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Business News The secrets behind inviting


It’s difficult enough organising a dinner party for four people. So how do you go about catering for 1,300 people from a myriad of backgrounds for the biggest business dinner in Greater Birmingham? Jessica Brookes (pictured) followed the events and marketing team at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce for 12 months through the start of the planning process to the big night at the ICC.


of Commerce (GBCC) annual dinner and awards, many may not realise the hours of planning, meetings and co-ordination needed to make the biggest business event in Greater Birmingham happen. The people behind the magic of the annual


F


dinner and awards is the GBCC’s marketing and events team was led by senior marketing and events executive Julie Ledesma. The team included Anna Assinder, Katrina


Cooke, Lauren Hunt, Dervis Karavezirler, John Parry and Jess Uppal, and I followed the uber- organised, detail-obsessed team to see how they put the Chamber’s event of the year together.


20 April 2018 (356 days to go) Paul Kehoe, immediate-past GBCC president is the first to use the #GBCCAwards19 hashtag on Twitter.


14 July 2018 (271 days to go) Save-the-date announcement goes live on Twitter.


31 October (162 days to go) Julie, Anna, Paul Faulkner, chief executive and Russell Jeans, chief operating officer at the Chamber, reflect on the GBCC annual dinner and awards 2018, and discuss the GBCC annual dinner and awards 2019. The Chamber team decide to resume the


Excellence in Retail category and the addition of Buy One Get One Free Offer (BOGOF) offer on tickets for a limited time only. They also confirm other award categories,


sponsor opportunities, costs, nominations, social media and press plan.


15 November 2018 (147 days to go) Annual dinner launches, with awards categories open for nominations and sponsorship opportunities now open and tickets and tables available to purchase.


25 January (76 days to go) Broadcaster Ed James is agreed and announced as host.


36 CHAMBERLINK May 2019 1


1 February 2019 (69 days to go) Julie, Lauren and Anna meet with the audio visual crew manager at the ICC where they discuss the technicalities of projecting sound and visuals to all 1,300 guests across 3,050sqm in Hall 3, the largest at the venue. Next the trio meet with members of the ICC’s


events and technical crew to discuss catering, layout, table plans, timings, security and safety President of the GBCC, Saqib Bhatti, joins the Chamber’s events team to taste the dishes all guests will be eating and drinking during the evening alongside Rob May, the catering manager at Amadeus, the catering partner at the ICC. The team have again decided on Indian


cuisine, which always goes down well at the Chamber dinner. However, it’s not all Prosecco and pakoras. The


events team and Amadeus agreed on table linens, cloths, napkins, confirm number of table decorations, placement of bars in Hall 3 and staffing. Starters, mains and desserts for guests – and


the separate courses for 103 VIPs – are all tasted and agreed by Amadeus and the events team. Dietary issues are also considered.


8 February (62 days to go) Award nominations close. Julie and Lauren now has the hefty task of collating all nominations ready for judges.


14 February (56 days to go) Julie sends award nominations to all judges via a secure email link. Judges have a week to go through 5,000 pages of award nominations and make notes on each and every firm which has been nominated.


18 February (52 days to go) Mondelez confirm that they will provide 1,300 chocolate bars for guests.


20 February (50 days to go) Dervis finalises the ticket design and sends it for printing.


21 February (49 days to go) Judging day. Judges gather at Chamber House and dissect every single award nomination. At the end of the day, all 79 shortlisted firms and winners are selected. The judging panel was: Russell Jeans, chair; Jo Birch, Birmingham City University; Dee Kundi, VWV; Ravinder Masih,


or the 1,300 guests who descended on the International Convention Centre (ICC) to attend the Greater Birmingham Chambers


It’s not all Prosecco and pakoras as the events team spend 356 days arranging a perfect evening


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