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Learning a thing or two

Charlotte Gentry, MD at Pure Events, wants to see more millennials on boards and making decisions

Is it time we had more millennials on our advisory boards, or are the industry veterans better placed to lead the advancement of the events sector? 

I speak at, and attend, a large amount of industry events and something that is glaringly apparent is that the majority of speakers at events, as well as those making pivotal decisions about the advancement of the industry, are people who have been in the industry for a prolonged amount of time. This in itself doesn’t seem strange as these people clearly know their stuff, have done their time and have a lot to offer in terms of education and experience. 

A third of my agency, Pure Events, are under the age of
30 and it occurs to me (as someone who is beginning to feel like a dinosaur), that we should be encouraging more of these young, bright, dynamic and inspirational minds to speak at industry events, and be a part of industry advisory boards. Are these bright sparks not the future of the industry? They are certainly in my mind more aware of trends in the industry, have a far greater depth of understanding of technology, and have huge enthusiasm for their career paths so are happy to attend the opening of an envelope if it means that they will soak up industry knowledge like a sponge! 

We are proud to call ourselves one of the most creative industries out there, yet veterans of the sector can be set in their ways with set viewpoints. Should we not be asking questions, challenging the way things are done, advocating change and inviting young minds to the boardroom table to give their views on the future? 

I myself have been privileged to have been mentored by a very renowned industry expert, Richard Waddington, and have also been honoured to have mentored younger people who are only just starting out in their careers. While I have learnt extraordinary amounts and a different way of thinking from Richard, I have to say that I learn from the younger members of my team every day, and believe that they have as much to add to the equation as I do. 

I am sure that in large corporations, where big events teams are in place, that leadership is from the top down, but some of the most creative ideas often come from the bottom up. Could we therefore start to see some young influencers on industry boards? Or are we happy with the
status quo? I for one think that the voices of old are invaluable due to longevity of experience, and equally young minds can bring us innovation, inspiration and a forward thinking perspective.