Who are you?

My name is Jenna Gardner and I’m a show manager at QD Events. Included amongst the other shows we run such as the Scottish Wedding Show and the IRN-BRU Carnival is the Sports, Fitness & Nutrition (SFN) Expo, which is taking place September 21-22 at the Glasgow SEC. This will be my first event working as the show manager so it’s an exciting time!

What does your business do?

SFN Expo, now in its sixth year, has become a permanent fixture in the fitness and health industry calendar, offering enthusiasts and fitness fanatics the chance to meet with their peers, and take part in a weekend celebrating health and fitness.

Visitors get involved in live classes, listen to educational talks, shop the latest products and brands, and meet their health and fitness heroes, from athletes to personal trainers and influencers. SFN is also host to The Glasgow Classic (a CrossFit competition) and the final of Scotland’s Strongest Man, attracting Scotland’s top athletes to participate, and making it a must-visit event. With something for everyone from beginner to advanced athlete, SFN is Scotland’s largest fitness exhibition and promotes fitter and healthier lifestyles through exercise and nutrition.

Where are you based?

SFN and all QD’s events take place at the SEC in Glasgow. It’s the number one venue in Scotland, within the largest city and it’s the perfect location for attracting our audience. This year’s new-and-improved show will take over the largest hall at the venue.

What is your background?

Prior to working on SFN, I sold exhibition space on The Scottish Wedding Show – an event with over 300 exhibitors – giving me the sales experience required to develop a strategy combining face-to-face visits, calls and digital campaigns to reach the industry efficiently with our small team. Addressing the fitness industry with a more hands-on approach and taking the time to listen to their thoughts and values has been instrumental to the growth and success of this year’s show.

How did you get started?

Before I worked for QD Events, I always worked in sales in different sectors. I worked for a magazine that hosted an annual awards ceremony and I realised I absolutely loved organising events. SFN started as an event born out of love of an industry that was run out of a front room and various internet cafes! It reached a point where it was unable to scale anymore due to the resource that was to hand. That is when QD stepped in and through our expertise in delivering high quality exhibitions and events we have been able to take the SFN brand to new levels.

What is your top tip?

My biggest piece of advice to anyone in the business world is don’t be scared to take risks. This is my first show working as show manager but I’m not afraid to set my goals high and have the confidence to really shake things up. I believe this is how you get the best results possible and I’m a firm believer that change is a good thing – especially when it comes to increasing longevity for your business and reaching new customers.

What was your biggest mistake/or what would you do differently?

An area we recognised as a weakness was our VIP offering, so we ripped it apart and rebranded it to clearly signify the change. The new Elite ticket includes access to a brand-new lounge where members can relax after their classes, pick up their goody bags (which will contain products with value rather than leaflets) and meet their fitness and health heroes throughout the weekend with a daily programme of exclusive meet and greets.

The talent has also been reviewed to better reflect our feature areas and target visitors. The event had been criticised for not meeting the expectations of some of the visitor groups, the VIPs being one of these. Providing value and turning around the current perception to an influential group of visitors is an important focus for the future of the event.

Where do you plan the business to be in five-years-time?

I am organising and managing the show this year, making sure it’s back new and improved. I was recently placed in the Exhibition News, 30 under 30, an initiative that recognises young talent in the events industry.

After rolling out the new plans for this show, I hope we can keep building on all of the events in our show pool at QD Events and keep making them bigger, better and more inclusive too. Our aim as a business is driven around creating positive experiences for everyone we come into contact with, business partners, employees, clients and their clients.

This year will culminate in visitor and exhibitor research to help us continue to learn and grow and identify what sports to add to our offering over the next few years at SFN – the show has huge potential and we can’t wait to see how it develops in the future.

With less than three weeks until the show, the teamwork and dedication by all is going to make it the best yet… watch this space.