More than clients: How the people you work with can positively affect your business

First Event's team

Kerry Saxby is head of operations at First Event.

After our work with the Employee Ownership Association highlighted the clear and logical path to employee owned status, the team at First Event decided to take the leap into employee ownership.

As we approach the first in-person Employee Ownership Association annual conference held since Covid,  we are excited to not only be hosting the October 3 event in person, after two years of virtual events, but to be attending the event as an employee-owned organisation ourselves.

Since becoming employee owned,  we have seen the huge returns of putting the future of the company in the hands of  our people. It has allowed our organisation to grow, taking on 53 new team members. But the most noticeable difference is the boost in morale throughout the business – at every level.

Demand for in-person events

Like many event management companies we are experiencing an increased demand for in person events. During these busy and exciting times for our business, we need everyone in  our teams to be fully engaged, and committed to driving the company forward into the future.

Employee ownership is a tangible way to consolidate a team’s invested interest in this, turning First Event into their own company, rather than just the place they turn up to work each day. It’s this shared community that has helped  us go on to achieve incredible things over the last year.

None of these rewards would have been reaped if it weren’t for First Event’s long standing relationship with the Employee Ownership Association. When we first got the contract to work on delivering the association’s annual conference,  employee ownership wasn’t something we had considered. It was by working alongside the EOA that  we were able to see first hand the benefits that employee ownership can bring to  a business. Having already considering which direction we wanted to take the growth of the company in, employee ownership status soon seemed  like the logical and most positive next step.

Working in events isn’t just about putting on a great event. It’s about achieving your client’s goals. Sometimes when you become so involved with your client, it’s really hard not to also become involved in their values and their goals. There’s a number of brands that we have worked with, who’s shared values  we are keen to champion and promote. Exemplified by our work with EOA,  our team got to know the Association and what they do so well that it soon became a no-brainer to become employee-owned ourselves.

This just goes to show that working with clients is about more than just providing a service. It’s about swapping ideas, skills and best practices to the point that both client and provider become partners in the collaboration, and leave the relationship more fulfilled and enriched.

The EOA Conference 2022 will be held at the ACC in Liverpool on October 3-4. For more details visit: