Who doesn’t love an ‘All About Me’ Day?!

At the end of my first week working as a Catalyst Team Member, our whole team got together for the first time – socially distanced of course! This included our Croydon Team of, Emma, Jamila and Marley coming down to join the rest of us in Falmer.

We were excited all week to find out more about each other in our at our ‘All About Me’ day. This would involve us all doing presentations on our lives up until this point, our likes and dislikes, our friends and family and our hopes and aspirations!

We were divided into different rooms but connected through Zoom. We soon noticed some suspect items on the boardroom table – spaghetti, string, scissors and marshmallows. Simon appeared over Zoom and informed us that before any presentations, we would be doing a team building ice breaker called “The Marshmallow Challenge”. The premise being that within our small teams, we had to build the highest tower made only with the items before us. We had 16 minutes to do so, the tower had to be free-standing, with the marshmallow on the top. I was in a team with Felix, and so with our masks on we were itching to start making our skyscraper!

Our competitive egos were not tarnished as we were one of the only two groups (out of four), to have a free-standing tower at the end! Simon appeared, tape measure in hand, to announce who had the tallest tower. It was a nail-biting affair, but unfortunately for us, Felix and I were the runners-up. We offered congratulations to Emma, Amy and Isthiak, and agreed it must have been their extra team member that got them the gold.

Marshmallow challenge complete – the presentations began! The running order was tailored to the order that we started Catalyst, which meant that Felix was first up. It was really fun to see Felix’s pictures of his farm upbringing in Cornwall, and to feast our eyes upon his modelling photos from the past! That’s what we call a Jack-of-all-trades! Next up was another Cornish lad – Jago. Jago gave us a taste of his life in Cornwall with lots of fishing and time spent working in his family-owned village store. Jago studied his undergrad at Warwick and his master’s at Sussex – I was intrigued to find out which university he preferred.

First up for the girls was Amy, she gifted us with lots of cute baby pictures and explained how her Irish parents met. Amy had lots of fun pictures from festivals and gigs, we imagine she’d be great fun on a night out! After a short tea-break we had the lovely Jamila present to us. She was the first of the Croydon team to start in Catalyst. Jamila had adorable baby pictures with her twin brother! She shared how much she has enjoyed her years at University of Sussex so far and how she hopes to gain events experience and eventually organize her own purposeful events.

Ade was next up and he had lovely family pictures of growing up in Ladbroke Grove in London and Nigeria, featuring a particularly cool looking Uncle from the music industry intrigued me! Ade went to a military boarding school which he said really helped him find his own feet in the world before going to University in Coventry and then transferring to the University of Sussex. Next we had our Brighton born-and-bred girl, Hannah. Hannah shared photos in her law attire from University, explaining that she sees herself following a career in Law. I particularly enjoyed hearing about her favorite places to eat and drink in Brighton. Isthiak was next to the floor, he told us about his Bangladeshi mother and father. He is currently in his placement year and is studying History at the University of Sussex, which he’s really enjoying.

We had some great presentations from the senior team too. Our Executive Director, Nigel Lambe, spoke to us about his experience in the world of business, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing a familiar Irish accent! He had great stories from his career such as working with Brighton gin and Small Batch coffee company. We all thoroughly enjoyed hearing from Claire Pasquill, our Head of Programmes, who had fantastic photos of the lavish and extravagant parties she used to throw in her past life as an events organizer! We also heard from Helena, Head of Sales & Marketing, who has such a vibrant and fun life outside of work, and Joseph Bradfield, PR & Communications Advisor, who did an enjoyable quiz-style presentation.

After a very tasty Bagelman lunch, we had Emma present to us. Emma studied History and Sociology at the University of Sussex and achieved an incredible 90% in her dissertation on Beauty Culture – an outstanding achievement! She has also worked with Bobbi Brown and Selfridges for their social media – the photos from this were amazing. After Emma we heard from Marley, who told us about his incredible time studying in Singapore last summer. Marley has done incredible work with charities, in particular The Inspire Project. Throughout the day, we also had great chats from our Managers, Simon and Eva, it was so great to learn more about them on a personal level. I was last up from the Catalyst Team and I felt particularly nervous after hearing about everyone’s incredible achievements in life! I illustrated what my life growing up on a horse farm in Northern Ireland was like, how I’ve loved all my time at University – particularly my year abroad in the States. Once all the presentations were complete, everyone was very keen to get onto the terrace and have some socially distanced beers in the sunshine.

In summary, it was such a fantastic day that brought us all closer together as a team. I think it is so valuable to know about your co-workers life experiences, so that you can learn more from them and build more meaningful relationships. I think I speak for everyone when I say I felt more excited and grateful than ever to be working amongst this diverse group of motivated and intelligent individuals for the coming year.

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