Event Technology Awards 2022 – Judge’s Spotlight: Kelly Stanley

Kelly Stanley has more than 15 years of experience organising, marketing and launching B2B conferences, award ceremonies and exhibitions.

Kelly is founder and joint managing director of Borough Bench Media, which launched Open Banking Expo in the UK in 2018. The brand now hosts conferences in Canada and Europe, the Open Banking Expo Awards and its own TV and podcast channels. The brand won Best Conference Series at the 2020 Conference Awards.

She also advises event organisers on a whole range of topics, from how to grow visitor and exhibitor numbers, to harnessing the power of event technology and increasing audience engagement.

Prior to launching her own company, Kelly was Head of Marketing & Events for an independent publishing and events company where she held budget responsibility for £1m+ delegate revenue and all operating costs. She was instrumental in launching several award schemes to market, and in a major restructure to its exhibition offering.

How long have you worked in the events industry?

I have worked in events most of my 20 year career; although the type of events have changed as I’ve notched up the years! I started my working life off at Leicester City Football Club, matchday events were something to look forward to every week. After a brief hiatus in the parking industry, I landed a role at a publishing house and worked across their titles and events and worked my way up to the top. When I had children, I decided to launch an events company with my business partner – Borough Bench Media – and I am still here seven years later!

What have been the stand-out moments of your career?

The launch of our own event; Open Banking Expo in 2018. Opening the doors that morning to the speakers, delegates and exhibitors was hugely emotional; a real ‘We did it!” moment that I won’t forget. Following that up with cloning the event successfully in Canada and Europe, and going on to win an award for Best Conference Series the following year made all the blood, sweat and tears worth it.

What do you love most about the Event Industry?

I love the people in it! It’s such a bunch of collaborative people, willing to share ideas and help each other succeed. I also love that what we do changes all the time. Every year is a launch. Every time you have to be bigger, better, different. You never get bored. It’s fast moving and fun.

What was the last event on which you worked?

I did a virtual Confex yesterday in the Central Bank Digital Currencies field. Lots of pre-records last week and the terrifying moments of ‘will they (speakers) make it?’ for the Q&As during the live streams!

Who has inspired you in your career?

My boss at the publishing house I used to work for; she taught me never to give up and to have the confidence to go with your gut instinct and to take risks.

Why is it important to recognise the achievements of people and tech companies?

It’s important to recognise the successes of teams and individuals for driving the industry forward; in doing so we drive innovation and positive change.

What would you like to see in this year’s entries?

I’m most excited to see true innovation that solves real business problems and also creates deeper connection points with audiences. 

What is the one piece of technology you can’t afford to live without?

Aside from my smart phone, I’d say I can’t live without my AirPods. As a new mom, to be able to take calls and voice text hands free means I’m able to get a lot done, efficiently.