Posted in Uncategorized
Benchmark – a Newcastle-upon-Tyne based events and conference management company is thrilled to announce, for the 7th year running, the prestigious North East Accountancy Awards 2013.
North East Accountancy Awards recognises the excellence within the fields of accounting and finance in the North East and presents an opportunity for organisations and individuals to gain the prestige of being voted the leader in their sector.
The Awards ceremony will take place at the Hilton NewcastleGateshead on 13th June and with previous awards having attracted over 300 guests, the event is likely to be one of the highlights within the North East business community.
Nominations are now open and invited for all the award categories from organisations and individuals operating in the North East, from local accountancy and finance companies through to all local businesses and public sector organisations as well as members and students of recognised professional bodies.
The Awards annually attract the support of a number of local key businesses via sponsorship and other partnership opportunities. For 2013 the title sponsor is Nigel Wright Recruitment who is sponsoring these awards for the 7th year running – which is a true testament on the return the awards can bring to associated companies.
“We were delighted to get involved with these awards when they began seven years ago. What is remarkable about them is that they see all the professional and governing bodies within the finance community coming together to celebrate excellence within the discipline” reflects David Bowman, Managing Consultant of Nigel Wright. “The finance function is always a key part of the decision making process in any business both in good and bad economic conditions and is often an unsung hero. These awards have always been well supported and the event is always first rate, a real celebration of talent in the region.”
For future information on the awards please visit www.accountancyawards.co.uk
Benchmark www.benchcom.co.uk, established in 1994, is a creative events and conference management company is the creator and organiser of North East Accountancy Awards.
Based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and London they work internationally and believe passionately about improving communication and brand experience through events – from conferences, exhibitions, incentive and hospitality programmes to experiential events.
Benchmark also operates as an association management company bringing them an interesting competitive advantage of being able to offer more complete services to their clients.
Further information and images of last year’s event: Minna Scaife, firstname.lastname@example.org
t. 0191 2414523
23 January 2013
by Minna Scaife
Posted in Uncategorized
We are looking to expand our sales team and appoint additional sales and telemarketing support. We are looking for an enthusiastic and resourceful team player to sell event sponsorship and exhibition stands to new business leads and existing customers. Mostly via telephone but also face-to-face.
This job is suitable for an organised, proactive and communicative individual, who wants to work in a fast paced sales based environment- someone who is not afraid of picking up the phone and selling J. As part of the sales team, you will be responsible for the development and performance of sponsorship and exhibition sales activity, and also taking on tasks under your own initiative such as creating and putting together sponsorship packages and proposals.
The ideal candidate will have at least 12 months of sales experience, ideally with an interest or experience in events. You will also be self motivated, target driven and a team player. This is an exceptional opportunity for the right candidate to expand their experience and skill base in event and sponsorship sales.
Salary is dependent on experience starting from £15k + commission but salary can be flexible depending on experience so if you like the sound of the role and feel you could be an asset to us please get in touch.
To apply please e-mail your CV and covering letter to email@example.com
22 January 2013
by Minna Scaife
Posted in Just For Fun
Minna Scaife. That is my name. I am sure the first question in your mind is where is a name like that from? Well, I was born and grew up in Finland enjoying skiing, sauna, fishing, eating herring and swimming in lakes. I packed my suitcase in 1996 to go on a 6 week language course in Bournemouth and 16 years later I am still here in the UK!
In those 16 years I have done quite a bit… I did a university degree at Bournemouth University in Marketing and Hospitality management and after that I have worked in various marketing roles all around the world. I also lived in Germany for few years, worked as a volunteer on game reserve in Africa and conquered Kilimanjaro.
I have a pretty unconventional work experience as I was very lucky to be able to get a ‘job on the fast lane’ working in Formula 1 after I left uni. I managed global event and hospitality programmes for ToyotaF1 Team, then worked in Sponsorship Management for the BMW Williams F1 Team and then moved over to work in Marketing for Ferrari GB. All those roles gave me a huge amount of truly global marketing and sponsorship experience – and I feel so lucky to have been able to work in such a unique environment.
After 7 years of ‘motorsport madness’ petrol fumes changed to wellies and walking boots as I moved to the countryside in rural Oxfordshire and started working for a local events management company organising and marketing international events for them. Bit of change from my previous jobs and settings but after years of travelling around the world and living out of my suitcase it was a welcome change for sure.
Then the biggest change in my life came about whilst on a skiing trip in France where I met a very special ‘Geordie man’ (now my husband) and that is how I ended up here in Newcastle!
Since then I have been working in various marketing roles from jewellery, gaming to consultancy and now I have landed here at Benchmark!
My role here as a Commercial Director involves quite a bit from managing new business, overseeing our marketing operations, PR and working with our key accounts and of course supporting to develop the company commercially into a even more successful business.
