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Meet Maugie Lyons, the head of commercial operations at The Royal Horticultural Halls
My name is Maugie Lyons.
I am head of commercial operations at
The Royal Horticultural Halls.
I have worked here since May 1995.
They call me The Maug.
I’ve been in the events industry since the day I could walk. Some of my earliest memories are from helping out in hotels and trying to find an excuse to stay.
My first event was the Accor World Sales Conference. I thought it seemed a relatively straightforward one to start with: 700 salespeople from all over the world, with full catering and three nights’ accommodation. It all kicked off when the directors arrived in helicopters, though. They promptly told the employees that, overnight, they’d be cutting numbers down to 500 and by Friday, there would only be 300 jobs. It made for an interesting atmosphere to say the least!
I’ll always remember Alexander McQueen’s fashion show at RHH, and the time when I signed the contract for the shooting of Robbie Williams’ Old Before I Die video thinking it was for Robin Williams.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt is to consult the end user. Messages can so easily become diluted or changed – always go to the person who will be using the final product.
People always comment on how central the venue is and how easy it is to get to. That and our information manual; people are always surprised about why other venues aren’t as thorough.
I particularly like The Lawrence Hall. It’s cathedral-like and awesome. There’s so much natural light and it has natural feng shui. We don’t have to use phrases like ‘blank canvas’ to describe it.
You may be surprised to hear that, nearby, we have the cheapest parking in central London.
Recently we hosted the Conservative Party’s ‘Time for Change’ poster campaign, with David Cameron standing in front of a huge billboard of himself.
When I need inspiration, I look to the States. I look at the meeting and event trends they’re employing over there, as they inevitably filter back across the Atlantic.
In ten years’ time I want to be working on the Olympics, wherever that will be! Either that or working in Europe again; I quite fancy Italy, although my Italian will need to improve.
My motto is, be nice to everyone, because you just never know when you’re going to meet them again.
The Royal Horticultural Halls,
80 Vincent Square, London SW1P 2PE.
Tel: 020 7828 4125, squaremeal.co.uk/rhh
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, April 2010