Team Member Q&A: Lizzie Staiano
You joined the Speakers Corner family as a Marketing Executive. What’s an average day like for you in marketing?
Hmm. (Lizzie finishes her Lindt chocolate.)
It’s fun working here because there isn’t an average formula to a day. In marketing, we have a lot of different tasks to do – our main ones are keeping the speaker bios updated on the website and database and our blog up-to-date with speaker interviews and thought pieces. I also get to do fun tasks like filming and editing our speaker videos, working with our PR team to find placements to increase exposure and brand awareness in the events industry, and those kinds of things.
And there are also ad hoc tasks like putting up the speaker pictures in the meeting room in my first week here – so I’m handy with a drill!
Definitely no average formula then! What were you doing before Speakers Corner?
Prior to SC, I was at the University of Exeter studying Literature, and, after that, I went travelling around South America - to date, still the best 3 months of my life! An incredible continent, I feel very lucky to have spent some time there, but I do feel that I barely scratched the surface.
That sounds amazing – any highlights?
I loved swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. They've never been hunted or had natural predators so you can lie on the beach with them as they’re not afraid of humans. They just sleep and snore all the time. I also saw penguins, sea turtles, blue-footed boobys...
It’s a bird with really blue feet.
Lizzie with a sea lion
And this is a blue-footed booby
Well, we’re very happy to have you here at SC now. How are you finding the speaking industry?
If I’m honest, I didn’t even know it existed (sorry Nick), and I feel like I’ve been thrown into this incredible world where people are making careers from sharing their life stories and expertise. That’s such a valuable thing to be a part of.
Any fave speakers or subject areas?
I loved Harriet Minter and her women in leadership speech at Networking Under the Stars – I found it very motivational.
I also really liked hearing Richard Reed, the founder of Innocent, share the brand's story and the entrepreneurial values they promote as well as their charity goals. Richard has written a book called ‘If I Could Tell You Just One Thing’ which is a collection of great pieces of advice from people he’s come across in his career. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with brilliant people - that’s an idea that comes across in his book, and something we see in the speaking industry a lot. Day in, day out, I get to work with top people in the speaking world, and I use their messages and advice as motivation to push myself further physically and mentally.
Speaking of motivation, you ran a half-marathon on March 19th to raise money for Mind! How did training go for this? What kept you motivated?
Training went fairly well. I’ve taken on one of Miles Hilton Barber’s pieces of advice about how we aren’t afraid to let ourselves down but we don’t want to let others down. So, I made it my mission to tell lots of people that I’m doing it so I couldn't let them down. It’s hard because I had a knee injury but I had a weird playlist on Spotify that I compiled - from Stormzy to the Civil Wars – which helped to keep me motivated.
Well, we were very proud of you!
Lizzie did her half-marathon in 1hr 58 min 37 sec!
And as President of the Book Club here (sorry I know you hate it when I call you that) and a former student of Literature, you must like books. Why do you think literature is so important?
Why I love literature and why I think everyone should read is because it tells us about the human condition. If you want to know about how we live and how we react to things, you’ll find it out from literature. I think it’s interesting when you see books like 50 Shades of Grey and Bridget Jones and Caitlin Moran become cultural successes because they provide an insight into real life.
Any fave books?
I really like Irish literature – I read a great book call Star On The Sea which weaves together stories from people in famine and high class; it talked about class struggles and managed to capture a really strong sense of the personalities of all the different people.
Lizzie on one of her travel adventures
Let’s find out about the real Lizzie with some quick-fire questions:
We’re known for our snacks in marketing. Favourite snack?
Savoury or sweet!? For sweet, I like cereal bars (specifically Nutrigrain Elevensies Oat and Raisin Bakes or Eat Natural Dark Chocolate and Cranberry/Ginger). And, in various different combinations, I like anything with cinnamon on. Or spinach. I am basically Pop-eye.
Are you really going to include this?
Yes, of course. Next Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, what’s one thing would you want with you?
Pen knife. I could hack the tops of coconuts and build myself a shelter. I’d probably be happy living there, if you let people know where I am and they could come to visit.
Name somewhere you’ve always wanted to travel.
I really want to go to Central America – to the San Blas Islands. I also want to learn to dive at some point - so somewhere where I could do that!
Tell me the first word that pops into your head when I say the following:
Very insightful. I feel like we know you better. Anything else exciting coming up in the world of Lizzie that you’d like to share? Sounds like you’ve booked a trip to Bali?
Yes, I‘ve most recently booked a trip to Bali for the summer which’ll be great.
Also, if anybody has any book suggestions, send them my way!
Brill. Thanks so much, Lizzie!