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Paula James - Employee Spotlight

Continuing our employee spotlight series with our Senior Administrator, Paula James.

How long have you worked at Event Management Direct?

2020 – what a year! Whilst last year was difficult for most people, I count myself as being one of the lucky ones. I changed my job and joined the great team at Event Management Direct working over the summer months for a few hours per day initially getting to know the business of EMD and how they worked but officially from 1 October 2020 - working 30 hours/week looking after their human resources, assisting with the day to day running in the Editorial Office for the British Journal of Anaesthesia (BJA) and engaging with the running of an event for a new EMD customer, the Society of Anaesthesia of the South Western Region (SASWR) – all new administrative roles to get my teeth in to!

What do you do at Event Management Direct and in what circumstances would I come to you for something?

As the lead on human resources – I have been tasked with the understanding of a new HR system which has recently been installed, some of it very obvious but I am sure as I get deeper into HR there will undoubtedly be areas that will require a better knowledge of HR hence the reason, I have also started a course on HR Fundamentals – any queries regarding HR please give me a shout – happy to assist! Within the Editorial Office for the BJA, I work alongside a wonderful colleague who has taught me all I need to know about the BJA. This work entails the management of any new submissions received via their electronic system - manuscript central (approx. 175/month), how they are processed and eventually signed on to an Editor for sending on to referees, the monitoring of the emails received regarding the journal and submissions to it. The putting together of the running order for each month’s edition of the journal and an annual report that can be shared with its subscribers. With regards to the involvement in running the SASWR virtual event – I undertook this to assist the Director of EMD to change what was going to be a face-to-face conference in November last year to a virtual 1-day event due to the COVID pandemic, (a lot of the doctors we worked with were also on the front line working within the NHS). The event consisted of pulling together a programme, engaging with potential speakers and sponsors, liaising with the AV team employed to assist with the event, monitoring the registration system, putting together a timetable for the speakers to be available in the “green room” and if any of you have worked with doctors before you will know what busy people they are and how often you need to remind them of their commitments! The end result was a major success for EMD, so much so, that they have asked EMD to run their June 2021 virtual meeting. It is really exciting for me this time, as I will be involved from the beginning, can’t wait!!

What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?

As this is a relatively new role for me and having the work ethic that I will only ever do my best on any task I am required/asked to do. It is very important to me that I understand totally how each and every part of my role is required to fit in and work with the rest of the team and their work. I like things to be done right and if this means – you need to learn something new or have another go – then that is what I will do – only perfect for me!

What energizes you at work?

This has to be the team behind EMD – they are all very enthusiastic about their work and only strive for excellence in everything they do. EMD have a very approachable boss who is always willing to get stuck in with her team and in turn the team are all very loyal and are very keen to make EMD a bigger and even more successful company going forward.

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

I have a holiday home in the area of Tees Valley and whenever we can, we like to be up there enjoying the country air, nature and going for walks with our 2 dogs.

I also enjoy all things “crafty” and during this pandemic have found a new sewing hobby – “the making of soft toys” and I am loving it! This all came about after I made a number of teddy bears to sell at our MacMillan Coffee morning last year and has just kept on going – my portfolio currently consists of 22 teddy bears, 7 dogs, 1 rabbit and most recently toothless from “How to Train your Dragon”.

What three words would your friends use to describe you?

Some of the words I would hope my friends would use to describe me are loyal, supportive, and approachable.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid – I don’t think I ever really had a wanting to be something specific! All I did know was that I did not want to work in an office and here I am – almost 39 years later and having worked in an office environment all that time – with most of this worked in academic medicine in administrative and secretarial roles starting in the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, then the University of Sheffield (married a Yorkshireman) and now with EMD also in Sheffield.

Are you a dog person or a cat person (or neither)?

I am most definitely a dog person – having been brought up with dogs from a very young age – I remember going to a relation’s wedding (a very long time ago), we must have been the only family who attended the wedding and came home with a puppy!

If you could only eat one item for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I think this would have to be crisps – as long as they are not smoky bacon! If you can be a crisp addict, I think this would be me!

What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

The weirdest food I have ever eaten was a “tongue” – I remember trying to embrace Portuguese food and thought I would try their Portuguese Hot Pot – when it arrived it had this great big tongue lying across the top of the hot pot – must admit it put me off a bit!

What’s the top destination on your must-visit list?

Maldives - I don’t know why but when I see pictures of those little cabins lined up along the coastline looking so tranquil and the “away from it all feeling” it gives – I think, one of these days, I might get there!!

What’s your favourite book?

I enjoy reading and usually choose easy reading styles but at present I am reading the books of Milly Johnson (Barnsley author). A lovely colleague of mine suggested reading some of Milly’s work and I am hooked – only problem is, I am nearing the end of her works – hope she writes some more.

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