60 seconds with the chair - Katie Clarke - Sustainability Working Group
Katie Clarke is the quality and compliance manager for Manchester Central, with a broad remit that includes project managing the three ISO management systems in place at the venue, running the internal audit programme, and leading on maintaining the risk and compliance register up-to-date.With a first class masters degree in management, Katie's career to date has equipped her with a strong portfolio of skills and abilities, and a deep insight into marketing, finance, sales and event management.
As chair of the AEV Sustainability Working Group, Katie employs her talents to help the association share best practice in sustainability and maintain the relevant sections in the eGuide, whilst also facilitating constructive discussion and resolutions amongst group members around pressing sustainability issues faced by member venues.
What brought you into the event industry?
“I love Manchester and the idea of working for a company that's aim is to attract more people to the city really interested me. There's so much going on here and I'm passionate about getting as many people as possible to visit Manchester and enjoy their experience at Manchester Central.”
Why did you get involved with the association working groups?
“On a personal level, I love learning and sharing best practice. As Quality and Compliance Manager, my focus is continual improvement so I'm always keen to generate new ideas which the working group has definitely assisted with. Additionally, it's a great platform for Manchester Central to promote its industry leading initiatives.”
What do you think the best show, exhibition or conference was last year?
“We host such a wide range of events and that in itself is really interesting; but MCM Comic Con is always one of my favourites – the outfits vary from My Little Pony to Darth Vader! It's great to welcome such a huge number of visitors and see them have such a great experience at the venue.”
What will be the next big change in venues?
“I think the biggest changes will come as a result of how venues respond to the continually evolving political, economic and social environments. For example, the sharing economy could instigate change as the rise in popularity of AirBnB may encourage people to extend their business visits to destinations.”
What piece of event tech is going to be indispensable in the future?
“I'm not sure about a specific piece of technology but I imagine there is so much more we can get out of mobile devices and apps to further improve visitor experiences at events and venues.”
What's your favourite quote, saying or motto?
“I really oppose green washing so it's "sustainability is not just sustainability – it is innovation with a sustainable output" – which is something I've picked up via the working group.”
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
“I'm very much an advocate of the circular economy so it would have to be ‘everything can be utilised and most things are underutilised.'”
Which historical event would you most like to host at your venue?
“It would have been amazing to host the Olympic Opening Ceremony – the whole of the UK was so proud to be on the world stage and I bet there was a lot to be learnt from delivering such a big operation.”
What film, book or TV series have you been recommending to others recently?
“I'm not a big fan of box sets but I'm a sucker for Gogglebox, First Dates and pretty much any cooking programme.”
What music are you listening to at the moment?
“I'll listen to anything but I'm currently loving Frank Ocean, Gregory Porter and Zara Larsson – I have pretty eclectic taste!”
If you could attend any event, in the past, present or future, what would it be?
“It would be great to see Comic-Con International in San Diego, just to see how they do things on such a huge scale!”