I have only been here for three days but it already feels like I have been here for ages. Everyone is lovely and really work together as strong dynamic team. I can’t wait to get more involved in all our activities, seeing our events in action and meeting our clients.
That’s me – in a nutshell – now you have been officially introduced to the ‘new girl’.
28 November 2012
by Minna Scaife
As far as company initiations go, mine couldn’t have been more severe. When I received the fantastic news that I was given the job of Project Coordinator with Benchmark the link to the Just Giving page was included in my ‘Welcome Pack’ … there was no choice … it was decided …I was involved in this charity quest and yes, quest is an apt word for the events that occurred last weekend.
It was all in aid of the HMESG – The Hereditary Multiple Exostoses Support Group – a charity helping those who make my cries of aching tootsies seem pathetic. A worthwhile cause that I’m sure spurred on everyone just as much it did me.
To say I was ‘lied’ to is maybe a bit strong, but in the space of 48 hours I was corrupted by Benchmark, given false information about a ‘casual stroll across the Northumbrian countryside’ … enticed with sham promises of regular cider stops at country pubs and the guarantee of being able to make sand-angels in Newton-by the-sea …
None of that came to fruition… instead I had to contend with broody cows or bullocks (they weren’t bulls, they didn’t have rings in their noses) snotty sheep and goat-footing across puddles wider than the M6 – and that was just the first day.
I spent 3 minutes clutching my chest, waiting for the palpitations to stop after a shifty pheasant jumped out at me from the bushes and waded through a field so deep with rain diluted cow pats that I can still smell it between my toes as I type.
On the second day I woke from our luxurious 2-man-wigwam with a new vigour (mainly because of the smell of bacon and sausages) and, after fashioning some waterproof socks made from a cut up poncho, I was actually looking forward to the 15 miles ahead, from Bamburgh to Craster.
The second day took us past the coast at Seahouses and south towards the end point of Craster. A unified team marching as one, with chafing thighs, swollen feet, burnt faces, poor fashion sense, mucky faces and aching joints. It took me back to being a boy on my Yorkshire estate, that feeling of getting as dirty as you like and ‘being one with nature’, stained pants and aching feet from exploring. Playing curby and trailing through mud in your Astroturf trainers – like Janet Jackson said, “The best things in life are free”.
I advise any company from any sector to push their staff, as I was, into doing something like the 33 Mile trek we did from Holy Island to Craster. I now know everything about the people I work with, and I mean everything, things I shouldn’t know about, like how one of our account managers had to run the last 200 metres of the trek because he was about to harvest a poo-farm in his pants.
For me as a new employer, the trek was the perfect way to integrate with every member of the Benchmark team, regardless of their status or role within the company, because everyone’s the same when they’re covered in sweat, midge bites and swamp juice. I ended the weekend in Craster feeling not just an employee at a new job, but a team member of Benchmark Communications, and it felt lovely. It feels lovely.
Here’s to the next 33 miles! Up for it next weekend guys?
The Team’s pick of events:
23 July 2012
by Tim Waterhouse
Posted in Just For Fun
When I applied for the student placement at Benchmark, my CV stated that I was hardworking, had excellent time management and that I thrive under pressure. Well, since getting the job as Project Coordinator they have certainly been putting my CV to the test!
In the last year, I have worked on over 20 events, have travelled to each end of the country and have attended conferences in a handful of industries. Unlike the student vocabulary I had become so used to, procrastination is not a word to be used in events management.
Many companies now advertise their student placements with the line ‘you won’t be making the tea’. Well, at Benchmark Communications that’s not entirely true..
If I’ve learnt anything during my time here is that they all like a good brew! If like me you can’t make it to 11am without one, you’ll be spending a whole lot of time stood by the kettle trying to memorise how each of your colleagues likes their cuppa. We have a Sales Manager whose tea needs to be strong enough to knock out a rugby team and a Finance Manager who always has to be awkward and be the only one to ask for a coffee. And I have never been so nervous than to make a cup of tea than for one of the Directors. Water in first, then the tea bag, if you can’t see the bottom start again! But for every cup of tea I’ve made, I’ve had many more made for me (even ONCE by the Finance Manager!).
The point I’m trying to make is that everyone at Benchmark works together, whether it’s helping out on a last minute tasks the night before an event or just getting the cups of tea, every person pulls their weight and that’s what I have spent the last year trying to do.
I have learnt that events management is not always glamorous, it is certainly not easy and whatever claims you made on your CV will definitely be put to the test. But it is an experience I wouldn’t give up for the world and the end of my one-year placement has come around far too quickly.
