1. Tell us about your career/current role
Events Director of Hastings Hotels – organising specialised events and shows whilst maximising both food and beverage and accommodation revenue and management of the Events Departments of all 7 hotels (Ballygally Castle, Culloden Estate and Spa, Europa Hotel, Everglades Hotel, Grand Central Hotel, Stormont Hotel and Slieve Donard Resort and Spa), from Wedding Shows to Van Morrison Dinner shows, Christmas party nights, tribute shows and all manner of seasonal events. For full info, see https://www.linkedin.com/in/allyson-mckimm-78566916/
2. What are you passionate about/what motivates you?
The enjoyment of creating an event, its successful completion and the generation of new business opportunities
3. Outline some of the challenges you face/have faced and what might you have done differently
A daily challenge of working from a Belfast office base whilst being in contact with 7 different venues across the province and the ever changing world and opportunities with social media. If I could turn the clock back, I would have gone to University after school rather than wait until my late thirties when I was working at the same time.
4. Share with us what/who inspires you the most?
My late father (Sir William Hastings) was my inspiration. He built up the business of Hastings Hotels from a humble bar business on the Newtownards Road in Belfast over 50 years ago and managed to survive in business throughout “The Troubles” era when many businesses were struggling to stay afloat.
He transformed the Europa Hotel in 1993 which was famous for being the “most bombed hotel in Europe” to the most successful hotel in the group today. Above all, he was a true entrepreneur with vision and would always have had a positivity in his outlook and would be optimistic about the future of Northern Ireland. He travelled extensively every day across the province to each hotel and would know every staff member by name.
5. Outline your BEST advice for a budding trail blazer (something you wish you’d been told).
Stay close to positive people and distance yourself as subtly as possible from any negative influences. You will only regret the things you don’t do, so seize all opportunities that come your way. If you find a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life!
6. How do you look after your own personal development?
I keep taking on new challenges and enjoy both the instant daunting ones such as abseiling down the Europa Hotel, doing a parachute jump or sleeping “under the stars” for charity to the embarking on a University degree course, building a house and attending groups such as Evolve to learn from others. I am currently enrolling to do a Masters course in International Event Management at University of Ulster and I am a Council Member for the Prince’s Trust and on the “Old Bags” Committee for an annual fundraising lunch for the Prince’s Trust.
7. Do you have a mentor? Do you see the benefit in this?
I’m not sure … I would probably have said my father and I would endeavour to imitate his best traits. I do enjoy reading quotes from people I admire and using them as a mantra. Such as:
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
“The greatest glory in living is not falling, but in rising every time we fall” and “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
8. What qualities do you look for in other people you want to work for?
A combination of a happy personality with a desire to succeed combined with an old fashioned work ethic.