Full Name: Charlotte Hammerbeck
Job Title: Director, Meetings Technology
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. operating in more than 120 countries. As Director, Meetings Technology, Charlotte Hammerbeck drives the use of systems and processes to simplify and improve the way GSK plans and delivers its events across the organisation.
Prior to working for GSK, Charlotte has held a number of positions in tech, communications and event management, amongst these being as UK Communications Manager for Sodexo on their largest global account and global configuration lead for the GSK implementation of EMS (room booking software). Charlotte is a member of a number of professional bodies, is a judge for the International Business Awards (Stevie Awards) and regularly appears at industry events, either speaking on panels or delivering expert sessions on all things meetings, events and associated tech.
- What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?
Many years which have encompassed various rollercoasters of emotion running events. Some absolutely amazing days and nights and some slightly disastrous moments. But it’s the disasters we learn from! I’ve worked in events staffing, event management agency side and now in the corporate world, so I feel like I’ve had a pretty well-rounded view of all sides of the industry!
- How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?
16 years give or take. There’s always something new to learn; a different way of doing things; of engaging your attendees, or creating the interventions that will make each event memorable and worthy of the investment.
- Best (and worst) moments working in the events industry?
Best moments for me will always be the events which have a higher purpose – be it a charitable fundraiser or a fun activity day for children with learning difficulties and their families. Looking back and feeling like – without sounding very trite – you genuinely have made a significant, positive difference in people’s lives. As for worst moments…I think my memory has consigned them to a box somewhere that should never be opened; I can’t recall anything that terrible!
- Favourite piece of tech for work and personal life?
OneNote for work and Google maps (offline) for home. I travel a lot so being able to arrive in a new place and know immediately where I am and how to navigate has been, and still is, a game changer for me. I was never much good with a compass anyway.
- What’s your go-to piece of tech when working on an event and why?
An app. Just a regular event app. It makes life so much easier.
- What was the last event on which you worked?
A large internal leadership meeting
- From your experience, what’s the best way to utilise tech at an event?
Tech is best used in moderation and always with the end user in mind. It might look cool to have loads of tech bells and whistles at your event but if they aren’t serving to make the delegate experience a). more seamless or b). more enjoyable/fun then I would reconsider whether you really need them. If you want tech to serve you, the organiser, for data capture for example, then make sure it doesn’t get in the attendees’ way.
- We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?
There are so many, I don’t think I can limit it to one! Check check and check again. Work with people you can absolutely rely on. Be more bold in your creative endeavours. Have the confidence to convey to your client/stakeholder that fun is an important part of any event, even the most grey corporate ones. And logistically speaking: if you are booking cars to collect people after midnight, just double check that you’ve put the following day’s (i.e. after the event date) date on the booking. I learned that the hard way.
- What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?
Learning more about what clever innovative people are doing in this industry.
- What do events, such as the ETAs, mean to you? / Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?
Because tech is the single most disruptive area in events. Tech is changing, and will continue to change, how we plan, run, attend, remember and evaluate events. We need to celebrate the people and the companies who are making all that happen.
- If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?
An event app