Gillian Houser came to Tauranga in 2015 to be close to her family and was fortunate to be introduced by Tauranga Chamber of Commerce to BayVenues. There she was given the opportunity to focus on something she is passionate about – the challenge of sourcing, negotiating, promoting and presenting events across a variety of industries.
As the Business Development Manager BayVenues – based at Baypark, she is responsible for driving the commercial business into Baypark, covering entertainment, conferences, exhibitions, catered events, commercial sporting activities, and often special events such as the Weber Circus and International Tattoo Festival, effectively any event that will increase the value of Baypark to the community.
It has been challenging for her at times to attract major events and artists to Tauranga as we are considered a regional city/venue. Also the limited hotel accommodation available for conference delegates and patrons for major events has been a source of frustration. However, Gillian gets a real sense of satisfaction when she successfully secures an event that previously would not have considered Tauranga or BayVenues/Baypark in the past and when she sees the overall increase in activities over the past 3 years.
“The level of activities has grown for both commercial and community events and we are often limited by the space available. There is currently work taking place towards a new venue at Baypark. If this becomes a reality it would allow more events and open up increased opportunities for the city and BayVenues” says Gillian.
She sees many advantages to now being based in the Bay of Plenty region – the obvious growth and development in Tauranga and the surrounding area, being close to the action in Auckland for business, plus being in an area that is beautiful, with one of the best climates in NZ.
Personally, Gillian says she has been well supported in her role at BayVenues and it means a great deal to her to work for a company that welcomes new initiatives such as the new Baypark Concert Series.
Gillian has always been driven towards success in life – whatever she is involved in, she gives it maximum effort – that’s her nature.
Prior to her arrival in Tauranga, Gillian had owned and operated six businesses – in New Zealand and Australia, and been at CEO level in venue management, event and hospitality industry for 30+ years in NZ, Australia and USA. She managed the Michael Fowler Centre/Wellington Town Hall for 13 years, for 8 of these years, the role also included managing the St James Theatre and Community Suburban Hall. She then moved to Auckland’s North Shore and managed the Bruce Mason Centre for 11 years. From there she owned and operated the Mangawhai Tavern for 7 years before coming to Tauranga.
Outside of work Gillian maintains a healthy lifestyle, with wellness/exercise regularly and time with family. She also follows current events/politics and has a strong interest in the arts and entertainment.
Her advice to others looking to develop a career in a similar field is “be prepared for hard work and sacrifices along the way. It does pay off in the end, but nothing comes easy”.