Meet our Members: Felipe Fernandes

Felipe Fernandes

Felipe project manages FDF’s internal events, black tie parties, round table discussions, stakeholder dinners, conferences, as required by the needs of the business and in response to trends in the Food and Drink industry. Events range in size from 12 to 600 attendees.

It is a varied, busy, exciting and satisfying role as it involves working with all the departments within FDF and liaising with external key stakeholders such as, Nestle, Coca Cola, Premier Foods, Lloyds Bank, Santander, Pladis, Siemens, and various government departments.

Felipe’s role is to manage the entire event life-cycle, from pre-event logistics such as liaising with stakeholders to ascertain requirements, researching venues, producing invitations, managing the attendee list, preparing speaker presentations and slides, sourcing caterers and suppliers, producing event collateral, sourcing gifts and booking travel and hotel accommodation; also on-site/on event day arrangements including registrations, staff management, trouble-shooting, the management of suppliers and the post-event analysis.

Before joining FDF, Felipe previously worked in the luxury, fashion and beauty industry, in diverse roles as Communications, Events and Operations with brands such as The White Company, Jo Malone, Jack Wills, Monsoon Accessorize, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Penhaligon’s.

‘A famous singer insisted on having her own specific lighting brought in and light engineer who knew just how to light her ‘just right’

Where do you work?

Food and Drink FederationB

Describe your job in 3 words:

Challenging.
Fun.
Engaging.

How did you first become a Personal Assistant?

Although I am not a PA I have been in the communications/events industry for over 15 years.

Was there one particular moment that you remember that this was the career path for you?

(many, many years ago) When I project managed an internal company event for Monsoon Accessorize for over 500 attendees at Old Billingsgate Market (including a fashion show, staff training exercises, keynote speeches, breakfast and lunch) and the feedback was fantastic. It was a lot of hard work but very satisfying to pull if off.

What’s the best part about your job?

When it is event day and sitting back and watching it all unfold before me. It’s ‘do or die’ time!

And the worst?

Waiting on people to come back to me with information…..”help me to help you, people”!! It’s not rocket science!

Describe a typical day; what work does it entail, what hours do you work, what problems do you face?

No such thing as a typical day! My office hours are flexible but I am always in by 8.30am and between 4.30pm-5pm. I make sure I have a good work/life balance! The biggest problem I face is trying to secure speakers for events.

If I wanted to be a PA, what experience would you suggest I get?

Anything that relates to project management or working with the public. It helps create ‘thick skin’!

What’s one of the most difficult situations you’ve faced whilst working?

Dealing with politicians as event speakers is always tricky. They have their own time schedule and they NEVER stick to the allotted speaker time i.e. tell them it is a 20min speech and they will take 45min! Plus they always travel with an entourage who have their own demands!

Without revealing too much detail, what is the wackiest request you’ve ever been asked to do?

A famous singer insisted on having her own specific lighting brought in and light engineer who knew just how to light her ‘just right’

How do you find a healthy work/life balance?

I ensure that my work is done by 4.30pm each day. Things have to gone really bad if I am still working hard at that time, otherwise it can wait until the next day.

If money were no object, what career would you be in and why?

Luxury yacht reviewer….I don’t think i need to explain why!

What are your go to websites/resources that help you with your day to day tasks?

I have my own file of venue names and suppliers for different events but I have always enjoyed using Square Meal out of habit but I am open to all venue finding services.

What key skills/courses would you recommend for other PAs looking to progress in their careers?

Project management is key.

Finally, any other advice?

Stay calm, focused and happy.
Be decisive and avoid ‘death my committee’.
Trust your instincts.
You can’t please everyone – so don’t try to!