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Team Member Q&A: Anna Marshall

Team Member Q&A: Anna Marshall

Member of the logistics team, Anna Marshall spends her days negotiating the path between the speaker and the client. Making sure everyone is aware of their processes at each stage of the booking, she is always on hand to help.

Outside of work, she is a brilliant singer, and a member of two choirs. Amidst her singing she is a keen sportswoman and enthusiastic traveller. From her globe trotting to lacrosse playing she has some great stories to tell.

So, we caught up with her to hear some of these brilliant tales and to find out more about her yes-man attitude to working in the logistics team.

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The Speakers Corner logistics team 

Hi Anna, you’ve been here about 8 months now, how are you finding the speaking industry? What have you learned from the logistics team?

It is an incredibly diverse industry, by this I mean that the range of people and situations that we deal with are so unexpected and so unknown to the outside world. I had no idea it was such a big business and one that corporates were so interested in pursuing.

I thought the speaker industry was quite niche and reserved for special entertainment functions, but, from working here I have realised that hiring a speaker is often a huge part of how big companies reward and motivate their staff. 

In terms of what I have learned from the logistics team, I think it is mostly stress management. My number one tip would be to keep very calm. From my eight months here, I have realised that mostly anything is possible, you just have to say yes and then work out how to make it happen later.

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Anna takes inspiration from Jim Carey in Yes-man in her approach to the logistics team 

I am very cautious in my role, I make sure I always triple check things for other people!  

When organising travel arrangements for someone else, I am always really calm, but when it is me, I get so flustered. So I definitely need to take on my own approach and keep my cool.  

It is always very hard to practice what you preach, so we can sympathise with that! So outside of work, you are a member of a choir; could you tell us a little bit about this, please?

I am actually a member of two choirs. St Martins in the Fields Chorus, or SMTIF for short! And, a choir called Oriana. At St Martins, we sing a real range. We performed Brahms Requiem in the last concert and in this one we are singing Britten’s Flower Songs, so quite different repertoire.

I sang in the National Youth Choir a few years ago, the conductor there also conducts Oriana, so this is how I got involved with this choir. Oriana is huge and they work on some really diverse projects. Currently, they are working on an all-female composer concert, so this means we will be singing a lot of newly composed pieces and unknown pieces.

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Anna is a member of two choirs 

That is really interesting Anna, although the choir is doing some experimental work, I imagine you must be quite popular around this Christmas period, as everybody enjoys a traditional carol concert. 

Yes, we have three Christmas concerts coming up which is great because I love a good old carol. My favourite Christmas carol is Unto Us is Born a Son, it never fails to give me that Christmassy feeling!

There isn’t much better than that Christmassy feeling. Performing in choirs and going to see prestigious concerts must mean you have rubbed shoulders with a few of the stars and have some funny stories to tell. Care to share any of them with us?

When I was at Glyndebourne opera, this man kept moving around the whole time, flailing his arms and shuffling about. Being stuck behind him, naturally, I was getting quite frustrated by the fact I couldn’t see due to all his shuffling. So I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he would mind sitting still - when he turned around, I realised it was Stephen Fry!

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Note to self: do not sit behind Stephen Fry at the Opera

Great story! We know other than music, your great love is sports. However, we have heard you suffered a very painful knee injury whilst playing lacrosse, what happened and how are you holding up?

I am fine now thanks. It is quite the story, it all happened when I was playing lacrosse in my last ever game for university. I had just handed in my dissertation and my friends convinced me to play in an away match for them.

So I had just scored a goal and I’m a defence so this is a big moment in my life, and I was running towards the goal again to score for a second time, but suddenly my leg buckled and it all went crunch.

At first, everyone thought I was joking because another girl had fallen over a few minutes before, so everyone thought I was taking the mickey. It took a good five minutes for people to come over and help me.

I felt like my knee cap had fallen off, I have never been in so much pain.

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Where it all started...

A man in a tractor picked me up and took me back into the clubhouse, I didn’t realise how serious it was. Only after a few months and multiple physio sessions did I discover that I had ruptured my ACL and tore two menisci. I am still recovering, but I can run now so I’m making good progress.

That sounds so painful! We are glad to hear you are recovering well, despite your struggle to walk after the knee injury happened, you managed a pretty impressive trip to India and Vietnam from September to December, where did you like best there?

I loved Varanasi in India, it is a place full of history and traditions. It is on the River Ganges and it is where Hindus go to break their cycle of rebirth. Along the river bank you can see many families burning their loved ones' bodies in order for them to achieve moksha, if you pass a dead body it is very good luck. At sunrise we took a boat out to the middle of the river and watched the sunset there, as the Hindus put on their daily light festival to celebrate the dead.  

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Varanasi, on the River Ganges

It was a really special experience, people come from all over India to see it, so I am glad I got the chance to too. Although I am not a very spiritual person, it was a very spiritual special place, despite all the death

Sounds incredible, what other places are on your bucket list?

I am going to Copenhagen for a weekend in December for the Christmas market, which will be great. I would also love to go to Chile and Peru, my mum went to Chile on a press trip and I have always been fascinated by it. As for Peru, my aunt and uncle have been on so many Inca expeditions, they come back with some amazing stories about the people, architecture and religion, so I want to go and see it for myself.

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The Atacama Desert in Chile, a place Anna wants to visit 

Thanks Anna, was great to hear some of your incredible life’s tales. 

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