Ready to rock: meet our co-founder Catherine Duhaut

First things first, how did you get into events? 

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve organised people. I used to buy Top of the Pops and Smash Hits magazine and I’d read about these big celeb parties I remember thinking that that would be a great job, but not realising that people did that in real life. Staying on the showbiz theme, I went to the University of Sunderland to study Media Production to work in film and instead fell into radio which I loved. The course was mainly centered around production which I found fascinating, even in school I would build the stage sets for the drama productions rather than be front of stage.

My studies led me to some amazing work experience at XFM and BBC Radio One which I loved, but being impatient and (overly!) ambitious I decided that if I couldn’t have my own show on Radio One straight away… I would develop and produce music festivals instead, which led me to my Masters degree in Project Management. I didn’t realise going in that an MSc in project management is less about music festivals and more about engineering and manufacturing, which I ended up really enjoying! I wrote my dissertation on the difference between event management and project management and talked about the disparity between the two which led to a volunteer role at a Newcastle-based events agency, which is where I met Sarah!

What was your first role in events like?

I was coming in pretty blind, working minimum wage with zero experience, far more people arrived than they thought were going to and I ended up operating the bar (my by-night job!), I guess my resourcefulness paid off as I was hired off the back of that event. Before I finished my masters I had a full-time job at an events agency, which was too good to be true. I led a tough double life for six months managing the two,  I knew if I was serious about building a career in the sector I had to make it work. I ended up working at that same agency for six and a half years and gained a tonne of experience in organising and running events across the UK.

After I left, I freelanced for a while before the workload got a little much and Sarah and I joined forces in 2014 and BeaconHouse Events started to form to be the business it is today.

BeaconHouse Events turns 10 next year, how does that feel? 

Sometimes it feels like much longer than ten years and other times it feels like two! There have been a lot of life changes over that time and sometimes it is hard to wrap our heads around how much we have fitted into the last ten years. When we started we didn’t have this grand business plan or an idea of what the business would look like today, we have grown organically over that time but what has never changed is the mission and vision of what we wanted to deliver when we started the business. When we work with new members of the team to explain our values and mission now, it is so authentic because it is what we have been living and breathing for almost a decade – it has been embedded in the culture from the start.

Have you always been entrepreneurial? 

It’s funny because I would say no, but my parents would probably say yes! “Typical” entrepreneurial traits have always been part of my make up, such as I’ve always enjoyed organising people and could maybe be a little bossy with it, which I can now see coming through in my eldest daughter! I’m also quite competitive and ambitious which I guess are considered to be entrepreneurial traits too, but I never did a business degree or economics or sought out life as an entrepreneur. That’s where the partnership with Sarah works so well. Sarah tends to look after more of the business and strategy side of the business whereas I focus on the processes, operations  marketing and culture. Sarah excels in the parts of the business where I don’t – while I have big ambitions for BeaconHouse Events and have a real interest in the story of where our growth is coming from, I’m less inclined to spend the necessary time with spreadsheets. I think what Sarah and I have is quite unique – people will often look for a business partner after they have gone into business and my best advice would be that you can’t seek them out. If you have an affinity with someone and want to start a business, that’s great – but it’s difficult to build that rapport and trust if there isn’t already a relationship there.

Neither you nor Sarah are from the North East – why is this region a great place to do business? 

We both had personal reasons for settling in the North East and building our business here. I had met my now husband in Sunderland – I’m from Northern Ireland, and he’s French, so there was a conversation to be had about where we were going to call home and we settled on England because it was kind of in the middle…kind of! I wouldn’t change my home now for the world and I’ve not officially lived more of my life as a Geordie than in Northern Ireland these days. The North East has such a supportive, collaborative culture that it was the perfect place to start and grow BeaconHouse, and while we are fairly Northern-focused with our portfolio, the last few years and the rise of virtual and hybrid events have really shown us that we can be delivering work nationally and globally from our base here in Newcastle, which is really exciting.

What is coming up in the future that excites you? 

For me, it’s the ESG work that we have been focusing on and building on our ‘Good Workplace’ credentials. It is exciting to be delivering great work with a clear purpose of why we are doing what we are doing. Part of what we believe is that we want to create events with lasting purpose, those game-changer events where people go away with a different mindset to when they walked through the doors – and the other side of that is building an environment for a thriving team who can work together to make that happen. Creating events with meaning is still what excites me, especially when we work with a new client for the first time and we can exceed expectations about what is possible, seeing the team go above and beyond to create an experience that will have real-world impact for a client never gets old, and as we grow we’re able to be even more creative and ambitious about what we can deliver.

Do you think the events sector would benefit from more diversity? 

Absolutely. If we want to keep being creative and driving forward, we have to have that diversity of thought in the sector. Everyone in our team comes from different backgrounds, of varying ages, and have different career paths and experiences which has shaped how they see the world. Even having younger members of the team join has helped us positively challenge the way that we work and how we communicate with each other and deliver work for clients. Having access to more ideas and points of view will only make us more creative and the more diverse we are as an industry the more resilient we are and the better equipped to create experiences that are meaningful to everyone.

What do you think the most important character trait is for an events professional? 

Whatever your background I think it is really important to be curious about the world and want to be inspired by getting out and experiencing things. Our events aren’t boring and that comes from our team bringing all of their experiences to what they deliver. For me, I love food and have been lucky enough to eat in lots of different places all over the world. Transferring that experience to an event, would typically mean challenging the venue to create something brilliant, rather than your run-of-the-mill meat and veg that you might expect. Curiosity and a desire to challenge the norm and to do things differently, combined with an attention to detail and a good work ethic will get you a long way in events.

We offer training for the team and if there is something that they want to do, even if it seems a bit left-field, so long as they can tell me what they can bring from it back to the team I’m more than happy for them to go and try something new if they’re excited about it.

