#EventProf of the week: Gayle Allenby, Twelve01 Events

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Each week we will focus on a StandOut individual who has been extraordinary within the events industry. This week it is Gayle Allenby, director of Twelve01 Events, nominated by Kevin Allenby her husband…

“After having our beautiful little girl last January, we decided that we needed a change of lifestyle to allow us both to work doing what we love, but also to lay the foundations for a successful future for our baby. When Heidi was just 4 months old, Gayle was back working on a UCI consultancy to gain even more experience before launching our own event branding company, Twelve01 Events last year. During the last year we have grown the business from strength to strength, all whilst dealing with stinky nappies and sleepless nights. I am so excited to see where we can take Twelve01, and am in awe at the sheer dedication and love Gayle has for the sports industry.”

How did you get into the events industry? Where has your career taken you and what roles have you enjoyed?

I’ve always been a very sporty person, playing tennis and netball nationally and internationally when I was younger. When I finished my degree in sport and exercise science, I was approached and asked for permission to publish my dissertation on doping to the IOC during the build-up of London 2012. That was it, I was hooked! Fortunately for me, the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee were already set up in my home city, and I managed to wangle myself a role within the look and wayfinding team. From there on in, I’ve been fortunate enough to move from event to event, learning and having the most exciting experiences as I went. Since Glasgow 2014 I have worked on some amazing events- highlights include Baku 2015 European Games, travelling around the world to various circuits with F1, Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, UEFA Euro 2020, FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha, Davis Cup and most recently the UCI 2023 World Championships! Safe to say I have loved them all, although travelling to Japan and managing a team for eight weeks during the pandemic was a test of my project management skills!

What is it about your job that you love doing?

I think for me it’s the fact that every project has an end date. No monotony, no boring repetitive tasks. No two days are ever the same, and no two projects either. As I work in branding, it is easy to take a step back at the end and feel completely overwhelmed seeing a stadium or arena full of fans, with an amazing atmosphere and looking its best for the competition. There is a huge sense of pride involved!

What’s been the stand out moment of your career so far?

For me, there’s been two amongst millions. One would have to be the first medal day at the sailing venue in Japan. Due to COVID, no spectators were allowed so the venue team asked if some contractors would hang back to cheer and create some atmosphere for the winners and cameras. I will never forget the emotion on the athletes’ faces, having trained all their lives, just won Gold/Silver/Bronze medals and no family/friends there to support them. The tears were rolling down my face! The second one was meeting and getting a selfie with Cameron Norrie at the Davis Cup – I am a huge tennis fan and was totally lost for words! I still have the picture in my office, ha.

What’s been your biggest achievement? Equally, what have you done that you can now look back on and cringe?

I think having the courage to start our own event branding company after all these years in the industry and get it off the ground would have to be my biggest achievement. Cringe-wise, back in the early days we were doing carpet stencilling for the World Gymnastics Championships, and I genuinely had no idea how much paint to order. We ordered about five cans and in the end needed about 200 so had a mad panic, raiding every paint shop in Glasgow for a particular type of white spray paint. Not to mention then almost dying from the paint fumes in the Hydro at 3am. Since then I’ve always used a roller!

What key pieces of advice would you give to someone starting in events?

Go for it. You will be tired, you will be stressed, but you will make like-minded friends for life and have the most surreal, exciting and memorable times! Oh, and always carry toffee tape.

What career goals do you have and where do you see yourself heading? For example, is there an event that you would love to work on but haven’t?

Career-wise I’m not sure at the moment. I had a wee girl last year, so she is my main focus just now. I’m just happy to ride the wave and see what opportunities come at me. Anything tennis to be honest. I’ve done a Davis Cup and a Billie Jean King Cup and been involved in small bits and pieces at Wimbledon. But getting that call for a Grand Slam would be the absolute dream!

If you would like to nominate someone for #EventProf of the week, please email marketing@standoutmagazine.co.uk