Today we meet: Kathy Male, Account Director
I’ve worked at the NEC for 15 years, starting out as an account manager in the NEC Conference Sales team, now working as an Account Director for the NEC Live events team, within the NEC Group Conventions sales team
What brought you into the events industry?
I grew up attending events at the NEC such as Clothes Show Live, and going to Take That concerts at what was then the NEC Arena, and being a local girl, I just thought the NEC would be the coolest place to work! I had very little experience of working in sales or events before I started at the NEC, only a few years after graduating from university, but had a real passion for the industry, and the venue in particular, which has literally never gone away!
How do you start the day?
With a coffee and Wordle!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Meeting our amazing clients! The events industry is full of lovely, warm, creative people. I am really proud of the NEC’s venues, so love walking clients through our spaces, and helping them see how they can use our venues to create amazing, unique, bespoke events. I have many clients with whom I have worked for years, and it is lovely to see them returning to the venues with ever-more creative ideas for their events. As we are coming out of the other side of Covid, the best part of my job has been being able to meet people face to face again.
What is challenging about your role?
Like most of my industry colleagues, Covid was incredibly challenging for us, our industry seemed to be one of the hardest hit. Large conferences, exhibitions and live events were one of the first industries to be shut down, and one of the last to be allowed to reopen, so trying to help all of our clients through the pandemic, whilst trying to keep our business commercially secure, whilst simultaneously managing an internal restructure, was one of the hardest things I have ever worked through. It does feel like we have come out the other side now, with stronger client relationships, and a business that is building back up again.
What makes live events so rewarding to work on?
It can sometimes take many months of work to bring an event to the NEC, from the initial enquiry, to the day of the event itself. Seeing the finished product of months of hard work is so rewarding. I also love seeing how amazingly creative our clients are – they take our blank canvas spaces, and in literally a few days, transform them into winter wonderlands with fairy-tale castles; Rio-Carnival themed parties complete with aerial performance artists; automotive launches with pyrotechnics and cars being lowered from the roof; and of course, incredibly professional-looking conference venues. Then within 24 hours, it is all gone – there is nothing like the power of a live event – you have to be there!
Looking ahead to the next year, what are you excited about?
I am really excited to see the Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham. I am also looking forward to a return to some normality, hopefully many of our existing clients returning with their big events, and helping the business build back up again post-covid.
Birmingham insider top tip when visiting: Don’t just think of us as a big city – there is some gorgeous countryside around Birmingham, only 20 – 30 minutes drive from the city centre, we have rolling fields, woodlands, lakes, hills… love it 😊