And finally, who would your dream client be? 

For me, I like the ‘challenging’ events – where a client comes to us to solve their problem and we have to solve the puzzle of how we are going to do it. That could be any type of event or sector, having the scope to be creative about what we deliver and seeing the client’s mind change from thinking something wasn’t possible to being excited is my dream scenario.

I’ve come a long way from where I started, I doubt very much I’d even pitch to organise something even remotely like Glastonbury any time soon! I’m much more likely to attend than seek out to be the organiser!

To find out more about how BeaconHouse Events can support your business to deliver events with purpose in 2024 and beyond, email

More than a pat on the back: The true benefit of corporate award ceremonies

Awards ceremonies offer much more than a vanity project and a chance to get dressed up, and when done right they can hold significant value for your teams, serving as a thank-you for hard work throughout the year, celebrating your success together, and creating a sense of camaraderie within your team. Let’s take a look at how investing in awards can add value to your organisation in 2024. 


Building morale 

Celebrating hard work, great ideas, or teamwork sends a clear message that these positive actions have been noted and rewarded. By saying thank you, you are not only boosting the morale of the winners but also sending a clear message that great work doesn’t go unnoticed and inspiring other members of the team to challenge themselves with their projects too. Saying thank you to individuals and teams for excellent work that has helped the organisation work towards its goals instills a sense of pride, and people who feel like their work matters form the bedrock of thriving teams who are creative, resilient, and much less prone to burnout. 


A chance to reflect 

Everyone is busy, and we rarely take a moment to reflect on the past twelve months and applaud the achievements that we’ve made. Writing award entries, nominating colleagues, collecting stats, or reading client feedback gives people a chance to think about the impact that they have made on the company or your clients, it can reaffirm their commitment to the company and the work you are doing, lead to higher levels of engagement in the year ahead, and create a more positive atmosphere when work gets busy. 


Bringing your team together 

In the age of remote or hybrid working and global teams, some colleagues may not get the chance to spend time together in person very often. Hosting an awards event not only gets people in the same room, but it can also be a chance to share stories from other parts of the business that individuals might not usually hear about if it falls outside of their immediate role. Seeing the skills of the company and learning from other departments can make people feel proud to be part of something bigger, making them much more likely to stay and engage than if they feel like they are working alone. Plus, it is always nice to get off the video chat, get dressed up, and meet colleagues in person. 


Increase productivity and creativity

Recognition can act as a powerful incentive, and so can a healthy dose of competition! Celebrating success, creativity and innovative thinking can create a culture that can have big conversations, tackle difficult problems, and aren’t afraid to try new ideas. Showing people what great work looks like can help them set higher standards for the coming year and positively challenge themselves and others. 


It gives your team something to talk about 

Your people are your best asset when it comes to talking about your business, so give them something great to talk about! A well-designed awards night won’t be a boring run-through of categories and a soggy dinner. A great awards ceremony will keep your delegates invested throughout the night, have activities or talking points to keep them engaged, and provide plenty of opportunities to share their experience with friends and family. By giving people a reason to talk about where they work, particularly on social media, you are increasing awareness of your brand as a great place to work and reinforcing your investment in your talented team, both important things if you are looking to attract and retain staff. 


Showcase your network 

An awards event doesn’t just have to be for your internal team, why not consider a celebration of your sector, your clients, or your neighbours? Getting external teams together is a fantastic marketing and networking opportunity, plus it gives you a chance to be inspired by other businesses and showcase what you have been working on too. 


Struggling with what to wear? Check out our guide on what Black Tie means in 2023


This season our team has been working hard to bring to life the Dynamites – the highly anticipated North East Tech awards, as well as the Planet Mark Awards in London and the very first HyHubs HyHeroes Awards at TyneBank Brewery. To speak to the team about organising an awards ceremony for your business, email or give us a call at +44 (0)191 691 3456.

The North East charities we’re supporting as part of our commitment to health, education and economic growth

This year our team has chosen to support health & wellbeing community projects across the region, including funding The Children’s Foundation-led Fuzzy Subjects project, giving the charity the ability to give even more children access to sessions focused on mental health and well-being. Alongside support for Fuzzy Subjects, we’ll also be getting our hands dirty helping to plant hedges on the charity’s allotment and wrapping Christmas gifts this festive season, all in support of the charity’s vital work in the region.


Linked to the health & wellbeing focus, and as part of our further commitment to North East communities, we’ve also chosen to fund kits for the newly formed North East Sporting u11 Saturday team, based in Wallsend. 


Alongside our societal donations and as part of our environmental strategy, we’ve partnered with the local community and environmental charity, Groundwork NE & Cumbria to ethically offset our carbon impact by supporting Groundwork’s nature-based solutions programme.


As our societal focus for 2023 is on health & wellbeing, we recognise the need to support local charities and initiatives to help our local communities thrive. We are therefore committed to donating the equivalent monetary value or time through in-kind support, to local community groups focused on health and wellbeing, to match our ethical carbon offset donation to the environment. We’re also providing the BeaconHouse Events team opportunities and time off to support societal and environmental projects that matter to them, as well as encouraging them to engage in activities that support their mental health & well-being.


Earlier this year we were proud to be awarded the Good Work Pledge from the North of Tyne Combined Authority. This award recognises our efforts to be a fair employer, our commitment to staff health and wellbeing, and our demonstration of social responsibility in the region. We have some incredible projects in the pipeline this year and these ambitious plans will mean more opportunities for people across the Northeast.” 


