Annie Metcalfe - BA (Hons) Events Management, 2013
Head of Operations, Clear Partners.
Annie studied Events Management at Leeds Beckett University, graduating in 2013 and is now Head of Operations at Clear Partners. Having spent much of her childhood holidaying in the North of England, and, wanting to become an expert in Event Management, Annie knew she wanted to study at the UK Centre for Event Management at Leeds Beckett. Annie says “It was a practical, business minded, team based degree which is exactly what the industry is like in real life. The modules we studied were broad and varied and there was plenty of opportunity to see how certain learning scenarios could be applied to my future career path, and you know you’re on to a winner when all of your tutors are the authors of your textbooks.”
Just four years after graduating from her Events Management degree at Leeds Beckett, Annie is now Head of Operations at Clear Partners, a Business Development agency based in London who specialise in incentives and rewards, hospitality and entertainment and conferences and team building. In her role, Annie is responsible for a wide range of issues, right from idea generation through to budget planning and itinerary design, travelling all over the world regularly taking clients on incentive and reward “once in a lifetime” trips.
Annie says “My current role at Clear Partners requires me to be energetic, organised and ready for anything! I know so many people in the event industry say it, but an average day doesn't exist. Despite being with the company for less than two years I have been sledging off mountain sides in Austria, skiing with CEOs in Switzerland, preparing glass roofed bedrooms so my guests could lie in bed and watch the Northern Lights, driving quad bikes in Croatia, hiking up snowy mountains at 4am to watch the sunrise and sailing with 300 people on a super yacht worth £10 million. My Mondays, Tuesdays and all days in between have been ‘pinch yourself’ stuff over the past two years. That said, it isn’t always glitz and glamour. I have learnt how important it is to be well prepared for the relentless late nights and early mornings, numerous airport visits and flights around the world. I pride myself on being determined, focused, flexible, kind, responsible and inclusive when it comes to looking after the groups of people with whom I travel. I am often solely responsible for their overall safety and enjoyment, two things which remain at the forefront of my mind during the many adventures we take. Some days I am building budget spreadsheets, pulling my hair out over logistics and wondering when I am ever going to lay my head to sleep. It is turbulent, exciting, exhausting and all consuming.”
Thinking back to her time at Leeds Beckett and over her career so far, Annie reflects “Whilst I was lucky to study something relevant to my career, I do think the broader life lessons I gained at university are what I really took from the experience. It was the first time I really had adult responsibilities and commitments that had a financial implication, and I was very aware that I was there to achieve something that wasn’t going to land at my feet. I was far from one of the cool kids that used to drop into one or two classes a week and benefit from a solid 2:1. I worked at that degree like it was a 9-5 job and that discipline is the reason I am in the privileged position I am now. There isn’t one event, one job, one location or one trip that I look back on and think: that was my greatest achievement. I certainly reflect on some of my projects and feel extremely proud of what we delivered. But for me, the greatest achievement, which is something I am still working on every day, is remaining happy, healthy and balanced. I have spent many years suffering with debilitating migraines and there were a few years in my twenties which I found really tough. When I finish a week that hasn’t been riddled with headaches, which has been full of laughter and where there has been a good balance of time at work and time at leisure – that is when I feel the greatest sense of achievement.”
“If you are serious about a life in this industry, learn how you are going to sustain a good work - life balance as soon as possible, and never compromise on this. If that means giving up five jobs (which you might even love) before you find one that allows this, then so be it. I travel around the world for a living, but I’m fierce when it comes to having a life outside of work. I have hobbies to which I am committed, family and friends who I enjoy spending time with and a fitness schedule which largely works around my office hours. If you don’t prioritise the right things then give yourself five years and you will either be totally burnt out, you’ll hate what you do or you’ll be so unwell that you’ll be good for nothing. I understand that we are all required to put in the hard yards when we are establishing ourselves in the industry and I have done those hours and more, but this is not the best measure of success. Work smart and efficiently, you will achieve much more in the long run."