In the Booth: An Interview with Adam Quigley

In the Booth: An Interview with Adam Quigley

Adam has worked in the events industry for 20 years. He is the head of Events for Ministry Venues, Director of EventHuddle and a Trustee on the board for The Sisters Grimm Charitable Trust. 

How did you end up in the Events Industry?

I started my life training at The Royal Ballet School to become a professional ballet dancer. After 7 years of training, I joined The Royal Ballet before moving to Israel Ballet as a Principal and then Northern Ballet. In March 2003 I injured my knee during a performance of Onegin where I was playing Lensky, this was the last performance that I would give and I never danced again. After multiple surgeries I started working as a bartender and within a year I had been promoted to General Manager. A year later I was the Area Manager for the company overseeing 20 bars and a large event space. With the Head Office for the company being in Kilburn, I based myself at the events venue in Holborn and the rest as they say is history! 

You have talked about how you ended up in the events industry, but how did you find yourself at Ministry Venues, the company you currently work for now?

In 2011 I left The Bloomsbury Ballroom and joined Troxy in Limehouse as the Operations Director. I spent two years delivering both events and also working on Health & Safety documentation and justifications to increase the venue capacity from 2,661 to 3,100 with minimal works to the listed building. Achieving the goal in mid-2012, Troxy was granted the increased capacity and I moved back to The Bloomsbury Ballroom (now under different ownership) as the Sales & Events Director for a further 4 years.

In 2016, I was asked to come for an interview for the position of Head of Events for what is now Ministry Venues. Initially I had reservations, the company was well known around the world for music, I was unsure about their Corporate Events strategy and the importance of events to the wider business. After a total of 7 interviews, we had reached an agreement and developed a greater understanding of each other. It was my first time that I would be working for a company with multiple focusses, and I would be lying if I said that we had not had a debate or two over the years, but I can honestly say that they have respected me and welcomed the industry. 

Did your previous job as a dancer help you work within events?

The world of dance is all about rehearsals and planning and 80% of your day is before the performance. The synergies between performing and the Events Industry are uncanny with around 80% of the work in events being in planning and prep also. Providing that you have listened to your client and written detailed operational plans the event should go ahead without any major issues. The faults in both industries come from lack of preparation and this can have to serious consequences. 

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The team around me are really important, not only as I have accepted that I cannot do it all myself, but they are the next generation of eventprofs who will move the industry forward. Watching them learn and grow is highly rewarding and energises me in ways I would never have expected.

Watching clients choose Ministry Venues and seeing their visions taken through to reality can be highly rewarding. We offer full end to end event management and all of our events are bespoke, whilst this can be highly challenging the feedback we received from our clients is outstanding. With over 70% of events repeating it really shows us that we must be doing something right. 

What are your biggest challenges at work?

The biggest challenge is one of perception. In 2019 we changed the brand and became Ministry Venues, making us a separate entity and allowing for a clear differentiation in the offering. We are very proud of our history and sister brands; however, we know that these may not be brands that you think of for your conference or meeting. We have taken the expertise of the team and the learning of the last 31 years to create a company that consistently deliveries over the odds for clients, has higher than industry standard for repeat events and experiences over 50% growth year on year. We now deliver over 600 corporate events a year within our venue spaces and 900 meeting rooms, maybe it is time to rethink the perception! 

What’s your most memorable event so far?

I have had a career of almost 20 years and delivered thousands of events for corporates, celebrities and even Royalty. Every event is unique and special and there are moments that you hold with you, teaching a wedding couple their first dance, launching Kylies new album with Mastercard, hosting one of the first Gay weddings in the UK, hosting the premiers of Captain Phillips and Fury and delivering events for The Princes Trust. These are all fantastic events, but the two that really stand out for me are the ones that touched me personally.

In 2015 I delivered an event for a lady who held a gala dinner to raise money for her children. She had stage 4 cancer and had been given only months to live, her husband had recently been killed within the army and she had two small children (2 & 3). She delivered probably the most emotional speech that I have heard in my life, her one wish was that every person within that room told her children who her parents were and how much they were loved them. There was not a dry eye within the room and how we managed to deliver the remainder of dinner service still astounds me.

More recently we worked with a children’s charity to deliver a full sensory experience to highly disabled children on end-of-life care. To see these children react and light up when they felt the vibrations through the floor and the warmth of the lights on their faces will be a moment that stays with me for the rest of my life. I am very lucky to work for a company that recognises that giving back is just as important as the main commercial business. 

What do you do outside of work?

During the pandemic, I made the decision to move to Exeter in Devon. The Events Industry is known to be incredibly stressful and I needed to ensure that I was always in the best position to be able to support the team and improve my work/life balance. I am in the office Monday to Thursday and work from home on a Friday and this is one of the best decisions that I have made. I am a huge fan of cycling and nature, but I do also love a good movie, my team will often get photos of me on a beach or a cycle ride somewhere. 

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