27 June 2012
by Abigail Turner
After 27 days of hearing the commentaries and reviews of the UK Olympic Torch Relay, I was very much looking forward to the spectacle reaching the North East. As I was unsuccessful in securing tickets to the Friday evening event, I thought I would show my support along with a few fellow Benchmarkers, and join the crowds on the doorstep of Benchmark HQ, as torchbearer Amy Priestley carried the flame through the city’s streets.
With the rain teeming down for the best part of 12 hours, we decided to enjoy a few cool beers in the warmth and shelter of our offices, while we waited to hear the celebrations start outside. 15 minutes before the torch was due to arrive we heard cheers and drums and bolted outside to take our place in the crowds. As we emerged we were slightly disappointed to see this “crowd” consisted of a mere dozen people, but our spirits rose again as the sponsors’ convoy drove passed shouting loud that the torchbearer was on her way. The break-dance battle on the balcony of Dance City provided welcome entertainment as we waited.
Meanwhile the rest of the residents of Newcastle and Gateshead were lining the banks of the Quayside, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the torch to the Tyne Bridge, where Bear Grylls was preparing to zipwire the torch to HMS Calliope on the Gateshead Quayside. I have since spoken to people who watched the zipwire and I do feel slightly jealous that I missed seeing it in the flesh. But I can say that not only are we now officially a part of history, we cheered the torchbearer on while standing only two metres away.
Today the relay leaves the North East, but I am sure all North East residents will agree that the three days of Olympic celebrations have been thoroughly enjoyable leaving us proud to be a part of the region.
All that’s left for me to say is good luck to Team GB. Just six weeks to go!
18 June 2012
by Joanne Leonard
On the weekend of 14th & 15th July, a dedicated bunch of Benchmarkers will be giving up their Saturday morning lie in and lazy Sunday afternoon to hit the coastal route of St Oswald’s Way in a quest to get fit, team build, have fresh air fuelled sing alongs and most importantly to raise a bit of money for a charity very close to our hearts.
Having trekked along the Great Wall of China and through the dunes of the Sahara dessert, the ’Dora the Explorer’ in me thought it was about time to encourage my hard working colleagues to a challenge on our door steps. Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island, is where the Northumbrian King and Saint, Oswald installed the first Bishop and is also the starting point of our trek. After a full day of sea air, BM banter and tired feet, a warm and cosy wigwam will be our Saturday evening stop over in Bamburgh (St Oswald’s Royal Capital). The next morning, we’ll put our fresh socks on, tuck into a bacon butty and set off for the second day of the 33 mile Benchmark trek. This takes us along the Northumberland coast, finishing in Craster on Sunday afternoon, timing it nicely for a seafood platter in a local pub! Each and everyone of us trekkers has a vital role in ensuring the trek is fun, stress free and worthwhile.
So guide books, walking boots, kendal mint cake and waterproofs at the ready for the Benchmark Trek 2012 – who knows we might make it to the top of Everest for the next one, but let’s just see how we cope with this one first!!!
Follow @benchcom #BMTrek for the latest updates…
15 June 2012
by Amy Smith
Benchmark staff are strapping on their walking boots and grabbing their poles to raise money for Membership Administrator’s Charity, the HME Support Group. I’ll leave it to Trek Leader and walking enthusiast, Amy Smith, to tell you the nitty gritty about Benchmark’s involvement, but here’s a bit about the charity we’re hoping to raise invaluable funds for…
Hereditary Multiple Exostoses (HME for short) is a very rare medical condition which affects 1:50,000 children where multiple bony spurs or lumps grow on the end of long bones causing at times severe mobility issues and pain.
A person with HME has an increased risk of developing a rare form of bone cancer as an adult althought statistics show this to be a very small percentage. HME begins to manifest itself in childhood and has no cure. HME is an autosomal dominant hereditary disorder which means that a patient with HME has a 50% chance of transmitting this condition to his or her children.
The HME Support Group is currently working alongside a leading consultant in Edinburgh and their Unversity IT Department to develop a long awaited research database (the first of its kind). This project is in its early stages of design and will cost a lot of money over the next few years. The money raised by this Trek will go towards helping us reach our goal with this research database.
Although the charity website is currently under construction, if you want to donate, visit their Just Giving page here. Meanwhile, we’ll keep you updated with latest Benchmark trek planning!
11 June 2012
by Jennifer Westmoreland
We’d love you to pick up the phone and give us a call, or drop us an email or tweet, but why should you? We know we need to give you a reason to take time and do that – so here’s 10!
1. We launched a whole new day to celebrate
St Geordie’s Day was a simple idea – a day for National Pride with a Regional Focus. Fed up of not having a day to celebrate being English and sick to bloody death of Geordie Shore, we wanted to do something about it…so we did.
St Geordie’s Day is a business event without the boring bits. It was an unashamed celebration with pomp and circumstance, and most importantly it raised £1,360 for The Sick Children’s Trust, Light Dragoons Colonel’s Appeal and The Children’s Foundation.
