I wish someone had told me how lucky I am

“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Llewellyn du Plessis.

Life does not wait for anyone and moves at the speed of light. We get so caught up in daily worries and sorting out a crisis every minute that we forget to reflect on life and actually appreciate and admire what we have achieved and how “lucky” we are.

My life has been a whirlwind of experiences and most people will think that it is impossible for a 27 year old person to have done so much in such a short time on earth.

I always knew that I like being busy and doing things differently. My earliest memory is me crying for two weeks consistently when my mom dropped me at the daycare. No, I did not cry because I missed my mom or that I was scared. I cried because the lady there told me when to sleep and forced me to take a nap and who has time for naps…That was probably the first sign that I’m different.

As a boy of 7 years old I traveled the country with my dad, who owns a Sound and AV company. I learned form a young age to take responsibility and work around adults. I would go on tour and work on shows and events and then pop into school every now and then to make sure I get a report and pass my grades.

At 8 my dad started to work for Patricia Lewis, whom at that stage was South Africa’s top selling artist in the music industry. Patricia believed in me and at the young age of 8 I started working on her tours assisting with merchandise sales and stage management.

Through the years I grasped every bit of experience I could get traveling all over South Africa through small towns most people in South Africa don’t even know exists.

I had the privilege to work with most of the top Afrikaans artist in South Africa and experience life behind the scenes.

I managed to matriculate in 2009 in Meyerton but at as most kids were getting ready to go to university, I was getting into another Tour bus and doing what I love.

At the age of 19 I started as a personal assistant at an events company and quickly worked myself up to an events manager. In this role, I learned all about small businesses and how to manage the business side of things.

In 2014, I had a dream to do my own television serious and boy what a journey that was. Working with a small team and doing everything from writing scripts to event presenting was a challenge. This taught me perseverance and that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. Verona Goslett, a dear friend, embarked on this journey with me and I think we will have many memories to laugh about on the “stoep” of the old age home one day!

At 25 I traveled all the way to Belgium to manage a beach festival with 14 000 people and creating a man-made beach in a foreign country. Working with an international team gave me new insights into how the world of events can push limits. I also had the opportunity to manage the South African leg of Julio Iglesias World Tour in South Africa and work with artist like Dana Winner and BZN.

In 2017, I changed careers a bit and went into a more corporate environment. As the general manager of the Association of African Exhibition organisers, I had the opportunity to see that other side of the events industry, the world of Exhibitions. I worked closely with some of the world’s biggest event organisers and even made a turn in India. After a year with the association I joined the Reed Exhibitions team. As the world’s leading exhibitions company, I had the privilege to work on events such as WTM London, Africa Travel Week and FIBO Global Fitness Africa. As part of the Reed team I had to learn so much in a short time and being the general manager of Marketing this was a brand-new field for me.

Whilst working in the corporate world I also started my own events company, Urban Motion, with my partner Francois Joubert. This is where I met Carel Nolte and the CN&CO team. After many successful events with the CN&CO team over the years I finally got the opportunity to join the team and create even more magic!

It was at one of the CN&CO events that I realized how lucky I am. One of the Urban Motion workers, Anna, helped out on the event and could not believe that she had the chance to work in Sandton.  Her only interaction with Sandton was through a soapy on SABC 1…

Comparing my journey with hers broke my heart. This made me realise that every opportunity should be grabbed with both hands and all the enthusiasm you have, as others might not ever get that same opportunity or be as “lucky” as you.

I consider myself as lucky. I can do what I love with the people closest to me. My partner, parents and friends are what keeps the wheels turning at every event that I take on. The CN&CO family also took me in and now I can create magic with each of them, bringing new ways of doing events to each of our clients.

We rush through live and don’t always appreciate the small things in life. I had a jam-packed 27 years so far and plan to even have a more jam-packed life ahead. We should be thankful for the opportunities that life throws our way. Good or bad but at least we get to experience the world.

Live life to the fullest and be thankful for each new experience that you are “lucky” enough to experience in life!

Llew has been working with CN&CO since 2015. At first he engaged with us via his events company, Urban Motion. In 2018 he joined the greater CN&CO team and has run many successful events, including the African Insurance Exchange, InsureTalk, FIA Awards and Summit, African Insurance Organisation conference and the OR Tambo Memorial Lecture.