If you couldn’t make it to CHS Leeds 2022, H&E North’s Emily Stone fills you in on everything you missed.
Back at its original home in the Royal Armouries this year, CHS Leeds 2022 was a hub for event professionals from all over the UK to meet, liaise, and celebrate just what makes this industry so special. Venues, event suppliers, and organisers were spread out across two halls in the Royal Armouries, with nearly 200 exhibitors attending in total and a vast array of seminars and speakers lined-up.
This year’s show had a wellness theme, which was headlined by Stress Matters, a mental health and wellness consultant. Founder Laura Capell-Abra and Mental Health First Aid Instructor James Capell-Abra were both speakers on the day and lead several panels. The programme of talks took place across four stages, each with a specific wellness or self-improvement theme. The Stress Matters stage held talks from the titular business, discussing themes surrounding mental health, while the Career Development stage held talks discussing topics surrounding professional development. The My Life as an Event Professional… stage featured interviews with various event profs from all aspects of the industry, discussing their experiences and role. Finally, the Putting Ideas into Practice stage discussed exactly that.
“The industry was out in force and coming together after two years of disruption.”
The show hosted a complete programme of talks and panel discussions on various topics relevant to the industry through use of wireless headphones provided by Silent Seminars, which allowed the audience to hear the speakers clearly despite the noisy surroundings, and also allowed the rest of the exhibition to continue networking without the speaker’s voices being projected through a loudspeaker. Many of the talks also used a piece of software called Menti, which allowed the audience to participate in anonymous polls and answer questions through use of their smartphones by inputting a unique code for the session. The results were the displayed in real time and allowed the audience to add to the discussion.
While it was impossible to attend every talk of the day, there were a few worth mentioning. The “I Don’t Know What to Say” seminar, which took place at the Stress Matters stage, brought together James Capell-Abra, Gabrielle Austen Brown, Founder of Diversity Alliance, and Alasdair Moore, Co-Founder of The Intrepid Collection, to discuss how language in an increasingly diverse industry has changed and why it’s important that it continues to do so.
The Stress Matters stage also later held a panel with Emma Wellstead, Founder of Warwick Events and Hannah Cox of Better Not Stop, lead by Laura Capell-Abra discussing B-Corp certification. One of a wealth of sustainability and social welfare accreditations, B-Corp certification has been gaining traction in the industry recently. The panel discussed why organisations were choosing to become B-Corp certified and how the process of becoming certified had helped them develop as businesses.
By far the most well attended talk was a discussion of how menopause affects the events industry, with every seat and set of headphones claimed as Doctor Nicholas Siddle was interviewed by Leila Datoo, Business Wellbeing Coach at Stress Matters. The discussion covered topics such as breaking down common misconceptions about the menopause, as well as discussing how businesses should offer support. Encouragingly, a refreshing Menti poll during the session found that half of the audience’s workplaces already had a policy in place to aid with this.
Of course, the exhibitors also provided much entertainment. Throughout the day, chef Andrew Dixon, Head Tutor of The Grand Cookery School, put on various demonstrations, showing the delighted audience how to prepare scallops with crispy pancetta and mashed peas, and how to cook the perfect steak, among other delicious dishes.
The bread and butter of any exhibition is getting to meet and network with other event professionals. The industry was out in force and coming together after two years of disruption and while numbers weren’t quite what they were pre-pandemic, the show was vibrant and felt busy throughout. CHS Leeds 2022 allowed the events industry to come back together and reconnect after the forced separation of the pandemic and, as usual, staged an event to remember.