Meet our Deputy Director Jessica Jhundoo-Evans in our latest Staff Spotlight.
What is your role at the Corn Exchange?
I am the Deputy Director – so I work closely with the Director and executive team, support all staff across the organisation and lead the fabulous people in the HR, finance, front of house, trading and marketing teams.
What is your work background?
I started working in corporate event organisation, before coordinating and managing projects which linked schools with businesses. I have always had a passion for arts, particularly the performing arts, so made a move to work with the Arts Council England on a national schools creative learning programme, before setting up an independent creative learning and arts organisation which I ran for 13 years. Working for such small organisations, my roles always included operations and financial management – but I like variety and organising!
For the love of it I have also lead movement and dance classes for people with varying disabilities for the past 15 years, and am in my fifth year volunteering as Chair of Trustees at South Hill Park Arts Centre.
Where did you work before the Corn Exchange?
I was founder and director of an independent social enterprise called Creative Junction; a non-profit organisation using arts, culture and heritage to engage, inspire and empower people and communities. We did this through combined art, festivals, projects and events. I was very fortunate to have wonderful bosses and colleagues to inspire me and we shared a love of creating meaningful and memorable experiences.
What does a typical day at work look like?
Goodness – well, I started at the Corn Exchange last April, just after the start of the pandemic, so work has been anything but typical! This week I have some meetings with colleagues to try and move some ideas forward including a new food offering for our café bar, a new and accessible recruitment information pack and a new partnership for one of our wellbeing projects. I will spend some time looking through the latest management accounts and will finish the 22/23 budget and do some business planning with our Director Katy for another funding application (there are lots of these!) and I’ll spend some time catching up with colleagues in our centres as we begin our exciting Autumn season of activity.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The team! We have such a friendly and conscientious team here at the Corn Exchange, always positive and ready to help, which makes for a wonderful working environment. My role allows me to lead many of our managers – supporting them, their success and their wellbeing so that they can continue their fantastic work puts me in my element.
I’ve also grown quite partial to a hot mocha from the Corn Exchange cafe and bar too!
What inspires you to do your job?
Life with arts and culture in it is a much, much brighter place. This inspires me!
And people! Working with like minded people – who understand how arts and culture can bring people together and help us to find connections with others, how it can happen absolutely anywhere and help bring meaning to the world – makes coming to work easy.
What advice would you give someone who wants to work in theatre/the arts?
Get involved – find your local venues and groups - participate, volunteer, support.
Go and speak to people – everyone in the arts will be happy to chat with you!
Explore whether arts accreditations - like Arts Award or LAMDA or others - would be useful to you.
Grow your passion – practice in your room – research – explore YouTube! – show people – get better!
Go local and don’t wait – there is great stuff happening in your local areas – you don’t need to be in the city.