Military matters: event managers in their past lives
Running an event might sometimes feel like going into battle, but there could be a more tangible connection between the armed forces and event management.
Putting together this year’s Event 100 Club list of influential people in the industry, it was interesting to compare the backgrounds of people who hadn’t gone straight into events after school or university. Anecdotally, theatre seems to be the most common industry from which to move into events, which makes sense to us.
But there are also a significant number of high-ranking figures who started their careers in the armed forces.
Notable Event 100 entries who have served in the Army, Air Force or Navy include Kevin Murphy from Excel London (number 6), David Walley of SO Group (number 27) and John Cochrane from De Boer (number 71).
This connection could be explained in several ways – the skills needed to succeed in the military have overlaps with talents required for event organisation, namely strict time management and the ability to oversee the many small elements that make up a whole operation. Those who rise high in the military need to be strategic and have the pragmatism to lead large numbers of people completing very different tasks. Qualities you could well find in a job description for the head of an event company.
Could it go either way? Are event managers particularly fearless, loyal, and good at taking orders? If not, should they be more inspired by the service experience of some of their peers?
What do you think?
To see the full Event 100 Club list get your copy of The Guide 2013 here.