Jacqueline Chell is Head of Programme and New Business at Cinema For All. The confidence and oral presentation skills she developed whilst studying for her English Language and Literature degree have helped her succeed in a communications-driven sector.
Tell us about your current role
Cinema For All supports, develops and champions the activities of the volunteer-led community cinema sector in the UK - through advice and support, advocacy, film distribution, training and screenings. As Head of Programme and New Business, I manage the delivery of our main activities to support the sector, oversee partnerships, fundraise and work on new business opportunities. I lead a small but dedicated team, develop and project manage events, produce new resources and activities and oversee the growth of the sector.
What is a typical day for you?
I spend the early day helping the team to respond to queries and requests for advice about community cinema activity, such as how to set up regular screenings and where to obtain film licences from.
I then move on to working on some of our current projects, for example, our national event, the Community Cinema Conference, developing our funding streams or developing new partnerships.
Later I might be communicating the latest news to the sector, marketing our films, meeting with our CEO or working on stakeholder reports.
On other days I might be looking at pulling together a funding or sponsorship application, be representing Cinema For All at conferences/ industry events across the country or be at preview screenings for films we might wish to take on to our distribution scheme.
How did your time at Sheffield help prepare you for your current role?
My role requires constant communication - with the sector; with other staff; with the national team of volunteers we look after and with funders and sponsors. My English degree laid the groundwork for my skills in this area and is the basis for my confidence in my oral presentation and written skills.
What advice would you give to current students?
Find an organisation that you want to work for and ask them if they need any help. You shouldn't have to commit to a full-time unpaid internship, but just volunteering a little of your time, especially in small organisations, can make a big difference to them.
Make yourself indispensable, and they might free up a little budget for you. Find a mentor in a role you like, and really follow through on the advice they give you. Always be reliable, friendly and approachable. Surprise people with the speed and enthusiasm with which you do things.
Even if the job/ position you end up with doesn't offer you everything you want at that moment, make it happen. Create the job you want to be in. Create the working environment and office culture that makes you thrive. Be resilient. Always, ALWAYS be kind.