60 seconds with the chair - Sarah Cox


60 seconds with the chair - Sarah Cox

30 Nov 2015

Sarah has delivered high level conferences, exhibitions, sponsorship and events across a range of sectors, including telecommunications, financial services, pharmaceuticals and biotech, and for organisations including the European Commission, the OECD, the British Chambers of Commerce, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, ABN Amro and Informa.

A well-known figure in the events and exhibition industry, Sarah is currently on the board of ESSA, chairs the cross association working group on health and safety, and is a member of the AEV Sustainability Working Group.


Why did you get involved with the association working groups?

I really believe in a collaborative approach to problem solving. The working groups bring together representatives from all parts of the industry to establish minimum standards, work towards best practice and improving the industry for everyone.

What do you think the best show, exhibition or conference was last year?

British Summertime in Hyde Park, I took a couple of my US colleagues to see The Who and they could not believe how fantastic it was.

What will be the next big change in venues?

Accessibility / IT networks.

What piece of event tech is going to be indispensable in the future?


What's your favourite quote, saying or motto?

I have two, which I suppose are linked: “the longest day is only 24 hours”, “the darkest hour is just before the dawn”. Events are hard work, and I find it reassuring to know that the show will open, no matter what, and then we’ll all be moving on to the next one.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Don’t burn your bridges! It’s a small world, particularly the UK exhibition industry, and you never know when you may encounter someone again.

What film, book or TV series have you been recommending to others recently?

I read a fantastic book on holiday this year – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, about a girl who grew up as part of a strange 1960s psychology experiment (can’t tell you any more otherwise it will spoil the twist.)

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Rock – anything from Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Iron Maiden and the Foo Fighters; planning to go to Download again next year.

If you could attend any event, in the past, present or future, what would it be?

London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony; the kids were too young so we didn’t go to any of the events and I regret that.



  • "Great day hosting our first AEV working group event!..WOW did I learn a lot and some great insights into how other venues work and the challenges they are trying to overcome. If you are a venue looking to network with other like minded professionals I would recommend looking at joining the AEV".
    Danielle Worker
    Corporate Events Team Leader, Silverstone Circuits Ltd
  • "“Great essential for a successful venue. The AEV provides a platform to establish consistent best practice in this field"
    Phil Wetz
    Retail & Catering Manager, ExCeL London
  • “The AEV provides collective representation for its member venues, turning individual commitment into a group effort"
    Paul Brough
    Venue Health & Safety Manager, Olympia London
  • "Proud to be part of this Cross Association discussion. I am confident in our ability to improve and progress our working platform through conversation".
    Amir Vered
    Head of eForce and IT, Olympia London (Chair of Cross Association Technology WG)
  • “The AEV is essential to the venue sector’s ability to cooperate and collaborate"
    Jazmin Beale
    Head of Marketing & Communications, Olympia London
  • “The AEV undertakes crucial work on behalf of event venues up and down the country to ensure our voice is heard. They reinforce the important role our sector plays in delivering economic impact, increasing trade, providing jobs and driving the visitor economy.”
    Lucy Merritt
    Head of Marketing and Communications, ExCeL London
  • AEV Membership is a key part of our business strategy; it has and will continue to be a core elements of our plan to support knowledge sharing in the industry and to develop both our team and the venue.
    Kate Vandenburg
    Marketing Director - Business Design Centre
  • Our team at ACC Liverpool feel indebted to the substantial work that the AEV do for our amazing industry. As the pillar association for venues across the country it’s a real privilege for our teams to participate in many of the working groups, learning and contributing to new processes which helps drive our industry forward on a national scale.
    Colm Graham
    Senior Exhibition Account Manager, ACC Liverpool
  • We have benefited hugely from all of the insight, discussion, events and networking, but it has also meant that we have been able to give back to the industry by sharing our unique experiences and professional knowledge and allowing our employees to help lead and shape the Association from the inside.
    Mathew James
    Head of Brand, Telford International Centre
  • “The AEV has been an invaluable asset to us as a company and the wider industry, helping to lobby on the industries behalf, consolidating and distributing information and facilitating vital knowledge sharing.”
    Charlie Hodgson
    Managing Director at The Kia Oval