Stephanie Bleakley

Marketing Manager, Diversified Communications

Stephanie stumbled upon an amazing career in exhibitions and events, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Buzz Aldrin, Richard Branson and Sheikh Mohammed, travelling the world and finally finding her passion as a B2B marketer.

I think in events there are two types of event professionals. There are the people that always knew that they wanted to work in events, they train, get that first role in the industry and never leave. Then, there’s this other group of people that stumble upon this profession, realise how awesome it is and never leave. I’m certainly in the latter.

I started out “temping” for Reed Exhibitions while backpacking in the UK. I then moved into conferencing and started running conferences in the Middle East. My skill-set led me toward marketing and I was much happier doing that. Eventually, I decided it was time to come home and continue down that marketing path. I would consider myself a specialist B2B marketer now. I really enjoy the challenge of having a very specific purpose and talking to a very targeted and specific group.

Someone once said to me that events are the original social media and that’s really stuck with me. Social media tries to create community, groups, interaction, engagement. Events have been doing that for years. We go viral through thousands of people walking through the exhibition door. And when you think of it like that, what is the biggest expression of engagement or interaction from a person? It’s physically turning up to an event. We’ve brought people together, and we’ve given them the opportunity to do business, and I think that’s really powerful. As to what small part I play in that, I’m really proud. When you can see that innovation happening right in front of you, you’re like, “Yeah, I did that!”

Stephanie’s advice for anyone interested in a career in exhibitions and events:

It’s a really exciting time for people to enter this industry because the industry is changing so much. We so often look to London or to the Americas for innovation, but I actually think here in Australia, we are at the cutting edge of events. I find that really exciting. You need to be creative, and I think you need to think outside the box, because you don’t know what’s going to be thrown at you. You need to be adaptable, and deadline-driven, because you know what, the show dates don’t change. They don’t slip. The doors will open no matter what happens, come rain, hail or shine. And, I’ve had shows in snow.

 

“We’ve brought people together, and we’ve given them the opportunity to do business, and I think that’s really powerful.”