An unusual day in the life of an Operations Manager

An unusual day in the life of an Operations Manager

by Jenni Halton, Operations Manager

It’s been a good week for Freewheelers, and for myself as operations manager last Tuesday I got to experience all the elements of my job from one extreme to the other.

We spent the morning launching a brand-new logo, which has been designed for us by Austin Marketing, a fantastic agency who has taken on our marketing work pro bono and been working with us since October. Their work has included the launch of a brand-new Freewheelers website and over a few months the development of proposals for re-branding the company. This all came to a head on Tuesday at the Bridge Centre when we introduced a new look to our members, staff and volunteers. As operations manager I was somewhat nervous about this because I know how much Freewheelers means to so many people and how symbolic the old logo is of our history as a company. It was great to have David Austin present at the launch to answer peoples questions and explain to everyone the rationale behind the re-branding. Above all David emphasised the research he has done looking at similar companies to see what makes a good visual identity. He is extremely ambitious for Freewheelers and believes we deserve a visual identity as professional as any other organisation. I am sure it will take some time for everybody to get used to our new look however Tuesday was a really positive day and a wonderful celebration of what Freewheelers is and could be in the future. By holding an event and asking everybody personally to get behind our marketing activities we did this in a very “Freewheelers” way, reflecting our desire for the people we work with to be involved and engaged at every level of the organisations’ work.

In the afternoon I did something completely different. I put on a ballgown and became the star of a film! Peter Messer, one of our media group members had asked me sometime ago if I would mind being in a film he is creating and starring in directed by Sam Keelan. My answer, once again true to the spirit of Freewheelers was “of course I will”. And so on Tuesday I found myself in an empty ballroom courtesy of our friends at the Grange Centre. There we created a dream sequence in the mind of Peter’s character Ted. Peter and I became ballroom dancers, a liberating experience for us both! All of this was filmed by media Group members Jamie, Sam, Sonas and Anthony, while volunteers Annette and Clive assisted everyone and captured some wonderful moments on camera.

As a manager it can often feel like there is not enough time to be very hands on and get involved in creative projects directly. I therefore treasure days like Tuesday when the organisation feels fully connected from top to bottom. By involving the members in management’s activities, and involving the management in members’ activities, we aim to cultivate a true sense of collaboration throughout Freewheelers.