I have spent more than 17 years in the events industry, and I am super passionate about kindness, collaboration and what can be achieved when you bring people together.
The opportunity for manufactured serendipity through events really excites me. I have worked on trade and consumer shows all over the world, working with children and animals, in huge government halls, dilapidated buildings and temporary structures – never a dull moment!
Before having children, where I lived was just where I kept my things – my home was in hotels, exhibition centres and with people. When I became a mum, my home needed to be something different then shortly after, I returned to work full-time and we went into lockdown – at this point I lost control of my home.
I felt like I was failing in all facets of my life. It was only when I found the online cleaning and organising community with tips on how to keep your home, advice from other working mums, and a lot of #instareality that I realised how integral online communities and support are for many of us and especially valuable for those of us who are isolated, marginalised or ostracised.
A tidy home really does mean a tidy mind! This is what led me to founding the Clean & Tidy Home Show – I wanted to facilitate the existing online communities, the ones that really saved me and my home as well as bringing those people who needed such support together in person.
Throughout the process, I have made connections with now lifelong friends and every day I discover more about what can cause us to feel overwhelmed as well as the solutions to a clearer, cleaner, more organised and healthy home. Helping others through the Clean &Tidy Home Show has been a major highlight of my career.
A typical day is hard to condense, but essentially from the minute I get up I’m sending and receiving emails; facilitating connections, bouncing ideas off my team, having meetings with people from across both the events and home industry, and essentially making sure everything is running smoothly.
It’s a lot for one person but I have a wonderful support network and I love what I’m doing, which makes everything easier. I love to see people in person as much as possible and am thankful for Zoom as the next best thing when it’s not always feasible.
I worked in hospitality and venues throughout my school years but struggled to get any true event management roles due to a lack of experience. I was looking at business degrees and then came across a sandwich course in Events Management and it seemed like the perfect fit.
I worked at Olympia Exhibition Centre for my placement year and remember looking at an event from the gallery level the night before it opened, seeing all the twinkly lights and the event floor reach to welcome it’s visitors, the “stage set” if you like – that’s when the magic of creating something special really took hold of me. But it’s the people and connections that are important. Now, understanding the impact of the Clean & Tidy Home Show to others, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Less than a fortnight after the birth of my second child and mid-pandemic, I launched my business so I think some of the challenges are obvious ones! I got to where I am now through hard work and focus whilst really listening to the needs of the community I was bringing together and adapting when necessary.
I have always wanted to know everything to make an informed decision and take the road with less risk but I am now more confident in making mistakes, making decisions more quickly and trust in my judgement more and more every day. It’s taken a long time to be confident in myself and understand that the more I push myself, the more I will be out of my comfort zone but that’s OK because soon enough, I’ll be confident in that element and working through the next learning curve, new opportunity or challenge.
Overcoming those setbacks… being a mother, running a home and running a business all at the time is something I really enjoy but is challenging to manage as I also enjoy being a friend, daughter, sister, the list goes on! I no longer try to balance all elements and better accept that something has to give but that doesn’t have to be forever.
We are all worthy of having a home that supports our personal lifestyle, needs and wants but sometimes we will only achieve that by seeking help. Female-only experiences, like pregnancy, menstruation, menopause and motherhood are things working women should never have to hide away from but seek advice and support when we need it.
The Clean & Tidy Home Show creates a space where differences are celebrated and experiences are shared. So what helps me overcome setbacks? Knowing that what I am doing is making a difference and asking for help when I need it too.
I have always had drive and determination, I can’t remember not having it. Now I am further driven by it; it’s cliché to say, but being told I couldn’t do it. The doubt of others made me work harder to prove them wrong.
I love supporting and collaborating with other women. I love to make connections, to discover and learn from both similarities and differences.
The biggest lesson that I’ve learnt along the way is that you can’t wait around. You can’t delay what you want for the “perfect moment”. There will never be a perfect time for anything, and waiting around for one or for someone to give you the permission or opportunity means that you’ll be waiting a very long time!
Outside work, my favourite hobbies and pastimes… would you believe me if I said cleaning?! To be honest, my favourite thing to do is spend time with my family and friends.
I work a lot so making sure that I have time carved out for my kids, husband, and all of my loved ones, is very important. I believe a healthy work-life balance or blend is integral to being successful in every aspect of your life (even though I don’t always get it right!).
A mantra I live by… I have so many but a particular one I have revisited recently is “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s words to live by for anyone but particularly for a woman in business, because believe me people will try.
Three tips I would give to young women starting their careers…
The best bit of advice I’ve been given is… that your imagination is the only limit to what you can achieve.
One woman who has impacted my life is… my mum. She has inspired me to be the best I can be but not to the detriment of others. She worked, brought up 4 children, ran the house, volunteered and more, all whilst making sure there was a freshly baked cake available for visitors at all times! I still go to my mum now for reassurance, advice and comfort – she gives the best hugs!
Do I think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance? Simply put, no. There needs to be better transparency and understanding about menstruation, pregnancy, motherhood, menopause and more as it’s not just about making us equal on paper but ensuring that our very different needs can be met.
I also believe the childcare system is fundamentally flawed for the typical working week so either the childcare system needs to change, the expectations of employees when it comes to working hours and location or both!
A key leadership lesson I’ve learned along the way is… always listen. You rarely will be the smartest person in the room, and even if you are there is still something to be learned from everyone you’ll ever meet.
I would say to my 16-year-old self… Don’t be afraid to stand out, the best decision you will ever make is to live life as authentically as possible.
For the most part I’m very happy with where I am with my career and my life, but perhaps I would have started my own business earlier, but who knows what would have happened then? Honestly, I think its best just to live without regret and focus on where you actually are and not where you could be if you’d only done that one tiny thing differently.