The Fishbowl: Kat Hendry, Adwanted Events

The Fishbowl: Kat Hendry, Adwanted Events

The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.

This week is Kat Hendry, Adwanted Events’ head of sales for the Media Series. Adwanted is the publisher of The Media Leader.

Kat Hendry has been working in sales for Adwanted Events since 2020 and this year took responsibility for its Media Series which includes the Future of Media, the Future of Gaming, the Future of Brands, the Future of Audio and more.

She has also held sales and leadership positions at Northstar Travel Group and Centaur Media.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Head of sales at a highly regarded media company, of course!

Just kidding. Like a lot of kids, I was convinced that I was destined to be a movie star or a pop star. And I must admit, fuelled with delusions of grandeur, I did pursue this dream for longer than I probably should have — attending the Dance School of Scotland for six years, followed by a three-year theatre degree course in London. Essentially, it took me 21 years to realise that my talents are best placed elsewhere!

How did you end up working in media?

I actually came across a job advertised on The Stage shortly after graduating. They list a wide range of roles for thespians who are auditioning, but want a flexible role to pay the bills; some businesses find it to be a great way to recruit young and outgoing talent. It was for an entry-level sales role at a small publishing company, where I sold advert placements on medical and dental wall planners. Now, let me tell you — that was a tough gig.

After getting some sales experience under my belt, I was approached for a junior role at a larger media company in their events sales team, working on a large-scale marketing expo. It was there that I discovered a love for sales in events and 10 years later, here I am. Changing lives.

Describe your WFH setup in no more than 10 words.

Picture the Architect’s room in The Matrix. It’s the opposite.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to do your job one day?

Pushing through my comfort zones was a big challenge for me at the start of my career — it’s an incredibly daunting thing to speak to marketing experts about marketing their brand at a marketing event for marketers, with zero experience in marketing myself.

However, I did learn to trust in what I did know, and take the transferrable skills from my theatre education and plug that into my approach to sales.

My advice would be to not worry too much about what you don’t know and have confidence in what you do! Eventually, the rest will follow.

What are clients talking about this year that they weren’t last year?


** Peer question** Who are your role models?

I’ve been very fortunate to work with and for some incredible and resilient women in the media industry, and I’ve endeavoured to learn something from each and every one of them.

It may be cliché, but seeing women supporting women, especially at the start of my career over 10 years ago, was crucial to how I would go on to carve out my own path. Those women that influenced me then, still very much motivate me today and I’m incredibly grateful to have crossed paths with so many.

** Question from Davina Barker, sales director at DCM.

When did you last change your mind about something?

When Ella initially asked me if I would like to contribute to this series…

Joking aside, I’d like to think I’m a pretty open-minded person, so my views and decisions are often adjusted after sharing viewpoints with friends. I’m personally intrigued by the opinions of others, especially when it comes to moral philosophy, so a favoured pastime of mine is having those DMCs with friends and family.

**Peer question** What three guests (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party and why?

Sam Heughan and Chris Hemsworth, for obvious reasons. And my mum, because she is happily married and likes older men…

** Question from Nick Shaw, chief revenue officer at Ocean Outdoor.

**Peer question** What is the most fun you’ve had doing this job?

Attending any event in the media industry is always a lot of fun. The people are really what makes working for Adwanted Events enjoyable, so having the opportunity to regularly meet charismatic, interesting and lovely people face-to-face is a huge perk.

We also work our butts off to deliver the highest calibre of events, so the feeling that comes with seeing months of hard-work come together onsite is unmatched. I’m very proud of what we do here!

** Question from David Wilcox, commercial director, News UK Broadcasting

**Peer question** From a work perspective, what were you most proud of last year?

I’m very proud of my team for how we have been able to grow the Media Series events in the Adwanted Events portfolio, especially coming out of Covid last year with all the uncertainties and challenges that presented. Some or our newest events that were conceived during lockdown are now some of our largest, and in a space where there are many events, we continue to see a huge growth in support from the industry.

We’ve firmly planted our stake in the ground and, I believe, really raised the bar for conferences in the media and advertising space.

If I may throw in a moment from this year as well — presenting the Media Leader Awards 2023 alongside Steve Scaffardi was a lot of fun. Who doesn’t enjoy being able to roast their MD on stage!?

** Question from Kelly Williams, managing director for commercial at ITV.

Read more Fishbowl interviews here and see what media’s top salespeople say about working in the industry and what concerns their clients. To suggest an interviewee, contact ella.sagar@uk.adwanted.com.

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