We spoke to Sean Soulsby, CEO of The Children’s Foundation who said, “We are incredibly grateful to the team at BeaconHouse Events for their support of our work here in the North East. We run our Fuzzy Subjects mental health workshops in primary schools across the region, using colorful, accessible fuzzy puppets as a tool to engage children and young people in the subject of mental health and well-being, increasing awareness, understanding, and resilience in young people, while encouraging big conversations. The support from Beaconhouse Events means that even more children can tackle these big subjects, at a time when the number of children in mental health crisis is at a record high. 


“The Children’s Foundation was founded over 30 years ago to support the needs of children and families at the time, and those needs are now more significant than ever. Businesses owe it to their communities to ensure that they have the opportunity to raise well-rounded, creative, confident, and aspirational children, no matter what their economic circumstances are, and it is fantastic to see BeaconHouse Events taking their responsibilities as a Northeast employer seriously. 


“Far too many Northeast children are born into poverty and our region has fallen behind others in terms of school attainment and health inequalities. Investing in our region isn’t just a fluffy, nice thing for leaders to do; if businesses don’t invest in the wider communities and issues that surround them, especially children and young people, then that has a direct impact on their workforce or customer base of the future. It is people who make up businesses and leaders today must understand the crucial role that they play in shaping what our regional society looks like tomorrow.”


Our ESG strategy is based on key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, otherwise known as the Global Goals, which look to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Our strategy particularly focuses on Climate Action, Responsible Consumption and Production, Quality Education, and Good Health and Wellbeing; all areas where we can have an authentic and lasting impact both in the North East and across the events sector as a whole.


Do you Doodle? The power of sharing ideas through drawing

A space to do-odle. 

Were you ever told off for doodling at school? Well, you might be surprised to learn that doodling is much more than simply a way to keep yourself awake; the act of doodling can actually help you solve problems, understand complex information – especially if it is being delivered verbally – and create new ideas. In 2009, there was even a study by Harvard Medical School that looked at how doodling can help us retain and process information; the research team asked two groups to listen to a long voice message, one group just listened while the other was asked to perform a simple doodling activity. The results? The group of doodlers recalled 29 percent more information than the other group, and the research team concluded that, for some people, paying continuous attention to something for too long overstrains our focus and allows our minds to wander.

While an auditory learner will be captivated by listening to a keynote speaker, if you are a kinetic learner, having the space and tools to doodle and make notes during a presentation can make all the difference to your experience during and after an event.

A tool for visual learners 

But it doesn’t always have to be you who is doodling! For visual learners, the way that information is presented can be just as impactful as the information itself. That means illustrating data and providing well-designed materials to bring key ideas to life. We’re always looking for new ways to give every delegate a meaningful experience, and the brilliant team behind InkyThinking is often on hand to bring our events to life in a unique and visual way.

At many of our events, we have brought in the team to deliver rich picture design; a way of dynamic visual storytelling, crystallising messages on one page, and providing teams with an engaging tool to start conversations and carry on learning from the event back in the office. A rich picture is an impactful way of collating many ideas together on one page and, literally, showing your big-picture thoughts for the future of your organisation, complexities in teams, or challenges on the road ahead. Not only that, you can take it back to the office as an amazing piece of artwork as a legacy for your event, giving people who couldn’t be there the chance to get involved in the conversation too.

Outside of the event 

No two events are the same, and while photography can capture moments, emotions, and scale, sometimes the ideas and nuance of conversation can be difficult to explain after the event is done and dusted. Organisations invest a lot of time and resources into creating events with impact, so having a visual way of sharing what happened post-experience is a great way of extending the reach of your ideas. Dynamic pictures can be shared on social media channels, posted to your website, and displayed in your reception area, creating a legacy in a way that photography just can’t capture.

Are you a visual learner? What resources or spaces would you like to see at events to help support your learning and enhance your experience? To speak to the team about working with BeaconHouse Events to bring your ideas to life, email

Are corporate meat-ings a thing of the past?

As an office of foodies, we know that the catering options are a corner stone of any event, but the amount of meat consumed was having a major impact on how sustainable our events could be. So we got our heads together and came up with a simple solution – what would happen if you had to opt-in for a meat option, rather than opt out?

BeaconHouse Events co-founded the TechNExt Festival, delivered in partnership with Dynamo North East and Sunderland Software City, and the week-long event took place in June 2023. As part of the event the team created the ‘Good Festival Ambition’ in order to curate an experience that put quality, inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and sustainability front of mind. As part of this ambition, the catering throughout the week was designed to reduce our carbon emissions by encouraging people to make conscious choices about what they were consuming. That meant that all buffet options at the Main Stage event and Festival Party were meat-free and the menu for the 120 guests at the conference dinner was vegetarian by default, with delegates having to request the meat option if that was their preference. The result was 55% of the attendees at the dinner choosing the meat-free options, as opposed to the average of only 10% that we would see at a usual event, greatly reducing our carbon footprint across the week.

The climate impact of meat is enormous – roughly equivalent to all the driving and flying of every car, truck and plane in the world and when forests are destroyed to produce industrial meat, billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. This one simple change allowed us to do better for our planet during the week-long festival while still providing a delicious dinner for the guests to enjoy.

Under 5% of people in the UK are vegetarian but there has been a dramatic rise in the amount of people attempting to cut down on the amount of meat that they consume, either for health or environmental reasons. That means that as an industry we have to adapt. And the issue is coming into mainstream consciousness more and more, over the last year we have seen the news that Oxford Council have banned meat from their menus at corporate events, with Cambridge, Exeter and Norwich Councils following suit and Cambridge University Darwin’s College served a fully vegan menu for their ball this June.

But the key to creating impact isn’t simply switching to a veggie or vegan menu, the trick is to communicate the importance of why. Going meat-free was just one element of our ‘Good Festival’ ambition and ‘for good’ was a core value that ran through everything throughout the week. That meant a focus on quality, inclusivity, diversity, accessibility, and sustainability, all of which we communicated the impact of to our delegates in the lead up to the festival.

