#EventProf of the week: Maxwell Fenton, Formula 1 at Elevate

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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 Maxwell Fenton, director of sales, Formula 1 at Elevate.

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

I started my professional journey in recruitment and after a very successful 4/5 years I felt an itch to do something that I could get more passionate about and be able to see and feel the results of my hard work and effort.

I literally restarted my career from the bottom with an entry-level sales role at the Goodwood Estate, which was always a venue I enjoyed visiting and felt had a certain magic about it, soaking up as much information as I could across the range of events the estate delivered. The real highlight for me was being involved in Goodwood Revival, such a unique and immersive event and of course getting to see history at the iconic racecourse, with the superstar of a generation, Frankel winning the Sussex Stakes in imperious style.

After a couple of event seasons, Ascot Racecourse came calling and at the time I thought why not? So, I left everything I knew (being from a small village, I knew everyone!) and started a new life in Berkshire. Being new to the area meant I could really throw myself into the venue and as tough as those first couple of years were personally, making new friends, finding new hobbies etc they really helped me delve into the industry and grow resilience that I lean on today. We ended up having the most incredible team at Ascot, supporting each other through event days and becoming good friends outside of work also, which as most people in events know it’s essential to have that strong team ethos and camaraderie. Highlights for me would be getting to see the Queen and the Royal Family up close as well as achieving record sales numbers in my time there.

As with every business the pandemic took hold and gave us all a time of reflection, at which point I decided to take a new opportunity with Elevate, a US-based, sports agency based in Charlotte, North Carolina, that works with sports teams, leagues, and venues across the world.

So far, I’ve been fortunate enough to work in the Premier League, recruiting, training, and running a sales team to sell-out of one the best stadiums in the world, and now my focus is on curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our clients around the world with Formula 1. I’ve just started my second season in F1, and it’s been incredible to learn about this unique ecosystem that delivers jaw-dropping events globally like no other sport can.

 

 

What is it about your job that you love doing?

For me it’s two things, working with and alongside such passionate, intelligent, and determined people, and also being able to talk to people from all over the world about making their dreams come true with unique hospitality experiences in sport. Then more often than not, being able to see it come to life in front of my very eyes.

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

For me it was at the end of my time at Ascot, for the last race of Royal Ascot week, the team would gather in a private box and watch it together from the balcony, reminiscing on the previous five days of 14-hour shifts, welcoming more than 300,000 guests and looking forward to a much-needed celebration that evening! Knowing after eight years this was going to be my last time watching the final race of Royal Ascot with this team made me really reflect on everything we’d achieved in that time and ensured it would be a moment I’d remember forever.

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

For me, although I’ve had personal success hitting and exceeding targets, my biggest achievement was when I actually recruited, trained and led a sales team from scratch to help sell out an entire stadium in the Premier League. Football has always been my main passion so to find success in it commercially, with my own sales team, was an extremely proud moment.

I do remember one year getting one of those selfie sticks (basically a long pole you attach your phone to) for Secret Santa and then spent the whole of our Christmas party getting as many people in pictures as possible. Made for some great pictures but probably wouldn’t be seen dead with one now!

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

For me, the key piece of advice is simply to start. Even if you have to take a more junior role than you might like, getting that foot in the door to start building experience will be worth it in the long run. Also, probably don’t expect to work 9-5!

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?

That’s a very good question. I’d like to become an expert on the agency side with events like Formula 1, as it’s such a varied and dynamic marketplace, but eventually, perhaps I’d like to be back at a venue one day. I’m a Manchester United fan so perhaps when/if a new stadium is built, I could help run the hospitality sales team for that!

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