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This is what it's really like to organise star-studded events

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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Zoë Elliott, 40, is events manager for paediatric Aids charity mothers2mothers. She lives in north London with her husband Tom and sons Ben, eight, and Sam, six

MY ALARM GOES OFF…

In the form of my six-year-old; he wakes me up at 5.45am every day. I’ll make the kids breakfast and have toast and Marmite with a cup of tea. I’ll wear a dress and heels from Whistles or & Other Stories and practise spelling with my sons before their 7.45am breakfast club.

I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR…

Organising events for the charity mothers2mothers, which aims to ensure children in Sub-Saharan Africa are born, and remain, free of HIV. We have virtually eliminated mother-to-child HIV transmission among those we work with through identifying mothers at risk and treating them early in their pregnancy. We work across eight African countries, and employ 1,600 HIV-positive women as healthcare workers who support newly diagnosed individuals. Events are among our biggest fundraisers – in the past two years we’ve raised more than £1million. I’m currently overseeing our flagship gala at the end of November to mark World Aids Day [on 1 December], where our patron, actress Salma Hayek Pinault, will host 160 guests at a private dinner.

I GOT MY JOB…

Following a career in publishing. After having Sam, I segued into events; I was always the go-to organiser so decided to make a career of it. I freelanced for five years and realised I wanted to make an impact on people’s lives. A recruitment firm approached me with this – my dream job. I started in April.

mothers2mothers works across eight Sub-Saharan countries 

MY TYPICAL DAY…

Begins with a cup of coffee in the office at 8.30am. I’ll check my to-do list and reply to emails. Currently, they’re mostly focused on our gala – from the colour of the napkins to arranging details with Gucci, who are supporting the event. I’ll be organising prizes for the auction at the event, such as a signed guitar from Ed Sheeran or Sir Bradley Wiggins’ bike. Then I might meet with our host committee, made up of supporters, including Sienna Miller. I’ll also work on other events – I do 10 a year that vary in size, such as a five-day cycling challenge for 2018 in South Africa. I’ll grab a Pret smoked salmon sandwich and Love Bar for lunch while travelling around London for meetings. I might meet Salma to talk through the logistics of the gala then often have a 5pm conference call with the mothers2mothers teams in South Africa and LA. I’ll then put on my trainers and run to pick up the kids – it’s a brilliant way to unwind and stops me from checking emails.

MY MOST MEMORABLE WORK MOMENT…

Was organising a panel event with TV presenter Anna Williamson to celebrate International Day of the Girl this year. Despite the challenges that adolescent girls face, there was an amazing sense of hope.

The charity aims to ensure children are born free of HIV 

THE WORST PART OF MY JOB…

Is knowing there is still so much work to be done. There are so many families we would help thrive if we had the resources.

THE BEST PART OF MY JOB…

Is seeing our hard work improve lives. Last year we helped nearly two million people globally.

AFTER WORK…

I’ll chat to my sons before their bedtime if I’m not meeting friends for drinks. My husband and I will eat takeaway sushi and drink red wine while watching a boxset – we’ve just finished The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ll be in bed by 11pm.

For more information about mothers2mothers, visit m2m.org

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Moya Lothian-McLean

Moya Lothian-McLean is Stylist’s editorial assistant where she spends her time inventing ways to shoehorn Robbie Williams into pieces. A reoffending dancefloor menace, a weekend finds her taking up too much space at disco nights around the city and subsequently recovering with dark sunglasses and late brunch the next day. 

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