Rebecca Morris, Events Manager
As Events Manager, I have overall responsibility for the team’s activities – from managing our events programme, to working with stakeholders to shape the strategic angle of each event and ensuring we hit our targets around attendance, brand awareness and delivering a quality experience.
We offer a full and varied programme of events both in the UK and internationally, covering VIP visits and staff and student engagement activity, as well as philanthropic and alumni events.
My favourite events are when a member of the Royal family visits one of our campuses. I’ve managed several of these visits since joining the University in 2011, including HRH Duke of York, HRH Duchess of Cornwall and HRH Princess Royal. These events require detailed planning and liaison with stakeholders from across the University, the police and the Palace, but they provide us with a real opportunity to showcase what the University has to offer, and usually attract global media interest.
The Engagement and Advancement Events team is fairly new, a result of members of the Development & Alumni Relations and Corporate Events team being brought together in May last year. As a result, we’ve had to merge two calendars of events activity, but I’ve really enjoyed taking on the challenges this has presented.
We have some exciting events planned for this year, such as the completion of the Centre for Cancer Immunology fundraising campaign and the opening of the new Centre at Southampton General Hospital in the spring, so I’m confident our events will reach even more people in 2018.
Laura Thompson, Senior Events Officer
In my role I focus on delivering philanthropic events and engaging our global alumni audience, as well as providing assistance and guidance for other event planners across the University.
The key to a successful event is all in the planning, so I work to a detailed schedule of timings and logistics for each event we run. This way I can keep track of when suppliers will set up, when the first guests will arrive and when I need to meet any key VIPs or guest speakers.
It’s great to finally meet the guests you have been in contact with, as well as seeing the familiar faces who have attended previous events. For example, since launching our Public Lecture series in 2016, we have built up a loyal base of alumni and supporters who attend each event, and it’s always nice to speak with them and gain their valuable feedback.
However my favourite event is our annual Staff Party – it’s fun to organise, from thinking up themes to sourcing suppliers and working with the team to pull it all off. It’s so rewarding to see colleagues come together and enjoy a well-deserved afternoon of fun, come rain or shine!
Ali McManus, Events Officer
As Events Officer, I’m responsible for the organisation of events within the team. The organisation required for each of our events can vary greatly depending on the activity, with some being more challenging than others.
My favourite events are ones that involve interaction with our alumni. Last October I had the opportunity to visit Singapore and oversee a series of events aimed at our alumni community based in the country. Through events such as networking receptions, we can engage with our alumni and update them on events happening at the University, as well as discuss opportunities like our volunteering programme and explain how they can support our recruitment activity.
Last year we also had a presence at the University’s Science and Engineering Festival for the first time. We created an ‘Alumni Zone’ for alumni to come and talk to us about their university days, and for alumni families to enjoy the soft play area we provided for young children.
Although our team has only been working together for eight months, I’ve embraced organising new events and have gained new skills along the way.
Donna Ferrand, Events Officer
I’ve only recently joined the University as I am covering for Hannah Hunt, who is on maternity leave. I feel lucky that I have arrived at such an exciting time. I’ve worked in the events industry for nearly seven years, so have lots of experience in organising staff engagement events, and I enjoy being able to meet a wide variety of people in this role. I’m looking forward to being part of such a driven, motivated team and helping to celebrate the efforts of all involved when the Centre for Cancer Immunology opens this year.