For the last two and a half years, Marina Papadopoulou has been the Business Development Manager for Church House Westminster – a Grade II listed, multi-purpose events venue, located in the heart of Westminster.

Marina offers an extensive experience of 21 years in the events industry. Her journey started as a TV and movie producer followed by a quick transition into events. She worked with the biggest DMCs, event agencies and hotel chains as an Event and Sales Manager delivering a significant amount of corporate, incentive and charity events.

We spoke with Marina this month to find out how her role has changed over the past year and what it means to finally be returning to live events.

What’s been the biggest change to your role over the past 12 months?
As a Business Development Manager there is always an element of diversification and proactiveness, but also going above and beyond. Over the past 12 months all these aspects fell into place and it was a year to try new things and to experiment. On the other hand, as a Business Development Manager, I longed to be around people, to connect live, to engage face-to-face, and this was a real adjustment for me.

What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me has been the continuous changes that we had to face as a team, as a building, but also as an industry. The uncertainty and not being able to plan was nerve-wracking. Seeing Church House Westminster almost empty and without clients made me feel very sad.

What’s been the most exciting project you’ve worked on with Church House this year?
As mentioned earlier it was the year of thinking outside the box, a year of thinking collaboratively. Most of my projects involved the creation of strategic partnerships to promote Church House and Westminster as a destination. Whilst I can’t share specific details now, watch this space for exciting announcements!

What type of event are you most looking forward to hosting again?
As a team at Church House Westminster, we always loved innovative and unusual events. With our clients we were always working together to create unique experiences. So, from hybrid conferences, gala dinners, award ceremonies and fashion shows, really anything with just a twist, I can’t wait to be hosting all of these experiences in our lovely spaces.

Are you open now for events?
We have in fact remained partially open since August last year for essential meetings, filming and outside broadcasting (without an audience) but we have all been massively excited to reopen properly again for 50% capacity events as of 17 May.

What’s your favourite thing about Westminster as a destination?
For me personally, Westminster is the heart of London, vibrant, innovative, with cultural and historical influences. It’s impossible to think of a more central place to work and live.