Event Birdie - Women in Events | Driven by Passion
Updated: Apr 14
Natalie Young | Key Society
Give us a brief overview of your career path to date? I have always been a part of the travel, tourism, events or hospitality industry. I’m a people-person so there has never been a time where I wasn’t involved with bringing people together and making them happy.
After finishing High School, I studied Hospitality and Tourism Management and I started my career in hotel reservations at a 5-star property in Sydney. This led to a role in the inbound tourism industry, representing Accor in market. I then moved to ATEC, Australia’s peak tourism industry association and had fantastic 5 years within the membership department. I loved working with such truly inspiring people and travelling to some amazing destinations across Australia. My introduction to the corporate events industry started with Business Events Sydney, I loved the diversity the role brought in bringing major events to Sydney. From there I moved onto the Australian Turf Club, which was a career highlight. I secured some incredible events for Royal Randwick, attended some of the most spectacular race days whilst working with some wonderful colleagues, clients and suppliers; it was very rewarding. After leaving the ATC, I founded Key Society in 2019 and whilst still in the early stages, it really is the job of a lifetime.
What is it that you love about the events industry? It’s fun… even when it’s not fun! Events and travel are always really interesting and it’s so inspiring to see such an array of truly amazing and innovative events the people in our industry create. I consider myself lucky to have attended some amazing events, to be able to travel to unforgettable destinations, experience incredible food and wine and meet so many dedicated likeminded people!
What is your business in events? Life is about people and connections. Key Society gives me the opportunity to connect people in celebration and seeing people enjoy themselves is immensely satisfying. I do this by offering customers unique experiences from finding the right venue that suits what their searching for and then by working with great vendors to cater, theme and manage the event from conception to delivery. Being relatively small and agile, we can provide a very personalised approach that I believe sets Key Society apart.
Why did you start Key Society? The need for more freedom and flexibility that allowed me to be more creative. Having that autonomy and creative freedom to develop my own ideas, choose what Key Society stands for, who we collaborate with led to more opportunities. This doesn’t mean the work isn’t demanding or hours aren’t long, of course, the events industry is never 9 to 5, however, having the flexibility to choose where and when you are working is extremely fulfilling. And as an added bonus, I can wear activewear and spend more time with my puppy at home!
What do you get out of it (personally and professionally)? Building something. Turning everything that I have learnt both personally and professionally over the years into something I am really proud of. I have a great support system and have been given some valuable advice from industry mentors and leaders that have helped turn a big idea into a successful opportunity and business.
What do you see for its future? In the short term, further growth and development for Key Society whilst collaborating with some fantastic partners. Diversifying and expanding our revenue streams is also a goal.
The long-term goal for Key Society is to flourish and develop the business to expand our team across Australia and to build and maintain stronger and more personalised relationships with our clients and industry whilst delivering high levels of customer experience.
How can others get involved? Key Society is always open to new opportunities and we are focused on collaborating with people within the industry to combine resources and share knowledge in order to build new and long-term relationships together and with clients.
What do you say to others who want to start a business in our industry? 1. Focus on your strengths, know your limits and embrace them. Collaborate with other people/ companies to fill your business or domain knowledge gaps, that will help you both grow your business together, to new levels. 2. Be adaptable. Things will deviate from your original strategy and opportunities always arise when you are open to new areas. Always have a “plan B” and keep positive. 3. Starting a business is hard work. It requires a lot of determination, resilience and learning. Stick with it, it’s worth it!