Emma Cartmell is a force to be reckoned with in the events and hospitality industry. She is CEO at the CHS Group and is currently gearing up for the hottest show in the North, the Conference and Hospitality Show 2017. She’s certainly seen many highs and lows throughout her years in the industry and is committed to making this year’s Conference and Hospitality Show the best ever yet.
Here’s what she had to share with us:
Tell us about your experience in the events industry…
I started out running an events agency in Newcastle back in 2000, where we organised some amazing events such as the World Congress for Arts and Culture. Then eight years ago I had the opportunity to take over a show in Leeds called the Big Wow Show, which I re-launched as the Conference and Hospitality Show. I’ve had lots of highs and lows over the years but I have to say I can’t imagine working in any other industry.
What are your career highlights?
I think launching the Conference and Hospitality Show in the height of a recession and seeing it grow substantially year on year. I remember meeting someone at Farnborough Airshow once who told me ‘I’m here to buy a Boeing 747’. I remember thinking ‘wow’ it would be amazing to organise a show where people actually came to do business and not just look around – I’m proud to say that whilst the deals done at CHS might not be as big as this, people do genuinely come to buy.
Given all your experience in the field, how has the industry evolved?
Back in 2000 the economy was extremely buoyant and business was good for everybody, clients had time on their hands to attend events and didn’t have to watch every penny. In recent years this has all changed, event organisers now have to be fantastic at creating amazing visitor experiences and need marketing campaigns to attract attendees. Clients are far more-savvy with their time and money than they used to be which in turn challenges us to be better.
Tell us about the CHS awards and how you came about finding it?
The awards were actually the brain child of Paula Kelsey at Cloud 9 Event Management who still manages the judging process of the awards for us. I was a little reluctant at first as I wasn’t sure there was a gap in the market but three years on the awards have really taken off. I’m excited to see where they’ll be in another three years’ time.
What’s your favourite team building event?
Last year I took the team to a cooking school where we worked in pairs to prepare the most amazing evening meal. Once we’d finished cooking we used their private dining room to eat the food and drink wine whilst all the washing up was done for us. You’d be amazed at how competitive people can be over the best looking canapé!
What’s your most favourite place in the world to visit and why?
I absolutely lovely Sydney. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a couple of times and I love the feel of the place and their approach to life. I have fond memories of sipping champagne at the Opera Bar overlooking the harbor and eating Morton Bay Bugs at Café Sydney overlooking the Bridge.
What do you expect to see in 2017 from the corporate hospitality and events industry? I believe Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Live Streaming will feature heavily this year.
What are you expecting from this year’s CHS show?
We’ve got some great new features this year, including our VIP bar sponsored by Millionnaire Party Planner, Liz Taylor, as well as our pavilion of ‘venues that every PA should know about’ focusing on private dining, exclusive use, private members clubs etc.
What was the highlight of 2016 and what are you looking forward to this year?
The highlight for 2016 was growing the Conference and Hospitality Show and moving in to our new home, the First Direct Arena in Leeds. It inspired our ‘Rock Star Event Planner’ campaign that has really resonated with our audience. We’ve also just been shortlisted at the Exhibition News awards for the ‘Indy Award’ to recognize brilliance amongst the smaller and more specialist exhibition organisers who have shown inventiveness, creativity, growth and endeavour alongside outstanding shows.
What's your favourite inspirational quote?
This quote from Marrianne Williamson’s book ‘A Return to Love’ inspired me to start my own business almost 18 years ago and still inspires me today“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Emma is certainly determined and excited to ensure CHS 2017 is the best yet, as exhibitors we’re looking forward to seeing the fruits of her hard work in April. Watch this space.