Two days before Jessica Dall'anese was to fly to Dubai to start a job in events in 2009, she received a call from the company to say it could no longer hire her. She came anyway and found work within a week. The French national now runs her own event production company, Prod'Events, and speaks here about how she got started.
What brought you to the UAE?
Luck, kind of. I studied events in the US and at that time [in 2007] Dubai was booming, so our teachers told us if we had a chance to go to Dubai, please do so. [After returning to France, I] decided to go back to the US and before I went back I thought I would check Dubai out to see what was happening. This was two years later, in the middle of the crisis. But I still came and after two weeks I found a job. They told me: 'Come back in a month.'
But then they called to say four events had been cancelled in one weekend, so they could not hire you. What did you do?
I thought I am leaving in two days, so let's see what else I can go and do in Dubai. After a week I posted my CV on various websites and a company called me up. It was an event company run by a French guy. Because I'm French and I had the US studies background he said, 'Please come and see me tomorrow.' By the next Sunday I was working for him.
You worked for that company for three years before leaving to start Prod'Events in April. Why did you decide to set up on your own?
I thought I had learnt a lot, which was great. I wanted to make more money at that stage.
Did you always want to own your own business?
Yes, during the interview with my ex-boss, he asked me, 'Tell me where you are going to be in five years,' and I told him, 'Either in the UAE or the US and I will have my own company.'
What events have you got planned?
We are producing Enrique Iglesias's concert [on October 26 at the Dubai World Trade Center], which is really good, so we are working for the promoter who is bringing Enrique to Dubai and we are helping him with the production of the concert. We're making sure all the health and safety is done, the permits are done and the entrances are as per the different ticket types, and [the event has] the right number of ushers. We are also helping him with the branding for the sponsors … and the marketing.