It is our job as a responsible employer and business to forge the path of what is possible and to collaborate with other organisations, both in and outside of the event sector, to learn from, and inspire, each other. We are seeing an increased demand for environmental reporting from our clients and are proud to be early adopters of TRACE, a digital carbon measurement platform to help the event industry reach Net Zero. TRACE helps us to gather data on our carbon impact at each event, which in turn gives us the ability to work with clients to benchmark and track success alongside their ESG strategy.

This small step is part of our wider goal to reduce our carbon emissions by 5% year on year, with the key ambition to become and remain a carbon responsible business, looking at carbon neutrality, alongside supply chain engagement, research into sustainably sourcing materials, digital solutions to limit single-use print and staff training to upskill the team on the future of events both in-person and online

There is still relatively low adoption for sustainable change across the sector, but with consistent and considered steps we can make real change together. To speak to one of our team about how you can put sustainability at the centre of your next event call on 0191 691 3456 or email

Five things people will actually remember from your 2023 events

Your event is an experience, and whether you are planning an awards ceremony, a festival or a conference, you want people to remember your event for all the right reasons. Everyone wants to be ahead of the curve and while A.I. and digital technology can add extra dimensions to an event, those big flashy moments don’t always add as much value as focusing on the everyday details. Research shows that people actually prefer personalised experiences at events, which means they want to feel like you have thought about what THEY need or want from the experience, not just picked an off the shelf generic solution, however fancy that might be.

We spoke to our team here at BeaconHouse Events to find out from their experience what makes an event to remember…


1. Things to discover People love being the first to discover something new, so surprise and delight your delegates with little touches that will make them smile. This could be regionalised or themed wording on signage, places to relax, selfie stands and photo points or pop-up entertainment as they move around the venue. Not only will your delegates remember these moments, it also gives people something to talk about and share on social media after the event is all wrapped up.


2. Service with a smile Events take a lot of planning but if the staff on the ground are tired, stressed or aloof, it will undo all of your hard work. Try and provide as much information as possible in advance but have attentive, visible team members throughout the event space to answer specific queries or help out with any issues that might need solving. Encourage staff to make an effort to remember names, offer extra information that might be useful and enjoy the experience. Customer focused staff who go above and beyond, who are friendly and proactive are going to make everyone’s experience more enjoyable and leave delegates feeling positive towards you and your brand.


3. Feeling like a local If you are welcoming delegates from out of town they might not have a lot of time to explore the local area or find the best places to visit. Always put someone with local knowledge at the registration desk, armed with information on great places to eat nearby (not just your local golden arches), things to do in downtime (like free walking tours), local gyms, art gallery opening times or day trips. Help your delegates make sustainable choices as much as possible when they are travelling to and from the space, send out public transport routes, e-transport information or car sharing options for people that aren’t familiar with the area.


 4. Not having to ask Keep in mind that there will be a mix of people with different preferences or requirements at your event, so make sure alternative options like vegan food or non-alcoholic drinks are not only available but visible. If someone has to ask for an alternative it can make them feel out of place, and they are going to remember how they felt in that moment over any free gift or fancy venue. When it comes to catering we always try to make sure that everyone feels included and can enjoy the same experience, there’s nothing worse than a soggy salad when everyone else is enjoying a hearty meal. Take into account any religious or cultural accommodations and communicate them clearly, this could include halal food options, spaces for prayer or catering timings during Ramadan.


5. Making connections Meeting interesting people and having great conversations is one of the best and most memorable things about bringing people together. Build in moments where people can organically connect outside of formal networking sessions and create spaces that encourage informal conversations – sometimes that is where the best ideas flow! Plan personalised socials and networking based on how individuals like to spend their time so there is the chance to meet people with similar interests and get value from the more relaxed sides of the event too. Not all socials have to involve drinking, things like yoga, city runs, historical tours or craft sessions are a bit different, fun and definitely memorable!

To speak to our team about your 2023/24 business goals and how events can form part of your strategy, give us a call on 0191 691 3456 or email

Earth Day: Our four year ESG strategy

Our strategy aims to deliver considered, achievable actions, help us to reach responsible carbon neutrality and drive sector-wide change from inside our organisation.

This strategy is incredibly important to us as a business and is the product of over a year of research, team consultation and expert guidance. It outlines our key commitments to the environment, people, governance and financial resilience. These plans include steps to reduce our carbon emissions by 5% year on year, with the aim to be a carbon neutral business by the end of 2027, alongside supply chain engagement, research into sustainably sourcing materials, digital solutions to limit single-use print and staff training to upskill the team on the future of events both in-person and online. Alongside this we have a commitment to educate and empower the next generation of North East talent, supporting local charities and initiatives and giving our talented team opportunities to sign-up to support education initiatives, including Girls Network and founders4schools as well as supporting individual young people to thrive in the sector through mentoring schemes.

This launch of our strategy also coincides with the exciting news that we have been awarded the Standard Good Work Pledge by North of Tyne Combined Authority. This award recognises our efforts to be fair employer, our commitment to staff health and wellbeing and our demonstration of social responsibility in the region.

Explaining why we have launched our strategy now, and what it means for the business and the sector, our co-founder and director Sarah Thackray said, “Since forming in 2014 our vision has always been to drive positive, lasting impact with every event we do, whether that be a conference, exhibition, awards ceremony or festival, and now is the right time to also focus those efforts internally and look at how we can make lasting change from within the business.

“We recognise that the event industry has a major impact on our planet and by doing our part we can lead the way in making sustainable change in the sector. It is our job as a responsible employer and business to forge the path of what is possible and to collaborate with other organisations to learn from, and inspire, each other. We don’t want to make grand statements and big promises, we are committed to working with our team, our suppliers and our clients to make consistent, considered changes which will move us closer towards our goal of being carbon neutral within the next five years. We are proud to be early adopters of TRACE, a digital carbon measurement platform to help the event industry reach Net Zero. TRACE helps us to gather data on our carbon impact at each event, which in turn gives us the ability to work with clients to benchmark and track success alongside their ESG strategy.

