As we arrived in Amsterdam it was a typical end of October Autumnal day. As this was my first visit I’m sure the bleak weather didn’t show the city at its best, but with a damp chill, drizzle and grey skies I kicked my way through the piles of leaves on my way to the RAI Convention Centre.
Arriving two days before the Conference opens, you get a real sense of the work that goes into putting on an event like this. Like any similar event the expo hall looks like a building site, there are lots of people scurrying around carrying ladders, building false walls, putting up signage and painting or affixing huge graphics. Electrical cables fill the gangways and the sound of ‘testing, testing 1,2,3’ interrupts the clatter and drilling of work tools.
The backroom team comprises around 70 people in all, from sound engineers and cameramen, IT and security, to registration staff, marketing and event management.
For many of the team the work on-site is the culmination of many months preparing for this event. In the days leading up to the opening keynote, everyone has their own tight schedule of work to complete which fulfils their small section of the huge pie that is RSA Conference Europe.
Having completed the delegate marketing campaign just prior to leaving for Amsterdam, my role is in the Press Office helping manage the 100 or so journalists and broadcasters covering news stories from the Conference. Throughout the 3 days this is a busy hub for discussions, interviews and writing the articles that will appear throughout the European press.
The opening day of the Conference is always an early start and I’ve a sense of anticipation at what’s to come, mixed with relief of 10 months work coming to fruition, so it’s a day of nervous excitement. With delegates and speakers travelling from 69 countries, the team feels a responsibility to ensure the delegates experience lives up to expectations.