Meena Chander, Owner of Events Together, is an events consultant and works with businesses to create better, more inclusive, and diverse events. One of the events which Meena runs is the “This is Us” conference, targeted at businesses, helping them become more inclusive and provide safer working environments for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Tell us about yourself and what you do?
I was born and brought up in Hounslow, West London, I am of mixed ethnicity (1/4 English and ¾ Indian). After 20 years in the events industry, I now own my an events management business; helping clients translate their ideas and ambitions in the form of an event. The location of events can differ from taking place in the UK to being overseas, and the type of event varies from conferences to gala dinners to award ceremonies and even team building activities. Clients typically approach me in the early stages of their event journey. Sometimes with just the ideas of what they want to explore or a complete vision of what they want, and then I help them create their inaugural event and guide them through every stage of event planning and help them develop and evolve their concept.
What inspires you?
Individuality and drive- What inspires me is seeing people who have come from all walks of life who have the drive to get up and do something different in life.
What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why?
I am not a great reader, so I don’t buy books. My influences in life have been people – my closest friends and family, especially my two grandmothers who were incredibly strong women. A friend has influenced my life and inspired me to produce an event about diversity.
What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months?
I recently bought an orange dress which I love wearing as it’s bright in colour and makes me feel confident in myself when wearing it.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success?
After being made redundant after 10 years with a company, I applied for various other positions but kept getting rejected due to me having too much experience and being overqualified or not quite the right experience. This then made me realise that only I can be the destiny of my own success, so then I setup Events Together.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it - what would it say?
“Live and let live as no-one has the right to judge others.”
“Believe in yourself.”
In the last 2 years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
Having produced my own event about Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace last year, I met so many people from different backgrounds who all had a story to tell about their journey. This made me understand people’s behaviours more and realise that the common factor we all have is that away from the materialistic things in life, we are all human with feelings.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world?
My main advice is to be prepared to work hard and work from the bottom up, nothing comes easy. Endure life’s experiences and don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do something – always find a way to prove them wrong!
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)
I tend to walk away from the laptop and curl up on my sofa and watch TV – programmes which have nothing to do with my everyday life or with work. I then remind myself why I set up my business and the reasons why I am working so hard.
Tell us something that would surprise us about you?
I used to be a Kathak Dancer (North Indian Classical) and performed at the Royal Albert Hall at the age of five years old.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
After completing an HND in Travel and Tourism Management, there wasn’t a degree focussed on Event Management, so I worked in the events industry for 15 years in various roles. I came to a point in my life that I wanted to progress my career so embarked on a four year MSC Events Management course. This was a massive challenge for me, going back into education after more than 15 years studying for a qualification while bringing up a small child and working full time.
What would be your message to the AWMB community?
My main message would be to strive forward and do the best you can in life, don’t look back in regret. Be proud of your heritage and culture, being Asian if full of fun and vibrancy.
For more information on Events Together see their website.