Claire’s secrets to success

Marketing, Community and Events Specialist Claire Barrance has enjoyed a successful 14-year career in the events industry developing and executing both B2B and B2C events, marketing and social media strategies as well as creating engaging marketing content.

Her most recent position, Community and Events Lead with Mo (an employee engagement app) saw her launch, manage and grow a community of 10,000 senior HR professionals and business leaders and then create the events strategy for them.

Claire’s secrets to success are remaining calm, thriving in fast-paced environments and being good at juggling a lot of things all at once. She feels challenged by the events industry and enjoys finding new ways to make experiences memorable for attendees.

Here she talks with Melissa Paulden about career progress, passions and personal development as she navigates through this tough time.

I started my career in a well-rounded marketing role for an IT company in Nottingham, looking after direct marketing, internal comms, PR and events. One of my big projects was working on a large conference we had a strong presence at In London and it was from this experience that I really got the event bug! I then moved to London to start my career concentrating on events, initially in the education sector at London Business School where I got really great experience and skills as I worked on events all around the world.

I really love the variety that comes with events, no day is ever really the same and you get the chance to be really creative. We work long hours and there are some less fun tasks involved but at the end you get to see all of your ideas and hard work come to life in an amazing experience for the attendees. Watching people connect, learn and leave inspired is really rewarding.

In my past role as Events Lead at IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed I took our flagship event National Freelancers Day from an 80 person, evening event with 6 speakers, to a full day, 500 attendee, 40 + speaker conference and separate evening Freelancer Awards ceremony for 150 people. It was so rewarding to grow the event so substantially and provide the audience with such a range of different learning, speakers and new ways of delivering content.

In my last role I was working for a tech start-up who had never hosted their own events before. With just the second event we achieved an impressive turnout and the venue was fantastic (The Gherkin).

The CEO and Co-Founder said that it was one of the best moments he had had since starting the company.

It was a really exciting role and I feel like I achieved a lot during my year there. It was a great responsibility to come up with the complete event strategy, deliver some successful events and grow their community.

Sadly, due to COVID-19, they had to make the decision to let me go but I have learnt loads of new skills, gained an understanding of the world of tech, HR and start-ups, and made great connections. It was a difficult and emotional time losing my job during the pandemic and not something I had really expected to happen. I think with redundancy you do go through a lot of different emotions but then you have to pull yourself together and start working on the plan to move forward.

In my last role as well as the events side of things I was creating original content, managing social media channels, building relationships with customers and prospects and I also created and managed a podcast. During my time on furlough and since being made redundant I have been concentrating on upskilling my marketing knowledge with online courses and taking on a freelance part time social media project. I really enjoy writing different styles of original content and brushing up on my social media knowledge, such as the power of paid social media advertising.

I have really realised how important your network and the power of community is. LinkedIn has been an amazing resource for me during this time as well as other professional networks such as a fairly recent community `I have been part of called FORT (furloughed or released talent) on The Guild platform.

Losing your job during these times is incredibly scary and the prospect of trying to find a job right now can be very daunting, so having advice, support and knowing others are going through similar things is invaluable.

I am impressed with how resilient I have been. I have been working hard to ensure I keep a routine and keep up momentum with my job search and upskilling. I am working on part time freelance projects while also job searching and upskilling to make sure that I get back to where I think I deserve to be career wise.

I have also been volunteering my skills with a company called Gigfunding. I have been helping them out with their PR and partnership outreach. It gave me an opportunity to keep focused on something away from job hunting as well as broadening my skills and giving back.

Some days can be difficult but I am determined to stay in London and get back into a role that I love.