For this month's Staff in the Spotlight, we caught up with our Office Manager Leigh Halifax.
You used to work in retail - How did you find out about Youth Music and what made you apply to work here?
I did, I had worked in fashion retail for many years and then I moved to an art supply retail. I loved being a manager, I loved coaching people and creating environments that allowed people to thrive in a traditionally challenging and exhausting work environment. But, retail can take its toll and I wanted to be a part of something that would truly impact the lives of people. My housemate sent me the job advert for the position of Office Manager at Youth Music and after reading the job description and looking online, I was like “Yes, this is the place for me.” Before retail I worked as a school counsellor and have always been passionate about the welfare of Young People, so this role really encapsulated everything I knew I was good at and what I was passionate about.
What’s a day in the life of an office manager? Do you have a favourite thing about your job and this sector?
It’s hard to say what’s in a ‘normal day’ because there isn’t one. It’s one of the best things about the job. I get to be a part of so many different aspects of the organisation and what it does and that motivates me! My favourite thing about the job is I think I get to utilise my personality and skills to support and hopefully bring joy. The thing I love about the charity sector is that you really get to see first hand how many amazing people there are, supporting others and doing everything they can to enable people to achieve amazing things.
You’re also a performer - how did you get into it? You’ve done a few online performances during lockdown - are you working on anything right now?
I am a drag queen – shameless plug my Instagram @miss.leigh.ding – I have been performing for many many many years, originally as a dancer in which I did some incredible things; I was once in a Bollywood movie. I have always been a performer at heart, I love the creativity and expression of performance and as Lady Gaga once sang I live for the applause. I have been doing lots of online shows through lockdown which has been wonderful. I have a couple of pieces I’m working on at the moment, but I am very excited to be working on things for when we can eventually step back on stage.
You also support the staff with wellbeing and have been helping us keep our sanity during lockdown - do you have any more advice?
I think my best piece of advice is to do what’s best for you, and what works for you. We get told to do many things to keep ourselves sane but ultimately you know what you need. Don’t feel guilty and bad if you spend a whole Saturday on the sofa binge watching a show if that’s what you need. Don’t overthink it, we’re all going through something right now which we’ve never had to deal with before, so cut yourself some slack and let go of what you think you should be doing.
But also, take a shower when you wake up. It sounds silly but it definitely has a positive impact on how you think for the rest of the day 😊
What’s your favourite meal?
I mean listen I’m not one of those classy people who thrives on 5 star Michelin, a large vegan dominos pizza with a nice glass of red will always put a smile on my face! But, I do love my homemade vegan lasagne! I’ts honestly delicious!!
- 500g of vegan mince
- 1 x pasta sauce
- 1 x chopped tomotoes
- Basically any herb you can throw in
- And a good glug of red wine
Simmer all together and then just layer the pasta sheets, vegan white sauce and mince in a lasgane style and then layer a fabulous amount of applewoods vegan cheese. Pop it in the oven and bake!
Serve with some homemade chips and as always a nice glass of red.