A Friday Chat with Head of Sales and Business Events at The Barbican Centre, Jackie Boughton5 August 2022
Hi Jackie! Tell us about yourself – and how did you start?
I first joined the industry working in hotels on the travel trade side of the sector, it was great and gave me a fantastic grounding in the industry. In time I moved to Wales and set up a PR and marketing firm before being lured back to London by the opening of the new Wembley Stadium. From there, it was just a matter of time before I switched football for the arts and came to the Barbican.
What is something your colleagues might be surprised to know about you?
A fun fact about me that always catches people off guard – I am a trained opera singer.
What is … the best part of your job? The most unexpected part of your job?
That’s a very easy one to answer because it is unquestionably the people I work with and around. It makes every day a pleasure. As for unexpected, to be honest, it is probably working at the Barbican in general – I don’t think any past version of myself would have expected to end my career working at the world’s most exciting arts and conference centre.
Who is your inspiration in business?
I have many, particularly from amongst the friends and colleagues I have worked with over the years. However, I have a passion for champagne, and with that in mind, I do find inspiration from Lily Bollinger. She took over the business after the death of her husband and is largely credited with turning it into an international brand. An impressive, driven woman working in a man’s world and letting nothing get in her way – what an inspiration.
What is … the best meal you’ve ever had … where did you have it?
I have to admit that I can’t pick one. It’s a bit of a “first world problem,” I guess. I have simply had too many wonderful meals whilst working in this industry to pick one that stands out above the rest.
What is the best thing … about your venue?
The people and the team that make our events happen. They are passionate, driven professionals and it is a joy to see them delivering fantastic client events in such an iconic venue.
What is … a standout event you have hosted or been part of?
There are too many to choose from, though I have been incredibly proud of the Fabulously Barbican series of client showcases we have run. Unfortunately, we had to put a pin in them during COVID, but they were a wonderful demonstration of our capabilities, showed off unusual parts of the venue and made me so proud of our team.
How long have you been working with Searcys? What do you enjoy most in this relationship?
Personally, I have now been working with Searcys for around eight years. I love their willingness to cooperate and develop successful ideas. Their team truly integrates with our own here at the Barbican, creating a fabulous partnership. Also – their champagne…
What is the best thing … about live events?
I am a passionate advocate of face-to-face interaction and networking. It is the best possible way to get to know people and develop relationships. Also, as a learning environment, nothing beats the experience of directly interacting with audiences and delegates committed to knowledge sharing.
What is your one top tip for organisers booking an event at your venue? Or some tips for event organisers in general?
In line with our people-focused ethos and attitude I would say that the most important thing is to work with the venue as a partnership. Get to know the team and share your thoughts and ideas – it will reap the benefits in the long term.
Searcys is celebrating its 175th birthday this year. What would you like to wish our teams and colleagues?
Happy 175th , what an incredible achievement – and here’s to another 175 years…