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News > Alumni Spotlight > Helen Barnes, Senior Events Manager

Helen Barnes, Senior Events Manager

"The fundamentals of always try to do your best and that if you put the hard work and effort in, it will pay off!"

Current Job Title / Employer

Senior Events Manager at Royal Bank of Canada  

Dame Alice Owen’s Class of?


Brief description of your path after Owen’s.  

After leaving Owen’s in 1997, I went on to secure a BA Joint Honours degree in French and German from the University of Hull. After graduating with a 2:1, I secured a job at a financial research company in London as a French and German speaking data researcher/analyst focussing on the Austrian and Swiss fund markets. During my time at this company, I also gained exposure to several marketing projects as well events which were being organised and soon realised that my skillset, interests and personality were much more aligned with those areas rather than finance and figures! I am a people person and very creative hence when I left that company, I decided to make a move into marketing. I secured a marketing executive role at a global consultancy firm. Within six months of being in the role and expressing a keen interest in events, European events became part of my job mandate and I soon realised that this was the area of marketing which I wanted to specialise in! North American events were added to my remit and soon after I was promoted to Global Events Manager for the business.  

How your path lead you to where you are now? 

I decided that I wanted to specialise specifically in corporate events rather than marketing and I also wanted to use my languages more hence when I saw the job opportunity at the Royal Bank of Canada for a French speaking events manager, I knew that I had to apply! I currently manage the European portfolio of events for one of the divisions of Royal Bank of Canada and have the opportunity to travel as well as use my languages on a daily basis with both colleagues as well as third-party contacts and vendors. 

Did your time at Owen’s inspire any particular skills or attributes? 

The fundamentals of always try to do your best and that if you put the hard work and effort in, it will pay off!  

Favourite Owen’s memory? 

Some of my favourite memories include:  

Collecting beer money at the end of the school year and the fact that the amount went up year on year as you progressed through the school. It’s the only school I know of to this day which gives money to its pupils!  

Performing at some prestigious venues across London including The Barbican (school orchestra) and Royal Festival Hall (choir). Even now when I return to these venues to see paid performances, I still can’t believe that I once performed at them!  

Being taught about the Romans and history of St Albans in the first year by Mr Williams! It was before the days of whiteboards, and I was always amazed at the works of art and volume of text which he managed to fit onto the blackboard using a single piece of chalk!  

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