Chris Skeith

Chris Skeith, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Event Organisers

We talked to Chris Skeith, CEO of the AEO on his organisation’s response to Covid-19.

1) How has your association responded to the covid-19 pandemic in terms of how you communicate with members?

As CEO I have responded to every question, every email, and every social post from members (and indeed non-members) seeking information, help or reassurance.

On a more formal basis, we have sent a daily digest to every single member, detailing:

  • The plan to represent the sector to government
  • The tactics to dovetail into government strategy & thinking, to obtain a go date/recognition/support
  • progress with our public affairs work
  • details and information from our meetings with ministers, officials and government departments
  • requests for data sets and case studies to complement our activities
  • requests and templates for members to send to their local MPs to further enhance our messaging
  • included details of the various special interest working groups that are coming up, to enable members to communicate them to their teams – via webinars and zoom (we even managed a Cross Association CEO Summit, and CTO Roundtable face to face)

In addition we created a new cross association campaign, called Project Confidence, which communicated common messages to members to use on their social media channels at the same time each week, to amplify our public affairs work. We also promoted milestones on progress via social to the broader event community, and continued with our scheduled monthly newsletters and specific email shots on noteworthy projects or events to all member contacts

2) To what extent has the pandemic brought the industry you serve together and fostered joint initiatives and the sharing of best practice?

We were fortunate to have an already engaged membership across diverse communities and functions, serving a multitude of purposes to serve the breadth of membership.

The working groups went into overdrive, meeting more often, via videoconference, with more people, tackling more projects. A highlight, was the Operations Group developing what is now government approved guidance, ‘All Secure’ standard sitting on the governments website, which was a collaboration between the AEO, AEV and ESSA, our sister associations.

In terms of the response to covid, I have never seen such unity, collaboration, and common purpose; a legacy we look forward to continuing on the other side.

In addition to the Project Confidence campaign, we have also supported other initiatives across the broader events community and promoted to members, such as; Light it Red, Eventwell, and One Industry One Voice.

Chris Skeith is a judge at the 2021 Association Excellence Awards – visit the website for more information on how to enter and gain recognition for your and your organisation’s successes, efforts and achievements.