Answering the #FridayFive today is the fantastic Sophie Salome, Head of Speaker Liason at Speakers in Partnership.
Tell us a bit about your job?
I’m Head of Speaker Liaison at Speakers in Partnership, part of Marketing in Partnership, a leading London-based financial marketing company. Within that I research and source external speakers for our conferences across the UK and further afield, as well as organising the logistics for and managing those speakers on-site. Since the pandemic this has involved a lot of virtual conferences, as well as the current transition back to in-person events.
What are the key ingredients for success?
Two things really spring to mind here. Firstly, putting the client at the heart of everything. As our name would suggest, we work in partnership with our clients to generate the best results.
And secondly, never being ashamed to ask for help when it’s needed. I’m really lucky in that I work with the most incredible team who can always be relied upon for support and advice, and that makes a huge difference – particularly if, as I do, you spend a lot of time working remotely.
Could you describe a normal day?
A large part of my day is comms – with both clients and speakers. This is followed by research into relevant themes and topics, which help form the basis of our event agendas, as well as new speakers and undiscovered talent. As I mentioned earlier, part of my job is also managing the logistics for these speakers, which involves overseeing briefings, travel arrangements etc. The part of my job I enjoy the most is attending the events though, watching everyone’s hard work come together.
For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?
I think flexibility is the key ingredient here. It’s really important to keep an open mind whatever the task and however old you are. There’s a lot of pressure on young people to decide very early on what path they want to take. But after leaving school or university you don’t necessarily know how you want to proceed, and that’s ok.
It’s important to keep an open mindset, try different things and don’t feel you have to specialise too early. For example, I started out on the events management side of things, and was gradually drawn to working with our external speakers. Even within my current job topics and themes are always evolving, so it’s important to be broad minded and, whilst it’s a terrible cliché, think outside-the-box.
What are you reading, watching and listening to right now?
I tried very hard to think of something deep and intellectual here, but I have to admit I’m a big fan of a period drama. Recently I’ve enjoyed the latest season of The Crown as well as The Empress, both on Netflix. As a huge fan of the original Game of Thrones, I’ve become worryingly addicted to House of the Dragon.
Being a fan of period dramas means that I do tend to enjoy books set in the past. One of my most favourite novels ever is Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. Set in 1650s Massachusetts, it describes the conflict between Puritan settlers and the Native American tribes, with two young people at the heart of it all. Another recommendation would be The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, which is an alternative look at two Greek heroes during the Trojan War.