmas party we did had a Chicago cop and a mobster, with a jazz band playing, and that worked really well.
The best advice I ever received was treat your staff how you’d like to be treated and they’ll work better. That’s a skill. Make sure you have a good working environment.
You may be surprised to hear that we recently had a photo shoot for The Only Way is Essex. Archie and Lauren did a shoot for the Cancer Research and TK Maxx partnership. That was a lot of fun. Archie’s suit was the tightest I’ve ever seen.
This year, I’m looking forward to the Olympics, on a personal level. We live in interesting times. Doing some outdoor parties in the courtyard will be fun. It’s good to get outside. I’m also looking forward to being chairman of the London City Selection. All the venues within it are AIM accredited by the meeting industry association. There’s a lot to do, but it’s good fun.
Ironmongers’ Hall, Shaftesbury Place, London EC2Y 8AA Tel: 020 7776 2300, squaremeal.co.uk/ironmongers
This article was originally published in Square Meal Venues & Events, summer 2012