18/01/2019

Meet Warren Campbell, the mia's Sustainability Ambassador

As the mia moves forward with its #20PercentLess initiative, encouraging the business meetings and events industry to use less single-use plastic, we’re delighted to have appointed leading venue sustainability expert Warren Campbell as an ambassador to champion sustainability.

Following his appointment, we sat down with the 15Hatfields GM to find out more about his inspirations, his background and thoughts on the industry.  

How did you get into the industry?

During my first part time job at around 13 I would collect glasses at the local football club, before beginning to help in the kitchen. I really enjoyed the catering buzz, and not long after the football club presented the opportunity to work at Wembley Stadium every Saturday. I would sell Cornetto’s as a Hawk ice cream seller, walking up and down the stands with the old-fashioned ice box around my neck. One of the most memorable events during that time was working Live Aid. This ignited the events bug. I was deemed not bright enough back in the day to do A levels as I am severely dyslexic, so I only left school with three O levels, one of which was an A+ in home economics. My careers adviser told me about the amazing City Guilds 706/1&2 course at Southgate Tech college, which I did for two years. As one of the top students I then won a place at Birmingham College of Food Tourism and Creative Studies to do a Higher National Diploma in Hotel Management.

 Tell us something people would never guess about you?

I am mixed race and have dual nationality. Not long after my first year in industry I went back to spend a year on my grandparents land up in the interior of Jamaica. I then decided to stay and get a job, so I approached the two main 5-star hotel chains on the island, who were at the time in a battle for the title of ‘best all-inclusive resort’. Having had an interview with The Superclubs Resorts and The Sandals Resorts, I took up the position of manager in the food and beverage department of the flagship Superclubs Grand Lido Negirl, which at the time (early 90s) was one of the most exclusive hotels in the world. I stayed here for three years living the dream in the Caribbean, managing the sunset cocktail canape cruise every day on the the MY Zain – an ex-royal Yacht once owned by the Prince and Princess of Monaco.

 What inspires you?

The amazing planet that we live on. Every day we take for granted the natural world and all its fauna and flora around us. The fact that there are still undiscovered corners of this planet really astounds me. The diverse cultures and traditional ways of life for billions of different human beings all on this one planet which have evolved at different rates totally inspires me. The ability that we now have through technology to glimpse the diversity of planet earth is truly humbling, and when you think about the bigger picture it really does put a lot of so called ‘day-to-day problems’ in to context. We are only temporary stewards here and we must do all we can to protect what we have reached today.

What do you think are the main challenges facing the meetings and events industry?

I think the industry really need to bare its soul a little more, to be a lot more transparent and honest when it comes to products, services and pricing. The ‘hidden costs’ are a major frustration for many end-users and I think the UK events industry really can lead the way in being transparent, enabling it to do business even better than we do now. I think when it comes to it sustainability, organisations can no longer have their head in the sand. This is a major challenge to the industry to clean up its act. I know for a lot of organisations it seems like a massive hill to climb with not much reward, but it is about taking small manageable steps with realistic targets. It is time to bust the jargon and provide an easy to follow framework that says exactly what you need to do on the tin. Then the rewards will soon follow.

To find out more about the mia board and council, click here.