Sonali Nair, 30, works in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as co-founder and sustainable events director at Neem Eco Events Manager and global accounts manager at HelmsBriscoe. As a 2018 40 Under 40 honoree, Nair discusses her passion for the events industry.
*Connect with Nair on Instagram.
What I do: We integrate event strategies focused around sustainability and work as a consultant through design to implementation of the event. All of this in a way that also reduces waste and cost.
How I got here: I’ve been raised and lived around hotels all my life— my dad worked with them throughout his career. My first taste of events was producing an annual cultural festival for my college in New Delhi, India. When I started planning the details of that festival, I knew this was the job for me. In order to learn every aspect of hospitality industry, I chose to work with companies like Fareportal, Dell and Cvent. Looking for a new challenge and direction, I joined the Helmsbriscoe team in July 2016 and simultaneously co-founded Neem Eco Events in September 2017 to integrate my love for nature with my passion of events consulting.
Greatest career accomplishment: I’m most proud of taking the leap to leave my comfortable 40 hours a week corporate job in favor of starting Neem and working 60 hours a week only to have freedom to explore what I’m passionate about.
Impressive stats: Recently, we helped one of our client’s save $75,000 on the event cancellation clause by exercising due diligence on the contract terms. At the end of the day, saving money is one of the most important deliverables we offer our clients.
What I’m working on: Neem is creating a go-to platform, “Green Carpet Destinations,” showcasing destinations in different tiers with their efforts and current ratings on sustainability. We want to make the job easy for corporate meeting planners in deciding their next green destination based on their company’s focus area.
What I do outside of work: I love to travel (although that’s part of my job too), I have vowed to visit one coastal and one urban destination every year. For 2018, I have Rio De Janeiro on the list for its famous Copacabana beach in Brazil and already checked off Buenos Aires, Argentina, for its urban cultural heritage. Occasionally, I indulge myself in baking—it’s more like a therapy.