Kate Bullard is an Events Manager at Baker McKenzie, the second-largest international law firm across the globe. Based out of London, Kate has nurtured and grown her career through the ranks from legal PA and event coordinator to management.
“I’ve worked in the events world for 7 years, all my events management experience is within the legal sector – actually, my entire career is within the legal sector!” Kate shares, “I originally was planning on studying law at university. My plan was to take a gap year between college and university to get some work experience while working within a law firm. After working within the legal world for a year, I realised that being a lawyer wasn’t the right role for me.”
Once Kate realized that her plan to become a lawyer was going to need an overhaul, she headed back to school to get the qualifications she needed to pursue a career she knew she would love.
“After realising that I didn’t want to be a lawyer, I continued working as a Personal Assistant at a law firm. I worked for numerous lawyers, including a lawyer who worked heavily with the Events team. I would always attend the planning meetings and assist with producing the materials and helping the Events team register attendees at the events. This is how I realised my passion was events,” Kate continues, “After realising this was the career path I wanted to take, I headed off to university part-time after work to complete my marketing qualifications. Whilst studying for these qualifications, an Events Coordinator role become available within the Events team. I applied for this role and thankfully, I was successful. I’ve never looked back since!”
Kate is an interesting example of how it may not necessarily be the industry or environment that’s not the right fit, but the role. By accepting a completely different role in the same company, Kate was able to embark on a career she knew she had a knack for.
However, with the change of roles came a steep learning curve. Kate shares, “I went from a role where I knew everything and was the go-to person on the team, so it did feel like going back to school when I first started in the events world as I had to start from the beginning. However, this was a great opportunity and challenge.”
In addition, Kate faced the unique challenge of adjusting to working with a diverse and larger group of stakeholders. “I was very used to working with a small group of stakeholders whom I had worked with for a number of years. It was a challenge to work with a wider group of stakeholders, all with different personalities, likes, dislikes, etc. It took me a while to realize that I would need to flex my style to adapt to working with different stakeholders and in turn to climb the career ladder.”
Kate realized that being able to adapt her style to who she was working with was her key to success. “Learning to flex your style is a really hard challenge. Well, I found it hard (and still do), but it really does make a difference particularly when working with challenging people or people with different personalities than yourself. By understanding how they like to work and don’t like to work and by flexing your style, whilst still being authentic, it will allow you to develop in your career and demonstrate how you can adapt, work with different characters, and still do great job.”
Like last week’s featured event leader, Michelle Rees, Kate co-manages Eventprofslive, a networking group for event professionals in the London area. Kate believes that forming this group while remaining dedicated to and balancing her full-time career at Baker McKenzie has been one of the greatest successes of her career thus far. She shares, “We’ve been running the group for two and a half years now and the group is going from strength to strength. We host corporate event managers in and around London for monthly events, drinks, receptions, and FAM trips. I’m so proud of the community we’ve created with Eventprofslive.”
As far as her day job goes, what keeps Kate inspired? She responds, “I love working at external venues, especially the amazing museums in London. I really enjoy researching venues and working with the caterers and production teams on a theme for the event and seeing it all come together. It is such a great feeling when you and your colleagues have worked so hard on an event and you see it all come together and see the reactions of attendees along with the feedback post-event.”
Events Manager, Baker McKenzie
Kate Bullard is an Events Manager at Baker McKenzie and has over 7 years events management experience in the legal sector. Kate manages a variety programme of events ranging from conferences, roundtables, drinks receptions and other corporate hospitality events. Kate is the co-founder of Eventprofslive, a networking group for corporate event managers based in London and the surrounding home counties.