#PowerWomen: There was no money coming but that wasn't my remuneration, says Nanni Singh

Industry Watch | February 23, 2021 | Interview

PowerWomen Nanni Singh ShowCase Events

Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Nanni Singh, CEO, Showcase Events about her journey in the events industry.

Nanni Singh is an experienced member with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit sector. She is creative and innovative and believes in the best.

Here, Singh shares insights on her entry into the events industry, challenges she faced, position of women in the industry, priorities at work, offers advice for young women entering the events sector and more.

HOW I CAME TO BE IN THE EVENTS INDUSTRY

I've been in the events industry for almost about 12 years now. I was part of a couple of charities and when you start and you join a charity, you kind of are helping in every sphere in every space. I then realized that I was a very people's person and very into music. My major skill was coordination and curation. Actually more than anything else, my colleagues and my associates who were working with me, pushed me into this space more and more. Then we saw the success with some fundraiser events we started doing.

I helped a couple of my doctor friends to do their CME (continuing medical education) events and used to coordinate the whole conference, right from the basic vendor to the hotel and everything else. It really wasn't difficult. I used to find it very funny when people said, 'Hum log subah se sham tak bass yahi kar rahe hai.' I couldn't see why. Because, you just have to have your delegations in place and once you have your structures in place, there's really no need for you to be jumping all over. It didn't seem that difficult. If you had good teams and vendors along with you, it kind of seemed to be a seamless kind of a journey, a process. That's how it all started.

I then started getting connected with a lot of people from the events industry and other people who were into different kinds of events, including corporate events which were primarily music related. We started the Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival and then the other music events which are converted into fundraisers. We got the corporate heads to come and sing for an evening; they would come and they would buy tables. We also started doing different events and different programmes.

Over a period of time, I realized that the musicians and artistes, and even the CEOs or CFOs, who were into music, they started reaching out. That is what really touched me, because if I could bring some value into somebody's life I really needed to do that more and more. That is how the journey started and then over the years, I was doing all this as a freelancer, there was no money coming in anywhere but that wasn't my remuneration. The fact that there were some kids somewhere who got treatment from whatever little that I managed to raise for them got me going.

I was only getting older and I was realizing that at some of the events, I was suffering quality with some of the vendors. I just realized that maybe if I have my own setup, I may be able to control that bit. Also the artistes started reaching out, saying we want to do something with you. That is what really touched me and pushed me to do something where one could stand out and be able to do more, but in a good way. So September 1st 2018, we registered ourselves as Showcase Events. I'm really happy to say that in our two and a half year journey, we've connected with some amazing people.

ON POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY

I would say that for every woman I have seen, we are multitaskers. Being multi-taskers I think we are more tolerant and can be more structured in our way of working versus men. It's not that I'm putting men down in any way but yes, we are definitely more structured and more hardworking when it comes to delivery.

I think the only one area where I feel there's a challenge is hours of working – not because she doesn't want to work, it is because of the insecurity and the fear of working with male colleagues, and then the worry of ‘how will I go back home late at night?’. I don't think EEMA or any of us can do anything about it unless and until we have really stringent laws versus all this in our government – you tease a woman and you are behind bars for four years.

Even when we are doing events, I'm probably the last person standing with my boys. I make sure all my girls have gone home, make sure that the proper cabs are dropping them home. It's just the fear and so why should that be?

I feel as a woman that is the only area which holds a bit of a challenge. Otherwise I don't think we are lacking in any way. Probably in many ways we can deliver much more.

ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THE EVENTS INDUSTRY

Be sincere and believe in yourself. Be passionate about what you're doing, there is no way that you will fail in your life. Be sincere and follow your passion. First find your passion and that is it – go for it, don't look back. Give it your best.

TALKING POINTS AT SHOWCASE EVENTS

I am happy to share that Showcase Events curated and executed India's only folk music production, 'Sounds From the Desert'. Today, we are at a stage when we have artistes and CEOs saying, 'Showcase toh hamara platform hai'. And I think that for us is really, really the biggest compliment we can think of. I know that if you get good funding, you'll be able to do much, much more on a much bigger, larger scale and so it's always the limitation of funds that holds you back.

Just when we were kind of taking off in the space, the lockdown happened. I feel the COVID gave us a lot of opportunity. I think as a team also, we converted it into an opportunity.  I think it was March when our first set of events got canceled. We had four big events lined up for March. We went into learning the technology bit and immediately started collaborating with virtual event platforms, learning how to operate them and started pitching that out. So it was interesting, because we realized we needed to go virtual but with good quality virtual not just tackiness.

Yes, we learned on this journey as we moved along, collaborated with more people, grew together again and here we are today. So now we managed to launch something called the Showcase Studio. It was the virtual platform we launched last year with a whole series of 13 episodes with artistes talking about their journeys, and how they stay pure to their art forms. We have some beautiful content over there. Now we are looking forward  to being on ground and running around and getting the work done. Where we are concerned, hybrid is the way forward for sure. So technology is not going anywhere. And it's not that we are going to lose out on our connect with technology, and it will only be on ground. No, but technology is not going to drive us, it's going to enhance whatever we are doing for sure.

WHAT I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO

I'm waiting to get my properties back on, start working more with music and musicians and artistes and getting back into the on-ground space. I want to step out of my four walls and meet up with more people and start doing work and create stuff which can leave an impact.

A HISTORICAL EVENT I WOULD LIKE TO WITNESS LIVE

I cannot pinpoint any one event because coming from the events industry, we view events with a very different eye and we have a lot of respect for each event. But yes, definitely I want to bring back Live performances from 'Sounds From the Dessert' and go back into the space of my own music festivals. Also I would like to witness Kasauli Rhythm and Blues Festival, Zero in Guwahati, Jaisalmer Desert Festival and Jaipur Literature Festival. 

Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Nanni Singh, CEO, Showcase Events about her journey in the events industry.

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