We’re celebrating our thirtieth year at etc.venues which makes it the perfect occasion to talk to some of the extraordinary people who’ve helped shape our business; people like Jacquie McKenzie, our Head of Public Sector Business.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and bred in North London, England. Grew up in Muswell Hill and then Winchmore Hill. I have 3 siblings, 2 brothers and 1 sister and I’m of Jamaican parentage. My mum’s from Kingston and my dad is from St Elizabeth. As a family, we still enjoy holidaying together and especially our homeland of Jamaica. In fact, the last time we went was to celebrate my parents 60th wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful occasion – they even received a congratulatory letter and card from the Queen!
I went to Middlesex University where I studied Ancient and Modern History. When I left uni, I didn’t have a strong sense of what I wanted to do. I joined IBM where I stayed for 4 years working as an Administrative Assistant and Systems Tester. My next job was in publishing and although I enjoyed it, it didn’t quite tick all my boxes. So, when a recruiter got in touch with an opportunity to work at etc.venues, I was intrigued with this fresh opportunity as I’m a people person and this looked like the perfect role... and it quite obviously was as I’ve been here now for over 18 years!
Do you enjoy sales?
I’m not just a salesperson, I am first and foremost a relationship builder. I love talking to people. Hard sales just isn’t my thing. I’m inquisitive and I like to get to know my clients and understand what makes them and their business tick. And because of this approach, over the years, I’ve built some great relationships with my clients. In fact, several of them are now personal friends who I see outside of work.
Is building strong relationships with clients important?
Yes, it is. If you genuinely care about delivering a great outcome for your clients, then building trust is vital. When I approach a new client, I understand that the business may take some time to come to fruition. So, it’s more important to listen and understand the aim, and use that time to see if there’s a genuine fit between us instead of just going in for the win. There’s no such thing as a typical client, each one has their own specific aims and objectives. Similar in some ways and quite different in others. That means there are no shortcuts as you need to get to know them, understand their needs and build a good rapport. This is always important for all clients and especially when working with those in the Public Sector where integrity is key.
What do you think makes etc.venues so different?
If I had to sum it up in one word it would be the ‘people’. I work in the Central Team, across all venue teams, and it’s evident that what makes us so different is the fact we work together as a group. We care for and support each other and this translates into how we are with our clients. We genuinely look after them from the start of an enquiry right through to the end of an event... and beyond! We are always on hand, in constant communication with clients, answering their questions and meeting their needs. It sounds like common sense but it is not always common practice. There’s a certain way that we do things that goes beyond the superficial and it’s the reason our clients continue to stay with us event after event; often for many years.
What would you say you’re most proud about?
I’m proud of all the great relationships I’ve built over the years with a wide range of clients from central government, universities, the justice system...and many from our NHS organisations.
If you’ve been inspired by this article, you can read more about our people and how they’ve helped shape our brand over the past 30 years here.