Staff Spotlight: Helen Surley

October 12, 2022 12:42 pm

Our next staff spotlight episode welcomes Venue Sales Manager, Helen Surley.

Helen was born and grew up in Seaford, on the south coast of England. It was here where Helen began her lifelong journey and commitment to volunteering and girl guiding, joining the Brownies when she was 7. Helen explained how she has always been an active and outgoing person and it has been through the guides that she has really been allowed to express this. ‘I really enjoy running, skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, cycling, walking and camping. Although one of my main hobbies is being a parent on the side-line of the swimming pool or football pitch!’

Helen graduated from Leeds University with a degree in Geography before starting her career working at the Institute of Environmental Health Officers. Fast-forward to today and Helen has undertaken a number of roles at different organisations including MIND and the National Deaf Children’s Society, accumulating over 30 years of event management experience. She told us, ‘My previous experience has added real value to my current role at Roffey Park Institute; understanding the customer’s perspective of how venues operate.’

After university Helen spent some time in London before returning to Sussex and remaining there to this day. Despite spending some years in the city Helen found that returning to a more rural location suited her best, ‘I love the Sussex landscape, there is nowhere quite like the Seven Sisters… whatever the weather!’

Helen currently runs a unit of Guides, with 40 girls aged between 10 and 14 and in the past year has been sailing, scuba diving and fundraising for Children in Need and Ukraine Guides. Throughout her Guiding career, Helen has visited many countries including Switzerland, Germany and Belgium as well as taken part in community projects in Thailand, Uganda and Egypt. She told us, ‘I love everything about it – the community and helping the girls develop skills for life and all the fun it provides. I have made lifelong friends and I even met my husband through the Guides as he was our kayaking instructor!’

Helen and her husband then moved to West Sussex, where they live with their son and daughter. Helen explained that she was thrown into the deep end on her arrival at Roffey Park because it was the same time that the ‘new wing’ had opened. She explained, ‘It was great, I was involved in a lot of things that were happening for the first time. I managed our first customer to use the Rob Hudson Suite, the first staff sleepover to test out the new bedrooms and our first wedding!’

Helen’s role has evolved over the years at Roffey Park as the ‘lettings’ side of the organisation has grown, so much so that the site has now become self-sufficient. Helen works closely with our clients, she explained ‘We have a great list of clients, some of whom have had a lasting connection with us for many years. For example, the University of Hertfordshire, the British Red Cross and Sussex Police. It is building these working relationships that make my role so enjoyable.’

It is Helen’s extreme professionalism that ensures that Roffey Park clients receive the best service possible but also her kind and considerate character that guarantees a warm and welcoming stay. Helen’s caring and loyal nature, as well as her drive and work ethic, has led to her becoming an invaluable and vital part of the Roffey Park team.

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