TEAMonTOUR - Join Lisa in Parkinson Court on Tuesday
Red stage curtain with arch entrance

Our TEAMonTOUR is at the Worsley Building on 23rd February 2016 – find out what it’s all about here…

Red stage curtain with arch entrance

Red stage curtain with arch entrance

In 2010, MEETinLEEDS launched the ongoing ‘TEAMonTOUR’ campaign, in which the team meet with faculties and schools within the University to help develop relationships and communicate the services we offer.

This campaign has led to real advocacy for the conference service around the University and kept us front of mind for academics planning conferences. Thanks to this campaign and others, our academic community continues to help inform the services MEETinLEEDS provide, ensuring the needs of the academics are met and services are developed in response to their requirements.

Harriet Boatwright, Sales & Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS said: “Our focus has certainly shifted over the past five years to be tuned carefully to how our activity contributes to the University’s ambitious strategic plan to grow its research income to £200m by 2020. We have challenged ourselves with the question; what ways can we support the University’s drive to enable interdisciplinary research, to reach a greater international audience and to ensure it is making a positive impact? Consistently referring back to this has enabled us to focus our efforts on collaboration and partnership with the academic community. ‘TEAMonTOUR’ is one of the ways we interact and increase our visibility with internal University departments and faculties. The direct interaction we gain from the campaign helps us find out what our audience really want from us, and also allows them to put a name to a face, which is essential for creating and developing lasting partnerships.”
TEAMonTOUR-Lisa-Web-versionLisa Wood (right), Sales Executive at MEETinLEEDS and face of the campaign said: “It really is a pleasure to head the ‘TEAMonTOUR’ campaign and meet my colleagues within the University. It gives us an opportunity to generate new enquiries and meet new people, and there is no better feeling than developing an enquiry into an event on campus!

I feel that it is especially important to introduce our services and staff at ‘New Starters’ events, to give our new colleagues an introduction to the services and the community spirit that really is evident at the University: we are better together!”

Recent conference activity highlights the ways in which MEETinLEEDS contribute to the successful delivery of the University’s strategic plan.

Head of the Theoretical Physics Group in the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, Dr Almut Beige recently worked with MEETinLEEDS to host a leading international conference, which attracted participants from more than 30 countries.

She said: “Holding a leading international conference on Quantum Information Processing and Communication, the QIPC2015, in Leeds raised our profile significantly.

“Having never organised an event of this size before, chairing the QIPC, it could easily have become very overwhelming. Sharing the responsibility for the conference with MEETinLEEDS was crucial for its success. It allowed me, as an academic, to concentrate my efforts on putting together a well-balanced programme committee and obtaining an impressive list of invited speakers. From helping us to put the bid together and weekly update meetings in the run-up to the conference, to the smooth running and mopping up afterwards, I felt completely confident in MEETinLEEDS.

Keep up with the latest from MEETinLEEDS

Follow and tweet us @meetinleeds using the hashtag #BetterTogether.

Lisa Wood

I am the very proud parent of an incredibly talented and beautiful 15 year old teenage daughter.

As any parent who has a teen or two will know, this time of year can be very hard for them; revising for the all-important GCSE exams and striving for the best results they can achieve, to ultimately help attain their long term goals. Buzz words, chunk it, bite size, to name only a couple, are a daily reminder in our house. Of course the endless piles of neatly stacked books, and flash cards adorn my once tidy kitchen!



Using our organisations values, and being able to work as a team, our conference organisers and delegates will have an enjoyable and productive event here at the University of Leeds.

Then to finish off we have the celebration known as the prom, the thought that someone else should have the same dress – well that would be a catastrophe of unquantified proportions!

I am confident that my daughter will do very well with all the time and effort she has devoted to her revision, and of course look absolutely stunning at her prom, but above all enjoy the event and finally relax for the summer.

In many ways this reminds me of the job I do here at the University of Leeds as a sales executive. You must do your homework, know your stuff (venues & best fit) and go the extra mile to ensure that all the right questions in the planning are asked, ahead of securing any venues/catering for the event. Of course service with a smile is a must, as I take pride in my work and care about the end result.

Using our organisations values, and being able to work as a team, our conference organisers and delegates will have an enjoyable and productive event here at the University of Leeds. Many have a gala dinner as a celebration (our version of a prom I suppose!) which is always a great success and a lovely finale to the event. With our award winning chefs our fine dining is a real winner! Delivered catering services, with new menus launched on a regular basis, and a devoted delivery team means our conferences are in safe hands for all their catering needs.

With great preparation come great things – something I embrace both at work, and now at home, inspiring a whole new generation!


Regular readers of the MEETinLEEDS blog will remember that long ago (a week is a long time in the Digital Age) we pledged to show our support for Le Tour Yorkshire by cycling the entire Leeds to Harrogate stage of the Tour de France 2014, using spinning bicycles at the Edge Sports Centre.

