There are so many cogs and departments working together behind the scenes that the rest of the world does not see. I’m still in the process of learning but I can already see how much I am going to enjoy this industry: Meet Gabrielle Fowler, our new EA to Directors and Office Manager
Hi Gabby. You’ve just joined the Ad Idem team (welcome!). Can you tell us a bit about what you were doing before and how you came to join Ad Idem?
Thanks for the welcome! Before I joined Ad Idem I was living in Australia (where I’m from), working as an event manager in a boutique event management company. I truly enjoyed the fast-paced life and the action which came along in that industry but after six years I decided it was time for a change. I have always wanted to see the UK (and Europe) and thought there was no better way then doing it ‘like a local’, so I packed my suitcase, had some tearful goodbyes, and hopped on a plane.
Once I did some travelling, I started the job hunt which led me here; and after meeting Ann and the rest of the team it was an easy choice. The semi career change was intended; I loved the events industry but felt it was time to turn a page. Part of my old role was managing the office and team, and I truly enjoyed it: there is something so rewarding helping people achieve their goals or just generally have a good day, and it doesn’t bother me if it is as simple as making sure the printer has paper in it!
We know that a large part of your role involves being extremely well organised. Can you give us some top tips on how to cope with extensive to-do lists?
Oh, I love a good to-do list. It’s a hard one to give advice on as people operate in so many different ways. Some find it best to clump similar tasks together, for example spending one hour doing paperwork, one hour going through emails, and doing all of your phone calls at 2 o’clock in the afternoon back-to-back. Others do well multitasking and jumping from task to task, and, as long as you do a good job of tracking where you are up to, this can be a just as a successful way of getting through the list.
If you are a multitasker, I always find it helpful to make sure you have a ‘backbone’ to your day, i.e. a mini structure to how your day runs. This will allow you to jump freely into a task that pops up (and know what to go back to).
As for the to-do list itself: if you are juggling lots of different tasks I suggest dividing up your page so you can clearly see the big projects you are working on, and which require a little more love. I also don’t re-write my to-do list daily; unless you find it truly helps you, it’s only adding another thing to your list.
At the end of every day if there is something I haven’t finished or I really need to focus on, I highlight it. Then, when I come in the next day, I know my priorities.
As someone who’s looking to create a productive working environment for the team, what would you say are the key aspects of successful team work?
Well, this isn’t specific for team work but I always joke that a clear desk is a clear mind and I think the others are starting to agree! Spending the last few minutes of every day filing some papers or re-writing notes from scrap paper to your notebook can make you feel organised and rearing to go when you walk in the next morning. Plus, think of the time saved not looking around for that piece of paper you misplaced.
As for successful team work… well, at Ad Idem it is easy because we all get along so well! A couple of key tips is making sure everyone knows what their role is and that they feel valued in that role. In every company there is always a hierarchy but that shouldn’t impact how important each role is. Regular meetings, even if they are casual, are great to ensure that everyone is always up to date with what we are all working on. It also gives the opportunity for others to weigh in with any obstacles that others are facing and possibly come up with solutions.
How are you enjoying exploring London? What has surprised you about life in London and what are the similarities with Australia?
I am loving London! It was a bit of a surprise how easily I picked up directions in The City (although I’m still getting use to stations having so many different exits). I’m from Melbourne, so there are a lot of similarities (the weather for one), but also the range of little independents to eat at and the great bars. It’s the lingo that I am struggling with. So many people will give me blank stares when we are chatting and I’ll realise that half of my sentences were filled with Australian slang.
I’ve heard that you’re a big fan of dinner parties and cooking for friends and family. What’s a good recipe for a last-minute dinner party?
A chocolate mousse is always an easy one (as long as you have an electric mixer). If you serve them in individual glasses with some mixed berries you’ve got yourself a good-looking, delicious dessert.
Otherwise, if you have unexpected visitors call in for dinner, a pasta bake is my go-to. You’ll most likely have all of the ingredients in your cupboard and you just need to throw everything into an ovenproof dish, cover it with cheese, and then you can chat away while it cooks (a glass of wine in hand is always suggested). Plus, if there are any leftovers your lunch is sorted!
Lastly, are there any particular aspects of the FS sector that have grabbed your interest? And if so, which part and why?
There has been a lot of aspects that have grabbed my attention! It is a fast-paced industry (which I thoroughly enjoy) but I think what has been the most interesting is how diverse the financial services sector is. There are so many cogs and departments working together behind the scenes that the rest of the world does not see. I’m still in the process of learning but I can already see how much I am going to enjoy this industry.