60-Seconds with The British Council

Alina Makarova_The British CouncilAlina Makarova is the operations manager of British Council’s ‘Going Global’ conference – the world’s largest open forum for education leaders debating on international higher education issues and challenges.

EventTech Talk had a chat with her to find out about some of her favourite event venues and restaurants, her worst event nightmare, event technology she’s looking forward to using one day and what she thinks is the most important trend in our industry.

How long have you been working in events?

I have been working in the industry for over eleven years.

Favourite venue for an event?

The ExCel at the Docklands in London is perfect for large scale exhibitions. The Grand Hotel in Stockholm is a good venue for medium sized conferences. The Taj Lands End hotel in Mumbai is another beautiful venue with excellent conference facilities and friendly staff.

Favourite restaurants?

Texas de Brazil – a Brazilian steakhouse in Miami and Kloof Street House in Cape Town.

Favourite outdoor venue? 

The Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

Best event experience?

The Future Cities conference in Nigeria organised by Economist Conferences and attended by three presidents at the same time.

Best event app experience?

The Going Global conference app powered by SpotMe.

What would you say is your biggest challenge when planning an event?

Ensuring all third parties stick to the required deadline when preparing for an event.

What has been your biggest event nightmare?  How did you deal with it?

I have had speakers not showing up for their presentations, delegates fainting on site and a venue experiencing a complete power cut. Staying calm and positive whilst doing whatever it takes to resolve a disastrous situation is the best you can do!

Which industry event do you find most useful?

International Confex in London.

How do you relax after an event?

I do yoga.

Mobile app you couldn’t live without?

Citymapper and Spotify.

Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?

When it comes to event marketing, I recommend using all three.

What do you see as the most important trend in the events industry today?

Digitalisation of all and everything.

New event technology you’re looking forward to using one day?

Wider use of QR codes.

What do you think are the key personality traits for a successful event planner?

Ability to stay calm under pressure, great time management, flexibility and leadership. Above all though, positive attitude and being a team player!

Click to get in touchWhat has been the best piece of advice someone has given to you?  Any words of wisdom?

Get involved in as many events as you can from the very start of your career – volunteer, attend, organise. Never stop learning, asking questions and benchmarking against your peers.