The Nduro Events Operations Manager takes out the Best Emerging Event Professional award at the 2023 New Zealand Event Awards!
In six short months Helene moved from working in the performing arts and conference management to applying her skills in staging design, production logistics, and people management to help deliver not one, but two major multi day mountain bikes events –the Whaka 100 and the Volcanic Epic – with stunning results.
Having never worked on a mass-participation sport event, to expertly deliver the largest MTB event in the Southern Hemisphere (and largest cycling event in 2022 with over 3,000 riders), and NZ’s largest MTB stage race is a huge achievement. The Whaka 100 for 2022 was in many ways a new event, being rebuilt from the ground up off the back of a 2021 postponement and painful cancellation early 2022. This included new venue layouts, processes, vendors and more. Nduro had never done a stage racing format event before, which also spanned multiple locations from Rotorua, Tokoroa and Taupo. Helene had to develop new processes with guidance from her manager and race director, Tim Farmer, as well as relationships with new stakeholders and vendors.
She has perfected the eye for venue management in a short time - able to spot potential problem areas, direct a high standard of branding, and problem solve rapidly behind the scenes without hindrance to the event experience.
Helene brought experience leading small teams in her previous roles. Since joining Nduro Events, she’s grown in her responsibilities and leadership skills. She’s led multiple paid and volunteer teams across our events, ranging from seasoned event experts to individuals with no previous experience. Helene is able to manage them all to get the most from them as well as ensure they have an enjoyable event experience.
Helene also demonstrates leadership through her ability to adapt and respond. The Volcanic Epic Day 2 was meant to take place at Craters MTB Park in Taupo, which was heavily damaged by Cyclone Gabrielle. In under two months Helene had moved the venue to the backup location of Kinloch, along with all the permissions, information drops, process and briefing documentation updates and more. For the Whaka 100, Helene worked closely with Rotorua Lakes Council and local businesses to deliver the Eliminator event in Rotorua CBD. Helene managed multiple iterations and concepts of the event as she navigated what was possible before locking in Pukaki Street.
Helene’s ability to work with, and deliver for stakeholders has been a crucial part in the successful delivery of, but also sustainability for future events. She’s demonstrated a strong ability to build rapport rapidly, taking over relationships Tim has held for years and continuing to nurture them.
During this time, Nduro has had up to 4,000 registered participants across its events portfolio. Helene managed athlete services, answering questions and solving issues, which everyone can agree is challenging both from a time and mental energy perspective.
Bringing fresh eyes from outside the mass-participation sport world, and quickly learning in her role, Helene has been able to bring innovation into Nduro Events. She was instrumental in the adoption of digital site planning tool OnePlan, enabling rapid planning of venue spaces for all our events, quantifying of resources required and more. The tool is now used for all our events portfolio.
Helene also innovated to improve the participant registration experience. With the team, she led the roll out of posted registration packs as part of a ‘premium check-in’ option for those unable to attend the pre-event registration. This has enabled us to create an additional revenue stream, event and sponsorship touch point and alleviate a pain point some of our participants had every year.
From managing logistics to fostering stakeholder relationships and introducing innovative tools, Helene's impact on the mass-participation sports event landscape is undeniable. Her story is a testament to adaptability, innovation, and leadership, setting a new standard for success in the industry. Congratulations, Helene!