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 Charlotte Culley, Sales Manager and Hybrid Events Expert.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Bedford and went to university straight from school. I decided to continue studies in Human Geography which I had enjoyed at A Level, focusing on relationships between people, place and environment. I’ve always been fascinated by relationships and human behaviour.
So, was it your interest in people that influenced your career choice?
Yes, that was one of the reasons, I’ve worked since I was 16 in hotels so it was a natural continuation for me to get a job after university at a hotel. Working firstly outside of London in weddings then moving to London where I started working in larger event spaces and managing accounts.
When and why did you join etc.venues?
I joined the company as a Sales Manager about 4 years ago. I was attracted to the company by the sense of empowerment and responsibility. The flat management structure means there are no layers of bureaucracy, you have the authority to make changes and help shape and grow the business. I love that.
I also enjoy that I have the opportunity to build relationships with clients. Due to the varied spaces we have within London, it’s great that we can work with clients to understand their entire event portfolio and can discuss how they see their events evolving; finding the right venue and space for all their events.
How did the pandemic affect your role?
The pandemic had a huge impact on my role and the company as a whole. Almost overnight, the venues closed and team members were put on furlough. I remained working with some of the other Sales Managers, keeping in touch and helping our clients.
We used to have daily sales meetings, where we would brainstorm how we could best support our clients and the company as a whole. We looked into ways we could evolve the business and created project teams in a workspace offering, long-term contracts and we even got a Wedding License for our flagship venue, County Hall. We also looked into how technology was evolving with the dramatic upturn in virtual events and I led on this project to see the future of a hybrid offering.
Why did you choose to become the hybrid meeting tech expert?
Well, it wasn’t because I have a technical-minded brain. In fact, quite the opposite but I thought that was as asset. Most of our clients who plan and deliver the events are creative minds rather than tech people; similar to me. I could therefore try to understand the technology and offering on the market and deliver the information to our clients in a clear way, without the technical jargon!
Do you think hybrid meetings are here to stay?
The truth is we have always offered hybrid meetings and events. We just never called them that. Using tech to bring remote and in-person attendees together isn’t something new at etc.venues. We’ve been doing it for years. Having said that, the capabilities certainly progressed at a rapid speed during the pandemic – because they had to. So, to answer your question, yes, hybrid meetings and events are here to stay because they have always been part of the mix.
What’s been your proudest moment?
Working through the pandemic was a serious challenge. It was an extremely hard year for everyone. I think returning to the office and then bringing the teams back from furlough was the mark of a new start. Not only did we get through it, we managed to help put the business in a stronger position to not just survive but to really thrive. That’s something all of us in the sales team are very proud about.
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.