In the latest of our regular staff blogs, we chat to Head of Business Development Judith Greenburgh about mixing business with show-business at the UK’s single, most visited theatre. From events and conferencing to corporate hospitality, business networking to private dining and beyond, when it comes to delivering to unforgettable theatrical experiences with flair, busy mum-of-three Judith is no stranger to putting on a show!
How would you describe your job?
As Head of Business Development, I’m responsible for managing external corporate relationships here at the theatre. This principally includes looking after our three strands of Corporate Membership scheme,our Good Company Club, Associate and Performance Partners. We work with a number of individual Project Partners; businesses from across all sectors, whose support helps to raise funds for the work of Hippodrome CREATIVE out in the community. We also run a successful networking group called Leading Ladies which consists of a varied events programme from Champagne tasting to Salsa dance workshops.
Birmingham Hippodrome is well-known for its world-class stage facilities but it’s also home to some of the city’s most versatile event spaces. We’re very lucky here at the Hippodrome to have six unique spaces which are available for hire seven days a week during the day and evening. That, of course, includes our magnificent auditorium. Recently, all of the spaces on the Thorp Street side of the building have been refurbished into state of the art spaces for meetings, conferences, training sessions, workshops, networking, private receptions or dinners.
Even our incredibly spacious building however, has become too small as particular clients’ needs and, as our ambitions have grown, we’ve branched out into offsite events – which is a very exciting development!
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I wish I could say that there was a typical day in some respects but I think one of the really appealing aspects of my role is that I do have a really varied working calendar. With that in mind, any day might include a mix of internal and external meetings, catching up with some of our corporate partners, dropping into some of our event spaces, saying hello to patrons and ensuring that we are delivering on that customer experience that we’re so well-known for at the Hippodrome. Networking is also a really crucial part of my job of course because the city is moving so fast at the moment, with so many new businesses and new people coming in. Equally, I could be found sitting at my desk taking a look at some images/concepts for a major event we’re putting on in consultation with our event stylist. We might be pricing those events and working out our promotional strategy for them so any day is pretty varied I’d say!
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Business Development, which perhaps isn’t the most glamorous of titles, really is all about people. Meeting new people, especially those new to the city and helping to show them how exciting the city is right now and the role that the Hippodrome plays in that dynamism, is something I still feel very energized about event though I’ve been here for a number of years now. That, and working with such a creative group of people, sitting down and brainstorming ideas, overcoming barriers and making things happen – that’s still incredibly rewarding. Also – the fact that I work with and can learn from lots of my younger colleagues is something that I’m really enjoying. And finally, seeing a community project come together with the support of a business backer is always enormously satisfying. I’m a former school teacher as I say, with three children of my own and they have been pretty privileged as things go so to know that the work that I’m doing invests directly back into the community is always hugely rewarding for me.
Our work with Hippodrome CREATIVE is something that is incredibly close to my heart too. As the UK’s single most visited theatre, we are highly successful in selling tickets for shows across our two stages but, as an independent charity, we have a really strong corporate social responsibility commitment through the work of Hippodrome CREATIVE and the artistic and community ambitions that this area of work comprises of. As a former teacher myself, I’ve witnessed first-hand the transformative effects that exposure to arts and culture at a young age can have and how those live experiences can really help bring communities together so it’s wonderful to work with businesses who recognize those benefits and share our aims. Some of our most recent partnerships around B-Side Hip Hop Festival and Summer in Southside have – in particular – been terrific.
Bringing new audiences and communities in touch with the work that the Hippodrome does has been immensely rewarding and it’s an area that’s growing and expanding all the time.
What’s been your proudest achievement here?
I think we can be really proud of the fact that Leading Ladies turns 6 this year, bearing in mind that there have been quite a number of networking groups across the city that have come and gone over that same period. I like to think of Leading Ladies as my fourth child as it really has grown with me over the years.
I think it has to be helping to coordinate one of the largest events we’ve delivered so far this year offsite. It was a Game of Thrones themed awards ceremony for 450 members of the Casual Dining Group, held in Digbeth.
As you can imagine, we really went to town on the theatrical flair! We like to say here in-house, ‘if you can imagine it, we can create it’. After all, if we can help to make Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fly then the sky is really the limit for us!
For me, having the opportunity to see what my incredible colleagues in Production and Catering were able to deliver was incredibly exciting!
To find out how Birmingham Hippodrome can help put your business in the spotlight, visit the ‘Give and Join’ pages on our website at www.birminghamhippodrome.com or, alternatively – email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 689 3082 and I’ll be happy to help.