Q: As the Director of Strategic Marketing for GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre what are your main tasks?

My main task is to find a good and interesting business for GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre and by extension for Ljubljana and Slovenia, which means delivering resounding events and more, some of them posing bigger challenges and needing more input and energy, others less, but all with the full support of professional colleagues.

At the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre we deal with very different projects, whether they be exhibitions, fairs, conferences, parties, corporate events or anything else. Every event, every customer, every enlivening of a different group of visitors requires a different approach, so at GR we really live dynamically and embrace change and difference.

In addition to all that, as with any other company there is the dynamic of both the constant and the flux at GR, as we work on results, competitiveness, external influences in the business environment, partners, contractors and much more besides.

Q: Can you tell us something about your career path on the way to becoming Director of Marketing at GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre? Was it a straight or a winding one?

I have moved in different business environments that have a totally differently atmosphere. As a student I participated for more than two years in scientific research at the Genetic Department of the Biotechnical Faculty; later, at Emona Engineering, I participated in executing national and international turnkey projects. For the majority of my time, however, I was employed at the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, and it was during the time of political system change and also country change, when joining the EU. It was a very dynamic time, although, looking back, working in public administration doesn’t sound the most dynamic thing.

Last year was 10 years since I came to the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, so overall the transfer and mixing of ideas, mentalities and principles of such diverse business environments has its own charm and, broadly speaking, going through change requires more adaptation and often because of the different experience it is easier to find innovative solutions.

Q: Can you tell us something about what is behind such a big event as your latest major project, the 24th Slovenian Motor Car show, and what have been your responsibilities in it?

The basic data of the aforementioned seven-day fair event is:

  • 260 metal beauties on display, among them 30 premieres in Slovenia
  • 75,000 visitors
  • Almost 600 accredited journalists
  • Organisation of the show after a 16-year break

These numbers imply a lot of preparation, a lot of work and a lot of coordination. The numbers also signal that there were many of us working in organising it; GR functions as a team and we are connected with the Ljubljana city through which we had some wonderful partners, from the members of the Section of Personal Vehicles of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce to various other partners and sponsors.

Through this event the GR and I personally have gained new acquaintances, new contacts, new knowledge and, with all that, new opportunities – I am looking forward to what comes of it.

Every event, every customer, every enlivening of a different group of visitors requires a different approach, so at GR we really live dynamically and embrace change and difference.

Q: What has been your best event to date i.e. your most memorable event or the most challenging project that you are most proud of?

Upon my arrival we just started to develop the convention activity, so this period is closest to my heart and many successful international conventions were held at the GR in this time. Perhaps, among other events, I would highlight the organisation of the following traveling exhibitions: ‘Da Vinci – The Genius’, ‘Brain – The Inside Story’, ‘1001 Inventions’ and maybe this year’s glamourous ‘EMA – 2017 Eurovision Song Contest’.

Q: What is your personal formula for succeeding in business?

If you’re asking me for the formula, it’s very simple because only simple things are actually effective:

(Good Idea  +  Effective Execution)  x  Professional Team = Success

Joking aside, though, the orientation towards the goal must be clear to the whole team and of course realistically achievable, but without overly broad strategies ot project plans. I’m more of the operational type.

Q: At GR, you have on the one side exhibitors/clients and on the other side visitors – how do you make sure that each event is a success?

Balance is the key to success – enough exhibitors and enough visitors. If either of these groups is disappointed then the event that was organised unfortunately won’t have great prospects, because the next time you’ll probably not get any exhibitors or visitors.

To make sure an event is a success, it is also not enough for it to be just a meeting point for buyers and sellers. There has to be plenty of quality accompanying content to attract the attention of both parties and for them to trust you with their money, time and energy.

If you’re asking me for the formula, it’s very simple because only simple things are actually effective: (Good Idea +  Effective Execution)  x  Professional Team = Success

PERSONAL

Q: What makes you smile?

I like to laugh and there are many things that make me laugh – I find animal friskiness cute and adorable!

Q: Being the Director of Marketing is definitely a stressful job, so how do you manage to “de-stress”?

I STOMP!!!!!

To make sure an event is a success, it is also not enough for it to be just a meeting point for buyers and sellers. There has to be plenty of quality accompanying content to attract the attention of both parties and for them to trust you with their money, time and energy.

SHORT BIO

Špela Terpin, Dipl.Agr.Eng. (ISCED 5), joined the fair and congress industry in November 2006 as Marketing Director of GR − Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. Her main work topics have been leading the commercial department and working on the main tasks and competencies of the company, including organising operations, preparing strategic  business decisions, controlling operations, searching for new projects and taking care of the concerns of major clients. In January 2017 she was appointed Strategic Marketing Director of the company, a role requiring the successful collaboration in the process of the optimisation of financial results and human resources reorganisation of the company, which employs 28 people. Furthermore, she collaborates decisively in the field of new activities of the company, especially congresses, exhibitions, different types of corporate events and new fairs. Prior to her roles at GR − Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre she worked from 1987 until 2007 at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, in charge of legislation, financial and all other measures in the field of horticulture and also a member of the negotiation team for accession to the European Union as well as a PHARE expert. Before that, and following graduation from university, from 1984 until 1987 she was employed firstly as technologist, later as a project leader in Emona Engineering, working on national and international projects. She speaks English, has strong negotiating skills, leadership experience, the ability to animate colleagues, cooperate, and networking is on her daily schedule.