While on a family vacation, I remember receiving an e-mail on Christmas Eve via my LinkedIn page from Mr Fotios Vasileiou, Senior Lecturer in Events Management at GSM London University, Programme Leader in MSc in Events and Entertainment and Founder and Academic Leader in OSAM/ AWESOME education.
The e-mail said
“Hello Grazielle I totally admire you, your successful career. You are inspiration especially for my students and more especially for many girls who want to progress. I would be grateful if you let me know in future when visiting London if you would accept to speak to come to give a lecture in your style. It would be very interesting for them if you visit our university in Greenford London to discuss your career in relation with the Events and Entertainment industry. They love to be motivated by real stories of amazing successful people like you, (especially in our studies where 98% are girls). ”
That e-mail got my heart racing. When I saw it I started jumping up and down. Who me? Lecture? University? Whaaat! I wanted to do it but I was really scared about public speaking to a large audience. However, after giving it much thought and reflection and discussing it with my husband who totally encouraged me to accept the invitation, I decided to do it and gave my word to mr Vasileiou that I would travel to London in the first quarter of 2017. I believed that it would be a great opportunity for me personally, it would be a pleasure to give something back to the community, to help inspire other women and personally it was my challenge to overcome once and for all one of my long-time fears – public speaking without a memorised script.
GSM London (Greenwich School of Management (GSoM)) is an independent school of higher education with two locations – one in Greenford, West London and one based in Greenwich, south-east London. Founded in 1973, it offers business-specific courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels alongside other specialist training, and caters to a large number of international students. As of 2016, GSM London has educated over 20,000 students. GSM London degrees are accredited and awarded by Plymouth University, the 5th best modern university in the United Kingdom according to the Times Higher Education “100 under 50” rankings in 2016.
This University also has a very interesting programme called Formation Zone which gives assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs who have business ideas and need guidance to start up. It provides a place where students and persons who are interested in starting up a business to seek professional mentorship and advice. It forms part of the University but it is licensed to be set up anywhere in the world. Perhaps Malta is interested to welcome this programme? I’m not sure if there is something similar available already. Food for thought….
So I got to Greenford and all the students in the classroom were excited to meet me like I was excited to meet them. I was introduced as Grazielle Camilleri the entrepreneur, fashion and travel blogger from Malta, with experience in events management and PR for over two decades.
These students are mainly studying events management so I was so happy to help give them an insight into the real world of events and examples of what happens in the real world as opposed to the world in a classroom. I dealt with various subjects including managing client expectations, collection of information, what services they should cover alongside the event creation, being creative with budgets and most importantly how to deal with people and contacts along their journey through life. We held a workshop together and brainstormed how to prepare for a particular themed event and I made sure they all got involved.
They were extremely receptive! I could see their eyes sparkle and their heads nodding in interest, their bodies leaning forward and there were occasional spurts of laughter when I passed some jokes and did some funny dance moves which made me feel so good and confident too.
I found out that one of the students in class is a beauty blogger, another one is just starting up a new jewellery line, another student has a YouTube channel where she shares content about her hometown Africa and would like to develop this channel to cover other subjects. So, some of the students are quite entrepreneurial and they are already working on projects to set up their own businesses.
I also covered the importance of working in different environments, to gain confidence and knowledge, what to wear to look the part, planning an event, collecting feedback and how to evaluate work. We also discussed assistance with social media and PR and the importance of having genuine relations with your clients.
What can I say… it was a great success. I went to GSM University with the objective of inspiring these ladies with my personal tips and I think I managed that. I loved talking in public. For this reason, this trip will have special place in my heart. I feel ever so grateful to have been invited here. Senior lecturer Mr Vasileou loved my Maltese enthusiasm and genuine approach, and as a result I will be visiting again later on in the year to give another lecture and to assist in a large international event, which is still a secret for the time being!
Thanks once again for this opportunity! Thank you to my family who support me back home for me to be able to do these trips. Let’s continue chasing our dreams and making a difference, little by little.