James Mark is an International Venue and Major Events Specialist with a career that includes working with many of London’s flagship venues and events including, the London Olympic Stadium, ExCeL London, Earl’s Court Olympia Group, the Barbican Centre, London 2012, World Travel Market, Hotelympia, London Boat Show and IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
One of James current projects is working with the UK Government, Department of International Trade, as their Independent Technical Advisor on the delivery of the Government to Government agreement with Peru, providing expertise and support to the organising committee of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.
James strongly believes in supporting the development of talent in the event industry. So he is taking a little time out from his busy event consultancy in September, to lead on our MasterClasses in International Event Management and Major Sports Event Management.
We asked James to provide some insight into his career and his passion for the event industry.
Hi James, could you tell us about a few of your career highlights?
James: There have been lots of great moments and you do get a tremendous high and rush of adrenalin when your part of a team delivering a great event.
One very memorable moment would be the atmosphere inside the London Stadium last year at the IAAF World Athletics Championship with 60,000 people cheering Mo Farah home – just electric!
Another would be opening ExCeL London for the first morning of the 2012 Olympics – all the hard work leading up to that moment and the anticipation of what was to come over the next two weeks!
What has changed in the event industry since you first started out?
James: Technology has certainly been one of the biggest drivers of change in the industry – when I started out we were grappling with brick like mobile phones and writing order forms in triplicate!
The industry has had to adapt alongside tech developments, for example, traditionally, exhibitions would primarily have been where you went to research new products, however, the internet changed all that and now exhibitions have to be more content driven and focus on creating more personal experiences.
Is there anything you wish you had known when you first got started in the event industry? And any advice for newcomers now?
James: There was so much I didn’t know and as you never stop learning, there is still lots I don’t know! I think the world is so different now, that what would have been good to know when I started out, just wouldn’t be relevant for those starting out today.
There is so much in todays’ world that is uncertain that those starting out in it now, should understand that their ability to be adaptable will be critical for them.
Keep an open and flexible mindset, stay abreast of current affairs and try to make ‘change’ your friend.
Has there been a great role model or mentor that you admired who helped you progress in your career in events?
James: You are naturally drawn to people who are energetic and passionate about what they do, and their enthusiasm can really rub off on you. One such person that I worked with only briefly after I left school was a gentleman called Patrick Spottiswoode.
Patrick was the education officer at the Shakespeare’s Globe trust (before the Globe was rebuilt) and I worked with him for a time during my gap year. He was a very inspiring person to be around, not least because his passion was contagious.
I really learnt that having a positive attitude can motivate the people around you and it is a value that I’ve endeavoured to maintain throughout my career.
Is there a “dream” event you wish you could have worked on?
James: I think the Sydney Olympics as it was the Millennium year and was such a great event in so many ways – one of the benchmark Olympics for sure!
If you would like to learn more from James's vast experience and expertise, you can join his MasterClasses in September.
Start 12 September, 3 days, at CentrEd ExCeL London
Start 19 September, 3 days, at CentrEd ExCeL London
"James is a positive and motivational role model for both new talent into the world of events, venues or sports, and to professionals wanting to achieve managerial, director and executive roles. The advice and guidance that James can offer his course participants is the best you'll find in the industry."
Maria O'Dea, Director, London International Education Group
"Had the time of my life"
“Wonderful venue tours"
"Very extensive detail"
"A fantastic facilitator"
"Had first-hand experience"
"James made the class extremely interactive"
"Loved the specialist speakers that James organised!"
TAFE Queensland, London Event Study Tour, Student Feedback