Next up in our 'Meet the Board' series is....

Melissa Sobo, Director of Sales at Nottingham Venues.

Date you joined the board: January 2023 

Why you wanted to join the board: I wanted to understand more about the work AVS does for its members and work alongside board colleagues to learn more about the industry, the opportunities and challenges we face. By joining the board, it was a great opportunity to support and help drive AVS whilst building and developing key relationships in our industry. 

What do you bring to the party:

I originally started life in hospitality in my early 20’s working for a DMO and then a national hotel group, having a ball along the way. I then decided to focus on my marketing career and left the industry to work for a large outlet retailer.  I then moved into the world of professional services for 15 years, working for a law firm and then an international accountancy firm in business development roles.

Then, through my connections I saw the opportunity to go full circle back and come back into this wonderful industry. I have learnt so much over the years working within the other sectors and have meet some great people, so this, with my marketing and corporate knowledge, I feel I can bring experience from a client service perspective and support the board to move AVS forward.

What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months individually and collectively:

With a new website and new membership structure this can only benefit us all and help our niche offering within the market; by raising our profile and highlighting what exceptional and unique venues we have across the industry. To support AVS grow and develop its core service and opportunities for our member and their venues.

What’s the best thing about being on the AVS board:

Without a doubt the collaborative working opportunities with other board members, and the support and learnings I have received especially with the challenges we all often have which are often exclusive to the academic & HE sector. Also knowing that we are all more often, than not in the same position and to share experiences.

What advice would you give to others thinking of joining the board?  

Do it!

It will give you great personal development alongside the opportunity to shape the future of AVS.  You will meet new industry peers and see how much hard work goes into running the day-to-day operation and what a fantastic job that the AVS team do to support its members.

I would highly recommend joining as I have learnt so much over the last 16 months.

What do you love about working in the industry?

Without a doubt the people, I was initially hesitant to come back into the industry, but it was the best decision I have made. I love working within a team whether it's my own at Nottingham Venues, or as part of AVS or the supplier teams. Also, the amazing venues and the services we provide are a delight to promote.  I also enjoy meeting customers and learning all about their organisations and how we can help them create an event experience in line with their business goals and seeing the benefits of it all coming together and the client satisfaction.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry over the next 12 months:

I think budget cuts across the sector, increasing utilities, food costs and travel disruptions for national and international delegates. Also, the changes in use in some of our facilities will be a challenge for our commercial offering.

What do you love to do when you’re not working:

Apart from spending time with my family I really enjoy getting out in the fresh air and walking which helps when you have been in the office most of the week.  I live in village close to the river Trent and we have many cliff top walks as well as the Vale of Belvoir and the Peak District close by and as long as there is a pub/café stop on route I am very happy