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Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray: theSquad Creative Events Leader

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events Leader

2016 sees theSQUAD growing even bigger and better. Outstanding events, memorable Internal Communications, music and more. We chatted to Kelly McGillivray on being amped this year, being superwoman and making her team laugh. 

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderYou're taking theSQUAD to new levels with "amped" this year - what inspired that  direction?

Last year was hard,  it felt like 2015 stopped and started all year,  people seemed fearful and budgets were cut left right and centre.

We are in year three of theSQUAD and I spent the first year and a half really focusing on making it work and learning new things.  Managing my short falls and the things that I didn’t know about managing a business. Finding new clients and being creative and doing the admin and learning how to manage people. I was spending a lot of time away from my family,  so 2015 I pulled back a little and was home more with the kids and trying to juggle it all. Work life balance is hard when it is your own company.

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderAnd upping the energy to amped in 2016? 

I avoid the new year’s resolutions and I think about what my “theme” will be for the year. Our country is going into more uncertain financial times and in 2015 I managed to pull off jobs on shoe string budgets. I looked back on all the work that we have done and I was proud of where we started and where we are going and it made me feel amped. We have now got the t-shirt of being there and done that and we have survived! So what's stopping us in 2016 to do the same but to do it better and with a different attitude?  2016 is a personal challenge to get through it well and to challenge myself to be better, stronger and most of all have fun doing it,  running a business doesn’t need to be hard,  it is fun!

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderWork-wise: Three highlights in 2015?

One: We were asked by Runaway Train Cult to manage them as a band, get their processes in place, take their bookings and oversee their invoicing and scheduling. It was not something that we planned, but the band and the members are so amazing that we loved doing it.  Soon, they were loving what we were doing and recommending us to other bands. So we expanded and started a separate Entertainment Division, employing Niki Rayner to focus on the admin of the bands. She is kept very busy,  putting in processes and plans for the 13 bands / artists that we now have who want us in their lives.

If it wasn’t for Dan, Friso, Wynand,  Christine, Alicia,  Ruben and Brendan who saw something in us we would not have grown the business - so big a big thank you to them!

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderTwo: We worked on a really fun project for Adcock Ingram Critical Care internally. I like the client immensely – he is hard and he challenges me and he is a very good business man. He has taken the business and grown it and we have been part of the process. We have done some amazing internal campaigns that really feed my soul and my sensibilities. We have been immersed into the business, so much so that when I walk around the factory I get the hugest smiles and big hugs. I'm Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events Leaderproud to say that we've been able to make a difference to the 900 staff that work there. Seeing their smiles and seeing the work that we are dong internally makes me happy – when I walk into AICC it feels like the bar Cheers – where "everyone knows your name".

Three: Growing my team. Zandi is a breath of fresh air – she is a stylish stick of dynamite and she is going to go places. Niki is still getting used to me and not being part of a regimented huge corporate and she just gets on and does it. Deolinda, who is the rock, is dependable, fast and has a can do attitude - I don’t know what we would do without her. It feels like a strong unit and we are going to grow together and we all going places.

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderWhat's it like working at theSQUAD? 

I love the energy in my office,  I am a morning person (generally) and I love walking in and seeing the lovely faces of Zandilebee,  Niki , Balekane, Deolinda and Jess and the other companies that work in the same space. We play, I dance and make the girls laugh.

What can you live without? 

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderInterruptions and  unscheduled meetings – they drive me CRACKERS. We have decided to have one day a week where we schedule just meetings for suppliers and the client meetings can fit in when needed. I still have to learn to spend some time at the office – getting my teeth into the work. Learning to delegate is a skill, and I have to keep reminding myself that I need to delegate.

What would you say are the outstanding things that make an amazing events manager?

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderCan do attitude,  creativity and great people skills.

And what are your key strengths?

Keeping calm and being able to find solutions.  I don’t often panic (except when it comes to weather!). I have a great network and being in the industry for 20 years means I know a lot of people. My contacts are gold – I have built relationships that have lasted and people that I can depend on and can call-on when needed.

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderGoing back to the new Entertainment leg of theSQUAD, what have you and Niki learned about managing artists?

They are HARD work! You have to manage them and let them focus on their passion. There are so many amazing musicians and talented artists out there – we've not even scratched the surface and THAT excites me!

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderYour job can involve some serious overtime - how do you cope?

Actually, I struggle to switch off and meditate, so this year I've challenged myself to do something different. I have started yoga; we are only a few lessons in and I feel like I have two left feet and the moves should be left to the dancers and I will appreciate their talents instead! But I have a beautiful friend, Daria, who has been tutoring me privately –she's being very patient and challenging me… she has been a star!

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events Leader One of theSQUAD's focuses on again this year is CSI - what projects are you working on or keen to collaborate on?

We will be putting together Night of 1000 Drawings again. We are on the hunt for people that want to partner on this amazing initiative. We had some great learnings last Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events Leader year and we want to make it better and bigger this year.

I am also involved with FEAST Food and Wine and we'll be assisting with putting under privileged students through cooking school – we eat good and we do good!

I am always on the look out to help people in need and  I do need to find another project – but after I have finished a little bit of me time.

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events LeaderWhat other things are you planning to do in 2016 that make your heart sing?

I want to see my children grow into the beautiful creatures that they are. Myles has moved schools and is doing something different this year and he is becoming a young man.  Sian is in Grade 11 and has her head stuck in the books and growing into a strong independent young woman. It is the work life balance that is my juggle this year.

Anything else? 

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events Leader Yes. Taking some time out for me. It is only a week but we are going to Thailand at the end of May,  I have not been overseas since I was 18 (so only three years ago).  The last three years have been hard work and taking time out is important – so we are going to do something different.

Work-wise, what's next? 

I think I say this every year – but I want to work with fun clients,  clients that challenge me and like to do things differently.  YUM! Is one of those clients,  they make me happy and I love working with them. The people rock and the company just feels right.

Amping it Up with Kelly McGillivray theSquad Creative Events Leader I also want to carry on with the internal communications at Adcock Ingram and grow the campaign becauseYOUmatter and take that externally. That feeds my soul.

Also, find new clients. I love meeting new people and doing new things. Bring on car launches and an international client or two!

Any last words?!

theSQUAD Creative Events and the new Entertainment Division makes me happy,  it feels real and it feels genuine – and that makes me AMPED!

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