With our client portfolio growing and more people than ever joining the BeaconHouse team, we knew it was time to bring in an expert to make sure our processes were robust and we had a strong foundation for our continued growth. With this being a completely new role for the business, we knew we had to find someone who could get stuff done but also be a great culture fit for the team. Enter, Ashley.
Ashley brings over five years of senior executive support experience to BeaconHouse and is supporting the leadership team with business operations and finance, freeing them up to deliver what they do best; creating connections, getting out onsite and driving the business forward.
We caught up with Ashley to find out how she’s finding being an adopted Geordie, why process is an important part of creativity and why the snack drawer should never be empty…
What does your career path look like before you joined BeaconHouse Events?
After my AS Levels, I got a little bit bored of being in full-time education and as I’m a very practical person, I just felt that I needed to be out in the world doing something. I started working in admin and finance and then trained to be a personal trainer which is where my love of fitness started (you can still find me in the gym most mornings before I walk into the office).
My first ‘proper job’ was working in admin for a property developer and within two months I was promoted to executive assistant when they saw that was where my skills really lay. This was where I really started learning what it takes to make an office run smoothly, how to be an effective PA and the trick of creative problem solving. I realised that I enjoyed, and was good at, business operations and that’s what I’ve specialised in since. My last role before joining BeaconHouse was at a legal tech firm who were going through substantial growth and needed help to really get their processes and procedures in place to make the journey as smooth as possible for the team.
From your experience of working with a business as they grow, why do you think the background processes are important?
The events sector is so creative and it is my role to put best practice, procedures and shortcuts in place to free up the senior team and the delivery team, so they can spend more time with clients, coming up with creative ideas and researching the latest trends rather than being bogged down with all those tasks that suck up your time and don’t always hold much value when you’re busy delivering client-facing content. As we are growing and welcoming more people to the team, it’s important to have steps in place to help them feel confident and empowered to do their job well as well as the space to learn and grow into the role.
That was what really drew me to BeaconHouse; as soon as I started talking to Sarah and Catherine, they told me their plans to expand and bring in more talented people and I was so excited about the prospect of working with them to put purposeful and impacting structures in place to help them reach their goals.
What does an average day look like for you?
I start my day at the gym before walking into the office at Hoult’s Yard. I live in Heaton, so it is a really nice walk to get into work, especially in the sunny weather we’ve had recently.
First thing on a morning, I always reconcile the banking transactions! We obviously deal with a lot of suppliers and payments coming in and out so luckily, I really enjoy this side of the role. Getting that ticked off the list on a morning means I concentrate on other tasks during the day knowing the team have everything they need to deliver amazing events. After that, it’s onto building processes for things like ordering merchandise or logging holiday requests – we have a few new procedures being bedded in at the moment so I’m keen to get feedback on how they are working. I work a lot with the internal sustainability team so after any meeting with them or the senior team I general, I make sure everyone knows who is leading on which tasks, so everything run smoothly.
Working in such a busy sector, the events managers are often out and about so I make sure we always have their favourite snack on hand to give them little boost during the day. The office dogs don’t get forgotten either, I really miss spending time with my Labrador cross, Eddie, who is back in Worcestershire, so I always make sure to give them a cuddle and a snack during the day.
Where can we find you when you’re not in the office?
I love sport (watching and playing) and exercise, and I used to be part of rounders league back home, so I wish we had similar here in the North East, but there doesn’t seem to be one – we’ll have to get one started! Other than that, I make an effort to get to as many Newcastle games as possible, even when I wasn’t living here, I visited every month or so to go to games. Luckily, Lewis and Grace in the BeaconHouse team are fans of the club too so I’m in good company.
I’m such a foodie so living in Heaton is perfect too. All of the little independent restaurant and cafes are amazing, and my current favourite is Aidan’s Kitchen in Sandyford. Hoult’s Yard is such a hidden gem too. Because I’m so organised during the week, I try to be more relaxed and go with the flow on a weekend, so anything goes. I love walking, so being so close to the Northumberland coast is a real bonus, especially the lovely country pubs – I thought I knew the area well from visiting often but I keep finding new places to explore!
While you don’t work directly on events, who would be your dream client for BeaconHouse to work with?
Anything in football! Being part of the organisation of the major events, like the overseas international camps in the summer for the England men’s and women’s team would be amazing – there is so much planning involved to making all the basics run smoothly before they even kick a ball. Things we often don’t think about, like getting their passports and travel arrangements ready, daily itineraries, kits and dietary requirements sorted, I would be in heaven organising something like that.
If you are interested in a career in events, we would love to hear from you. Visit www.beaconhouse-events.co.uk/careers to view our current vacancies.