Charlotte Geeves (mum to Henry, 2.5) is CEO of the annual Henley Festival, which ends with a fab Family Sunday day on 10 July 2016. She talks us through her lustworthy CV and juggling motherhood with a busy events career...
How did you get to this point in your career?
I’ve worked in the arts since I left university and always knew I wanted to be a CEO. I started off as a Company Manager, touring in the UK and Europe before getting a permanent job at the Young Vic as their Company Manager. This was where my ambition to become a CEO started, as I worked with some of the greatest freelance directors and producers, David Lan artistic director of the Young Vic being one of them. Within my time at the Young Vic I took two sabbaticals to work at Shakespeare’s Globe and the second time round worked with Dominic Dromgoole, who encouraged me to move away from being a Company Manager into producing. From there I went to work at Sadler’s Wells, which was an incredible experience and where I learnt so much for three incredible individuals, Emma Gladstone, Alastair Spalding & Suzanne Walker. From that point on I knew that I wanted to work on Festivals and after working on two very different Festivals, I got my dream job at Henley Festival.
It can be hard to juggle a career and family life. What, if anything, do you feel you've sacrificed by choosing your current lifestyle?
I’m not sure I have sacrificed anything apart from my social life and the ability to see live work outside of the Festival on a regular basis. I have a son who loves nursery and I love my job which means that we are all happy.
What's your top tip for mums on maternity leave?
Hang out with like-minded friends who are supportive as this can really help if you’re having a tough time. And sleep whenever your baby sleeps (even if you’ve got loads of housework to do) as you’ll feel a little bit more normal with a little bit of sleep.
Make us feel better about ourselves. What's your biggest mum fail?
Fainting in hospital when it was my son who was the injured one. He was fine, I on the other hand was not!
Are there any other mums out there who inspire you?
Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director at The Royal Court Theatre and my mum.
Where do you hang out with the family?
The woods, nature reserves, the beach and any wide open space that my son can run around in.
What festivals are you looking forward to this summer?
What's going to be the don't-miss moment at Henley this year?
Am I allowed to say all of it! My personal highlight for 2016 is Will Young but I think we have something for everyone at this year’s Festival.