We recently interviewed our Liz Harvey, Senior Director of Creative Services, US as part of our ‘Two Minutes With’ series. The series aims to bring together some of our team members for informative and enlightening interviews – all in short, sharp two minute reads.
What is your job title?
Senior Director, Creative Services, US
How did you start in the industry?
Completely by accident! I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and when I graduated, I took an Event Coordinator role with aspirations of traveling around the world. After about six months with the organisation, I realized that I loved the culture, the people and the clients. Since then, I have held numerous different roles, travelled all over the world, and relocated twice with the company – once to Amsterdam and more recently to Pennsylvania to join our US Operations Team.
What does your day-to-day role involve?
My day-to-day role is incredibly varied and can include anything from conceptualising with our creative team to identify new branding ideas, through to helping our clients curate and design meaningful messaging and content. I am also fortunate to provide support to our awesome production team and deliver services across both Ashfield and our sister agency SPARK THINKING. No two days are ever the same.
Our solutions go way past your basic audio-visual needs and standard pipe and drape setup. We collaborate with and benefit from a shared global creative services team to create unique and impactful CSR initiatives, develop inventive programme design, advise clients on the best digital solutions and strategies, and even create exhibits and environments for our clients at medical congresses.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The opportunity and freedom to work with incredibly talented people and bring our clients’ great ideas to life is what I enjoy most about my work. There is nothing more exciting to me than taking a blank canvas and a solid brief and being able to see something through from the “cutting room” to the live event delivery.
I greatly appreciate leveraging relationships with my team of in-house 3D, exhibits, and creative designers, as well as our preferred video and virtual meetings suppliers. By having access to the cream of the crop of talent in the industry, we are able to deliver the most engaging live event experiences for our clients.
How have you seen healthcare meetings and events evolve during your career?
Technology and social media have progressed at lightning speed, which has had such a great impact on the events industry. Specifically, within the healthcare industry, this helped to evolve what a good event looks like and how you approach the program design and attendee experience across each meeting type – from a meeting with healthcare professionals to a 2,000 person sales meeting.
Technology has driven a much greater appreciation for the human connection. The biggest and newest event technology is not what creates impact. What creates impact is the ability to truly understand and connect with clients and audiences.
In addition, there is a greater understanding that events are not about checking boxes any more. Client expectations of event return on investment (ROI) is much higher now. There is so much more emphasis on understanding your own individual objectives and purpose, appreciating human tendencies and designing events and experiences that evoke emotional responses to truly drive message retention and understanding. Little did I know that my degree in Psychology would prove to be so useful in my career within events, as my knowledge helps towards designing event theming and messaging to evoke emotional responses.
Who or what has had the greatest ‘impact’ on your career and how?
The handful of people who gave me a chance and were willing to take a calculated risk and invest in me. That has taken my career in many different directions in my 13 years with Ashfield Meetings & Events and each time it has taught me very valuable lessons and helped me develop along the way. The advice they gave me exhilarated me to seize opportunities and always be open to new, unexpected directions.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the meetings and events industry?
Be a sponge. Listen with intent. Ask the stupid questions. Do the research. Do not be afraid to be wrong and always make sure you act with integrity. If you are willing to truly immerse yourself in all this industry has to offer, then there will always be opportunities and experiences for you that will make all the hard work worth it.