Sheroes: Hannah Kelly
By Becky Balchin

There is nothing that elevates or indeed motivates me more than having a mentor. An honest soundboard, someone who celebrates the small wins and who I look forward to sharing my updates with at our monthly Coppa Club Catchups! The FF15 programme has introduced me to Hannah Kelly, Vice President at BCD Meetings & Events and I’m delighted to be featuring Hannah as my Shero.

Can you pinpoint a moment in your career where you doubted yourself? And how did you motivate to push through?

“Over the years I have had many of these moments, but one stands out whereas an output I really defined what I wanted to be known for.  This during a time of huge growth on a single account when I was an Account Director.  At times of growth, sometimes you can be overwhelmed by the actions of the day-to-day job and take your eye of the direction of travel.

“For me, this meant I was working ridiculous hours, missing key personal time with my son and family as an example.  Work was taking over my life. I needed help with the amount of work, and needed more account management support with the growing client demands.  My boss at the time was equally focused on other things, so I decided to take control.  I built out a presentation to showcase the journey so far with the account, forecasted where we will be in 12 months and the actions needed to achieve this.  It meant adding account management resource, elevating my role to ensure we spread the load among more people, but also to reduce risk by sharing responsibility and accountability.

“I decided that day that I wanted to be known for having credibility and integrity, hence the presentation to my leadership team landed well and we proceeded with my recommendation.  I was motivated by declaring to others what I wanted to be known for and then a plan to achieve it.”

Is there a person in your life that elevates you?

“I have had many people in my life that elevate me and have benefitted enormously for that.  My Dad is probably the main person, not because he knew the answers I needed, but gave me the confidence and determination to progress.

“He isn’t with us anymore, but I still visit him at his resting place, in fact, only did so yesterday and I think about what he would have said.  It’s amazing how many memories still remind me of the things he said that are still relevant today.”

Any tips on how someone can elevate themselves within the industry?

“Pick several people to elevate you, never just one.  Also find someone that will push you into uncomfortable decision making, because that’s where you stretch and evolve. It’s like your friend network, you always want at least one person to tell you that an outfit looks dreadful, or that boyfriend is just bad for you!  Getting involved in industry associations or press activities like M&IT Challenge or Forums, there is so much “Extra-Curricular” activity to get stuck into.”

Any tips on how someone can elevate themselves within a company?

“Volunteer for as many activities in the company to get noticed.  Staff councils, charity committees etc, first of all you meet people outside of your direct team, but also you might find that person that pushes you outside of your comfort zone.”

How does being a mentor elevate you?

“Mentoring allows me to learn so much about myself and others.  This is why I will never stop being a mentor, every day is a school day!”