For those of you that missed the story, here is a quick recap:

Along with our colleagues at the Edge, (all conference delegates and MEETinLEEDS residents at Storm Jameson Court get free access to the facilities at the Edge, remember!) and Great Food at Leeds, who provide catering for our conferences and events, the 20 riders each completed 9.5km to take us the 190km distance to the finish line. We calculated the total time it took us and then we will compare this to how the professionals fare on the 5th July!

“Team Leeds” ranged from novices to spin class teachers, travelling in pairs to instigate a bit of healthy competition. A full gallery of the photos from the day can be found on  our dedicated Tour de France page.

So without further ado, here is a rundown of the day (you can click on the images to make them larger)…

Marion-Tony-and-RobResidential Services took on The Edge in the opening pair, with Tony Hall posting a credible 24:43 for his 9.5km (bearing in mind Tony cycles into work, and at an hour that even the tweety birds are still napping. He hastens to add that he had the resistance on the bike set to high, and so did the equivalent of the Ilkley to Chelker Reservoir section of Stage 1) and his Sports counterpart Rob Wadsworth averaging 18:45 per 9.5km. We say averaging because Rob thought he may as well do 21.1km while he was on the bike. This was just after taking an hour long Spinning Class. We think he is going to enter the Tour de France team next year to join Froome, Wiggins and Boardman on Team Sky.

Lisa-and-Tilly-FinishNext up was MEETinLEEDS’ own Lisa Wood, who took on Tilly Hall of Great Food at Leeds. Tilly had also taken the same Spinning Class as Rob, forgetting she would be back on the bike within an hour, but posted an excellent time of 20:59, and was there to cheer Lisa over the line in 24:08. This was despite Lisa’s protestations that she could not do it (but still pedalling at the same time as pleading).

Alan-and-Nat-Face-offIt was an all MEETinLEEDS affair in the next round, as Alan Gallagher squared up against Natalie Ruecroft. Alan steamed over the line in 20’06” with Natalie shortly behind in 21:54. It was Natalie’s first time on a bike since her school days at Castleford High School, so she treated herself to a nice Mocha from the Edge Café to celebrate.

Matt-and-Helen-FinishMEETinLEEDS’ Digital Guru Matt Hamnett took on Helen Moulding of The Edge next. Helen crossed the line in 19:48, without even breaking sweat, while Matt’s effort to make 19:15 was manifested on his brow. “Fit people sweat more” was his mantra, in which case he could give Mo Farah a run for his money. Admittedly, your reporter did try to quiz him on the finer points of Digital Marketing throughout his 9.5km stint, which he answered with aplomb, if a little breathlessly.

Harriet-and-Luke-Fist-BumpIt was MEETinLEEDS vs The Edge as we passed lunchtime to hit the halfway stage,  Harriet Boatwright facing off with Luke Wilson from The Edge. The crowd anticipated Luke to be a strong contender and were proven right as he raced to the top of the leader board with a terrific 17:26. However, just 5 seconds later Harriet zoomed over the line and into second overall. This turned out to be the best time of the non-cyclists. Harriet put her amazing effort down to the pacing of Luke (“I just made sure my legs were spinning as quickly as his”) and pure grit.

Miek-and-KevWe then had a Financial Face-off as Kevin Stephenson and Mike Ferraby from the University of Leeds Finance Department. The partner-pacing effect came into play once more, Kevin hitting the 18 minute mark exactly and Mike not far behind at 18:35. Brilliant effort from the boys more accustomed to spreadsheets, budgets and other elements in the dark-arts of Accountancy.

As news of the event spread Paddy Craig of The Edge fame decided to try his hand (or legs) at the 9.5km mini-stage. As he didn’t have a cycling partner, I hopped on to help Paddy keep the pace. Unfortunately, he left me in his slip-stream and took the lead with a time of 15:56. After obviously taking a wrong turn somewhere I wheezed over the line in 19:52. I wrote this off as rustiness as the full extent of my training was walking to the chippy the night before.

As the competition heated up 2 pros stepped up to the plate, as Gary Butterfield from The Edge and Ricky Thompson of Great Food at Leeds straddled their stationary steeds in full cycling garb. They finished with times of 15:53 and 17:25 respectively. Gary is training for an Iron Man event in Australia, and took the lead with just 3 seconds between him and his closest rival. A special commendation goes to Ricky who not only posted a top time, but carried on for a full hour, completing a total of 30.9km!

Nick-and-Jo-FinishAnother member of the Finance Department, Nick Holdsworth, took to the saddle along with Jo Bayley, the PA to the Big Boss of MEETinLEEDS. After some good natured banter and ruddy faced exertion Nick crossed the line first in 18:53, taking time for a quick lay down as Jo breezed in with 21:33.

Tom-and-Ryan-Square-UpIt was time for me to make my practice run count, as I attempted to tackle Tom Exeter from The Edge. Now, Tom is a spinning instructor, and I am brilliant at spinning on my chair, so all I could do is try and do MEETinLEEDS proud and sabotage Tom by chewing his ear off. However, Tom had a plan: headphones. My plans scuppered, I endeavoured to beat my earlier showing. I looked over to my right after around 13 minutes, as there was some very audible exertion coming from Tom. After 14:04 Tom had crossed the finish line, reporters were scrabbling and pushing microphones in his face, asking how he felt after beating the 9.5km record by nearly 2 minutes. At least in my exhausted mind they were. 5 minutes later in a time of 19:23, I crossed the line, attributing my lack of a sprint finish to cramp (honestly).

