Spotlight on Creative Entrepreneur – Leila Padidar

In celebration of the positive impact of women the music industry, today we meet creative events producer, Leila Padidar.

In a saturated industry, Leila has a carved out a niche and reputation as the go to event specialist for innovative ideation and impeccable production execution.

Tell us about your career, what do you do? 
I’m a freelance producer working mainly within the music festival, entertainment and brand experience sectors.

What inspired you to start? 
I always wanted to work in entertainment and I was very lucky that my first job out of university was with the BBC’s events department.
We produced large-scale studio based or outside broadcasts such as Live 8, 60th Anniversary of D-Day, and Children In Need.
I have such fond memories of being part of a team who were absolutely at the top of their game and loved seeing months of hard work come together.
Honestly, there was no going back after that!

What are your aims for the future?
There are a few companies and individuals I’d really like to work with. Ultimately, I would love to produce a festival in an emerging market such as India for instance.

Who inspires you? 
Sally Davies, Managing Director of U-Live, part of Universal Music Group is a wonderfully inspiring person, I would love to work with her in the future.
Chad Higgins (True Staging) and Dave McCalmont (MAMA & Company) are my production gurus! I’m yet to ask a question they can’t answer. 

What does a typical day in the life of Leila Padidar look like? 
Ha! I know people often say it, but truly no day is the same. I often check my emails around 7am (bad habit) and once up I look through my to-do list for the day. I am the queen of the To-Do List, it’s the only way to stay on top of the minutiae of detail I deal with daily.
My day rarely ends before 7-8pm often later depending on how close we are to a live event. My job isn’t for those who like the 9-5 that’s for sure!     

The Red Bull Music Academy stage at Lovebox Festival, 2013.

The production design was based on 4000 pieces of 6m bamboo which were secured to box truss towers. The result was the largest free-form stretch tent construction in the UK to date, hosting artists such as DJ Harvey, Toddla T and David Rodigan.

What excites you about your job? 
The peopleThere are some fantastic individuals in my industry who are exceptional at what they do. I also love the fact that you never quite know what’s around the corner. A few months ago I was asked to produce a wedding for an Indian philanthropist, my first question – will there be an elephant? (sadly there wasn’t but I can live in hope)
I also love that my work leads me to experience up and coming music, theatre acts, food, art and entertainment content.

What 3 challenges have you faced in your job to date? 
As a freelance producer the hope is always that you’re brought on to a project at an early enough stage to properly steer its direction. It can be incredibly challenging being hired half way through, making the ship very hard to steer. That said, I do like a challenge!
Being a female under 5’ tall in the events industry comes with its challenges. Despite notable female successes in the events industry we’re a long way before we have gender equality.
Stakeholder management is an art in any industry, but in the events world having the tenacity to accurately manage expectations is key to keeping any project on track. It definitely requires strength of character.

Gaymers Cider Treehouse & Orchard brand activation at Lovebox Festival 2010

Are there any websites or tools that you interact with regularly as part of your job?

NOWIE – a fantastic forum for professional women in the events industry.
I also subscribe to mailing lists such as The Nudge, Urban Junkies and Le Cool to hear about the latest art, film, music, theatre and food events in London.
Evernote is a great online tool for managing tasks, I’m also trialling the beta version of Springsled a new project management tool.

Want to find out more or connect? You can reach Leila via Linkedin.

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