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So, changing your business, or pivoting as my friend @MiguelNeves suggests is exactly what I’ve done, this year 2019.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions any more. My life goals are already out with the Universe and the new journey is beginning now so let’s do this!

I’m so excited about it that I’m going to muse over my learnings, discoveries, hilarities and challenges over the next 12 months.

No 1 challenge to the new business has been the title of this blog! When you google female MC, up pops Salt n Peppa, Mary J Blige and a host of other highly talented RnB artists. Not one Master (or Mistress) of Ceremonies. And it that what I am?

Certainly, my clients, a pharmaceutical company, tourist board and association would not allude to my job being a Master of Ceremonies in its traditional meaning. Conference Chair? Chief Facilitator, Madam Moderator?

Is it time for a change in language? Diversity breeds success. Fact. Organisations promoting diversity must think about how they translate this via their marketing and communications, and this relates to our world, most importantly their meetings and events.

My forward-thinking client, a European Medical Society have specifically requested me, the female MC for their bi-annual conference of 2500 participants. Their current president is leading the charge on diversity within their society and has (along with his excellent team) realised that the dynamics of this should start in front of his peers at the opening ceremony in Vienna.

For me, I most certainly don’t want to be hire purely because I’m a woman. My experience in meeting design, passion for participant engagement and knowledge of planning successful conferences, meetings and events, along with an already credible client base built on hard slog, should be reason enough!

However, if you are meeting planner, event organiser or conference producer who is looking at their all white male speaker list**, wondering how to create greater engagement with their diverse organisation and delegation, I’m happy to advise and help you make your events become more successful.

** I am not knocking white male speakers here! Some of my greatest pals and business associates are just this. I encourage you to hire them on their merits. But greater awareness of your participants and your company message around diversity is one for the must think about pot.

A successful exhibition organiser in the events industry indirectly and unintentionally created what could be perceived as a really non-diverse message at their awards ceremony. With their exhibition director male director and all awards winners in the same category, there were off the record conversations alluding to sexism etc. This simply wasn’t the case. It was the situation and circumstances of the worthy winners. But these comments would have been eliminated had they had a diverse MC. What are your meetings and events saying about your organisation ethics?

Back to month one! With a new website, massive email/IT challenges and that nervous feeling in my stomach that only comes when you really, really want something to be a success, I am ready to shout about www.sammeallen.com It’s taken a lot of soul searching, family challenges and a lot of inward review to realise that at 43 and a quarter, I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. My first big “gig” of 2019 is MPI’s European Meetings and Events Conference https://www.emec19.com in a couple of weeks so I hope to see you there!

I love every second of working with my clients, supporting with their meeting design (if required) and supporting their participant engagement. It is long hours, super physical and emotional and I would be lying if I told you it wasn’t the most amazing feeling hearing the positive feedback from clients and delegates.

There are challenges you face, as most event organisers know, that you can’t predict. From technology not working to speakers going missing, these things are part of the rich tapestry of this world. And I for one cannot wait to explore this more!

Samme Xx