60-Seconds with University of St Andrews
Scott Francis is an event manager at the internationally renowned University of St Andrews – the oldest university in Scotland. His team is in charge of managing more than 250 events each year ranging from large conferences that gather around 1,000 delegates to summer schools, weddings, gala dinners and student balls.
EventTech Talk had a chat with him to find out about some of Scotland’s best restaurants and venues, his worst event nightmare and his best piece of professional advice:
How long have you been working in events?
I have worked at the university for 15 months, but worked in the events industry for 6 years before that.
Where is your favourite venue for events?
The Assembly Rooms on George Street in Edinburgh, Scotland is absolutely beautiful and a fantastic size.
What is your favourite restaurant?
A small tapas restaurant in Broughty Ferry called, Sol y Sombra. The food is wonderful and the staff are all so professional and friendly.
What would you say is your biggest challenge when planning an event?
I would have two equally big challenges: The first is short lead time with an event. The second is an unreachable client – a lot of academics have a lot of work on their plate so they’re not always in their office!
What has been your biggest event nightmare?
I was the manager of the operational team for a large gala dinner in my previous work, and the client was told the maximum number of guests allowed was 590. The day before, we were informed there were 626 tickets sold which meant another 3 tables had to be situated in an already full space. And to make matters worse, none of the guests had received their pre-order wine forms! So the one very small bar for the function was rammed!
How do you relax after an event?
I like to bring my duvet to the sofa and watch endless Netflix.
Mobile app you couldn’t live without?
New technology you’re looking forward to using one day (drones, holograms, AR/VR)?
How amazing would it be to have a key note speaker in hologram form presenting from somewhere else in the world!?
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To stop time!
What has been the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
My old boss once said everything happens for a reason. Everything that is sent to test you, teaches you something new and you learn everyday.