Hospitality is one of the most demanding industries to work in, however, combine that with one of the fastest sports in the world and you have a difficult, yet fun environment to work in. Anna Stashkiw has been working with the Williams Racing F1 team for over 3 years in their Events department, starting as an Events Coordinator before progressing to the team’s Events Manager. Anna is solely responsible for the organisation of Williams Racing’s VIP Paddock Club hospitality, reserved only for their most important clients and partners. She told me about this, her interest in F1 and Williams’ 40th Anniversary.
For many growing up, sport plays an important part in family life, and inspires them to go onto careers in the industry. This was the case for Anna who grew up watching racing on TV with her Father. “I’ve always had a keen interest in sport in general, but I always had an interest in Formula 1 and used to watch the races most weekends, along with my Dad,” she said. With a passion for the sport, working in racing had been a dream for Stashkiw, however she had never been in the right place at the right time or actively pursued it, that was until she saw a job advertisement for a role in F1. “When I was younger, I always wanted to work in motorsport, but never intentionally steered my career in this direction. It was a mixture of good timing and luck that I ended up applying for my first role with Williams Racing,” Anna told me.
Having previously been working in London in hotel hospitality and looking for a change, Stashkiw had spent her Christmas break seeking out a new role. “I was actively looking for new job over Christmas in 2015 and the Event Coordinator role at Williams Racing came up on my LinkedIn home page under the “Recommended jobs for you” section. I read the job description through and thought it sounded like a great challenge. I decided to apply and shortly after, I was joining Williams Racing,” she explained. As an Event Coordinator, Anna worked alongside their Head of Events, managing their VIP Paddock Club hospitality. As well as this, she helped organise suppliers involved in Williams Racing’s hospitality set-up such as design and freight of the build itself in addition to ticketing and gifts for guests. “Aside from trackside hospitality I also assisted in executing our pre-season test hospitality and other non-trackside events including our Season Launch and 40th Anniversary celebrations in 2017,” Stashkiw added.
Last year, Anna became the team’s Events Manager. On top of the responsibilities of her previous role, she is also now solely responsible for the VIP Paddock Club hospitality, test hospitality and non-trackside events. “I have taken on more administrative tasks too such as managing the overall events budget and budgets for individual events and sourcing and manging our gifting process. I manage a range of supplier relationships on a daily basis and assist our Partnerships team to ensure our Partners utilise the hospitality and events offerings available to them,” she described. However, handling everything to do with VIP guests means Anna must be hands-on during a race weekend, therefore she travels with the team throughout the season. This is one of the greatest challenges of her role. “Managing your workload! You are often travelling to one race but already working the next few that are coming up alongside other non-race events,” she said.
Although her role presents many challenges, being involved with the many different events Williams Racing partakes in has allowed her to experience some incredible moments throughout her career with the team. One particular event she helped organise was Williams 40th Anniversary. “We held it at Silverstone in 2017. Having 50,000 people turning out to celebrate our Anniversary with us was pretty special. The atmosphere was great, and it was amazing to celebrate our history alongside our fans,” Stashkiw told me.
Anna Stashkiw dreamt of working in F1 when she was younger, but believing she never would, didn’t actively pursue it. Working in hospitality, it was only by chance that she saw an advertisement for a role at Williams Racing when she had decided to start looking for a new challenge. With the position offering her this opportunity and a way of combining her passions, it seemed like an obvious choice. Joining the team initially as an Event Co-ordinator, she soon impressed with her hard work and understanding, moving on to become Williams Racing’s Events Manager. Now managing their VIP Paddock Club hospitality, it is a lot of responsibility as she is dealing with some of their most important clients and sponsors, however with an exceptional team around her, they continue to please their guests. Speaking of the advice she would give to those wanting to work in a role similar to hers, Anna said: “I think it is important to understand how events work from an operations perspective to be able to ensure they are planned effectively and my hotel background has definitely helped me with this. Also, experience of dealing with high-end clients is important as it gives you experience in manging their expectations and understanding what is required to provide a great experience.”
heading photo credit: Amanda McReynolds Instagram (@amanda.mcreynolds)