In our latest staff spotlight, we catch up with the lovely Kate Mayall – Creative England Marketing Manager and resident bookworm. We take a ride through her five years at the company, and find out what she loves most about her job, her teammates and the accomplishments she’s most proud of to date. As someone who knows a thing or two about the Manchester food and drink scene, we also get her recommendations for after-work drinks or a lazy weekend brunch.
Over to you, Kate!
You’ve been at the company for a while now – can you give us a whistle-stop tour of the journey so far?
This month marks five years at Creative England for me! Previously I worked for a media agency managing clients’ social media accounts, but I knew I wanted to work for an in-house marketing team and was so excited to get the opportunity to work for Creative England. I started off as the Marketing Assistant in the team, and also was the personal assistant for the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, and over the years I have progressed through the team to become the Marketing Manager, focusing on the business support side of the company.
What do you love most about working for Creative England?
No day, week, month or year is the same here, which comes with obvious challenges but also a lot of great opportunities to work on projects that really benefit the industry. In my time here we have run a massive variety of programmes, events and campaigns, and the best bit is always hearing the feedback of the companies and individuals who have managed to achieve really impressive feats giving direct thanks to our support.
There’s no denying that at big moments in the company it can get stressful, but there is a lot of flexibility from the company to make sure that we feel supported, and we are able to manage our own time. That has become more embedded since lockdown happened, there was a lot of support to make sure that we felt comfortable and able to work from home, and some very real perks like finishing early on Fridays over the summer months, and in the run up to Christmas.
Teamwork makes the dream work, but how do you make teamwork a dream?
One of the really good things about working here, which I sometimes take for granted, is that all of my colleagues are genuinely nice people who care about what they are working on. The marketing team works across all areas of the company, so having good relationships is really important. As a company we use Slack for internal communications, and it’s a great way to have quick chats and catch ups with people that feel less formal than over email. It’s been particularly beneficial now that we’re all working from home because you still get the chance to have personal interactions even though you’re stuck at home.
What project are you most proud of to date?
The past year has been a massive learning curve for all of us; so much of our activity had previously been face-to-face – workshops, networking events, conferences – and we had never held any events virtually before last March. So, adapting and quickly learning how to use these new tools and teaching them to teammates and partners remotely was completely out of my comfort zone, but we’ve been hosting events online for a year now and finding the format to be far more accessible than in-person sessions.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
I think it would have to be “Be More Kind”, which is from a Frank Turner song. Working from home, it’s really easy to forget the other things going on in people’s lives and become frustrated or irritated when people don’t meet deadlines or get back to you in a timely manner, but feeling those things won’t get you anywhere. In general I think I am quite an empathetic person, and I try to make sure I bring that mindset to work. Especially with what I said about the importance of building relationships with people, being considerate of others’ circumstances really plays a big part in that.
You’re a busy bee – how do you like to unwind and strike the balance between work and play?
In normal times I’d be going out for food and drinks several times a week after work; there are a few of us in the Media City office who like to go for a drink after work, and I’ve stayed close with ex-colleagues and meet up with them regularly too. I’ve always loved going for walks, and I’ve been exploring new routes around where I live since lockdown stuck which has been nice. And at the beginning of the year I got a dog who is always keen for playing and cuddles, so she has helped to keep me sane since January!
Dinner or drink recommendations for those visiting the city?
Any of my out-of-town friends will tell you that I am endlessly extolling the virtues of Manchester and trying to get them to move here. I believe it has it all! I live near Castlefield and I don’t think you can beat The Wharf’s patio for drinks on a sunny day, or the cosy interiors for a Sunday lunch. I love going to The Refuge if I’m pretending to be refined, or The Koffee Pot for an all-day breakfast.
You’re a bit of a bookworm – what are your top three book recommendations?
I’m usually quite boring with my book choices and stick to the classics, but I re-read Normal People last year after it came out on BBC3 and fell in love with it all over again. I also followed the much-deserved hype and read Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, which was incredible – a really insightful and intelligently woven together novel that’s also entertaining and funny and heartbreaking. I think I’ve recommended it to everyone I know! For a third, I think I’ll go with Emma by Jane Austen – a completely unoriginal choice but I’ve read it so many times and I think a lot of people have found comfort in revisiting their favourite books and films and TV shows in the past year.
Want to join Kate’s team? See our current vacancies here.