“The inclusion of financial resilience was important to us as a team, without a robust business model you simply don’t have the capacity, skills or resource to invest back into the wider community. Everything that we have planned works in tandem with our growth plans for the coming years and allows us to support our clients to achieve both their business ambitions, while supporting them to reach their own ESG goals too.”

Over the past year we have been working closely with innovation sustainability manager Katrina Appleyard to develop an ESG strategy which will form a key pillar of both our internal and external delivery from 2023-2027.

Discussing our work together Katrina, innovation manager for sustainability at Dynamo North East said, “BeaconHouse Events are taking responsibility for their own organisational impact before they are under any legislative pressure to do so which is incredibly refreshing to see. As part of our work together I carried out a lot of research into how the events sector is approaching sustainability globally, and while there are a lot of organisations looking at how they can produce green events, there is nothing being said about what it means to look internally and be a responsible events company from the inside out. While BeaconHouse were already behaving in a way that was socially conscious, this strategy has helped them to pin down what this looks like and make it much more explicit when it comes to achievable actions.

“The fact that BeaconHouse Events are even considering what they can control, and how they can make positive change from within the business, automatically makes them leaders in their field. The events industry is in a unique position in that they are built to bring people together and address societal issues, however that often has a direct impact on the environment when you consider things like travel or single-use materials, so there is a lot of learning to do within the sector on how to address this juxtaposition.

“This won’t be a linear journey for any organisation and there will be a lot of learning along the way. A big part of this process will be trying different approaches to see what works, and educating both clients and peers within the industry along the way, collaboration really is at the heart of it. What is inspiring to me about the work this commitment from BeaconHouse is that they are striving for social change and business habit change which is much bigger than simply looking at the impact of their events in silo.”

Sarah continued, “We have worked closely with Katrina on this strategy and her comprehensive guidance and expertise has been invaluable as we shaped our vision and goals.”

Our ESG strategy is based around key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, otherwise known as the Global Goals, which look to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. We particularly wanted to focus the strategy on areas where we could make meaningful change as a team, including Climate Action, Responsible Consumption and Production, Quality Education and Good Health and Wellbeing; all areas where we can strive to have an authentic and last impact both in the North East and across the events sector as a whole.

To find out more about how we can help you to work towards your sustainability goals or to understand more about how we are making changes as a business contact

Hot off the stress: Top tips to reduce stress and burnout

Stress is a major problem for our sector, and knowing how to manage it can improve mental and physical well-being as well as minimise health-related issues brought on by life in what can be a stressful sector. Here at BeaconHouse Events we’re committed to giving our team the knowledge to understand what stress looks like in our colleagues, as well as the space and tools to preempt a situation or tackle it head on.

This Stress Awareness Month we sat down with the team to learn their top tips coping under pressure and how they juggle busy client portfolios while keeping themselves healthy and effective…


Go outdoors Build time into your diary to get outside and into the fresh hair – it really can blow away the cobwebs and help you approach a problem from another point of view. This can be anything from a walk around the block between meetings, eating lunch outside on a sunny day or something more extreme like sea-swimming or planning a hike on a weekend. It’s not just a nice thing to do either, studies show that being in nature lowers your stress-hormone cortisol and decreases your heart rate!


It’s good to talk Make time to spend time with your direct reports or team leaders for a weekly check-in to plan tasks and prioritise workload. These sessions are great for getting another point of view on a problem or to ask for support if you need it. Spending time discussing a problem one-on-one can help to manage expectations and allow you to plan your workload accordingly. Find the people that energise you, both in and outside of work, and if something is on your mind make sure you share it with a colleague, friend or family member, a problem shared really is a problem halved!


Get enough ZZZs Sleep can be elusive when you’re counting tasks instead of sheep, but a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to avoid feelings of stress. Research has even shown that people who sleep better feel less negative emotions and are able to be more resilient in the face of a stressful event, and recover faster. If you’re struggling to get to sleep, try to keep to a regular nighttime pattern, keep your bedroom cool and quiet and avoid working, looking at your phone or watching TV right before you fall asleep.


Take time out to do something you enjoy Plan in time to do things that you enjoy and stick to it, that can be anything from reading a good book to watching your favourite TV show and spending time with friends. Taking moments to allow your brain to turn off will let you approach your task-list feeling refreshed and with renewed vigor. Try a ‘self-care’ day once a month where you totally switch off.


Fail to plan, plan to fail Build in a point at the end of the day to clear your inbox or at least make a note of the bigger tasks you need to tackle the next day or after the weekend. Ending the day with a good plan of what you need to achieve next means that you can end the day feeling confident that nothing has been missed and leaves you able to fully switch off. Be intentional about planning your time, or try time blocking in your diary, and be present in the task you are doing with no distractions to make the most of the time you have put aside for it. If there is a job that you are worried about, try to get it out of the way early so it is not hanging over you for the whole day.


Be present At BeaconHouse Events everyone has each other’s back, including our clients. Really be aware of the people around you and offer support if you see someone is struggling or not acting like themselves. Take time out to ask a colleague if they want a coffee or to take a walk, it can really turn someone’s day around! Knowing that you have a support system around you and a culture of trust is a huge benefit when there is a curveball to content with.


Look after your health Looking after your physical health can have an enormous impact on your mental wellbeing. The BeaconHouse team do a whole range of things to keep our bodies and minds in top condition, including gym memberships, midweek football, running, long dog walks, netball, zen-days and outdoor swimming!


