Ian Reid is the CEO of Birmingham 2022, the Organising Committee (OC) for the 22nd Commonwealth Games. This will be Ian’s second Commonwealth Games having worked on the successful Games in Glasgow, Scotland back in 2014 as the OC’s Chief Financial Officer.
Seventy two nations & territories of the Commonwealth will gather in the West Midlands region of England between the 28th July - 8th August next year to take part in 286 sessions across 19 sports. These Games will see more medal events for women than men for the first time in Commonwealth Games’ history, as well as a fully integrated para-sport programme.
The Commonwealth Games first started in 1930 and was once described by the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Sir Don McKinnon as the biggest manifestation of the Commonwealth in action. The Commonwealth is a voluntary organisation of independent and equal countries and is home to over 2.4 billion people. The Commonwealth's roots go back to the British Empire but today any country can join the modern Commonwealth. The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009.
Commonwealth Day is the 8th March when an annual celebration is observed by people from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe and will be led by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
With less than 510 days to go before the athletes gather in Birmingham, we asked proud Scotsman Ian to share some of his memories and inspirations.
What was the first Live Event Hospitality programme that you attended, and what particular impressions did it make on you?
This is testing my memory – I’m sure it would have been a Scotland or Rangers football match either at Hampden or Ibrox. Despite not always being the best spectacle on the pitch the wider experience and VIP feel made the day feel special.
Other than your own, what is your favourite Live Event[s] that you would encourage everyone to book when it goes o sale, and what makes it so special?
I was really looking forward to attending the British Lions this summer but of course that now looks unlikely. I had a fabulous time at the Ryder Cups both at Gleneagles in 2014 and Paris in 2018.
Who do you consider to be your business mentor or mentors, and what particular example[s] did the imprint on your business values?
I’ve been lucky to work with some really great people but perhaps Lord Robert Smith who was Chair at Glasgow 2014 really supported my career – he’s a great people person with a strong business acumen.
What was the most significant ‘Sliding Doors’ moment in your career, and how did this impact you?
I think applying for the finance role at Glasgow 2014. It was through an advert in the Metro newspaper and before that I’d never fully considered a career in events but so glad I went down that route.
If you had the option to experience/live in one music video which would it be and why?
Thriller – iconic and great costumes. And incidentally I spent some time with someone in that video on the 2018 Ryder Cup trip mentioned above!!
What was your favourite televised live sport event or moment that you remember from childhood, why did it make such a lasting impression on you?
Watching Diego Maradona score against England in the ’86 World Cup. Not the contentious goal but the ‘pure genius’ one – it was unbelievable skill. I also remember vividly the great middle distance Olympic, World and Commonwealth battles between Coe, Ovett and Cram.
Who was playing at the first concert you attended, where and when, and what do you remember of the experience?
I think an early Guns n’ Roses concert at Milton Keynes Bowl – it was a road trip with some school friends. Incredible atmosphere and iconic tunes.
What was your first paying job and what impact, if any, did it have on you?
A young shelf stacker at a high street supermarket – it opens you eyes to real work following a period of mixed levels of effort at school…..
How has your upbringing and family experiences shaped who you are today?
I had hugely hard working parents who sacrificed a lot to give me and my siblings a good education and life chances. That sticks with you as you become a parent yourself.
What tough experience or time did you have to endure that taught you the value of money?
I’m Scottish so it’s ingrained in you from a young age. My Dad to this day negotiates over everything…
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Elvis - Suspicious Minds
What is the worst experience you have ever had on any form of transport?
A Tuk Tuk ride after a few beers and a curry at Delhi 2010 – enough said….
What was the new technology or device that you immediately understood was going to be life-changing and how has it impacted your life?
Apple iPhone – ease of use and everything you need in your pocket.
What are the best books you've read in the past year?
I'm just finishing Barak Obama's autobiography, A Promised Land - a fascinating recollection of his first term in office.
Tell us something even your colleagues might not know about you...
I was a bit of a musician at school – pretty decent on the clarinet and saxophone!
If someone gave you a box that contained everything you have lost in life, what's the first thing you would search for?
Which person who you have met, or not yet met, will leave you feeling most starstruck?
Pelé or the Queen.
You get to fly anywhere after the coronavirus to take a trip you've always wanted to make: Where are you going, with whom and what are you planning to do?
My wife and I will finally use our BA companion voucher and find somewhere exciting just the 2 of us. New York, Franschoek in South Africa or an isolated beach somewhere will be on the shortlist.