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Annie Metcalfe - BA (Hons) Events Management, 2013

Annie studied Events Management at Leeds Beckett University, graduating in 2013 and is now Head of Operations at Clear Partners.

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Skier cutting down snowy mountain slopes

Annie studied Events Management at Leeds Beckett University, graduating in 2013 and is now Head of Operations at Clear Partners.

How did you choose your course?

I spent much of my childhood holidaying in the North of England, and wanting to become an expert in event management. The course 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.

Tell us about your career so far

Just four years after graduating from my Events Management degree at Leeds Beckett, I’m 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 this role, I’m 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.

What does an average day in the office look like?

My 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 mountainsides 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 £10m. 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.

"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."

And how did Leeds Beckett help you get to where you are?

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 20s 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.

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