Find your groove Get your favourite song on in the car, in the shower, on your headphones – anywhere at all – and sing along as loud as you can. We love everything from noughties indie rock to 90s trance in the team but it’s less about what you listen to and more about how it makes you feel!

If you are interested in joining the team, we would love to hear from you. Visit to view our current vacancies.

*World Scholarship Vault

Law, order and cold-water swimming…meet Sophie

After considering a career in law, Sophie met BeaconHouse Events co-founders Sarah and Catherine during her university year in industry, where she really got a taste for events and realised that this was the sector where her skills and passion lay. She joined the team 2017 and is a now a Senior Events Manager using her experience and people engagement skills to lead large, high-impact events for clients across a wide range of sectors.

We grabbed a coffee and sat down with Sophie to talk about what she does why she loves working in corporate events, what a typical week looks like for her and the virtues of cold water swimming…

What made you first consider a career in event management?

When I first started looking for university placements, I was looking at the different aspects of marketing and engagement and while a lot of those looked really interesting, I started to think about what I enjoy doing outside of work – and naturally I’m a planner! In my friendship group I’ve always been the one that enjoys organising the trips or the birthday parties – I’m pretty detail oriented and love an agenda or organised fun, so it was a fairly natural fit once I understood what would be involved if I did this full-time as a career.


Did you know a lot about the industry before you started in the industry?

Not at all. My first role was at another events agency, ‘Benchmark Communications’ whilst I was studying and the kinds of events that we were working on there were big scale, with thousands of attendees from sectors like academia and healthcare. It was a total crash course – new vocabulary including ‘delegates’ and ‘plenary’, it was all totally new and I enjoyed soaking up every minute.


What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I always wanted to be a barrister, even throughout secondary school that was always the path I was going to take. I was even part of a mock-law team where we would debate cases and observe real trials in court – I loved it. Then, when I was looking at options for university there was a lot of talk in the media about there being too many people applying for law school and speculation about what the job prospects looked like for people coming out of a law degree with so much competition. My favourite topics at A Level were Business Studies and Economics, so after that I started to look at other avenues where I could continue learning about those subjects and potentially do law conversion later which is how I ended up gaining my degree in Marketing and Business Studies and never looked back.


What skills do you think attracted you to law, that you now bring to event management?

Definitely that eye for detail is important but I think more than that, it is about being a critical listener with clients, and the rest of your team; to really understand what problem they are trying to solve and what they are trying to achieve. Having a cool head under pressure is definitely a bonus too, you have to be pretty unflappable to work in the events industry!


What does a typical week look like for you?

A lot of my clients are tech focused which is a really interesting and fast moving sector to be part of. Currently I’m working on the DIBI Conference up in Edinburgh which is a gathering of UX professionals and tech creatives, as well as working with Opencast on their internal events programme which is a large, ongoing project. My week is usually split between client work, strategy meetings and 1-2-1s with the team on their development; it usually comes as a surprise to people that 90% of our time is spent at a desk. It’s  the 10% that you spend onsite delivering an event that is usually the most seen, but most of our role is about strategy, research and planning, all before we ever set foot in an event space.

I tend to work with clients who are all pretty different from each other, and the types of events we are planning with them are diverse, but what keeps it really interesting is that they are all at a different part of their lifecycle. That means in a single week I can be working with clients on initial scoping for a project, while other clients are in that middle development stage or in full delivery and evaluation mode.


How do you like to work with clients?

I like to think of us an extension of our client’s team, we really get to know their business and work with everyone from people and experience teams through to internal communications leads to do everything logistics wise, but also being a sounding board for ideas and sparking creativity about what is possible. We take on a really collaborative approach, it’s a great feeling to be welcomed into so many fantastic teams in the region and across the wider UK to understand the amazing work they are doing.


What do you enjoy about mentoring the next generation of talent in the industry?

It is incredibly rewarding to see the next cohort of talent come into BeaconHouse Events and into the industry. As a team we have a real spread of experience – we have always found that there are people with such great talent out there with perfectly transferable skills for events, seeing that talent and drive come out is incredibly rewarding. Events is a great career to learn on the job and it is so fulfilling to see people as they grow in confidence and thrive.


What do you think surprises people about your role? 

I spent seven years with ASM Global – the company behind the new Sage complex, Utilita Arena and Playhouse Whitley Bay – whilst there I very much worked on those conventional experiences that people tend think of when you talk about event planning, things like Disney on Ice or a major ballet production. The corporate side of things does tend to get forgotten a little bit.

What is surprising to people is how much cross-over there is between those big consumer events and what we deliver for our current clients. By looking at how we design events to learn from those consumer experiences, we can help people to connect in a more authentic way, to adopt new innovative ways of learning and to make memories that they want to talk about and share. We want people to be engaged with the content we are producing and are always looking to learn and adapt the format of events to make them really enjoyable for the people attending. With the emergence of digital and hybrid events making the competition much higher for people’s attention, there needs to be a real pull to get delegates to attend your event over another.


What has been your career highlight so far?

I can’t choose one event to be my favourite, because I like them all for different reasons, but when I look at the range of events that I’ve been lucky enough to work on that makes me feel very proud. We’ve had everyone from a Prime Minister at an event to Deborah Meadon from Dragon’s Den and I’ve delivered experiences for tens of thousands of people. When you look back at the accumulation of all of those together it is pretty amazing.


Outside of work what can we find you doing?

Other than enjoying the Newcastle’s foodie venues, I love being outdoors and making the most of the North East coastline. Last summer myself and Katie, another event manager here, took up sea swimming so we try and go once a week now, even in the winter! Sometimes we do ten minutes…sometimes longer, depending on how cold it is but it is completely addictive and I really miss it when we have to skip it for whatever reason. We go on a Monday lunch-time and it totally sets you up for the week – you end up with endorphins for the whole day afterwards.


