Contribution to the Industry at ICEAWARDS18
The Contribution to Industry Award is new for ICEAWARDS18. An award designed to get individuals recognised for not only being a great leader, motivating and inspirational but to achieve the best things in the event world.
Contribution to the Industry Award
Rachael Firth, former employee at UK Universities
About the Winner The entry was submitted by Holly Wildish-Jones and Katie Ross, former colleagues of the winner, Rachael Firth.
From the beginning of Rachael’s three and a half years at Universities UK, she knew what she needed from the team to succeed and with her changes to the structure allowed her to deliver an increase of 425% to the bottom line, enabling UUK to continue its excellent work.
Rachael's goal was always about delivering a great attendee experience, and with a focus on excellent content, she helped the team produce fantastic events which continuously attracted stakeholders from across higher education, and inspired the team to direct their energy towards what was most important.
In 2016/17, with Rachael’s vision, the team made a substantial increase in turnover compared to 2013/14 and also achieved an average delegate satisfaction score of 8.4 out of 10 across all events in 2016/17. This also resulted in a dramatic increase of sponsorship, proving Rachael’s leadership helped the team go from strength to strength.
Holly explained that Rachael taught them everything they know about events and made sure that even though the events can be similar year-on-year, they are always looking for ways to improve the team’s outputs.
Rachael is described as being a phenomenal manager; easy to talk to, funny and thoughtful. Her approach as a leader was all about learning and development and she really encouraged the team to take part in external learning and development opportunities and training.
One of Rachael’s best qualities was described by Katie as being an extremely positive manager, helping the team learn from mistakes and always encouraging them to make suggestions whilst guiding them with her own wealth of knowledge.
With Rachael’s advice and coaching, team members progressed and received promotions and encouraged them to take on more responsibilities. She also chose an external mentor for everyone in her team and entered Holly for the ‘Unsung Hero’ award at ICE Awards 2017, which she won. What’s more, Rachael and her team went on to win the ‘In house corporate event team of the year’ award!
Rachael is described as a great mentor and friend, making huge differences in the team's careers which is the reason they all still work in events!
Judges Comments This submission ultimately described the winner as being a recognised individual within Universities UK - not only delivering financial results but achieving a high performing team.
Since joining three and a half years ago, she succeeded in delivering amazing results year-on-year - not only has she achieved an increase in turnover but her goals to ‘deliver a great attendee experience’ resulted in an increase of delegate satisfaction and generated a large increase in sponsorship.
Using her leadership skills to look at the restructuring of the team to ensure they were trained to exceed their full potential she also implemented processes to ensure events were continually reviewed to deliver excellent content.
Her support, guidance and her aim for progression within the her team has led to significant recognition from them which resulted in a motivated team, promotions and, as one team member described ‘a huge difference in their careers’.