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Graduate Programme launching pad for new Business Development Executive

Tracey Packwood may be a new face to H3’s Business Development team but she already knows the business inside out.

Packwood was appointed as H3’s ‘Business Development Executive – Business Events’ last month – a role which will see her work with clients across the group’s three Hamilton venues, Claudelands Conference & Exhibition Centre, FMG Stadium Waikato and Seddon Park.

The appointment came following Packwood’s participation in the H3 Graduate Development Programme, an intensive 18-month programme which has seen her work across all areas of the business – from sales and marketing, through to event operations, administration, technical services and finance.

“The Graduate Development Programme was fantastic for allowing me to understand every part of the business and how it all fits together, as well as build key relationships within H3 and the wider industry,” says Packwood.

“I’m very fortunate that over the course of the programme I’ve been able to gain experience that could ordinarily take years to achieve and I can now move forward into my new position with a strong set of skills and knowledge under my belt.”

Packwood was part of the fifth intake of the H3 Graduate Development Programme – it initially launched back in 2014 and at the time was understood to be the first of its kind for the New Zealand events industry. Over the years the initiative has helped 11 graduates launch their careers.

Claudelands Conference and Function Coordinator Karina Missen was part of the programme’s very first intake and believes it gave her a good head-start in her career.

“When I started I had virtually no experience in the events industry so the programme allowed me to have a taste of every element of the process. I was able to have a trial run of each department before I chose where I wanted my career to go,” says Missen.

“I came out of university with a communications degree and majors in marketing and PR, and I had an interest in events but no real understanding of just how big the industry is – I count myself as ridiculously lucky to have been given the graduate role opportunity and genuinely don’t think I’d be where I am today without it.”

Missen has held the position of Conference and Function Coordinator at Claudelands since December 2015 and says the experience she built up while on the programme has proven invaluable.

“I’m in a really unique position within my team in that I’ve spent time in every department, which means I know so much about our business and understand different processes better than most people starting out in an event coordinator role. Having this knowledge means I’m able to take a more holistic view when working with clients to ensure all aspects are considered and taken care of.”

H3 Operations Manager Claire Toko oversees the group’s Graduate Development Programme and says the initiative not only aims to help secure and nurture young talent within H3 but also benefits the wider events industry.

“By offering this programme to graduates we’re highlighting the events sector as an exciting, diverse and viable career path for bright young professionals who have a passion for events. Whether participants end up in long-term employment here at H3 or go on to build a career elsewhere, it is a major win for our industry,” says Toko.

More information about the H3 Graduate Development Programme is available at h3group.co.nz/grad