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Simon Read: Conference News Event Producer of the Year

Let us tell you the story of Simon Read, Senior Event Producer in the UK Emota team. He actually received a promotion before this award win was announced: a double round of applause is required!

May, 2023

The story begins long before this, but for context, we are so thrilled that Simon recently won Event Producer of the Year at the Conference News Agency Awards 2023!. The Conference News Agency Awards (CNAAs) are an annual celebration that recognizes the excellence of the UK’s most influential and prolific event agencies and their expertise within the past 12 months. Each year, over 450 event professionals gather to learn who will receive the highest honors in event organization.


The journey to event production begins.

Simon joined AEE (now Emota) in March 2015 and has had a profound impact on our business in that time. He is truly an asset to our company, and we are very lucky to have him.​

Simon now works across the full spectrum of event types and delivery methods that we offer to our clients – live, hybrid, and digital. The value he adds to his team, colleagues across the business, clients, event stakeholders, event attendees, and the AEE (now Emota) business made him a stand-out candidate for the Conference News Event Producer of the Year Award.


I’ve been with AEE (now Emota) for nearly 8 years. Starting as a Project Manager, I quickly moved into more production-led roles - Production Project Manager and Production Manager – before transitioning into my role as a Producer.​ Like a lot of people my age, I “fell” into events, but the passion for messages is what has kept me here.​ I’ve had experience on all sides – client, venue and agency – which puts me in a great position when looking at problems and solutions from all perspectives.​ This journey has given me unique insights into how and why events run as they do. Working across all functions when pulling an event together has allowed me to see from every angle what makes good messaging and a great experience – versus what leaves a client wanting and needing more.

No two days are the same.

Let’s paint the picture of Simon’s role.

An Event Producer’s role is very varied and can actually be quantified as a mixture of account management, project management, client relationship management, content development, and production.​ Simon describes this as “acting as a helicopter over a meeting’s message and identity”. This means, within his role, he can weave the red thread from the first audience touch point, through the meeting, and into the final post-event phases.​

From there, Simon is then able to touch every part of a meeting from start to finish. He fully understands the clients’ objectives, and then he works with various teams:

  • The Logistics team to support the venue sourcing and ensure the choice of venue meets the overarching message​
  • The Production team to really expand the offering to the audience​
  • Client stakeholders, presenters, and keynote guest speakers​
  • The tech crew​
  • Our project team to align dining experiences, delegate communication, delegate engagement, meeting materials and much more with the overall message​

Overall, Simon ensures that the objective is always followed, and that we, as an end-to-end delivery team, exceed the expectations of all involved. ​


You can’t rely on others for your own development.

Personal development is something that is key to Simon’s success. “I spend a lot of time updating my knowledge and experience, using Ted Talks, podcasts, online portals, literature and more” shares Simon. Simon’s favorite learning from a podcast by Simon Sinek is “Start with Why”. This is a key part of his approach:


“Hearing rather than just listening – this allows me to solve client problems. But this is something that takes practice so it’s a key element of my personal focus and development.”


Simon is a strong leader and mentor within both his own team and the broader teams he works with on events.


“I believe in a collaborative approach; I am at my best when people are learning and growing around me.” Simon created the AEE “Production Champions” training, which resulted in team members wanting to know more about production and content. In one case, a colleague moved across to progress their career in event production. “Whilst messaging and engagement are key to my success and drive, seeing the growth of others is a passion for me – it is this that keeps us lean and agile in an ever-changing marketplace” says Simon.


Simon also sees the importance of observing market trends and looking outside our industry for inspiration. Clients are always asking for things they haven’t seen before – they demand innovation, and Simon brings this innovation in spades – from bringing free runners to a gala dinner to a blind football team-building activity in the Panathenaic stadium in Athens.


Simon’s experience in both technical production and content gives him the ability to add enormous value to an event where both of these elements are being delivered, and he has the flexibility to be a technical- or content-led Producer. Not only can he advise on the best messaging and format for a meeting, but he can also give informed recommendations on the equipment required to elevate the narrative. ​


Again, we congratulate Simon, and we look forward to seeing him continuously grow and develop with us.


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