Marshmallows and meetings

My first day as a Catalyst member started outside of The Innovation Centre. I was lucky enough to join the team at their training day in IRIS Connect’s Brighton office. Walking through the automatic doors of the building I started feeling first day jitters – this being the first time I would meet my new co-workers. As I was guided through the workspace I took in the huge open-plan office, decorated in typical Brighton style with a flashy colour scheme and a fridge full of beers. I scanned the room, which of these would be my new workmates? Then I spotted Lucy, my new team manager, who ushered me toward a group of people congregated around a selection of cakes – here was the team. After chatting to everyone my nerves quickly evaporated, what a lovely bunch. The free cakes were a bonus too. The day was a great opportunity for me to get to know each member of Catalyst as we all had to spend ten minutes presenting about ourselves. It was a valuable chance to gain an insight into everyone’s background, see the range of skillsets across the team and also be entertained by the variety of delivery styles we heard throughout the day. ​ Between the presentations we were tasked with completing The Marshmallow Challenge. The winning team had to create the tallest free-standing structure using 20 sticks of spaghetti, tape and string. The structure had to be able to support one marshmallow on top.

The integral planning stages

It was a tense 18 minutes of rule-bending, material snatching and lots of broken spaghetti. By the end of our time limit both teams had created a spectacular creation, albeit one that hit none of the criteria. Here are some pictures of our pasta-disaster works in progress.

Giving the ‘free standing structure’ a helping hand.

Spaghetti aerobics

After another round of presentations and a break for lunch, Steve Clapp the Finance Director of IRIS Connect popped by to give us a talk on his role at the company. As a successful entrepreneur with a wealth of experience running his own business and investing in numerous UK organisations his insights were invaluable. On top of his engaging talk, Steve also bought a round of beers for the whole team – office pre-drinks before heading to The Fountainhead for an after work pint. Overall, the training day proved an ideal way for me to acclimatise to the Catalyst ethos as a new starter. The presentations were a brilliant chance to find out things about each team member that wouldn’t normally crop up in day-to-day work life, and also meant I could introduce myself to everyone at once. The general vibe of banter and conversation between everyone really put me at ease and the more informal setting offered the chance to laugh, drink and scatter tables with pasta – which is a pretty awesome first day on the job!

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