Posted Mar 28 2023 | By Joanne Wanjohi

Behind the Scenes at LB Manchester

Over the last three years of my time at Levitt Bernstein, there has been a lot of change in our growing and evolving Manchester studio but also in my role as the Studio Coordinator (and now Project Assistant too!). Some of it has been exciting and at other times, one disruptive pandemic later, a little uncertain.

For me, it all started in December 2019 when I got the call that Levitt Bernstein would like to offer me the job of Studio Administrator. It was completely unexpected. Not because I didn’t want the job, but they couldn’t possibly be offering me the job after how nervous I was during my interview. But they did. As much as job performance is an important factor for picking the right person to join the team, I felt that Levitt Bernstein look beyond what you can do on a piece of paper. They look at your character and what you can add to the team. I’ll never forget Vicky, our Director, in Manchester saying: ‘I can see you can do the job, now tell us about you.’ That’s probably where the nerves came in, when asked what I could bring to the team. Three years later, I think I now know what I add to the team.

Everyday is different and at times unpredictable. I’m normally juggling tasks at my desk and running between the kitchen, my desk and our meeting room all day long providing support to our team. I’m the ‘go-to-person’ in our studio especially during crucial situations, like when the coffee machine breaks or when someone needs some scissors which are all at my desk. Otherwise, they’ll go missing like socks go missing! But, some may say more importantly, I’m also the person people rely on to get projects over the line. If extra hands are needed when there’s a tight deadline, I am there to pull all the administerial, graphical and logistical strings. It’s enjoyable to have insight into a variety of projects and be a part of the collaboration within a team.

Since 2020 we’ve grown from 13 to 20 staff which has been exciting to watch as we are such a good mix of people with unique characteristics. As I sit closest to the door, I inevitably notice everyone’s coming and going and…their quirks. For instance, Gina’s mountain of a bike, Jess’s daily outfit change to running gear and Sean’s ability to always forget something when he leaves the office! Everyone plays a part in our Manchester story and even through difficult times, we have remained united as a team.

During the pandemic we still managed to feel like a team despite the physical distance. I was working remotely from Kenya and had to adapt to new changes to my role after the studio was closed due to government guidelines. Like many office-based roles around the world, my original role had become redundant and the practice had to reluctantly let me go. But in a quick turn of events, the needs of the business required additional support in project assistance and my role was reinstated to temporarily join the project assistants' team. I was relieved to be back with the team remotely.

The studio reopened in September 2021 and today has no signs of Covid-19 anymore. Literally. The kitchen is full of chatter, the doorbell is ringing, and you have to book the meeting room way in advance. Three years later and one thing is for certain, I’m glad to be marking a monumental year with an amazing group of people at a wonderful practice.