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Friday Five: Jo Foster, Operations and Business Development Manager at Evolve Talent and Speakers


Answering the #FridayFive today is Jo Foster, Operations and Business Development Manager at Evolve Talent and Speakers.


Tell us a bit about your job?

I’m an Operations and Business Development Manager at Evolve Talent and Speakers, a company who source celebrities and influencers for corporate events, brand partnerships and more. My role at Evolve is very varied and I am involved in several different areas of the business which I love.

I write a lot of our content, for example the weekly e-shots we send out and the blog posts on our website. I also proof-read and approve the new speaker profiles before they go live on our site; and am responsible for populating our social media platforms. I additionally do research into finding new speakers we can work with, and also into events likely to require speakers. As a job gets booked, I draw up the contracts, invoices and arrange a briefing call for between the client and speaker where I ensure any points are actioned, for example travel and accommodation for the event. I love how diverse my role is and how no day is the same.


What are the key ingredients for success?

In my role, I’d say the key ingredients for success are communication skills and flexibility. As we work with people from a range of industries and roles, it is important to be able to manage calls around their schedules and help make their lives as easy as possible throughout the process. Likewise, as information isn’t always on-hand and often with events, elements like specific timings aren’t confirmed until much closer to the time, we find it crucial to keep communication up, as silence can cause concern.


Could you describe a normal day?

I predominantly work remotely which I thoroughly enjoy as I find it easier to get in the zone with fewer distractions around me. I generally take to my emails first, action anything urgent immediately and then create a plan for the day in priority order which I then work my way through.

Obviously, I work everything around calls and plan tasks based on how much time I have in-between. I find, for example, I prefer setting a few hours aside to write a blog in one go rather in stages, so will focus on such as social media content, e-shot drafting, and research in shorter periods I have. If we are in the process of contracting, I take this as a priority and focus on it ahead of content and research. I also meet with my team once a week and we have a catch up on how everything is and where we are with things, which is always welcomed and enjoyable.


For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?

I studied English Language at the University of Birmingham before moving back to my hometown, Nottingham, as I had found a job in Loughborough. This was in administration and gave me the skills and experience I was looking for in the industry to progress. I went into the company at executive level and progressed to senior executive and finally manager of the admin team. Having worked at the former company for around 4 years, I left with admin knowledge of contracts and invoice processing.

For anyone trying to progress in the industry, I would stress the importance of experience, even if it’s not in the role you’re wanting to do in the future. I found that I had absorbed a lot of knowledge about the industry which wasn’t necessarily relevant to my previous role but massively helps me now. I am a big believer that time and perseverance are crucial and do pay off.


What are you reading, watching and listening to right now?

I am currently reading The Liar by Steve Cavanagh, a fictional crime thriller about a lawyer who is trying to solve a murder case for a client in New York. I have read a couple of his other books and really enjoy the mystery and suspense of them.

I am between series at the moment as I have just finished urban fantasy Lucifer on Netflix, I have a few series I’m keen to start but am yet to make a decision on which one. These include Kaleidoscope on Netflix which is about an epic and elaborate heist, and BBC’s The Traitors, a reality show where 22 strangers try to distinguish between the ‘faithful’s’ and the selected ‘traitors’ of the group to win a prize fund. I have never really taken to any podcasts so generally listen to the radio or music on Spotify. At the moment, I’m really enjoying country music.

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