“Good morning, JLA”… Confessions of a Receptionist.

N.B. Georgia has been promoted to an Agent’s Assistant since writing this article. 

Admin, accounts and other speaker bureau antics…

Hello. I’m Georgia, and I’m the receptionist and office administrator here at speaker bureau JLA.  Tempted though I was to write a helpful blog on the golden rules of VAT, or perhaps a detailed guide to tip-top corporate telephone etiquette, as the “face and voice” (not my words) of JLA, I reasoned it might be most interesting to gossip about the daily comings and goings at the UK’s biggest speaker bureau.

Unfortunately, I can’t reveal too many scandalous tales – discretion and confidentiality being integral to my role – but there are some speaker bureau secrets I can share.  Working in accounts, I’m largely in control of expenses, fastidiously ensuring artists are paid and clients are charged both correctly and in a timely fashion.  Although totting up speaker bureau expenses might sound intriguing, generally this involves a flurry of perfectly reasonable invoices for cars, trains, flights, hotels, meals and the odd signed book order.  Diva demands at this here speaker bureau are a rarity, and I’m yet to encounter any rock ‘n’ roll requests for bath tubs filled with champagne or bills for a trashed hotel room.  Disappointing, I know.

If you phone in, write to, or call up to JLA, it’s likely that I’ll be the first port of call for all your speaker bureau needs.  I know Jon Culshaw likes a frothy white coffee ideally served with brown toast, butter and a smattering of Marmite, and Nick Hewer’s partial to something strong yet sugary from our fancy yet temperamental coffee machine.  A telephone conversation which sticks with me is a hilarious, nonsensical chat with a well-known sports journalist, who was fabulously inebriated after a boozy working lunch. I’ve struck up a great friendship with our postman (I’ll miss him when we move to new premises), and I’m on first name terms with countless couriers thanks to the bizarre gifts directed to our speaker bureau.  A recent offering includes football shaped cistern blocks for a World Cup commentator…

People mistaking JLA the speaker bureau for JLA the commercial laundry supplier also generates occasional hilarity.  I’ve been on the receiving end of several rants concerning faulty washing machines, including one from a disgruntled Italian man with only a basic grasp of English.  Trying to explain that we couldn’t help him because we are JLA the speaker bureau was as testing as you might imagine. I’ve played dog-sitter for a client’s (thankfully very well behaved) pet at the last Speaker’s Breakfast, and most recently franked well over a thousand envelopes containing tickets for next week’s RVS with record speed and dexterity.

Working at a speaker bureau as dizzyingly diverse as JLA, you learn to expect the unexpected.  Although I’m tucked away in the tranquil haven of reception as part of the formidable accounts trio, observing the speaker bureau world around me helps contextualise the all-important admin, and you’re as likely to spot me in the crowd of an event or showcase as you are our agents and assistants.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the phone’s ringing, the intercom’s buzzing and there’s a mountain of spam sitting in my inbox waiting to be sifted through.  Oh, the glamour of the speaker bureau world…

 

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