We are very lucky to have an amazing team here at Bizpedia. Laura is one of the team. Laura is a Host for our Basingstoke group, (and soon to be Reading group). She ensures the members expectations are met, runs events and works closely with our Basingstoke members. She has been part of the team for 2 years and she loves socialising and being organised. Find out about her role, what she loves about it and her interests outside of work in this blog post.
1. What does your role as a Host involve?
I work directly with our Basingstoke members. My job involves making sure that they get what they want out of their membership, and run events to facilitate introductions. People join Bizpedia for different reasons. Some join with the aim of developing good connections and gaining more work, whereas others want peer support, personal development, to have some fun away from the workplace and to learn from other business owners. I find out their objective and facilitate a plan to help meet this.
2. What does a typical day look like?
A typical day can vary depending on the month. In January, for example, we have board meetings. So a typical day may involve preparing for the board meeting, liaising with the venue, and organising things such as speakers or preparing for a discussion topic. Then, I run the board meeting.
In February we run events. This is a very busy month! Before events, I liaise with the members and ask them which guest they are bringing along. I then send everyone the details of the event and who is attending. I also have to liaise with the venue to plan the event and the catering. On the event day, it is my job to make everyone feel at ease and make sure that they have a good time. I check that everyone has food and drink, introduce myself, and mingle with the guests to make sure that people get to talk to the right connections. Everyone leaves the event having normally met at least 7 to 8 people.
In March, it is completely different with me having quarterly reviews with each of the members. I book in a meeting with each member and find out who people would like an introduction to. After the meeting, I spend time organising introductions. Later, I then find out what connections they did make and make sure they follow through.
3. Why did you choose your role at Bizpedia?
I was a member at the time and loved it! I could see what business benefits Bizpedia provided. Josh approached me, asking if I would like to be a host. It took me 30 seconds to say yes! It was a no brainer. I had seen the benefits of Bizpedia from being a member, and I had the skills for the role. It was a job made in heaven for me!
4. What is your favourite part of the role?
That is a hard question, I love it all! I love making connections for people and offering support when required. I also really enjoy running events and making sure people that are having a great time at them, and that they meet the right people.
5. What is your favourite event that you have hosted and why?
Definitely the Bombay Distillery event in May. We undertook a tour of the distillery and then participated in a cocktail masterclass. I had such amazing feedback: everyone loved it and the quality of guests was fantastic.
6. What’s the greater impact you want to create in your role?
To help business owners to flourish in the way they want to by meeting their membership expectations.
7. What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I really love travelling, cycling, golf, cooking and socialising. I have a motorhome and I travel around Europe a lot. Last year, my husband and I decided to purchase a property in the Costa Del Sol, in south Spain. We had visited several times and it felt like home when we came to visit. When the pandemic hit, we were thinking about it more and more so decided to go for it.
I also enjoy cycling. My favourite place to cycle is Tunworth, just outside Basingstoke. It has really beautiful green country areas but with maybe a few too many hills!! I love golf but I play it really badly! I only cook twice a week due to time constraints (thankfully my husband is a good cook), but I love creating exotic fancy dishes. My favourite dish to cook is Thai Green Curry.
I am a social butterfly! I really enjoy meeting friends and going to the cinema or listen to live music and go out for a nice meal.
8. If I ask your friends to describe you in 3 words, what would they say?
They would say that I was driven, fun and impatient.
9. What is your personal mantra?
“Live every day as if it’s your last.” Here’s why – In 2007, I became really ill. I found myself in A and E and ended up going into a coma. I died twice and the doctors brought me back. Following this, I had to go through physical rehabilitation. This experience made me think: I had spent so much of my time working really, really hard, but you never know what is around the corner. Therefore you should live every day to its fullest.
10. What motivates you in life? What makes you happiest in life?
When my husband is happy, I am happy. My number one priority is to make sure he’s having a good day, which means I have a good day.
11. What is the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome in life?
Going through the first recession in 2007/8. My business had been running for 3-4 years and we were doing well. I had a business coach and life was flying, then the recession hit and some of our clients went under. I had to adapt the business and so I introduced new products and services such as recruitment and training. By widening our products within the HR sphere, we knew that, if the hard times came along again, training might not be so important but the employee relations might be. Therefore, if we lost a client, we may have another client who might want something else. It was the hardest and best lesson I have had and it made me a more resilient leader.
12. If you could meet anyone from the past, who would you choose?
Nelson Mandela, because of all the struggles he faced. I have actually been to South Africa 3 times and the generosity of his nature and the way that transfers into his people is awesome. The South Africans are the most beautiful people you will ever meet and they have probably had the hardest life ever. All of his personality and strength has been transferred into them as individuals. If you think about all the hard things he went through, and the way he came out of that – he was the most amazing person. This quote he made just about sums him up “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” . If I had an opportunity to go back in time and meet him, I would ask him how he was, as I reckon no one asked him that.
We would like to thank Laura for her time and, if you have not met her recently at an event, say hello at future events. If you would like to connect with Laura, you can add her on LinkedIn.
Interested in getting to know some of our other staff members? Check out our interview with JJ, our Content Creator.