Spotlight on Emma J. Leaver
16 November 2016
This week the spotlight is on Emma J.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I'm Corporate Events Manager in UCL Communications and Marketing. My two main responsibilities are to manage UCL's prestigious 70+ year old Lunch Hour Lectures series and, early next year, the Professional Services Conference.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I'm six months into my secondment cover contract and UCL is my third university. Since moving to London in 2012 I was at City Gateway (an East London charity) and City University, London. In my past, non-London life, I was at the University of Melbourne for almost 10 years.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
When I was at City Gateway I created and managed a Partnerships in Bloom Gala Dinner at the Guildhall, where I was able to be quite creative. I also started the women's network (similar to UCL Astrea) at City University. And I'm working towards making next year's Professional Services Conference a really positive and empowering event for staff - so I'm pre-emptively proud of the working group helping me with that.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I'm into the second half of this term's Lunch Hour Lectures, continuing next week with an exploration of cancer evolution (Tuesday) and a talk on how we can make cities slum-free (Thursday) - I live tweet all of the Lunch Hour Lectures so I learn a lot each week. More staff should bring their lunch and their curiosity and come along (shameless plug!).
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
I'm a music theatre nerd so I love a soundtrack: In the Heights, Legally Blonde, Book of Mormon.
Films: Netflix has changed my world so I'm more of a boxset girl now - Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, Doctor Who.
Novels: pretty much anything by Bill Bryson, and I've just finished the Skullduggery Pleasant series (I used to teach and tutor English so I like reading young adult fiction).
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
As told to me by a giggling primary schooler:
Q: What did the 0 say to the 8?
A: Nice belt.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Kylie Minogue, Idris Elba, Tina Fey, Maggie Smith and Chris Pratt, but I'd want someone from my real life to be there to prove it wasn't a dream!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Study abroad or sign up to an exchange programme! Worry about the money later.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I do A LOT of amateur theatre. I'm directing a musical called The Drowsy Chaperone for Sedos next May.
What is your favourite place?
Somewhere I can see the ocean. In the sunshine. With a novel.
Failing that, anywhere that serves a decent latte. Probably with hipster light bulbs. I'm an unashamed coffee snob.