Ian-And-Stew-FinishThe final 19km was a clash of the titans, as Stewart Ross, Head of MEETinLEEDS, took on Ian Robertson, Head of Residences. There was an obvious healthy rivalry (and excellent colour coordination with our background banners) as they took to the saddle and a look of determination on Stewarts face as he chased Tom’s record. After 9 and a half minutes Ian declared himself finished, much to the astonishment of the crowd. After an official adjudication, it was discovered that Ian had mistaken his time for the distance covered. Ian recovered and regained momentum to finish with a superb 17:40, while Stewart had already streaked over the line in 15:08, taking silver and a place on the podium.

It was time to tot up the totals and see how long it took us to cover the 190km of the Tour de France Stage 1. Drumroll please…

6 hours 18 minutes and 10 seconds was the total time of the top 20 of our 21 riders (sorry Tony, you missed the cut). This was at an average speed of 30.1 km/h.

Tour-De-France-2014-InfographicThe fastest average speed of the Tour de France is that of Lance Armstrong in 2005 at 41.7 km/h. However, our performance was only enhanced by Mocha and Espresso.

Our clear winner, Tom Exeter, had an average speed of 40.5km/h. If this was extended over the total 190km of the Leeds to Harrogate route it would give a total time of 4 hours 41 minutes and 28 seconds, which would give the peloton a run for its money. However, being privy to the colossal effort it took to keep up that speed for just 1/20th of the total distance makes you appreciate the dedication and preparation it must take to compete at the very top level.

A massive thank you to everyone involved in the event and roll on the 5th of July!

Do you think we have what it takes to beat Froome, Wiggins, Boardman and co over the finish line? Tune into the Tour de France and cheer on Team SKY. Better still come on down to Leeds and join in the fun!


For more information about the Tour de France and for some awe-inspiring images of our Homage Event you can visit our dedicated webpage here.



I recently took a trip down memory lane and visited Oxley Hall with my colleague Natalie Ruecroft (AKA Ginger). I used to be the Assistant Hall Manager at Oxley Hall some 16 years ago and I must say I felt like a queen living, and working, in such a beautiful hall. What a way to start my University career!

Working in the central sales office we have recently had a number of new enquiries for Oxley, hence our visit to introduce Natalie to the hall, and for myself to be reacquainted with the venue that kick-started my career.

I have fond memories of Oxley and the lovely surroundings. There are new flats in the grounds now as well as the main hall bedrooms, enhancing the selling opportunities – perfect for my current role!

Since visiting I have already secured a hockey camp booking for the Hall (ideal with it being next to Weetwood playing fields that are managed by the University’s sports department) and potentially a government booking at the venue also.


Knowing the Hall as I do I am confident that they will all have a fantastic stay and that they’ll all enjoy a real Oxley Hall welcome!

Oxley Hall is our #venueofthemonth for February. You can find out more about Oxley Hall at

The Exhibition Centre-Venue, Exhibition Layout

As 2014 dawns, I have been thinking of how the conference business has changed in the last 20 years….

Back in 1993 when I came into the academic conference sector, computers were few and far between (we had just one in our department), and very basic, with dark screens and green writing, and Windows were things to watch rain drip down. We wrote letters…real letters, with typewriters (typewriters were things with keyboards connected to sort of hammers with letters on…never mind, Google it!). Oh yes, and we had to go to the library to research anything because the World Wide Web was a year or two away!

Back in those days, when we’d only just heard of Bill Clinton, the final episode of Cheers was in the can, and Whitney Houston was topping the charts screeching “I Will Always Love You” (I know these things because I Googled them), I used to exhibit at seven or eight venue shows. These included Venuemasters, EIBTM, Confex, Chase, HRD, and the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD).

making-exhibitionHow times have changed. Although face-to-face discussions are still said to be important to buyers, the years are littered with failed attempts to launch new shows and attendances at exhibitions went into a steep decline. The truth is that the speed, content and usability of the Web means that we can exchange vast amounts of information in a microsecond, and increasingly savvy buyers can comprehensively research venues without leaving their offices. And conversely, venues are able to seek out and target potential buyers without breaking sweat.
These days at MEETinLEEDS we routinely attend only one, very focused exhibition (Venuemasters, 14th May 2014, at the Earl’s Court Ibis) and the rest, like Bill and Whitney, are history.

I actually did tot up the number of exhibitions I’ve done over these twenty years and I reckon it’s an astounding 60 at a cost probably well in excess of £150k! Although this seems a high cost, we did see a lot of business coming from exhibitions when they were at their zenith, and in fact I can remember one single enquiry returning £150k of revenue.

What will the picture be in another 20 years? It’s anybody’s guess, but thinking very positively, One Direction will be no more…..