The Founder and Managing Director of Eventful, a global venue sourcing and event management agency, Caroline Lumgair Wiseman is a respected leader in the events and incentives industry.
Celebrating 20 years in business in 2022, the team at Eventful have booked and planned more than 4,000 corporate events across the globe, placing service excellence at the heart of every project. Caroline firmly believes that a triangular model of strong relationships, a hands-on-approach and transparent operations is key in terms of the building of successful, long-standing partnerships.
As a board member of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Great Britain Chapter, Caroline strongly believes in the power of incentive travel to motivate and reward and is dedicated to helping the sector’s ongoing post-pandemic recovery through her work with the association. She is also an advocate for improving mental health and wellbeing within the events industry.
Caroline is passionate about serving women through networking, collaboration, and specific support, looking to offer the guidance she was eager to find early on in her own career, and enabling them to develop their full potential: finding avenues to both further employ and expand their skillsets and explore their talents.
Outside of work, Caroline is a wife to Michael who is a keen sportsman and mum to Olive who is her absolute inspiration in her quest to raise funds for the neo-natal unit at St George’s Hospital, a unit that played a pivotal part in Olive’s life story as she was born 15 weeks premature in 2018.
Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of participating in the Fast Forward 15 Mentorship programme. My mentee Stacy is an accomplished and talented event professional and soon to be mother of two young children.
I’m proud to have encouraged and supported her with her career goals during this important time in her life. We’ve also connected through personal life choices, with us both having young children despite being more than a decade apart in age.
The reason I decided to be a mentor on this programme was that I felt inspired by Fay Sharpe and the campaign she started, one which provides a mentorship platform designed to elevate women and their careers in the industry and aims to increase the number of women in leadership roles in the sector.
Throughout my career, Fay has been a fellow leader of a similar agency, making her both a key competitor and a peer. Having always looked up to her, I’ve enjoyed our exchanges and knowledge sharing over time. Something that I believe is quite unique to our industry is the reality that competitors can also function as great allies through choosing to support each other around the challenges we share.
At this crossroads in my career, and with the inspiration I’ve received in return by participating as a mentor in this programme, I now look forward to taking the first steps on a new journey where, working according to my sense of purpose and strictly guided by my values, I hope to continue to champion learning and equality for all event professionals.
The past few years of my life have brought about many changes with the switch into the role of motherhood being one of seismic proportions. Through these shifting personal circumstances, what has remained a constant, is my love for the events industry and my passion for conceptualising and creating events, as well as my gratitude for opportunities to collaborate closely with those I consider partners: clients, hotels, suppliers, and colleagues. Other passions that continue to fuel my work, and which I believe will now act as drivers in this new chapter of my professional life, are my desire to constantly grow and acquire new knowledge, and to design solutions in terms of enabling clients and partners to further deliver memorable events and excellent service.
This recent chapter which has entailed a great deal of juggling – both tasks and roles – has resulted in a refinement of purpose and focus brought about through reflection and a re-clarification of my values: a revisiting of what is essential. And what is most essential to me, the key values I hold and the ones that largely inform my personal and professional life are overwhelmingly a sense of generosity and a desire for justice. In terms of the events community, the element of generosity extends to people in terms of their love of hospitality and how this is afforded to all partners as they execute their roles (a propensity to go the extra mile), and to companies in terms of how they provide for their staff. The element of justice extends to equality of opportunity and equitable access for all professionals.
The sense of achievement I feel about remaining engaged in the industry is at times somewhat tempered by an awareness of the challenges it presents to many parents due to the necessary demands that often include unsociable hours and frequent international travel, and the discussion I feel is needed is one surrounding the employment of mothers returning to posts or being employed in new roles post maternity leave, working with them to allow for the successful execution of the multiple roles and responsibilities they now carry.
With the wealth of experience lost industry-wide when companies neglect to create the right roles and a welcome for mothers to return to post maternity leave, what can be done to retain new mothers in the workforce? An India Times article highlights how practical measures such as refreshing health and safety training, inducting employees into the current culture of the company with a catch up on events and changes that may have transpired in their absence and “organising upskilling programs” can contribute to creating “an environment where all employees feel valued and included” (Banerjee, T., 2023). Actions like these, along with employers being more creative in terms of designing roles and more open to job share opportunities and part time roles, can lessen the impact of what has been coined the motherhood penalty.
Recent research carried out by the journalist Anna Whitehouse of Mother Pukka “found flexible working already contributes £37billion to the UK economy” and that “increasing current rates by 50% could unlock a further £55billion, while creating 51,200 new jobs.” Whitehouse says that there are myriad ways to offer employees flexible conditions (Badiozamman, E., undated).
Along with the varied life experience and new learning that parents bring to the workplace is the added value in terms of client relationships. Diverse teams reach diverse clients: not everyone will identify with the entertaining host propping up the bar until the early hours of the morning. People enjoy connecting with others who may have similar circumstances and possibly face some of the same issues. This common ground and identification drives connection which is good for business.
The time is now to further collaborate in the unique eco-system that is the events industry, applying our imaginations to envisage employment solutions where all professionals with knowledge to contribute and valuable work to do are able to comfortably occupy and operate from a seat at the table.
‘I think what an organization does in terms of supporting working parents says a lot about how they’re going to treat those working parents while they’re a part of their organization.’
- Badiozamman, E., (undated) I’m fighting for flexible working beyond this crisis – here’s what it would do for all of us, accessed on 19/5/23 at https://www.stylist.co.uk/opinion/flexible-working-policy-request-law-mother-pukka/626807
- Banerjee, T. (10/05/23) How to retain new mothers in the workforce? India Inc bosses feel flexibility, supportive environment can make a difference, accessed on 19/05/23 at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/how-to-retain-new-mothers-in-the-workforce-india-inc-bosses-feel-flexibility-supportive-environment-can-make-a-difference/articleshow/100077651.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst