Meet Louise Harrison, consultant and coach
Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Louise Harrison is not just passionate about sharing her knowledge with the next generation of events professionals, she is actively supporting the industry and helping individuals fulfill their potential. Louise joined our panel session on negotiation strategies at our Event Managers Network October 2017 event.
What is the best advice would you give to someone trying to get into the events industry?
Do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door and get the experience you need. Be prepared to start at the bottom, events management is not an academic business and so you cannot come out of doing a qualification and expect to know what you are doing. You must get the experience by putting yourself forward for the most challenging projects and roles. Get a mentor or align yourself with one of the experienced event managers in your organisation whom you admire. Be prepared to work really hard and to put your career first for a significant number of years in order to be successful. This business is not for the fainthearted!
What is your greatest lesson learnt in the industry?
Two greatest lessons – one is ‘never assume’ and two is ‘you learn something new every day!’. There are so many examples I could give but one important lesson I have learnt is to always do your research to avoid cultural misunderstandings. One example when working in Japan (where saying no to something is considered dishonourable) I have been in situations where they have said yes to all my requests and then on site things just didn’t happen. You need to be able to decipher and look beyond the words that are spoken and more at body language or behavioural styles. You have to use the most finely tuned communication skills in order to work with different cultures!
What do you love most about your job?
Previously it has been the traveling and experiencing the different international cultures. I have operated events in so many countries across the globe, I look back with enormous fulfillment and gratitude. Nowadays I love to share my expertise with other event management professionals through coaching and training.
Can you describe your role in one breath (or 50 words)?
An independent consultant and coach to the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Events) industry. After 25+ years in the industry in the UK, USA and Australia working on a broad range of conferences, incentive programs, meetings and events, I decided to develop my own business offering coaching and consultancy services to event management organisations and individuals.
What are the top three skills for your job?
Organisational skills, client engagement skills and creativity (financial acumen comes a close fourth!).
Which conference or event is a career pinnacle in your opinion?
TEDGlobal or TEDWomen. TED’s signature conferences! They are trailblazers – their strapline says it all – “Ideas worth sharing”, that to me sums up the events industry in a nutshell. Their signature events are the most highly respected conferences from the viewpoint of presenters, events professionals and delegates alike.
Can you tell us a little bit more about what you do now?
Coaching event professionals in areas such as building resilience and stress management, managing your workload, overcoming overwhelm, career progression, and positioning yourself as an expert, as well as training services for event teams and individuals for enhanced performance and to reach their full potential.
(More information can be found at www.motivenetworks.com).