And finally, what would your dream event be to work on?

I’m obsessed with skincare (my one piece of advice would be to wear SPF every day and no-one is listening to me in the office!) so it would have to be a huge expo type event with expert speakers, what is new in active ingredients, little villages of people exhibiting the latest products, French pharmacy style pop-ups, the works.

If you are interested in joining Sophie in a career in events, we would love to hear from you. Visit to view our current vacancies.

How events can boost team morale in 2023

According to new research, 42% of businesses are feeling the impact of low employee morale* and according to analytics company Gallup, 57% of UK employees are ‘not engaged’ at work, with over a quarter saying that they are ‘actively disengaged’ with the organisation that they work for.

Team morale can have a huge impact on your productivity, efficiency, retention and workplace wellbeing and with remote working and hybrid teams, it can be hard to know how your team is feeling and what they need. ‘Morale’ isn’t just a buzzword in 2023, when times get tough, a highly engaged team will pull your business through, and in times of skills shortages and high staff turnover, your people are your most important champions.

According to Dynamic Signal, 63% of employees cite poor communication as a reason why they would leave a role and 53% don’t think their company communicates with them in a way that would lead them to become an advocate. Hosting events such as internal staff conferences, celebrations or annual meetings are a proven way to open up channels of communication, spark meaningful conversations and reconnect with team members who may be feeling out in the cold. Events like this are a way to demonstrate your values in action, and most importantly come together as a team in a fun, positive way outside of the day to day.

Remember that it’s important to go into your event with a clear purpose and vision of what you want to achieve, so every aspect of your event can be designed to help you engage and motivate your team in a meaningful way.

So, how can an event give that much needed boost to your team, and create a happy, healthy and high-performing team?


1 Communication

When teams are busy or spread across multiple locations, it can be tricky to keep everyone updated on success stories, growth and future plans. Emails or even video updates can get lost in to-do lists and busy diaries, but hosting a quarterly or annual update event means that you can really make your people feel part of something bigger and be on hand to answer any questions about what the information means in practice. In larger organisations this might be one of the few opportunities for all teams to have face-to-face time with senior leadership, opening up channels of communication across the organisation.


2 Real connection

The pandemic, the rise of digital meetings, social media and busy home lives all contribute to many craving some human interaction. No one here is arguing that there aren’t benefits to video calls, but for many it’s more difficult to be creative in a silo and far easier to be distracted by your inbox when you’re attending an online meeting. Meeting in person and enjoying shared experiences make it much more likely to build lasting relationships with colleagues which in turn will increase staff morale and reduce staff turnover (according to research by Gallup, when 60% of employees in a company have a work friend, safety incidents decreased by 36%, customer engagement increased by 7%, and profits increased by 12%)! Not only that, IRL conversations are proven to be more productive, with team members able to collaboratively brainstorm much more effectively in person than online, giving you a platform to tackle those big conversations together.


3 Recognition

Events and celebrations are a great way of saying thank you to your team and showing that you recognise all of their achievements. A simple ‘thank you’ is one of the best ways to increase staff engagement and boost morale and getting everyone away from their ‘day-to-day’ to enjoy an experience together is a meaningful way to show that you care. You could include awards (serious or silly categories!) as part of the day to give an extra thank you to the people who have really gone above and beyond. By recognising success you have a tangible way of celebrating your values in action, making it much easier for people to put them into practice when they are back in the work place, which in turn makes for a much happier atmosphere.


4 Create ambassadors

If people are proud of where they work, they want to share it with their friends and family. A morale boosting event – whether that is an awards dinner or a full team away day gives your people something to talk about with their community outside of the organisation. Creating moments that people want to share on their social media channels will not only boost morale but it increases the opportunity to attract new talent to your organisation when they see the additional benefits and learning opportunities that you offer your team.


5 Re-energise and inspire

Give your team space to step away from the day-to-day, learn new things, get inspired and have some fun. You will be increasing essential endorphins, boosting morale and giving team members something more than a transactional experience – you’re making them part of an experience. Find a cool venue, book an inspirational speaker or create an environment where teams that wouldn’t normally interact, learn from each other and most importantly, have fun together. A professional events team can work with you to hand pick the best speakers to re-energise your people, and they don’t just have to be talking about your sector, the best speakers allow you to look at things from a different perspective and give your team something to think about, and talk about, long after the event is over.

For more information on morale boosting events or to speak to the team about how to engage your team in 2023 email or call +44 (0)191 691 3456



Creating an event to empower businesses to grow through doing good

The event, which will be held on Tuesday 23 May at INNSiDE by Meliá Newcastle, will bring together North of Tyne and wider North East businesses community to discuss how growth can be fueled by doing good and share best practice, linked to the Good Work Pledge project which already has almost 100 businesses signed up to be part of the scheme (including ourselves).

Good to Grow is a free, face-to-face, offline seminar which will see over 150 delegates from the North East business community coming together to discuss the importance of sustainable, ‘good’ growth and the challenges and opportunities that it gives businesses in the region. Guests will be joined by keynote speaker, writer, film-maker and doer Big Ian Donaghy, alongside an address from North of Tyne Combined Authority and speakers from regional businesses discussing the impact they have achieved and how they have approached good work practices.

Driving the growth and resilience of North East business is a topic that is close to our hearts here at BeaconHouse Events and we are working towards our application to be a Good Work Place Employer, so were honoured to be selected to support the team at the NECA to bring this event to life.

We spoke to Caroline Preston, who leads the Good Work Pledge project for the North of Tyne Combined Authority, on why this event is so important to the North East in 2023 and how working with BeaconHouse Events has taken it to the next level.

