Introducing Ashlee Baird

By Dunedin Venues | Posted: Wednesday May 20, 2020

Business Events Manager, Ashlee Baird, has had a rollercoaster ride in her first few months with Dunedin Venues.

Ashlee feels like she has déjà vu as she arrives for her first day at work at the Dunedin Centre. She was the Food & Beverage Manager for Compass Catering based at the same venue for 3 and a half years so it was familiar surroundings and faces as she started her new role as Dunedin Venues’ Business Events Manager – Dunedin Centre, in February this year.  Take a wander through a typical day in the office.

A regular day would start with the usual hellos on arrival at the office, any tv gossip to catch up on as I sip on my Perc coffee preparing for the day ahead. A quick calendar check as there are a few client meetings scheduled both in the venue and by phone. It’s always such a buzz to show a client around the venue for the first time. There’s so much character at every turn which give amazing opportunities for a wide variety of events. We get to deliver so many different events, it keeps us on our toes.

We have our monthly staff meetings at the Stadium, catching up on the latest news. We’re based across three venues so it’s always good chat when we’re all in one room at the same time! And then there’s Dog Day Fridays – everyone’s favourite day! We can have up to seven dogs at any one time - it’s great fun and a little bit chaotic! I bring my Labradoodle Louie with me and he loves it.

And then the talk about Coronavirus started to take more of a focus for everyone. With the Alert Level 4 Lockdown approaching, the events industry watched its income dry up overnight. Working from home began so it was Dog Day every day for me and Louie couldn’t be happier! Zoom meetings became the new normal as we looked to reinvent our services. Our products need to be better suited to our ever changing new environment. First up we’re reconfiguring our venues to accommodate multiple groups of the current limit of 100 pax so some smaller events can happen now that travel movements are relaxed. We also have a digital hub which can act as a regional base for a nationwide conference or as a virtual boardroom. That’s been the best thing in these challenging times, how we are reinventing our business event offerings and the ideas that the team is coming up with are really exciting.

It's been interesting to see how our industry has come together in these uncertain times. We have certainly found new ways of communicating and have learnt how effective these can be but there is no replacing genuine human connection. For teamwork, togetherness and our mental health. Face to face communication is part of our human nature and will continue to be at the forefront of our event experiences.