Thanks to everyone who came along, those who supported it, and those that sang their hearts out. Keep Friday 19th April 2013 free.
2. Benchmark presents Disney Institute
We’re delighted to once again bring Disney Institute to the UK, offering you an exclusive opportunity to learn from one of the world’s most respected brands. Disney Institute deliver world-class training to enhance leadership, service and business skills showcasing the strategies and business models that are the cornerstones of Disney’s long-term success.
Taking place at The Royal Armouries in Leeds the workshops will be held 2-4 October 2012. For booking information visit www.exclusivetraining.co.uk, or drop us a line.
3. We Party with Pasta at the Great North Run
The Great North Run is without doubt one of the jewels in the North East event calendar and as always it is GREAT that Benchmark is involved in such a GREAT event, delivering the Great North Run Pasta Party. If you’re running this year say hello over a bowl of pasta on Gateshead Quayside on Saturday 15th September.
4. We’ve got an Event App for that
We’re not tied to one provider, we’ve got tonnes of ideas – some quirky, some practical, but all about enhancing the event experience. If you’re interested in using an app to add a revenue stream, improve commercial sponsorship opportunities, or just because you want to, get in touch.
5. We can Kinect you to your delegates
The geekier Benchmarkers amongst us, have been toying around with Augmented Reality for a while now (actually ever since we did a session on it at Marketing: the Art Of 2010). There is something very exciting and very contemporary about Augmented and Virtual Reality at events. Ever ones to break the mould, we’ve recently developed a gesture driven game using Kinect for a client conference. We think it will cause a stir, we know it will turn heads, and most importantly it won’t have been at the last event you went to. If you like the sound of that for your conference, give us a bell.
6. We supplement Great staff, with Great staff
Team Benchmark have recently welcomed a hat- trick of new signings. In Association and Membership Management, Ashley Parsons joined us as Membership Services Finance Manager whist Deborah Washington joins as Membership Administrator. We are also delighted to welcome Claire Hawdon who joins from a national publishing company, where she was Head of Logistics.
7. We can help grow your Association
Over the last eighteen months we helped grow and develop an Association Management client’s membership by more than 100%. If you’re involved in an Association or Membership Organisation and you’re concerned about management or membership, get in touch.
8. We’re UK based but Internationally bound
In 2012 to date we’ve had Benchmarkers working in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen, Marrakech, Utrecht…and next week we’re off to Dubai. It’s obviously very nice for the team to get around, but on the downside it looks like we might need a bigger fridge to accommodate all the magnets!
9. We love promoting NewcastleGateshead as an International destination
As a conference destination NewcastleGateshead is such an amazing choice. Yes we are bias to a degree, but it really is. With great Universities, quality hotels, views to die for and the warmest of welcomes – what’s not to like. It’s always nice to deliver events near home, but it’s even better when the events at home bring delegates from across the world. In 2013 Benchmark are delivering globally renowned conferences in NewcastleGateshead in the form of the International Colour Society AIC 2013, Behaviour 2013, and OSSEO 2013.
10. We’re off to Cannes…(kind of)
Benchmark Founder and CEO Vince Woods recently shot a film starring Stephen Tompkinson in the lead role. Naturally everyone at Benchmark is very proud, and wish him all the best as he’s off to Cannes next week along with his team at Tall Tree Pictures to promote Harrigan.
…on that note it’s a wrap – get in touch!
23 May 2012
by Sam Wass
Posted in Technology in Events
The conference and event industry is moving at a fast pace and the only way to keep ahead is making sure we are up with the rest of the movers and shakers.
I spent a very informative two days at the ABPCO 25th Anniversary Conference held at the Barbican last month, addressing all sorts of topics and challenges our industry id facing. Despite the financial downturn, the conference business is alive and bouncing with ideas. The conference attracted leading Professional Conference Organisers, both from companies like us and in-house PCOs and key venues that we all work with throughout the UK. By pooling our ideas we find we can offer a better service to all our clients.
Benchmark strongly support the Conference Cloud campaign on behalf of all our clients. This ABPCO-initiated campaign is to get conference venues to sign up for free WiFi to conference delegates. This is something that, as conference organisers, we consider an essential added value item for all our clients to enable them to keep in communication with their office whilst attending a conference.
Technology is one of the major drivers in how we produce conferences, and whilst face-to-face networking is by far the best, it is not always possible. New technology allows us to introduce Hybrid Conferences, where delegates can register to attend digitally if they are not able to attend in person. I assure you it is not the old style video conferencing, but a far more interactive technology. If you think this may be an option for your next conference, contact us to discuss what is involved.
Sue Reay, Director, ABPCO full member
10 February 2012
by Sue Reay