Today’s interview is with EMBL-EBI’s Jane Reynolds. Jane is one of the event organisers in the team, and joined in December 2020. Jane’s focus is on the on-site and virtual training courses.
At EMBL since: December 2020
Number of organised courses: 1
Favourite place in Hinxton area? Having joined EMBL-EBI just before Christmas, I haven’t been able to explore Hinxton yet. I did enjoy a virtual tour of the conference centre though, which gave me an insight of where the course dinners take place.
What is the first thing you do before a course starts and the first thing you do after a course finishes? Before an event starts, I remind myself of the hard work and preparation that’s already been done and that the best thing I can do from here on in is be present and ready to deal with anything that might arise. After an event finished? Well, it sounds a bit dull but I usually make a quick list of things that could be improved (as well as those that went really well). Particularly working in new formats, it’s often only by running an event that you notice the small changes that can be made to improve the experiences of delegates or speakers. I like to capture these while they are fresh in my mind.
What are the challenges/differences of organising a virtual course? One of the major changes has been how big chunks of work have shifted closer to the start date of an event; for example, delegates tend to sign up later to online events than in-person events, even if they are advertised for the same length of time as usual, so the timeframe for dealing with the administration related to this is shorter. The work definitely has a different rhythm to it and the tools and systems have changed but the reason we’re doing it is the same. Remembering this has helped me to adapt. Although I have to say I am really looking forward to meeting delegates (and my new colleagues!) in person when the time comes.
You’ve been working from home since you started your role at EMBL-EBI; how has this been for you? As well as working from home, I’ve been lucky enough to start a new role in the past year, and it’s been an interesting (hopefully once-in-a-lifetime!) experience. Luckily the Training Team at EMBL-EBI have been wonderful in sharing their knowledge with me and given me a very warm virtual welcome.
If you weren’t a EMBL-EBI events organisers what would you be? Probably a teacher of some kind. Before I started working in events and engagement, I worked as an English Language Assistant, which I really enjoyed, so ideally I’d combine teaching and travel.
What is the strangest/funniest thing that has ever happened in a course? My birthday is in July and in my past jobs this has been the busiest time – either at Graduation events or summer events – so I have often spent it working, but never in an office! I’ve been organising table plans in Liverpool Cathedral, at a Massive Attack concert in a disused train depot or hosting tours of new exhibitions…one of my favourite things about working in events is that there is rarely a dull moment!
If you were a superhero what power would you like to have? I love learning languages but it’s hard to find the time…so definitely the ability to speak and understand different languages without having to learn verb tables!
What is your favourite TV show? Like everyone I’ve watched a lot more TV than usual over the past year, but The Sopranos – which has stood up to a rewatch or two – remains my favourite.
Upcoming events that Jane is organising: Cancer genomics 2021 – virtual