Hilary Dunne

I have spent my entire career working in the events industry that was until Covid-19 struck earlier last year and the events industry as we know it was flipped upside down.  

I am the founder of ‘The Brand Activators’, an events agency based in the North of England featuring an A-list speaker bureau, designed to deliver exceptional events complemented by a roster of experts with experience and authority in their chosen fields to speak at events and in consultancy environments.   

I remember at first it was a case of battening down the hatches and hoping the pandemic would pass as quickly as possible. Then the lockdown was announced and literally, everything was put on hold In that first week 90% of my workload postponed or cancelled overnight.    

I have to say I think I’ve been lucky as so many of my fellow events suppliers have had no choice but to close their businesses. 

There’s has always been something in my DNA thats kept me anchored in events, Perhaps that’s the extensive range of events I’ve had the privileged to have delivered for prestigious clients during my 26-year career or the way I love to disrupt a market to bring in new initiatives, products and services to make the events extra special.

It was during this uncertain period that I had the time to re-assess the Speaker bureau which I created three years ago based on a traditional Speaker bureau model.   

 One thing that became very clear when I looked at the ‘Speaker sector was the lack of diversity in the Speakers who are represented, nationally it’s generally 70% male versus 30% female speakers who are booked in the UK. They are generally white and 45 years plus.  

To my embarrassment, my bureau reflected this too and that’s when I knew I had to disrupt the marketplace to bring in a diverse range of speakers and sectors, that better reflects the world today, we are currently actively looking for younger people to speak we are also seeking out diverse, and ethnic minorities by covering more sectors we will have a far more diverse pool of exciting Speakers to offer our clients. 

With the continued uptake in virtual events and meetings, my company is starting to see an increase in demand which has brought forward my plans to open a training arm. 

This is a pathway for aspiring people with experience in their chosen field to develop their confidence in public speaking and standing out. 

I have also introduced a new stage finding service ‘SOS’ Speakers on stages. This is PR – reimagined, I came up with the idea to attract more people to use speaking to share their experiences with audiences. Rather than just relying on traditional PR. Speaking to a live audience is on another level.  Our SOS service finds the stages to suit our client’s niche. One year and I’m excited about the future and the opportunities we will find for our speakers to share their wisdom to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.