Following her appointment as the new Head of Corporate Events at Somerset House, we asked Jenny Smith to take five minutes out of her busy schedule to have a chat with us about her new role, her stunning new venue and successful event planning…
What’s your top tip for running a successful event?
Communication is key. As long as you have a good working relationship with both your team and your client, then you will understand everyone’s requirements and can pre-empt any potential challenges.
Do you have any advice for clients looking for a venue for an event?
I think it’s really important that you trust your venue’s events team, to ensure they always offer the very best solutions for you. You will be working closely with them, so you want to ensure that they care about your event as much as you do.
What’s your favourite space at Somerset House and why?
It would have to be the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, purely because of its scale and flexibility. It has hosted everything from global film premiere after-parties (working with Bubble of course!) and fairgrounds through to the summer gigs and film festivals and the London Design Festival. Not forgetting, of course, our SKATE at Somerset House ice rink which we’re already really excited about! It is a truly stunning space and a total blank canvas.
What event has stood out for you so far?
Being new to the role, the best is yet to come! Ask me again in a year!
What are your key priorities in your new role?
I am responsible for leading Somerset House’s venue hire and bespoke events business. Somerset House is one of London’s most inspiring destinations, combining its heritage with a commitment to contemporary culture, and we are able to deliver hugely exciting events against this backdrop. It will be mine and my team’s responsibility to further grow our reputation for hosting extraordinary corporate events.
What did you do before joining the team at Somerset House?
I worked at the Saatchi Gallery, for the event management company GSP Venues Ltd. I have also previously worked at RADA in Business, and am actively involved with Unique Venues of London.
What exciting developments are coming up at the venue?
This September we have the inaugural London Design Biennale from 7th – 27th September. Over 30 countries will participate in presenting newly commissioned works, which explore the theme ‘Utopia by Design’. We are also hugely excited about having the East Wing available to sell during the festive season, which is perfect for Christmas parties alongside the SKATE ice rink.
What changes do you think the events industry will see over the next 5 years?
I think we will see a further increase in competition, as events agencies and venues aspire to provide more and more services under one roof, in order to streamline the customer experience.