FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is something that event marketers constantly strive to generate and this is what I was experiencing. I had connected with several event industry professionals on Twitter and I could see them at networking events in London where they all seemed to know each other, tweet each other and do business with each other. Having just moved jobs to work in Birmingham, I was feeling slightly isolated from the event industry. It was just at this point that I saw a tweet with a press release announcing that EWL (#Eventprofs Who Lunch) Club, a boutique networking club for event professionals, would be expanding to the North. My immediate reaction: What about the Midlands?
I tweeted Helen Moon, Founder, EWL Club to ask if there was plans for expansion in the Midlands. She replied and said she was open to the suggestion if I thought it would work. Why would it not work? Birmingham is the UK's second city, home to iconic venues such as NEC, International Convention Centre and more. As a city the whole place was buzzing with the excitement of projects such as the development of Grand Central at Birmingham New Street station, the plans for a HS2 station and a continous programme of events taking place. There had to be a whole host of local event professionals that we could bring together. After meeting up at Confex for a coffee and a chat Helen was on board with setting up the club in Birmingham.
The committee including myself, Joanna Axinte, Kimberley Loynes, Chris Maher and Esben Ehrenskjold were recruited and in October 2016 the inaugural EWL Club lunch in the Midlands took place at The REP, Birmingham. The venue displayed the kind of flair that you would expect from a theatre. The dramatic setting included roses, skulls and a fallen chandelier adorning the dining table. Comittee member and event tech entrepreneur, Esben Ehrenskjold led the discussion on event technology with attendees from local suppliers and venues adding their input.
Throughout the year the club has met several times, hosted by key Birmingham venues including Park Regis Hotel, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, The Vox and Millenium Point. A variety of speakers have covered topics including the state of the industry, event security, harmonising the sales process and more.
Over the summer EWL Club went through a rebrand. Members were consulted and feedback was taken on board. Autumn 2017 welcomes events with a new format and new timings. Plans are also being made for a full day national event in 2018, which will be taken place in Birmingham. Look out for details coming soon.
Through the club I have now met planners, suppliers and venues from across the Midlands. That community of event professionals in London has now been recreated in Birmingham and it is a great community to be a part of.
Recently catching up with an EWL Club member at a local venue showcase, I was delighted to hear that as a supplier they had met a new client at their first EWL Club lunch and were keen to attend more events. Connections were being made!
My mission is not over. I am as keen as ever to meet more local event industry professionals, find out more about what the area has to offer and share with others why the event industry and Birmingham are so great.
Find out more about EWL Club in London, the North and the Midlands on the clubs website. If you haven't yet attended a lunch we would also love to meet you in person so why not come and join our community?