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Why Above The Crowd

...and what makes us different to other consultancies?

Having been taught about hard graft from the age of 7 down at the local stables by an infamous Mrs M it was to the silver service world in which I trained and diligently worked as often as possible in a Posthouse Forte and a café, waiting and clearing tables. Then onto busier pubs more suited to my twenty’s social life, onto nightclubs and so the story goes on, until I found that even the UK was too small for me.

I found Antigua and was unable to leave it for 4 years, its final gift to me was the discovery of my love of events when a friend, far too pregnant, passed ‘The Follies’ torch to me for one season and a certain gentleman with the surname Branson gave me some pretty brilliant advice in a toilet queue and I headed back to the UK to formalize my new passion via any qualification I could find.

Image of Antigua

At the time, the only thing available to me was an HND in Event Management and Wedding Planning. It was the first time I studied something in a language that made SO much sense to me and I was keen to get to my new vocation and so I set myself to the task of finding an historical house that I could fall in love with.

AND I DID, it is now privately taken care of but in my time over 8 years ago I took it to a £2.1m turnover venue. Which came at great personal cost to a very committed team who grafted up to 80+ hours per week to ensure that Weddings, Conferences, Meetings, Private Events and one version of Eyes Wide Shut, I still believe I am an unofficial record holder of, went off with minimal disruption and where we constantly exceeded guest satisfaction.

Image of Liz Haigh and Sarah

I also found my Aman’do’, Amanda Withers. A person to whom I have nothing but trust and respect for. Not only was her nickname deserved, but we managed a level of communication that rarely required more than a look and some covert hand gestures. Someone I still call my good friend. A person whom I once asked to hold a bag for me that had A LOT of cash in and didn’t have to think about it again until I asked for it back. Only years later did we have the conversation about what was inside the bag to Amando’s complete and utter surprise.

It was pure graft; nothing less would have managed the feats that we did. Such a small team faced with many, many challenges both inside the venue and with the people that called themselves the directors of it. Stories of which I have been challenged as to their marveled truth.

Two people climbing a rock

From there my career moved forward off that hard work and the honest way I approached it. It led me to London where I found myself in front of some very influential members of the film industry and where I won the contract to event manage Disney/Pixar’s first ever wrap party in the UK. That one came with a heavy responsibility. I needed to ensure 1000 guest satisfaction should the UK wish to continue to receive any further celebratory funding. I knocked it out of the park whilst Darwin watched my accomplishment at the Natural History Museum. And where I watched in awe as Andrew Stanton delivered a speech I have never forgotten.

Since then it has been one venue or another that has seen my careful and dedicated attentions each of them sharing the similar frustrations and triumphs and perhaps why I ended up with Events burn out and two arthritic knees.

Image of London at night

What I witnessed, working inside the industry, were departments such as Housekeeping downgraded to the bottom of the pile. This made, and still makes, little to no sense to me as they are the very root to any successful delivery. Small teams under enormous pressure as the venue fights rising running costs against some owners who don’t see the value in re-investing into their loyal staff with better pay and human rights over the need to derive some form of profit. A complete lack of understanding on how to combat the BYO drink option due to the extortionate bar prices laid onto a captive audience and on it goes.

I drew my line in the soil and started on the road to setting up Above The Crowd.

Time for change, written on the beach

Further to this I was dismayed to discover that we have no place at the government's table despite being three times larger than agriculture and responsible for 35% of ALL tourism that comes into the United Kingdom. We were, in fact, nowhere to be seen.

And so I set off, contacting all the amazing people I have been fortunate to meet along the way. Those I have worked with, watched entertain, turnaround a venue in less than two hours, fed on a small, medium and large scale, decorated internally and externally, created floral theatre, set up and broken down in 24 hours, provide health and safety, hair and make up, managed the events and the list goes on and on. Never have I ceased to be amazed by these individuals' commitment to pay it forward.

Reserved Table image

My aim is to be seen as a different kind of consultancy, an extra pairs of hands more than willing to be put to work whilst observing the best and that which needs improvement. A business who has surrounded itself with amazing likeminded collaborators and contributors all linking hard-working arms in an effort to be able to give the best and most tangible advice as to how a venue or event can really stand out Above The Crowd and grab hold of as much of that almost Brexit proof £47b per annum prize.

It is this team I also take with me to the door of our government to ask some essential questions such as;

  • Why although there is a governmental events board that meets, to what benefit is it to the half a million full time tax paying employees and who knows how many part-time? (I can’t stand the phrase Casual Staff; they are certainly not that in the events world) and to all the rest of the industry?
  • Where is the support for this rising industry that hosts over 7000 outdoor events, who knows how many thousands of weddings, private celebrations, meetings, conferences and trade shows?
  • Why doesn’t the MP for Tourism have a direct role within it?
  • Why does our £47b industry sit in ‘OTHER’ on their hard to negotiate website?
  • What are they proactively doing to ensure that our human rights are improved upon within the workplace?
  • How are they going to support the mental impact of working inside one of the top 5 most stressful vocations?
  • What had the government done to protect this industry from the effects of Brexit?

These are, however, just words and we are in the business of ‘doing’ and I intend, along with the ATC Team, to demonstrate just that.

Teamwork, hands in the circle

Testimonials

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Above The Crowd offers services just as the name suggests. The creativity IS original, the intent to exceed expectations set from the start. You absolutely know you are in empathic, professional hands. It is clear that the industry knowledge is one that has been truly earnt through hard work and that can only have been generated by experience from the ground upwards.

A brilliant, classy and extremely well run event from concept to completion, 1000 guests truly impressed...now that says it all

Dan Barrow - VFX Producer

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Above the Crowd is phenomenally effective at providing Creative Solutions... the ideas never seem to end. Sometimes it seems like one or two of the ideas are a bit left field and then you explore them in more detail and realise that those ideas you nearly dismissed are totally genius. I thoroughly recommend working with them whenever you need an injection of innovation and creativity.

Emma Shenton - MD Oakwood Management Consulting

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