1. Hi Hannah, please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Hannah Luffman and I am Managing Director at creative events agency Unicorn Events based in South London.
I’m also Director of Education for ILEA UK. If I’m not planning events then I’m busy dreaming of New York, marathon training and problem-solving how to meet my first unicorn.
2. How did you get started in the events industry?
I knew I wanted to be in events from my mid-teens when I took control of the college social committee.
I had been organising people and activities since I was a child and it was a natural and easy fall into events. I have a degree but volunteered in events from a young age and took every work experience opportunity I could get my hands on.
I have been a bossy little madam since I could talk and so I don’t think it was a great surprise when I wanted to be paid to organise things.
3. Why did you start Unicorn Events Ltd?
I had a wonderful and very successful corporate career but I am incredibly passionate about our industry and my work and it was inevitable that I would one day want to do this for myself, and have an incredible team of my own to work with.
We are an honest and close agency and we have created an environment for working that I hadn’t found anywhere else.
4. What is your favourite part of your job?
Watching the team problem solve complex creative challenges. When they solve something together and bring it to me to review I realise how far we have come in such a short time and why I believe I have one of the strongest teams in the industry.
5. What is the most difficult part of your job?
The expectation that you always know what you are doing. Being a manager and running a business is not something they teach you in school, you have to trust your gut, follow your heart and jump right in. Sometimes you get it wrong but my team respect I am still learning too.
6. What is your biggest business achievement to date?
This has been an exceptional year. We have won unprecedented new business, joined the ILEA UK board, forged partnerships across the industry and become fondly known as being a mildly crazy but very happy company.
I personally am the proudest of our role in the launch of EventWell, the industry movement for recognising stress and mental health issues in the workplace. We have been open and honest and the industry responded with such love and warmth.
It’s a really special time to be in events and embrace new initiatives.
7. Are there any emerging trends in the industry that you think will be a big focus for 2019?
Mental health and stress awareness will continue to be a hot topic but I also think diversity will be pushed further in conversations. Faye Sharp and the team have been brilliantly pushing education on women in events and I see an increase in conversation about disability and racial inclusion.
I would really love to see more non-traditional routes opened to young people in events. The majority of companies pool from universities and colleges. What if we were forced to expand our talent pool to disabled schools and children from very difficult backgrounds?
Diversity in our younger workforce is the key to creativity and pushing educational boundaries.
8. What one element of the events industry would you like to change and why?
I would like to see time allocated to health and fitness a necessity at every event. Not just because I am running mad, but because its good practice. Not everyone has to utilise it, but they do have to have the option.
M&I Forums for example always do an optional 5k run pre conference – just to get energised. I want sunrise yoga and evening meditation at every event I attend.
9. What piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to get started in the industry?
Go to everything. Meet everyone. Read anything. Volunteer everywhere. You cannot underestimate how much you will need your support network as you progress through your career.