Our ‘7 Questions with…’ series aims to provide you with interesting and engaging mini-interviews from a range of people connected to Schools Plus. This week we’ve sat down for a talk with a few of our Multi-Site Venue Managers.
Venue Managers at Schools Plus are responsible for the day to day operations of the Schools they manage. The company has grown to the point that currently mostly all of our Venue Managers look after two or more sites. We’re here to find out the advantages, difficulties and challenges of this increased responsibility.
We were grateful to be joined by the following Multi-Site Venue Managers; Toby Arbenz, Lisa Berryman and Dave Maher.
1) What area of the country are you based in?
Lisa: North and West London and Hertfordshire.
Toby: I’m in the South East-Sussex/Kent area.
Dave: My area covers South Yorkshire, the Midlands and Staffordshire.
2) How many schools do you currently work at?
Dave: Four Schools. Brinsworth Academy, The Bulwell Academy, Dinnington High School, Co-op, Academy Stoke-On-Trent.
Lisa: Four as well, Kensington Aldridge Academy, Hendon School, Queens Park School and Elstree Technical College
Toby: Five for me! Hazelwick School, Northfleet Technology College , St. John’s Catholic Comprehensive School Thamesview School, The Causeway School
3) What is the furthest journey you have to make between your school?
Dave: The furthest journey is 85 miles and on a good day I can do this in two & half hours.
Lisa: 17 miles across busy London!
Toby: Home to Gravesend and back is a 125-mile round trip.
4) What do you enjoy about being a multi-site venue manager?
Lisa: The different types of facilities and customers at each venue. There is never any venue the same which makes them all unique in their own way.
Toby: It can be satisfying to get my inbox down to single figures at the end of the day! It’s also nice to see people doing sporting activities to keep fit and active.
Dave: I enjoy the variety of the job at hand. All my schools and the communities they serve offer me different challenges and satisfaction when we do our job right.
5) What are the biggest challenges you face being a multi-site venue manager?
Dave: The biggest challenge is the area I cover, having sites so far apart makes it difficult to respond in a manner that is normal. However, I have a strong team across my sites who help me achieve world class customer service and respond to any situation quickly and efficiently.
Lisa: Dividing my time between each venue and making sure I’m present during operating hours every week it’s important to maintain client and customer relationships and also keep up to date with my amazing teams who lead the venues on a daily basis.
6) What advantages do you have working across multiple sites
Lisa: It definitely works to our advantage being multi-site managers! If you get a customer that wants a facility in a certain venue but it’s not available, we have the resources to be able to offer them different venues. We have lots of customers that use multiple sites throughout our company and that builds up such a great relationship with each customer.
Toby: You naturally get a bigger picture of how people use sites and a customer in one venue that can spark ideas in others. There are thousands of activities going on every day and we tap into just a small number of them.
7) Describe briefly your typical week working as a multi-site venue manager.
Dave: Shockingly it involves a lot of travelling but I do enjoy it. My week consists of visiting schools to ensure that everything is ok from the school’s point of view and if there’s anything else that we can help with. Also conducting site visits to make sure that we are offering the best possible customer service to our customers.
Toby: No such thing, though I tend to split my days in half with a long break in the middle. I like to get started early and then stop at 2pm for a few hours, then back on for 5pm to 6:30pm period so I’m there if needed by the team.
Lisa: This is the hardest question ever asked!! Our week is not a typical week it can change in a flash. Flexibility is key to our role and it works on both sides of the fence which is what makes us such great venue managers. There is always that situation that arises when you least expect it but dealing with it professionally and fast is key to the role of venue manager. Balance is the key to this role.
Thanks to Toby, Lisa and Dave for giving us their time on this edition of 7 Questions With. We hope you found their answers as engaging and informative as we did!