Day in the life of a centre administrator: Natalie Jackson

In the ‘Day in the Life’ series, we sit down with members of staff from the Management Division to learn about their role: From the day to day responsibilities, to longer term projects and goals.

Natalie Jackson is the Centre Administrator for the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies (CEES), a research centre in the Management Division within Leeds University Business School.  

First of all, can you tell us what the Centre is, and where it fits into the Management Division?  

CEES is a research centre which brings together experts in the field of enterprise and entrepreneurship to research and teach. Collectively the Centre teach the MSc Enterprise and Entrepreneurship course and the ‘Starting Your Own Business’ module for the undergraduate management courses. They also offer a number of discovery modules for the Enterprise and Innovation Discovery Theme, which are courses that anyone in the university can opt to take, as well as offering joint honours ‘with Enterprise’ for courses across the university. We work with a network of 23 Enterprise Ambassadors who mentor our students. The group also collaborates with the Student Business Start-up Team (SPARK) to hold workshops on business advice, so it’s an important Centre across the university. 

Could you describe what your role is, and how it fits into the Management Division?  

As the CEES Centre Administrator, my role is really varied. There is the marketing side of the role, which involves managing the CEES and Enterprise at Leeds online presence. This ranges from our blog, the CEES webpage, and Twitter accounts. I manage a student intern who assists me with the marketing of CEES, particularly creating content for our blog. I also produce the Student Enterprise Impact report, which involves pulling together information to demonstrate the success of the modules. Aside from this, I co-ordinate the Enterprise Ambassadors scheme. Here, the Centre works with a network of real entrepreneurs who act as mentors to Enterprise students and take part in panel events. This requires good events management and networking skills; particularly for our regular Ambassador events throughout the year. In the administrative side of my role, I assist with purchasing, travel and engagement for the academic members of CEES. As you can probably tell, I’m always busy! 

What’s the best part of your role?  

The marketing side of my role, particularly the production of the Centre booklets and student case studies. It’s where I get to be pro-active and creative. I oversee the production of the marketing materials for CEES; from pulling together the data, to assisting on the photoshoot, and working with the graphic design company to produce the booklets. It’s really rewarding to see your efforts pay off with a high-quality product, which supports the Centre’s and wider Division’s goals.

What does being part of the Management Division mean to you?  

I work with a group of six professional members of staff in the Management Division, both physically in an office, and strategically to uphold smooth administrative processes within the Division. Being part of the Management Division allows me to have a close network of fellow administrators in which we offer each other support and share best practice. It’s great to have multiple identities: I’m part of CEES, the Management Division, Leeds University Business School and ultimately Leeds University. This provides me with a broad institutional network, various training opportunities and a high level of support. 

Are there any challenges in your busy and varied role in the Management Division professional team? How are you supported?  

One of the main challenges is finding the time to get everything done. At certain times of the year where my inbox is full with complex administrative requests, it can be a challenge to strive forward with the more creative, marketing aspects of the role. But the latter is something I really enjoy, I manage to stay on top of it by prioritizing my workload. Being part of a large institution also enables me to gain a wider network of support. For example, I receive support from another web editor in the central university who uses the same software for their website as CEES, which is really useful when I run into technical issues. 

How does it feel to be a professional member of staff in a division mostly with academic staff?  

I feel like I bring a unique, non-academic outlook to CEES; I’m a valued member of the team. I’m close to my team, and really enjoy catching up with them at our regular meetings and social events, as well as the wider divisional socials. The Management Division is a great community to be part of, both professionally and socially. 

How do you feel going forward in your career, and how are you supported by the Division to grow professionally?  

I’m really optimistic about my career going forward. I’m part of a great team both in CEES and the Division, and I’m supported with my professional progression. My team are always willing to provide feedback for career development and my annual reviews.