This week we meet Charlotte Pearton, Events Lead at EMBL-EBI. Charlotte manages a team of eight events, marketing and administrative staff who work on the EMBL-EBI training programme.
At EMBL-EBI since: 2015
Number of events organised: 39
Favourite place in the Hinxton area?
The campus is beautiful. The woodland paths are great to walk through in all seasons, but especially autumn. In summer, the flowerbeds are a real burst of colour.
Across EMBL, the events teams have been facing the challenge of virtualising their work and events.
What are the differences in organising a virtual course compared to the usual face-to-face format?
Firstly there was the timeframe! We had to put a structure together very quickly. Also how to adjust the content to make it workable and engaging, and how to maintain good comms and networking. Our first virtual course was a great success and we will continue to build on this experience; we are embracing the challenge.
How have you adapted your role during lockdown?
I have maintained a daily structure and routine. I am in almost constant contact with the team via Slack, Zoom etc. We have all become increasingly proficient in the art of the on-line meeting over the last few months!
What is the first thing you do before a course starts:
I’ll run through my checklist of preparatory tasks, make a note of anything I need to remember, take a deep breath, a sip of coffee, and also some comfort in the fact that our events are a real team effort and I’m not in this alone!
And how about the first thing you’ll do after a course finishes?
At the end of each course, I enjoy the sense of job satisfaction. I love the cyclical nature of events, at our face-to-face events I love waving people off knowing they have had a great experience. You really build a rapport with your speakers and delegates – it starts months before they arrive, then really develops during the week they are actually with you on campus. By the time they leave you can really feel the sense of warmth and genuine appreciation. It’s a great indicator of our success.
That is something we are still finding with the virtual courses I am pleased to say. Even if the wave goodbye at the end of the course is now through Zoom!
If you weren’t a course organiser what would you be?
A world-famous author of fiction… probably something dark like crime or horror, and writing under a pseudonym to keep an air of mystery! In reality, I’ve always veered towards events in an educational field.
What is the strangest/funniest thing that has ever happened in a course?
We organised a ‘sabrage’ to celebrate 10 years of training – seeing Cath (Brooksbank, Head of Training) wielding a sword to slice the top off a bottle of champagne outside the training rooms isn’t something you see every day. It was great fun.
If you were a superhero, what power would you like to have?
Teleportation! An early morning walk on the beach in the Seychelles, fine dining and shopping in Paris in the afternoon, party all night in New York. Green travel!
And finally what is your favourite book or film?
I couldn’t choose a favourite book or film very easily, but I did revisit a 2008 documentary recently which always has me gripping the sofa – ‘Man on a Wire’. The story of Phillippe Petit, who tight-roped across the US twin towers in 1974. Just a fascinating story on many levels – watch if you dare!