Amanda Newman is Chesterford Research Park’s Events Executive and is responsible for delivering exceptional conferences, meetings and events for occupiers and guests.
Please describe your role: What do you do?
I coordinate the smooth running of events at the Park from the initial client enquiry to on-the-day management, through to invoicing and collating feedback.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually arrive around 08.15 and meet with security to check that we are on track for the day and ready to greet any event guests. The rest of the day typically consists of coordinating with catering, making sure we have enough staff available, sorting parking arrangements and ensuring sound and visual equipment is operational.
Alongside this, I’ll be working on the operational schedule for the next week and responding to more booking requests. My responsibilities also cover the health and safety aspects of any event here.
I may also be putting our ‘Connecting the Park Community’ newsletter content together and working on marketing and PR for the Park.
How are you adapting to working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I am working from home and have embraced on-line meetings. It has been really important to maintain contact with the Park team and keep things positive, the face-to-face interaction goes a long way. We have been using Microsoft Teams to keep in touch and stay productive.
I’m still busy rearranging events that have been cancelled due to the restrictions and I have taken quite a few bookings for 2020. I’m reaching out to our regular customers as, over the years, they have become more like friends and I’m keen to know how they are and what their companies are doing to support them.
It has also been an opportunity to do some online learning and development.
What type of events do you organise at the Park?
In the main, it is day-to-day conferencing with anything from four to 80 people. However, we do host some big conferences for 100+ people, with full catering and a/v equipment. We have also hosted corporate and charity dinners, wedding receptions, book launches, fireworks, and family fun days.
What gives you job satisfaction?
Providing a level of high customer service to exceed a client’s expectations. I get to meet some wonderful people and it makes my day when we receive positive feedback about the Park as a venue and the lovely staff working here. The icing on the cake is when we get repeat bookings from satisfied customers.
What do you like about working at the Park?
I really like the daily variety in my job, the friendly people I meet, and the dedicated team who work here. I also love the beautiful location we work in.
How has the Park changed, and its occupiers developed, while you’ve worked here?
I’ve worked at the Park for 14 years and still know some of the original occupiers from when I started.
I have seen small companies grow and new purpose-built, high-tech buildings developed for them. Aesthetically the Park has changed enormously as many old buildings have been taken down but the beauty of the site has remained the same.
In your opinion, why do the Chesterford Research Park occupiers choose to base themselves here?
Apart from the wonderful setting, I think the easy access is a big draw. We also have a reputation for the high level of all-round support we provide to the companies on site.
What developments and events are you planning this year to enhance life at the Park for occupiers and visitors?
I have been planning a sustainability event inviting around ten car manufacturers in to show us their current electric/hybrid vehicles. Moving on from C-19 I would like to host a “Thanksgiving/Moment of Reflection” in our grounds for all Park staff to show their appreciation for the NHS, doctors, scientists - everyone who has helped us all through this difficult time.
What has been your favourite event or initiative in the past year and why?
In 2019, we hosted our first Christmas Market in the restaurant. We had about 12 stall holders, played festive music, had wonderful food and, as a result were able to provide a charity donation to St Clare’s hospice – so an all-round win!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am very busy with my family, my rock of a husband and three children, parents and dog. I love travelling, gardening, walking and going to the theatre.
Quick fire Q&A
Favourite part of the Park: I love looking at the gargoyle ceiling in the Mansion House and thinking about all the people who have historically been in that room.
Best planning tool: Checklist.
Tea or coffee: Tea - not too strong.
Autumn or spring: Spring always amazes me when things come to life after the winter.
Preferred way to relax: Walking, or out with family and friends when they wear the organising/logistics hat!
Who do you admire most: Karen Brady – I think she is a wonderful ambassador and has great business acumen.
If you weren’t doing this job, you’d be working as: a police officer or in property development.