Tomorrow's Talent Meet the Judges: Leigh Cowlishaw
With over 20 years’ experience in the meetings, accommodation and business travel industry, Leigh is a well-connected and well-networked industry leader. Most recently Leigh was Director of Proposition – Accommodation and Meetings at Capita Travel and Events, where she led a team to manage and develop Capita’s proposition for accommodation and meetings, as well as driving the strategy for this area for customer and partner value through customer sourcing programmes, partnerships and creating optimum value by unlocking opportunities.
Leigh was appointed in 2016 to the HBAA Chair of the Industry Association and currently taking an active part on the board today; to support the shaping of the Association. She is chair of GTMC Steering Group for Meetings, Conferences and Events, an Advisory Board Member of The Meetings Show and a Mental Health First Aider, to support others and drive wellbeing in the workplace.
Leigh was delighted to have secured a space on 2018 MIA list; which was voted by independent judges and supported by testimonials from our business, customers, partners and industry peers.
Why do you think it's important to recognise and celebrate the young talent within the events industry?
Young people are the leaders of the future, so recognising and celebrating talented, up and coming event professionals is really important. It needs to be done to showcase the industry, as well as to showcase people’s passion and success.
Do you feel like there is a strong culture of mentoring and support for young people within the industry?
I think having a culture of mentoring and support is becoming more prevalent, but there is always room to provide more platforms for this support. That gives people the choice of finding the option that’s right for them, or for going through multiple channels if that will be beneficial.
What are the attributes that you think make a successful meetings and events planner?
Meetings and events planners need passion for the industry, they need to think on their feet, and they need to provide customers with real outcomes. They need to be able to make personal experiences come alive, to enrich the customer journey. People want to buy from someone who is knowledgeable, experienced and has the appetite to always try and do bigger and better things.
What will you be looking for when reviewing the entries for Tomorrow's Talent? What would make someone stand out to you?
I’ll be looking for people who are passionate, demonstrate willingness to make a difference, and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. I’d like to see people who have an appetite to be networked and are keen to take on different perspectives to enrich their own learnings and appetite to succeed. Event planning is a journey, and successful applicants need to show that they are agile enough to take all the twists and turns.