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News > Alumni Stories > Amber Barry (Class of 2010)

Amber Barry (Class of 2010)

Meet Old Girl Amber a Freelance Event Manager, and Founder and Director @ Amber & Aster…
29 Nov 2023
United Kingdom
Alumni Stories

It has been our pleasure to chat to Amber to learn more about her career journey post BGS.

Please describe your journey since leaving BGS and how you progressed to your current position?

I have over a decade of experience in organising events and recruiting for some of the world’s most well-known brands, agencies and charities. 

After completing my HND in Events Management at Leeds Beckett University I went straight out into the events world working across a wide range of events for a few years. In 2014, I found myself living in Dubai as cabin crew for Emirates. Once the novelty of travelling wore off, I headed back to the UK where I Ianded a role helping to support the Manchester United and AON sponsorship. I soon developed the urge for big city life, so off I went to London where I delivered numerous corporate and charity events. In 2018, personal circumstances brought me back up North, and yes, I fell into recruitment. I started off at ITV as a Talent Assistant and climbed the ladder to Manager, recruiting for Coronation Street and Emmerdale. 2019 saw me headhunted by the BBC to work within Talent at their Children’s and Education department. As much as I love the people element of recruitment, events have always been my calling, so, in 2021 I started my self-employment journey. I have since worked on numerous event projects; however, I am about to embark on my biggest project yet, launching my new events consultancy. Amber & Aster helping recruitment and talent firms attract, engage and retain clients and employees via person centred events. 

What was your main drive or inspiration to move into events management and planning?

I developed a fondness for events at a young age through helping with the bun sales, talent shows and proms at school. However, my passion was fuelled by a sad event in my life - my grandmother's passing from breast cancer when I was just 12 years old. On my 13th birthday, instead of receiving presents, I asked my friends to donate money to the cause, and together we raised £500. Since then, I have organised numerous fundraising events, raising close to £10,000 in my grandmother's memory. As I honed my skills in fundraising and through my professional career, my love for events has only grown stronger.

What do you find most difficult about freelancing? And what advice would you have for our alumni thinking about going it alone?

For me it’s the loneliness! I am an extrovert and love socialising so freelancing can be challenging as most of the time, day to day it’s just you. My advice would be to ensure you make time in your schedule to enjoy the hobbies you love and have some form of communication each day with the ‘outside world’, whether that’s going to the gym with a friend, cooking a meal with your partner or giving a family member a call. The little things make a difference!

What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?

Networking is key! Attend networking events as you never know who you will meet. Build those relationships and it will be much easier to get work through the door. Also make sure you spend time on LinkedIn, networking virtually can make just as much impact. Don’t sit back and expect things to come to you, go out and get it! 

What do you like most about your job?

Going on site and delivering the events is by far the best bit of the job. Organising events requires a lot of pre-work so seeing it all come together on the day is the best feeling! I also love the people that I get to meet along the way - the world of events is full of amazingly talented individuals. 

Your proudest professional moment or achievement?

Although it was 15 years ago now, I would still say my first big event when I was 17 years old will always be my proudest professional moment.  I organised a charity ball in memory of Grandma for over 300 people at Manchester City Stadium and raised over £4000. The pride I felt on that night has yet to be topped! It was this event that really sealed the deal on my chosen career ahead. 

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Don’t look at what everyone else is doing. DO YOU! Everyone’s journey is different, focus on what you enjoy and what you’re good at and create your own path. Everyone suffers from imposter syndrome, whatever stage you’re at in your career, it’s completely normal.

How did BGS help you to be successful in your chosen career?

BGS enabled me to find myself and I learnt so many life lessons; a few spring to mind. Discipline from the sports I participated in and confidence from performing in the school musicals. I also built up my resilience, I was never the brightest in class, but one thing I always did was try. I tried every day to be a better version of myself and I genuinely believe I wouldn’t be where I am today without my experience at BGS. 

When you look back at your time at BGS, what are some of your fondest memories?

THE PEOPLE! Without a doubt. Swans for life! I made so many incredible friends and am still part of a friendship group, 9 of us. We are all in regular contact and see each other as often as we can. It's a bond no-one else understands, unless you have been a pupil at BGS, just saying!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

Having a career in events is not for the faint hearted, it can be very stressful at times!  Apparently, it sits within the top 5 most stressful jobs! That being said in 10 years’ time I ideally will have built a business which doesn’t require so much of the ‘heavy lifting’. I would like to be slowing down a little by then and hopefully living by the sea. I know that I will never not work, as that’s just not me. I am too career driven and ambitious to sit back and relax 24/7.  I would definitely say that I am a true entrepreneur and I always have new business ideas. I love interior design and have renovated two properties so far, so maybe I will do more of that down the line!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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