A day in the life of an events manager

Institute for Government events feature some of the UK’s most innovative public figures, high profile politicians and leading academics to stimulate fresh thinking about the way government works.

The IfG is an exciting place to be surrounded by brilliant research minds all working to make government more effective, and working in a think tank events team is an ideal role for someone who has an interest in the workings of Westminster and Whitehall but doesn’t want to take on a research role.  So while some knowledge of the subject is important, the key to being a good events manager is having great people skills, being organised, the ability to keep calm under pressure and having an interest in communications and marketing.

The best bit about being part of the events team at the IfG is the variety of topics we cover, with IfG work programmes ranging from policy making to devolution, public services to the constitution. Only recently we ran an event on procurement in the pandemic, followed the next day by a keynote speech from the chief executive of the Environment Agency on climate change and resilience.  The variety of events, and the high calibre of speakers, mean they appeal to a wide audience, and while we are keen to share IfG expertise we are always careful to avoid using very technical language or acronyms. However, if anyone ever wanted to find out more about a topic we have discussed, then our website is home to a brilliant collection of IfG explainers.

We organise a variety of different type of events; conferences and lectures, party conference fringe events, training events and also small, focused seminars and roundtables on contemporary issues affecting government. The events team are responsible for the smooth running of the event schedule, from inviting speakers, to ordering catering & AV to helping with event promotion, and to ensuring the smooth running of the event on the day

08:00 | I start early so have some focus time before anyone else arrives. This could mean scheduling invites out for an upcoming public event or updating a research team on RSVPs.

09:00 | I head to my first meeting of the day to catch up with our communications and marketing team. We discuss an upcoming report launch event and run through our to do list – the mailouts, social media posts and info still needed in order to create the speaker briefings for on the day.

On the way back to my desk I pop by our facilities team to update them on some timing changes and increases for catering orders for the week ahead.

10:30 | I spend some time thinking about our plans for next year’s Party Conferences, sending out requests for a dedicated IfG event space, and reserve staff bedrooms. Most importantly I review my post conference notes so that I can start thinking about things that I might want to tweak for next year.

12:00 | I have a meeting with one of our research teams to discuss an upcoming private roundtable. They provide me with the title and blurb for the invite and we agree a target list of people to invite.

Time for lunch with colleagues.

13:45 | We are very fortunate to be able to hold all of our events inhouse. I wait at reception to welcome attendees for an IfG Academy training session and escort them to the event space.

14:30 | We are partnering with an organisation on an event and the logo and text has been signed off, so it’s time to add to our website to start the promotion – triple checking I’ve got the correct title, speaker names, hashtag and most importantly registration link listed!

15:00 | We have an evening public event, so I check on room set up, making sure signage is out, electronic registration lists are ready and that banners, chairs & coffee tables are all where they should be.

16:00 | I draft a speaker briefing for an event we are running next week and place two holds in the diary for a potential event next month. We then have a quick look at options for a new back drop and branding in our events space

17:30 | I pop back to the event space to check in with Catering and AV and greet speakers, ensure colleagues are all prepared and have the info they need for question moderation, meet & greet, photography etc..

18:00 | We usher the last few guests through the door and ‘go live’. During the event we are there to make sure it all goes smoothly, that the roving mic gets to those that ask questions and to act as the main point of contact for all attendees and speakers

19:00 | At the end of the event we thank everyone for attending and clear away, ready for another busy day.

By Lauren Ornsby, Head of Events, Institute for Government 

26 January 2023

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