Our client, R3, ran a busy itinerary of in-person technical and networking events for members, prior to the COVID pandemic. This unfortunately came to a grinding halt as soon as the first lock-down struck the UK in March 2020.

As we all emerged from the pandemic, R3 faced a challenge as they adjusted to changing expectations around work patterns amongst both their membership and team members – and the impact this had on expectations for events.

This required them to build an entirely new events team. Their members would be hard at work with the enormous challenge of helping businesses to recover from the pandemic, and R3 needed to ensure they were strongly supported with effective events and training.


R3 is the Trade Association for the entire community of the UK's insolvency and restructuring professionals, whatever the size of their practice, their experience, or their specialism.

R3’s members promote economic regeneration, resolve financial distress for businesses and individuals, save jobs, and create the confidence and public trust which underpin trading, lending, and investment.

R3 protects and promotes the environment and the strong restructuring and insolvency framework required to enable its members to fulfil their vital role in the economy and in society.

Our brief

R3’s membership is comprised of senior members of the insolvency and restructuring profession. The events team they needed to recruit had to be confident when working with senior leadership/C-suite professionals, and individually have the gravitas to manage strong personalities while reflecting positively on the organisation itself.

Following the COVID pandemic, many people working in events had changed careers. Also, many other membership organisations were actively expanding their events teams, so we expected that the task of finding high quality events candidates would be challenging, requiring us to advocate strongly for the client and work quickly.

As a specialist in the membership sector, we not only place talent with membership experience into new membership sector roles, but we are uniquely placed to understand if a candidate, currently working outside of the membership sector, might be a good fit for organisations within the sector due to our in-depth understanding of R3’s roles and culture.

Our work for R3 required us to find people who had frontline events experience to meet the standards expected by their audience. We needed to ascertain whether these candidates had the character and experience to adapt to the events focused roles required by R3.

The roles we recruited, included:

Senior Events Manager – R3 was looking for someone unflappable to lead and develop the newly formed Events Team. They needed someone who would be calm under pressure, someone who is experienced in managing the unexpected and plans for mitigations and with experience in working collaboratively with volunteer committees, who play a vital role in shaping R3’s programme of national and regional events.

Two Events Organisers - To assist the events team in the development of a comprehensive events programme throughout the UK, and to proactively anticipate members’ requirements, in producing an annual event programme relevant to their members’ needs.

For the team as a whole, R3 needed people who could create great experiences, were able to treat clients, members, and stakeholders well and have an eye for understanding the minutiae. They had to have strong soft skills, excellent communications skills, be proactive, forward thinking and display collaborative behaviours.

Our solution

After reviewing the roles and person specifications in detail with R3, advising on the optimum salary and benefit packages to find the talent they needed, we ran an extended search to find the right candidates, from aligned sectors that were likely to have people with the skills and characteristics required.

We immersed ourselves in understanding the culture of R3, so that we could convince talented candidates of the role and the culture of the organisation.

We thoroughly screened all the candidates who applied, as we were looking for professionals who could bring-in new perspectives. As we were recruiting for entire teams, we had a unique perspective in being able to tell how different candidates could work together, where their skills and experiences overlapped, and we were able to make recommendations on this basis to R3, so that they were able to put in place a team that was made to work together.

Our results

We shortlisted six candidates for each role. Two candidates progressed to second interview stage and all three roles were filled, and the team is still together 18 months later.

Andrew Heffernan, Head of Member Services at R3 said, “Membership Bespoke did an excellent job. The talent identified was very strong, which meant we were selecting from a pool of strong candidates.

“They were easy to work with and the speed of communication and keeping in touch throughout the process meant that we were able to secure the talented people we needed, while working against a very competitive backdrop.

"They needed to pull upon their experience of the membership sector and use their expertise to search other sectors to find us the team we required to get up and running quickly to provide the services needed by the membership at a challenging time.”


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