Meet our new team members
Our new team members Anna Richards, Head of Communications and Marketing, and Susanne Leja, Head of Events, chat with us about their memorable work experiences, top wellbeing tips and more.
Q. Could you start by briefly telling us a little bit more about yourselves?
Anna.. Well, I’ve been working in PR and communications for nearly 15 years; first at a PR agency where I specialised in technology PR before moving in-house to an international law firm as a PR Manager and more recently heading-up the London PR team, along with a colleague. No two days are ever the same, working with the press certainly keeps me on my toes! But generally, I spend my working days following and responding to the news, spotting and writing stories and adapting them for different audiences and channels.
My home life is based in Earlsfield in South West London with my husband, 6 year old daughter and 2 year old son in a wonderful whirlwind of creating crazy artwork, building mega train tracks, seemingly endless meal planning and trying (and largely failing) to keep up with which book / snack / homework is needed for school each day.
Susanne.. I have worked in Finance for the last 9 years, mostly holding customer facing and managerial roles. The aspect I enjoyed most was dealing with and communicating with clients to bring about suitable solutions for their queries. As a manager of a customer facing team, I also had the opportunity to get involved in organising various types of events, such as department or recruitment events. I enjoyed this in particular, as there is nothing more satisfying than collaborating with others to bring about a professional, quality event that it’s attendees enjoy and benefit from. Aside from work, I have always had a love for sport. This includes cycling in London (even the very busy roads!), running, gymming and exercising at home. I am also very passionate about interior design and can appreciate good taste for a cosy and stylish home.
I enjoy spending time with my husband and three children (six, three and one). We try to figure out every day how to address all their varying needs and help them grow into happy, confident and ambitious people. Suffice to say, we are never bored and always feel there are not enough hours in a day!
Q. And a random fact that people tend not to know about you?
Anna.. I’m really clumsy, which irritates me. And that makes me even more clumsy.
Susanne.. During my late teenage years I was actively involved in extra-curricular drama-classes, which led me to develop a love for theatre and the performing arts. This is certainly something to keep in mind for when I find extra time for hobbies again.
Q. Tell us about a memorable work moment...
Anna.. There’s a clear winner to this one. It was about 8 years ago when I was in a meeting learning about a partner who was due to join the firm, and I was tasked with writing the press release announcing his hire. As we discussed his background and skills it all started to sound rather familiar. It was a bit of surprise when the newbie turned out to be... my brother!
Susanne.. It’s hard to pick a single event in my career that stood out as the most memorable one. I do however have great memories of being sent to New York on a work trip as a manager. I don’t think I ever ate as much in one week as everyone wanted to take me out to try the local food. This is also where I discovered my love for Matcha Lattes.
Q. How do you look after your own wellbeing?
Anna.. I do yoga, and I cheat at it. Not physically (I don’t know if that's even possible), but mentally. Ideally, you’re meant to take all your thoughts out of your head and focus on only your breathing but I can’t seem to do that and actually, I don’t want to. Instead, I use the time to catch up on all the thoughts that fly around my head all day and I don’t have time to process. I mull them over while perfecting my downward dog, and I feel much calmer and mentally less cluttered afterwards.
Susanne.. Juggling a full-time job while having a family has certainly made it more challenging to make time for myself. However, I do regularly find time to exercise at home, which really helps me feel more energised, focused and relaxed. My husband has also accepted that I will occasionally disappear on a quick trip to the local nail studio to pamper myself.
Q. Can you tell us about a skill that has helped you as you’ve progressed your career in the City?
Anna.. The art of acceptance. Accepting that life isn’t perfect, that I’m not perfect – and nor do I need to be – and that as fast as I go I’ll never get to the end of my To Do list.
Susanne.. Amidst the busy days at work it has always been important for me to make time to ‘take stock’ of where I am at in my career. I found that by being honest with myself and my superiors about what I am aiming to achieve often led to new opportunities and career steps. Also, how else can I benefit the business I am in, if it’s not by always ensuring I am progressing as an individual?
Q. If you could recommend an interesting career/wellbeing/parenting resource, what would it be?
Anna.. Can I say Cityparents or is that (more, eek) cheating? I have been telling anyone who will listen about Cityparents for several years now, as I’ve found huge solace and support with the mad juggle that is my life in meeting, listening and reading about others in the same boat. I'm completely thrilled to be joining the brilliant team that runs the show.
Susanne.. Aside from the absolutely brilliant content that Cityparents has to offer to working professionals, I also thoroughly enjoy the articles circulated and shared on LinkedIn. I also find a lot of TED Talks very inspiring and try to find topics that I find are both relevant to my situation but also eye-opening and new.
Released On 7th May 2019