Six questions with Charlotte and Lucy Oliver, the wonder women behind CEO Event Management

The founders speak on growing a two-person operation to ten employees and calling HSBC, Chanel, the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, and Emirates' Rugby Sevens their clients
By Shayan Shakeel
Thu 08 Feb 2018 12:09 AM

What’s the most challenging thing about your industry?
Charlotte: Finding the right people to hire is a real challenge. It took some years and painful mistakes, but it is all worth it in the end when you have a hard-working team that you can trust.

Lucy: As with any business there are always challenges along the way – if it was easy everyone would be doing it. One of the hardest things of our job is relying on people. We are staffing and therefore need to be able to trust the person working for you to be on time and to execute the job to the highest of standards. With Dubai being such a stepping-stone for so many people the turnover of staff can be high for us.

Where do you see the company in the future?
Charlotte: To build CEO into a global brand. The majority of our work is in the UAE, but we have worked on events throughout the GCC and as far away as the UK, USA, France, Bali, Hong Kong and other countries in between.

Lucy: To grow CEO Event Management into an international brand.

What do you most enjoy about your work?
Charlotte: I love being able to help people. A lot of our staff members are studying, and working for CEO Event Management gives them valuable experience and allows them to fund their studies. I get thrilled when they say, “Thank you, this means I can go study and further my career”. Many of our staff members have also gone on to work for our clients, which shows that we are good at identifying and nurturing talented people.

Lucy: Dubai has some of the most prestigious events in the world. We are fortunate to be able to work at some of these, meaning that one event is never the same as the other.  This always makes work a new adventure every single day.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?
Charlotte: Other than having my daughter, building the business from scratch without any outside investment or debt is what I am most proud of. We have supported some of the region’s biggest and most prestigious events and have even welcomed heads of state including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I admire companies that are able to raise capital to fund their initial growth, but I have always enjoyed having control of my company and growing organically.

Lucy: Working hard to complete my Law Degree and LPC, and helping to grow a business in the Middle East with my sister. Charlotte’s mind works at 100 miles per hour, so being able to understand her when no one else can is quite an achievement.

What’s your ‘secret sauce’ for success?
Charlotte: Hard work, a great team, and an occasional  splash of risk taking.

Lucy: Be passionate about your job and put in the hard work, as it will pay off. Then, if all else fails and you are having one of those days, make a cup of tea, go do something you enjoy (which for me is Pilates) and then start again the next day!

Do you have any regrets?
Charlotte: Only that I did not move to Dubai sooner!

Lucy: Not always being able to balance work and personal life well enough. Looking back, there are some occasions where I should have said yes to my personal life but work took precedent. It’s one of the hardest things when running a business.

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Last Updated: Thu 08 Feb 2018 01:29 PM GST

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