Caroline said: “The work place has changed and sustainable growth now needs to be a top agenda item. This event is a way for businesses to discuss how we can pull together as a community and encourage good practice as a means to grow, retain staff and attract the next generation of talent to our North East businesses.

“The North East currently has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK at 38% and 75% of families that fall within that figure have at least one person working. We need to act now as a business community to make work better for everyone. We have an amazing spirit here in the North East and many businesses are working hard to make sure their employees are happy, healthy, and well rewarded but we need to do more. Poor employment can have a really detrimental effect on our communities, these jobs are low paid, often unreliable  and offer zero or minimal additional benefits. Worse still these low paid jobs are often done by the very people who keep us supplied with food, who look after our loved ones and keep us moving.

“While there are many factors that affect this, businesses do have a part to play when to comes to offering opportunities to progress, flexible working so families can juggle childcare or other responsibilities, promoting health and wellbeing and proving security for their people wherever possible.

“A lot of our sectors are still suffering from a skills shortage, and this is a proactive and actionable way of addressing this as a region. Research shows that when businesses invest in their people, employees are more loyal and perform better in their roles, giving you space and resource to grow your business in a sustainable way.

“It’s customers too that are looking for something more these days, as are the next generation that are entering the workforce. They actively want to support companies who are supporting the people who live and work in the region and businesses can no longer ignore this. There are already businesses doing amazing things here in the North East and this event will be a catalyst for new conversations and connections to help everyone learn from each other in a really practical and inspirational way. We’ve always come together as a region in the past, and it is time to do it again, let’s aim a little higher, harness the skills in our network and get this moving.”

“We wanted this event to inspire and motivate people to make change within their organisations, and we chose to work with BeaconHouse Events to really make sure that the event had the right balance and impact that it deserved. It was important to us that the speakers were inclusive, diverse and had a new and interesting perspective on the problem and the team at BeaconHouse have gone above and beyond to ensure that they are representative of the wide range of businesses that will be in attendance.”

Choosing a keynote speaker who encapsulated the vision and the values behind the event was really important to us as we strategised how the event would look and feel on the day. We finally found the perfect choice, Big Ian Donaghy. Ian works tirelessly to raise dementia awareness and combat loneliness, always focusing on the individual drawing on his experience of 20 years teaching young people with learning difficulties, and nearly 10 years in the world of care. Ian will be discussing his book ‘A Pocketful of Kindness’ which discusses the power of kindness and the idea that nobody ever changed anything by doing nothing.

Caroline continued, “Alongside the managing the speakers, Sarah, Katie and the team have been hugely helpful when it comes to logistics, planning, venue and have brought their years of expertise to the fore with advice and guidance in making this event really flow. While I have worked on large scale events in the past, they have used their industry knowledge to become critical friends through the whole process and to support me with additional resource and advice.

“There is a reason they are so successful as an organisaton, their attention to detail and knowledge of the corporate events space is second to none. The team have experience in event management in a wide range of sectors and I really valued that insight into what works, trends and themes in the industry and how to create an event that people will still talk about after they leave.

“I can’t wait to have BeaconHouse Events as a member of the Good Work Pledge and want to say thank you for making the event planning process so smooth and pain-free. See you on the 23rd!”

The Good Work Pledge scheme was launched in 2021 to make poor employment a thing of the past, and Good Work the norm. As part of the scheme businesses are awarded a level of the pledge, helping to build a ‘community of good work’, where members will have access to learning, networking opportunities and support in the pursuit of good work and sustainability. The pledge includes five pillars of best practice; promoting health and well-being, developing a balanced workforce, valuing and rewarding your workforce, effective communication and representation and demonstrating a social responsibility.

Tickets to the event are free, register at

Our Top 3 Zero-Waste Suppliers for Events

As a business we are committed to ensuring sustainability is a key component of any event planning we do. We endeavour to reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever we can. Over the years we have made small changes that have big impact at scale, from re-fill water stations to only printing the essentials, but we continue to strive to be better and challenge the whole supply chain of our events, keeping waste to the absolute minimum.

Here we share our top 3 suppliers who are supporting our sustainable journey, driving positive change and offering innovative zero waste alternatives.

Sustainable Event Power

What are events without the sound and lights, well…INGRAM AV, is an audio-visual equipment supplier on a mission to make event power more sustainable. INGRAM have designed and built in-house a portable power station. The power station can generate its own energy using built-in solar panels. This piece of kit helps to keep emissions down to an absolute minimum. Every detail is considered with Ingram, even down to the electric vehicles used to bring equipment onsite!

Earth Friendly Paper

With smartphones and event apps a paperless event is now a reality, however if some print is needed, we look to seed paper or other biodegradable alternatives. Little Green Paper Shop, based in Cheshire have a large selection of eco-friendly paper alternatives. They have every SWAG item you need for your event; name tags, coasters, stickers, bookmarks, wristbands and pens, all biodegradable, made from seed paper. When the product has reached its end use after an event, instead of going to landfill, its purpose is to give back to the earth, to be planted and grow beautiful flowers. Their newest Eco Cotton range is made from waste from the textile industry – from old t-shirts, socks, dresses and jeans. We are seeing more and more eco-friendly paper alternatives popping up and these new exciting materials will be a great addition and marketing story for any event.

Feed a Friend

We are extremely waste-conscious when it comes to food at our events, we work with our clients to limit the amount of food waste, however, sometimes we find ourselves with some spare lunches. A charity close to our hearts is People’s Kitchen, they support homeless and vulnerable people in the Newcastle area, providing them with a sustaining meal for free. If you would like to get involved, you can donate to their Feed a Friend for a Fiver campaign.

BeaconHouse Events are proud to be taking charge and making events sustainable and we’re always on the lookout for sustainable suppliers, charities and initiatives within the UK to work with. If this sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via or call +44 (0)191 691 3456.