MEETtheTEAM: Natalie Cherry
Here at MEETinLEEDS, we’re extremely proud of our hardworking and dedicated team. And to showcase this, we’re continuing to shine a light on the individuals that make up our close-knit team at the University of Leeds.
In this post, we’re introducing Natalie Cherry, who recently joined our Sales team as our Conference Sales Assistant.
What first attracted you to the conferencing industry?
By chance, I took a conferencing internship in Belgium as part of my year abroad while at University and I found it to be a really interesting and rewarding experience. Conferencing is always changing and adapting to new environments and new trends. When I finished my internship, I knew that I had found the career path that I wanted to explore further!
What has working in the conferencing industry taught you?
There’s a lot more to a conference than people imagine! I enjoy learning about all the different aspects which need to come together to make a conference. I’m fairly new to Sales which has been a challenge, but working in my role is teaching me to envision how a conference will work on the ground in order to better inform potential clients. It has also taught me about the sheer range of conferences that exist. I have mostly dealt with corporate meetings in the past, but now I am working with academic staff, public organisations, charities, trusts and many more.
In your experience, what has been the biggest challenge in the industry to date?
I think a significant challenge facing the industry at the moment is understanding how conferencing can be more sustainable while still delivering high-quality services and facilities. This is certainly something that we are focusing on as a team, and we are working closely with the University’s Sustainability department, as well as our Residential services, to better understand how we can offer an environmentally-conscious service. It is really exciting to be working in an environment that encourages me to have these conversations and explore how we can improve both our service and our environmental impact.
What is your favourite thing about working in the conference industry?
My favourite thing about working in this industry so far is that I am able to meet and engage with people from a wide range of different backgrounds. Working on conferences from many different disciplines gives me the opportunity to meet fellow University staff and professionals who are experts in their respective fields, be that Medicine, History, Language, Psychology or Dentistry. I really enjoy learning about the different industries in the process and knowing that the event that I am helping to organise will allow them to continue having necessary and important conversations.
How are you adapting to the current situation?
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least! Working from home has been a total transformation, but so far I feel I have adapted well to the change. I’m keeping in touch with our clients regarding cancellations and postponements, as well as taking on projects relating to our sustainable policies and our customer service. Working remotely has given me the opportunity to look at these projects, which normally I would have to fit in around a busy day in the office, so it’s exciting to give them the time they require to be completed thoroughly.
On a practical basis I live in a small flat so space is fairly limited, but luckily I am able to make my kitchen/living room into a multi-purpose space. In the daytime it’s an office, after work it becomes a gym as I do online workouts, and in the evening it’s a relaxing space for food and movies!
What does your new way of working mean for the customer?
Working from home means that we do not necessarily have access to all of the same information as we would when in the office. However, the team are connected online and we are all available via email during regular working hours, so we are ready to help our customers as best as possible. If anything, I actually have more time than usual to dedicate to helping our customers! For customers, as for all of us, this is a large adjustment. However, I am confident that we can still provide a high level of service while working from my living room as I would when working on campus.