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Getting to know Hannah von Bibra
We’re feeling very inspired by our latest Event Birdie Pro-file! Introducing Hannah von Bibra, Sales Director from Melbourne catering and venue collection, EPICURE. It’s a big job but, as you will soon discover, Hannah is one rocking adventurer with awesome experience and some seriously great advice on how to succeed. So pop the kettle on and take break, it’s time to meet Event Birdie Pro, Hannah von Bibra!
Give us a snap shot of your career to date
I started my events career in London as an office administrator for an event design production company, where I quickly became the go to person for negotiating with crew and suppliers. I decided that I loved working with people and wanted to pursue the sales side of our industry. I worked my way up through a variety of roles, including sales for an ice company that specialised in marketing stunts (think parking life size cars made from ice outside of London landmarks), two world class convention centres (Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Melbourne Convention Centre). All of these roles and companies taught me a lot and set myself up for my current role as Director of Sales at EPICURE. I have been here for the past 2.5 years, and I am proud to support a great sales and coordination team at Melbourne’s most iconic venues (Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Town Hall, and ZINC at Federation Square).
The most memorable event you have worked on and why?
The launch of the Hawthorn Arts Centre. It was my first client event working with EPICURE and one of our team members came up with the concept of creating a vintage circus. It was fantastic to assist a team member to run with their idea and see it through to a well-executed event. We still have clients that talk about the event to this date.
What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?
I learnt early on to never presume that you know what an acronym stands for. Always seek clarification and really know what your clients do. In the UK I was working on an event for BAA and presumed that this was the British Airports Authority, I made references to the fact that the local airport was a BAA airport which aligned with the event coming to us. The clients must have thought that I was a bit cuckoo, as it took me quite some time to discover that they were in fact the British Audiology Association.
What are three personality traits that are required to succeed in the events industry?
Confidence, action-taking and patience.
If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?
Work hard, avoid gossip and stay positive (whoops, that was three pieces!). If you can nail this early, you will establish a great reputation and be in demand throughout your career.
What song always gets you on the dance floor?
Anything by the Prodigy. This will likely surprise anyone that doesn’t really know me!
Favourite type of food?
Being a farmer’s daughter, I enjoy a great meat dish. I can never go past a rib-eye steak and potato dauphinoise or any pork dish with crackling.
How do you unwind after a big event?
Feet up, Netflix and a glass of wine
Words to live by?
You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.
When entertaining at home what do you cook?
My husband is a far superior cook to me, so I leave this to him. I am in charge of the cocktails and love any sort of ‘mule’.
What is your ideal holiday destination?
Anything active or in the wilderness excites me. I have been very lucky with my travels and some highlights include: kayaking in Antarctica, trekking in Nepal and going on safari in Africa.
What’s your drink of choice at an event?
Sparkling wine, although these can be hit and miss depending on the wine selection! If it turns out to be a ‘miss’, I will defer to a glass of red, as a lower quality red is more palatable than a cheap sparkling.
It’s event day – heels or flats?
Sensible heels. I don’t want to injure myself wearing ridiculous heels and I feel there is something unprofessional about ballet flats.
Who would you love to invite to dinner (past or present)?
Edmund Hilary and Ernest Shackleton.
Why do you love your job?
I am challenged by something new every day.
If you weren’t working in events what would you do?
My primary school teacher told me I would be a politician…and I did consider law when in my final years of high school…life would be very different if I had pursued either option!