Welcome! We can barely believe we are already onto our February edition of Cedar Garden Sessions, where as always, Hannah, Digital and Web Manager, interviews a member of the Penny Brohn UK team to find out more about them and the work they do behind the scenes to keep our services up and running.
This month, Hannah speaks with Phoebe Hunt, who has been at Penny Brohn since January, as our Corporate Business Development Manager.
So Phoebe, thank you for joining me. Tell me, how did you come to work for Penny Brohn UK?
Well, I had been invited round a friend’s house for dinner and I was speaking to a mutual friend who I had previously worked with. I asked her if she was still enjoying her job and she grinned and answered “It’s the job I want to retire in”. I thought I really need to know more about this organisation. Amazingly, soon after, a job was advertised for a Corporate Business Development Manager, which was completely in-line with my experience and I went for it!
How serendipitous! So what does your role involve?
Well, it’s quite a varied role. I mostly work in partnering with companies and building long term relationships to generate income for the organisation. This could be through sponsorship, charity of the year or a gift. The role involves plenty of cold calling on-foot and by phone and re-engaging with companies that have lapsed over time. I also do a lot of presentations to companies, which could be individuals or larger groups of 100 plus at networking groups.
Sounds interesting! I imagine meeting all those people could be very rewarding!
Absolutely, and then there is the work back at the centre, working with the comms team to produce promotional materials to engage our corporate fundraisers. I also help organise volunteering days for companies to attend, which we sometimes view as a starting point to a professional relationship. We also organise Corporate Wellbeing Away days and Retreats. This is where a company can come and re-energise their teams with a range of activities such as mindfulness, yoga, Nordic walking, nutrition or Art Therapy.
Sounds like a lot! So, what’s the most exciting thing you have worked on in your role so far?
I think it would have to be the charity ‘Fine Dining Evening’ at The Leaf in Ham Green. It’s one of the only restaurants in the UK that is run by students and we’re lucky enough to have three really amazing chefs onboard to cook with the students.
Oh great! Who are the chefs?
Josh Eggleton, who is Chef Patron at the Pony and Trap, Toby Gritten, who is the Executive chef of the Pump House and the Bird in Hand and Barney Haughton, who chefs and teaches with The Square Food Foundation and Bordeaux Quay.
That sounds like a great event!
Yeah, I’m a big ‘foodie’ and have eaten at all of those restaurants, so I’m very excited about it! I just hope I don’t get too star struck [laughs].
[Laughs] Oh I am sure you’ll be very professional. We’ll make sure we get a photo of you with them “for promotional purposes” don’t worry! [Laughs] So what is your favourite part of the job so far?
I think it is as simple as meeting with new companies and getting them to support us. What really gets me excited is when you make a cold call to a company and start to build up a rapport and they then become a friend and the relationship naturally moves on… And I would have to say, when a large cheque appears out of the blue, you feel really grateful that people have remembered your charity!
Oh absolutely. That must feel great! What part of being at Penny Brohn so far has stood out for you?
Ah! An interesting choice!
Yeah, I thought that might take you by surprise… I have done many inductions with different organisations, but wasn’t prepared for just how unique the induction at Penny Brohn is. You get asked generic questions by your new employer, such as “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”, and ‘tell us about your background and biggest achievement to date’. The Penny Brohn induction was really refreshing. We had to absorb a lot of information, being introduced to the Living Well course first-hand, but it was extremely thought-provoking – and who doesn’t love a bit of mindfulness in some comfortable chairs!
You’re right. Connecting with the courses that we provide, hands-on is so valuable. It really is quite a unique experience! So we have finally arrived at the last question… What is your favourite dunking biscuit?
Oo! I love dunking a Gingernut with a cup of tea… but I value my teeth, so this is one that I only eat when dunking!! [Laughs]
[Laughs] Yes, they are a tad crunchy! Well thanks for joining me today Phoebe.