Louise Obadia, Director at Plural was interviewed for the “2 minutes with…” column in the July 2019 issue of Exhibition News.
How did you get into the events industry?
By accident! I left university and started a law conversion course – but after two days I hated it and dropped out. My Dad told me I had to get a job or move out, so I thought, what am I good at and organising events was the first thing that came to mind.
Favourite thing about events?
Without a doubt it is the buzz you get onsite; I still get that feeling after 25 years! It is a combination of a real sense of achievement at having created a platform for networking, learning and commerce that will drive the progress of an industry or sector, together with a huge adrenalin rush!
What do you think you can bring to the new role?
Hands-on execution and operational experience, a can-do attitude and great relationship building skills.
What will you do/have you done in the first month in the job?
Straight in at the deep end, leading a post merger integration on an asset Plural had just completed the DD on. The deal signed the Friday before I joined – on the Monday I was in New York kicking off the 100 day plan!
What’s on your desk?
Nothing much as we hot desk. However, there’s always a coffee, healthy snack, my glasses and invariably a new Implementation or PMI proposal.
How do you intend to face the challenges in the industry?
The current challenges in the industry present a real opportunity for Plural. The team here has developed an incredibly strong positioning among industry senior management based on their advice and problem solving capability – part of my role is to turn that advice into actions and results.
I worked for a long time in the Russian and CIS markets where every answer was always a ‘no’ first. You had to work incredibly hard to convert a no to a yes and I found that mindset extremely frustrating.
The day we signed the deal to sell Adam Smith Conferences to IIR. I was 33 years old and had been running on adrenalin for 6 years to build the business. Seeing the deal complete was an incredibly proud moment for me.
Best piece of advice?
If you have a positive attitude, everything is possible.
Funniest work moment?
Receiving a call from Bill Clinton’s office to say he wouldn’t be able to attend our Leaders In Moscow event in person, he’d have to give a Skype presentation, because it was his wedding anniversary!
I’ve always wanted to read the 10 o’clock news.
Who is the individual you most admire?
My dad. His entrepreneurial spirit, his glass half full attitude and his never say no until you have tried everything to succeed approach has being my guiding force throughout my life.…oh and Queen Victoria – she was a real force to be reckoned with!
The last film you watched?
If Beale Street Could Talk – BUT – I just saw a production of the Arthur Miller play All My Sons at the Old Vic and was blown away!
At EN HQ, we take our coffee very seriously – how do you take your coffee?
Well, I have a dry skinny cappuccino to kick off my day, followed by a macchiato mid-morning and a cortado after lunch!
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