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Meet Events sees the return of the Mac

After a couple of years out on his motorbike, our resident agency expert, Des Mclaughlin, announces he is returning to the agency frontline 

The last three and a half years have certainly been an interesting time for me. During Christmas 2015 I suddenly, and unexpectedly, found myself walking away from a job with no idea what I was going to do next. Luckily, having sold a business I was reasonably secure financially and so I decided to divide my time between consulting, travel and charity work, with travel emerging as the clear winner.  

As a result, I’ve had the chance to spend a lot more time with my family, I’ve ridden tens of thousands of miles on motorbikes, visited numerous countries and even done some work. I’m a firm believer that life is not a dress rehearsal but rather about building memories and experiences in the limited time we have on earth. The break has certainly given me time to add to these, but I also think life is also about finding a balance between pleasure and purpose and at times I have missed the day-to-day challenges of running a company and testing myself against the competition.

During my time out, I looked at buying and investing in some companies, both within and outside of our industry, but for various reasons none ticked all the boxes. Gradually I realised that if I was going to do something I would need to start my own business again. This despite logic telling me the sensible choice would be to take a salaried position (if I’m still employable) rather than risking a large chunk of my savings on a start-up. In my experience, though, once you’ve run your own business it’s very hard to have somebody else calling the shots.

So, at a time when many of my contemporaries are winding down, I will be going back to work and launching my new agency Meet Events (launched 1 July). I’m working with a team I’ve hand-picked and am delighted that The Big Group have taken a shareholding which brings some financial muscle and operational support. Meet Events will be built around service excellence with a can-do attitude and will be a fun place for people to work. Our offering will be tailored to client needs but will include venue-sourcing and event support with The Big Group adding some creative thinking. 

Today the agency market is a far more mature and crowded one than it was when I founded HBI 27 years ago. So much has changed, particularly recently with TMCs buying heavily into the meetings sector. Technology, of course, has become increasingly important and the big agencies now have far more financial muscle when negotiating supplier deals. Yet despite all
this I believe Meet Events will be a success
for the reasons outlined above. It is going to be an interesting ride and I can’t wait to get back in the saddle. CN has kindly let me
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