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20 Questions with Karla Pleasance, International Major Event Specialist

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

We played 20 Questions recently with International Major Event Specialist, Karla Pleasance. Discover Karla's totally surprising early career, why she needed to learn patience while working overseas and why the favourite part of her day had a lot to do with home-schooling!

Karla has 25 years experience, from the ExCeL London start up in 2000, through to producing events right across the United Arab Emirates and the GCC region. Karla had lived and worked in the UAE for the past 11 years where her first role was Production Manager of the Abu Dhabi Red Bull Air Races.

She's known by her peers as a VERY detailed orientated multitasker, capable of communicating on all levels. Having recently moved home to the UK, Karla now leads on a range of classes for The Event School London. She brings a wealth of specialist expertise in international events, exhibitions, conferences, outdoor events, event operations and production and venue management.

Karla's overseas experience, traversing roles in major event venues through to freelancing, contributes a new international aspect to our students learning experience. Course participants from the UK as well as from as far afield as Burkina Faso, Belgium and Qatar have already benefited from her interactive and dynamic teaching style.


More about Karla...

A seasoned event professional with 25+ years’ experience having worked on all sides of the industry (organiser, venue, agency, contractor, and freelance). In her earliest career Karla qualified as a professional ballet teacher however moved into sales with The Sunday Times when she realised she wanted a more social and broader experience. From there, Karla found her first role in the events industry with ITE, am exhibition organising company, and in a position that took her frequently to Russia and her first taste of the global event world. Moving on to Reed Exhibitions, Karla was then offered a role with one of the most exciting industry start-ups in Europe, ExCeL London.

Her role as an event manager at ExCeL London was significantly operations and logistics focussed, coupled with the need for high level communication skills for client liaison and retention. Karla used her extensive industry experience and network to launch her own business as a Freelance Event Project Manager and Producer.

She has since worked in both freelance and contract roles in both the UK and the United Arab Emirates working on high profile, large budget, high volume events and key industry clients including:

  • Mobile Asia Congress (Macau)

  • Defence Systems Equipment International (DSEi, London)

  • Anthony Robbins - Unleash the Power Within (UPW London)

  • British International Motor Show (London)

  • Red Bull Air races (Abu Dhabi)

  • Red Bull Flugtag (Kuwait)

  • Event projects for BlackBerry, Etisalat and Ford (UAE)

  • Event Planing Manager with ADNEC the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company - including event management for IDEX Opening Ceremony, World Future Energy Summit, ADIPEC (Abu Dhabi)

  • Events Team Leader, Society of Petroleum Engineers: Oil and Gas Congresses (Qatar and Dubai)

  • Production Manager, Smirnoff Sound Collective Festival (Dubai)

  • Senior Manager-technical, WorldSkills (Abu Dhabi)

  • Project Manager, Global Education & Skills Forum, Global Teacher Prize Gala and GESF Live (Dubai)


As well as working in the event industry, Karla also teaches on a range of courses with The Event School London including Event Management, Festival Management, Venue Management, Conference and Exhibition Management.



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