Unsung Hero at ICEAWARDS18
The Unsung Hero Award was given to Katie Parry at BNP Paribas after being recognised after only 6 months of joining the company for going above and beyond her role as Events Assistant.
Squaremeal Venues & Events
Katie Parry, BNP Paribas
About the Winner Katie joined the UK Events & Sponsorship Team from university where she graduated with a degree in Event Management. In her role as Events Assistant she supports events, sponsorship and corporate hospitality activities sitting within the UK Brand & Communications team.
The focus of her role is to support the Senior Event Managers on high profile projects. However, it soon became clear that Katie is capable of delivering more; as such she has already started to manage her own events including award dinners, charity events, private dinners and round tables. Having assumed far more responsibility than originally anticipated, she has grown to be a highly valued colleague whose support enables the Events team to deliver an enhanced service to the business.
Katie has been described as a bright, enthusiastic and professional individual who has consistently impressed her seniors through her commitment. She has confidence to contribute in team meetings and brain storming sessions where she has shared some great ideas - many of which have been implemented.
Star Quality Success within BNP Paribas centres on a range of specific skills such as being highly organised, the ability to multi-task, be results orientated, have strong written and verbal communication skills and project management. Katie has demonstrated all these skills in abundance; however, it is her client-first mindset and maturity that makes her stand out - something which is rare to find in someone so young and so new to the corporate workplace.
Katie goes to every meeting with an attitude that she will contribute, share ideas and new ways of thinking. She has been described as focused and driven by senior stakeholders, top management and the wider team.
Significant Achievements Katie was part of the project team working on the annual BNP Paribas Skate Day Fundraiser. This a high profile event with invitations issued to all UK-based staff to enjoy skating at Somerset House with their friends and families ahead of the ice rink opening to the public.
The event takes place on a Saturday in November and caters for 2200+ guests, who also have the opportunity to take part in activities such as face painting, Christmas shows and craft activities.
Each year, BNP Paribas nominates a charity for which to raise funds. In previous years, the day has raised approximately £12,000. However, in 2017, the Company set an ambitious target of raising £30,000 for the Marylebone Women’s Refuge, the largest women’s hostel in the UK. This was to be achieved without increasing the overall events budget, so required a complete review of all logistics for the event.
The target was achieved and Katie played a central role through her management of the invitation website and supporting the Event Managers on logistics.
Katie built a registration site with a donations page so that the team could track the total amount raised at any time. She also worked with internal stakeholders to identify what the maximum amount was that they could ask for as a minimum donation. Consequently, the donation amount was increased successfully with no negative feedback from attendees.
What’s more, Katie identified that they could make further savings by sourcing new suppliers who could provide the kits for the activities, such as children’s crafts, directly rather than using an agency. She also had the idea to source all the ingredients for the Sweetie Stall through BNP Paribas’ own office restaurant. All of these changes and contributions saved over £5,000, which benefitted the charity directly.
Katie’s fresh perspective on an annual event proved to be extremely valuable.
Adding Value Katie supports the senior Event Managers by updating attendee lists, creating badges, managing RSVPs and performing essential health and safety checks. This means that the more seasoned Event Managers can focus on the strategic aspect of events, such as content and working with hosts to achieve objectives that add value and make the event memorable. This makes the team more efficient and keeps everyone motivated and challenged by the work they are doing.
Because Katie is now running her own smaller events, BNP Paribas has been able to manage a significantly higher workload in Q1 2018 compared to Q1 2017, whichis well timed given the launch of the bank’s UK growth plan at the start of the year, which generated a 25% increase in event projects in the first half of 2018.
For example, in early 2018, Katie worked on a project with the Sponsorship Team to engage UK employees with the UK Arts sponsorship programme. The cornerstone of the project was to create a BNP Paribas Art Pass, which was to be distributed to all 9,300 employees in the UK giving them free access to art galleries such as the V&A, Royal Academy of Arts, Tate Modern and Tate Britain. This was a substantial logistical challenge given there are more than 65 office locations in the UK. Katie managed the whole process, from the design of the UK Art Pass, to production and distribution. She also completely re-designed the Arts pages on the company intranet to create a central hub of information. She also established a hotline for staff to contact with enquiries. Katie worked with HR, Finance, the Mail Room and all the marketing and internal communications teams from the various business lines to ensure the communications were consistent and streamlined across the various locations.
Reflecting the level of colleague engagement and interest, in the days after the launch, Katie dealt with 700+ enquiries from staff about the pass. The Art Pass was a huge success and an example of fantastic cross-team collaboration.
Judges’ Comments With only 6 months experience to the role, the winner has demonstrated significant event management skills which has delivered tremendous results for her peers and her team which stood out for the judges in this category. It is clear through the submission that the winner has a fantastic ‘can do’ attitude and mindset which has consistently exceeded expectations in such as short space of time within her new role.
Not only is she capable of running events, which has proven extremely valuable to the senior events team, she is part of the project team working on the annual Fundraiser Day. She presented and delivered ideas to make improvements and changes resulting in savings which enabled the company to pass these savings on directly to their chosen charity.
The winner for the ‘unsung hero’ category demonstrated many skills which are valuable not only to the company but to the wider team, senior stakeholders and management.