Pia Tandon

Pia Tandon

“I went to Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, and now I am a Meetings and Events Co-ordinator at Wimbledon.”

Pia, Meetings and Events Co-ordinator

Years attended:

1997-2004

Job Title:

Meetings and Events Co-Ordinator

Description of Job:

I work as Meetings and Events Co-ordinator for Compass Group, the official caterer at Wimbledon. I organise all year-round events and tournaments at the world famous tennis venue – my dream job!

O Levels/GCSEs

6  Grade (A*s)

A Levels

3 AS

3 A Levels Grade (A)

University

University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

Course: BA Modern Languages (French and Spanish)

What inspired you at school?

Hard work, organisation and being conscientious were definitely drummed into me at AGGS and that has helped me immensely. I was lucky to go to such a fantastic school.

Any useful tips/advice?

If you work hard and make your mark, you will get noticed.

What have you done since leaving AGGS to get to where you are today? (eg work experience, GAP year, apprenticeship, volunteering, travelling)

I went to university for 4 years straight after sixth form at AGGS. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and the recession hit the year I graduated, which wasn’t the best luck. I did a month’s internship at BBC’s The One Show in Manchester and then picked up temp jobs to bulk up my CV. Through that, I was headhunted by one of the clients to be a PA in a cosmetic surgery clinic in Alderley Edge where I worked for 3 years, leading a clinical trial in the process. I decided Events is where my heart was and I was lucky that my dream job landed on my lap. The rest, as they say, is history!

How did you get into your current role?

I decided Events is where my heart was and I was lucky that my dream job landed on my lap. The rest, as they say, is history!

What specific qualifications are needed for your job?

I was fully prepared to do an Events qualification in order to get into my job, but I now don’t think that would have been necessary. My company have been so supportive with giving me the opportunity I have dreamed of, and I’m learning a lot from my colleagues who have spent years in the business. I’m a firm believer that if you work hard and make your mark, you will get noticed.

Are there any particular subjects that have to be studied to be able to do your job?

Not really. An Events degree would be preferable but not essential at all.

What is a typical work day like for you?

Lots of phone calls and emails! There’s no typical day really, which is what I enjoy. Most of the year, I work a standard 9-5 day but nearer the tournament in July, we work all hours. During Wimbledon, my colleague and I run the Control Office which is the central information point for our 2,200 staff. We could be doing anything from trying to find a particular type of wine for the Royal Box, or the remote control for the TV in the Competitors’ Restaurant because Roger Federer wants to change the channel! It keeps it interesting to say the least!

What is the best bit about your job and do you have a particular career highlight?

I get to work at Wimbledon every day which is just incredible! It’s been my dream for years. I work with amazing people who are so passionate about what they do; they’re like a family to me. I’m a huge tennis fan so seeing the players practising on court the week before the tournament starts is such a treat! My highlight this year was having coffee on the table next to Roger Federer and his team – I had to pinch myself!

What are the worst things about your job?

Very long hours (18-hour days in the run-up to the tournament). The nature of Events is that things can change at the last minute which can be stressful as I like to plan for everything to be perfect!

What skills help you most in your job (i.e. teamwork, communication, leadership, time management)?

Communication and teamwork are key as it’s important to ensure everyone (chefs, logistics team, event manager) has the information they need to make the event run smoothly. Being organised, taking initiative and a passion for what you do are also crucial in the Events industry.

What advice would you give to students looking to get into your line of work? (e.g. subjects to study, getting work experience)

I wish I’d studied something like Business or Marketing to give me a better head-start when I left university. I started in the Recruitment department at Wimbledon doing the filing and picking up the phones, and then was promoted very quickly. I only found out about the job because a friend of a friend of a friend worked there. Sometimes it’s about WHO you know so I would advise getting as much experience as you can (even filing, making tea and coffee, whatever you can!). It’ll give you a foot in the door and you never know who will spot your potential.

How did your experience at AGGS help you to achieve your successes?

I have such good memories of AGGS – I loved school! Hard work, organisation and being conscientious were definitely drummed into me at AGGS and that has helped me immensely. I was lucky to go to such a fantastic school.