Karin Drane - The Smart Juggler

Karin Drane
Managing Director
Curveball Events

Karin is a successful entrepreneur and mother of two, who smartly juggle roles. She is the Managing Director of Curveball Events, a Boutique agency specializing in promotions, product launches and corporate events. Karen has worked as a full-time model, a TV presenter, a Corporate woman before she set her foot into entrepreneurship.

What do you do and how did you get to where you are today? What drove you to success?

We are an event and talent company that puts a personal spin on things and specialize in long-term collaborations with our clients. Our team is young and fresh in terms of ideas but old school and wise in terms of the quality we provide. We handle promotions and roadshows, product launches, corporate events and bespoke weddings but we also support many clients with video production and customized giveaways.

Our talent division exclusively represents Kris Fade, Priti Malik, Big Rossi, Brent Black and Maz Hakim from Virgin Radio, Malavika Varadan from City 101.6, the Emirati Illusionist Moein Al Bastaki as well as Karen McLean who is also known as Secret Squirrel Food.

I got to where I am by a lot of hard work (plenty of late nights and weekend work), great professional relations, consistency in services as well as of course a fair share of luck. I also had tremendous  support and encouragement from my family, friends and colleagues. But even with that success requires you to push yourself further in the end so there has also been a lot of self-refection.

In my case it was really a combination of two things that made me start Curveball. Demand from the market (long term clients requesting my services) and a wish to do things my way so it was somehow inevitable to have my own.

In terms of the talent management part that developed after working with Kris Fade for the first time. We got along great and shared the same ethics so it was a no-brainer.

I think my motivation now is slightly different from when I started. Of course one of the main drivers for me is still that I can decide the level of quality we provide and how we do business, but there are so many other aspects in this field which are gratifying and humbling since we work with a lot of young part-timers. I love my job and my team but most importantly I love the fact that what we do creates a mean of living for many others.

What brings you joy?

So many things! I have a very positive outlook on life in general but of course the main source of happiness in my life are my two daughters. Life is always a bit upside down with toddlers running around and you have to embrace the chaos but nothing beats coming home to or being woken up by two little souls that are living life as if they are experiencing the world and all its wonders for the first time every day.

On a more humanitarian level I feel very good about being able to give more to and help people. Be that monetary, clothing and items, any helping actions I can take or just a few kind words to make someone’s day. In my opinion giving is probably the purest form of happiness anyone can experience.

If we break it down to very basic things that bring me joy then we are talking about pasta. Pasta makes me happy. Any day.

What would you tell a young graduate today?

I would say spend less time on your mobile and more time on your interpersonal skills. The new generation is very fast but we are still living in a time where most things are handled person to person and referrals are key in business. Making a great first impression, having sales skills that are on point and feeling comfortable in all environments as well as being able to instill trust and really connect with people is invaluable regardless of what field you are in.

Of course, I am not saying ignore social media. Social media is like a parallel world right now and regardless of how one feels about it, whatever you put out on social needs to at least be at par with or exceed what you do in real life. Nobody can afford neglecting their online presence.

Finally I am a big believer in focusing on client retention so I would tell young graduates to try and always put themselves in the client’s shoes and ask themselves if they would be happy if they were in fact the client. If the answer is yes, great. If not, step it up.

Generating new clients demands way more efforts than expanding the spectrum of services you provide for the existing ones so showing appreciation to the ones you do have is appropriate so to say.

Why is UAE a great place for women to succeed?

I believe the UAE provides an excellent base for women to succeed because the market is full of opportunities and there are plenty of organizations and initiatives that provide guidance and support. A country can have a lot of female talent but if there is a shortage of opportunities then there is still no room for that talent to grow. Here there is no shortage of opportunities whatsoever.





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