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The pandemic put a strain on everyone in the events industry, and it’s pushed some of our longest-serving professionals into other careers or even retirement, leaving a vacuum for other professionals to fill. It’s this need for experienced and knowledgeable event professionals, along with the revitalization of events, that led today’s guest, Bradley Cocks, to transition from doing to event professional education.

Bradley is an experienced event professional with an impressive 20 years of history in the industry. He’s also founded and sold his own events agency and has launched a successful online Masterclass specifically for event professionals. In this #EventIcons episode, Will has many questions for Bradley. Tune in to hear what skills Bradly thinks event professionals need for the future, what prompted his transition from events to event professional education, and more.

How Bradley Cocks Came to Events

Today, you’ll find Bradley taking on speaking engagements and confidently speaking front and center in his Events Masterclass. But he hasn’t always been so confident. In fact, at the start of his career, his passion was backstage, away from the attention of large crowds. Here’s Bradley sharing his career history in the events industry. 

“Effectively, I started in musical theatre in high school,” he says.”It progressed from there, and I wanted to get into international tour management. So, I went to University and earned a Music Industry Bachelor’s in Business here in Australia. In that course, I took on work experience with a corporate event company. That progressed rapidly from casual part-time work to full-time work. That’s where it all kicked off.”

Bradley continues: “I spent 5 years learning all I could at that first agency, and then I moved on to the Australian Open. I reinvigorated their live experience program over the years. From there, I ended up starting my own agency. I sold that after a few years and ended up at another agency based out of Australia, where I became the director of events.”

“In 2020, we created the events masterclass,” says Bradley. He felt the events industry would benefit from this course during the pandemic. “That’s where I’m at today in a snapshot. I’m full-time with the Masterclass and take on a few side projects here and there.”

The Future of Event Professional Skills 

Curious about Bradley’s unique perspective on event professional skills, Will takes the conversation to the future. “What do you think is a skill that event professionals don’t need right now but will in the future?” 

“In some ways, we’re becoming HR managers because our project teams are becoming bigger,” explains Bradley. “Being able to identify as a business manager and an HR manager, in some ways, and being able to lead those teams, is critical to the true event professional. A little less doing and more overseeing, I think, will be critical for the next few years.” 

Will agrees. “I love that you said the HR piece,” he says. “We just did an Event Brew episode called ‘Do Event Professionals Need to Learn HR Core Competencies?’ I think our understanding was that they’re going to become important. You bring up this good point that it used to be that you’d hire subcontractors, give them a paycheck, they’d do their job, and the event would go. But now all those HR skills become more important, not just as an event leader, but also as a manager.”

What Led Bradley to Shift From Events to Event Professional Education?  

Event professionals often have a very diverse career history. We also discussed this in an Event Brew episode titled “How did You get Started in the Events Industry?” Still, moving from founding your own event agency to launching an online course for event professional education is quite the shift. Curious about this change, Will asks Bradley about his desire to make the change.

Bradley explains that he both saw a need for the knowledge he has to share and enjoys the kind of professionals he works with now. “I’ve always enjoyed working with teams and those looking to embrace new knowledge and develop their skill set,” says Bradley. “ Working with that group was something I was passionate about and wanted to continue, but there was also the skill set shortage we identified through COVID. One of the things that jumped out at me was that people couldn’t define what an event professional in its truest form is.” 

Bradley continues: “For me, it’s a passion. It’s about trying to build up event professionals to be the best they can be. After 20 years of producing events, I realized I couldn’t do that forever, so it was also a way of giving back to those starting to build their careers. That’s where Events Masterclass comes from. It was taking 20 years of knowledge out of my head and trying to deliver skill sets, resources, and relevant knowledge to people.” 

What About the Masterclass Gets Bradley Most Excited?

With 15 modules and hours and hours of content, there’s a lot to love about the Events Masterclass. But Will wants to know what excites Bradley the most. “You’re covering all different aspects of events. What’s one portion of the Masterclass that you’re extremely proud of and that gets you excited?” he asks. 

“The whole event ideation has been somewhat overlooked,” starts Bradley. “People say, ‘I’ll create an event.’ But what does that mean? That was probably the most enjoyable piece of that. But also going through an event lifecycle and working out what happens before an event was really cool.”

“There are 15 modules in the course, but more are on the way. We also have some new ideas around sustainability and accessibility in particular. But we’re just trying to open up as much knowledge and resources as possible for people who need it.”

“The full Masterclass is geared toward any event professionals,” continues Bradley. “Not all of it is for everyone, but by having that broad understanding of how events are conceived and put together, you can get a lot out of the course and work out where you want to be. Do you want to be in corporate events or sporting events? Do you want to work for the government or an association? In the first couple of modules, we talk about exactly that. How do you build a career, and what does that look like?”

What’s the Hottest tip You Have for the Events Industry?

In true #EventIcons tradition, Will asks Bradley about his hot tips for the industry as he wraps up this episode. “You have so much knowledge and so much to share! What would you consider the hottest tip for the events industry?”

“I always go back to the customer,” says Bradley. “Always go back to the guest as the core of any event you do. If you get stuck, ask, ‘What is my guest’s journey?’ Ultimately, they’re the ones who are experiencing it. It’s not about you; it’s about them.”

And when asked about his top resources, Bradley shares a range of valuable tools. “I think project management tools are becoming more popular. Let’s embrace them more. Try to build yourself a library of resources relevant to what you do. I’m also big on time-tracking apps. Efficiency is the key, so work out what will work for you. All our brains are different. What works for you will be different than what works for me. So if you have a team environment, you need to keep it simple so that everyone can utilize it in their own way,” concludes Bradley. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Event Icons! If you’d like to learn more about Bradley’s online course, check out the Events Masterclass website. Tune in next time for another iconic guest! 

Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

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