Under the Spotlight with Lou Kiwanuka, owner and founder of EventShaper

Posted on Thu 12th Sep 2019 at 5:29pm

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job was temping as an Operations Assistant at Blenheim Exhibitions in Chiswick. It was a real induction into the world of events and I threw myself in at the deep end and never looked back!

What has been your biggest challenge?

There are so many challenges which is why so many of us love what we do. There is always the potential to make things better, the challenge is figuring out what to tackle next and how you can make a difference.

Who’s inspired you?

My parents … my mum has been my constant inspiration, she has sacrificed, supported and uplifted. Without her, life as a single parent would be impossible. My dad inspires me in a different way – getting me to reach out of my world and see what my value is. If we’re talking about the industry – Jane Risby, I had the privilege of looking up to her from my very first job and haven’t stopped looking up to her since.

How has the industry changed?

In so many ways it hasn’t, there are still processes we use now that we used 20 years ago. The things that have changed that have made a difference to me are the rise of ineffective communication; the loss of a decent Event Administrator in most organising companies; increased pressure on the system; the increase in sub-contracted companies resulting in the reduction in welfare down the line.

The good things are the likes of ESSA, AEV & AEO having a mutual conversation via the EIA. New advances in tech have already started shifting things up a notch. What we really need is for technology to start working on parts of the business where the ROI might be less clear. Our customer service is looking somewhat archaic these days and intuitive exhibiting seems a long way off!

What’s your criteria when selecting a supplier for your events?

Reputation, being right for the event, more and more often it’s about capacity and ability to achieve it in the times given. This is more important than some may think. As things get tighter and more pressured, there is value in a contractor who is a constant and safe pair of hands.


Lou Kiwanuka is the owner and founder of EventShaper Ltd. She has over 20 years in the industry and has overseen some of the largest and technically challenging events during that time.

Always wanting to ensure her team and company are at the heart of industry discussions and developments, Lou is a regular contributor to working groups, covering topics such as Health & Safety and forward- thinking working practices. This desire coupled with her broad knowledge and experience has led her to be voted in to the position of Vice-Chair of ESSA.

Find out more about Event Shaper at http://www.eventshaper.uk/



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Phil Valentine, Managing Director, ETES, Southern Manufacturing & Electronics
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Hannah Webb, Head of Operations, Hemming Group
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Claire Cox, Hearth & Home, Fireplace Marketing Company
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Ingrid Nilson, Director, The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited
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Joy-Fleur Brettschneider, Marketing & Operations Director, Solar Media Limited
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Jo Scotting, Head of Operations, Impact Exhibitions
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Jo Foreman, Operations Manager, Brintex
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Emma Barratt, Managing Director, Broadway Events
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Angela Long, Sales and Marketing Executive, Wesley Media
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Mandie Lavin, CEO, NAFD
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Julie Pollet, Operations Manager, Brintex
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Andrew Reed, MD, William Reed Events & Exhibitions
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Sam Hunt, NMBS Events Manager
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Christine Valdes, Event Organiser, UKIVA, PPMA Group
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Gay Hutson, Founder and organiser, 20/21 British Art Fair
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Toby Merigan, Founder, European Sport Fishing Show
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Andrew Dowding, Managing Director, Essential Infrastructure Events
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Justine Devereux, Operations & Project Manager, Xmark Media Ltd
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Joel Swarc, Associate Director, Promotor Events Ltd
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