This month we have our Coffee Chat with Bevis Man, Communication Director at Sarcoma UK.
Sarcoma UK funds vital research offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer and campaigns for better treatments. It is the only cancer charity in the UK focusing on all types of sarcoma.
1. Your typical day
Can be quite varied, though almost always it starts with a cup of tea, emails and then the rest of the tasks for the day, which generally means a mix of meetings like senior team management, team meetings or with individual teams within the charity.
Working in communications, we spend a lot of time trying to make things happen, bringing people together, finding out what our teams are doing, why and what we can do to help, as well as talking to people affected by this type of cancer.
2. You’re responsible for…
Quite a lot.
Managing our small but very effective team of three, which covers all aspects of digital, social media, press and PR, awareness, brand management and development, supporter communications and internal communications.
I see good communications being similar to being a good storyteller, it’s just a question of what you’re trying to say, who you’re telling it to and how you’d like them to react.
3. How do you feel working at Sarcoma UK?
It’s a rewarding experience, but very hard work.
The charity is growing, both in terms of personnel now that we’re 23 members of staff, but also in ambition. That means that there is always more to do, to the point where we do occasionally have to drop projects, but we are rarely complacent. You feel like you are a part of something that makes a tangible difference, and being in comms you can see those types of reactions and impact first hand.
4. Your greatest achievement?
Slightly twisting that question around, I would say 2019 was the busiest year I have ever had but also the one that was the most rewarding.
We ran our first-ever national awareness campaign, expanded our work around impact reporting, an awareness week in July, and being involved in the charity’s most ambitious national survey to date were all great, but exhausting!
5. Your greatest challenge
In terms of the job, it has to be an awareness of sarcoma cancer that we deal with.
At the moment there is no such thing as too much awareness around what it is and the symptoms, and until that changes, it won’t be job done. We’re making progress though, which is motivating.
6. What have you learnt so far?
You don’t have to do everything yourself, that’s why you have a team, but also that as an organisation, it is alright to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them and you own up to them in terms of transparency.
7. Your plan B…
If you are talking about alternative careers if I wasn’t working at Sarcoma UK, I would say a role that involves being outside more, or at least working for an organisation that promotes the benefits of the great outdoors.
But definitely something that still gives back.
8. Coffee or Tea?
Tea. Yorkshire tea if we’re talking about regular tea, and strong at that, and Japanese green tea, loose leaf otherwise.
9. Your favourite quote…
Don’t have one.
10. Your inspiration?
Probably Ron Swanson, a rather droll character from the TV comedy series Parks and Recreation.
He always has a load of gems in his pocket about interacting with colleagues in the workplace but ultimately, he cares.