This is definitely not your typical photo of a manager or the one I would have been given had I asked my boss Johanna Galea for a picture to go along with her short bio (But then again neither are the questions I asked her). Having said this it captures one of my most cherished moments, just after racing at the European Triathlon Championships in Alanya in 2013; this was my first triathlon race abroad and it was so great to have Johanna (or as we know her Jojo) be a part of it. Having said this, primarily I chose this photo rather than the usual ‘I’m so serious’ business profile picture, for the simple reason that it captures Jo similarly to how I remember her the first time we spoke.
I met Jo one summer, back in 2010, when out of the blue, I decided to try my luck at a swim-run in Ta’ Qali. It was off season for us long distance athletes and being the naturally competitive teen that I was, I needed some kind of race to fuel me. It didn’t seem to matter that I had never swum more than 50m in a pool, or that I barely knew what a multi-sport event was, I was there to win and when I saw Johanna on the day (whose face was familiar from races), I knew she was the one to beat. Safe to say, I did not win that day, or come anywhere close, but I did make a friend.
Things have come a long way since then, I quit athletics and moved to triathlon, Johanna now manages the Entertainment and Merchandising Department here at MUHC and I joined MUHC this year as marketing assistant.
Soooo, Why all this fuss about Johanna Galea? I decided that a cool way to get to know our company better would be to do a monthly bio of each member and who better to start off with than my manager Jojo? These are not your typical interview questions but then again we are not your typical company 🙂 To make things a little more interesting, I asked my boss some questions that would make her sweat a bit, I must admit I was quite impressed with how she tackled them:
Tell us a bit about your role/ experience at MUHC:
I joined MUHC in March 2012 as PA to the Group CEO. Apart from working as PA, at the time I was also involved in other initiatives such as the marketing of Hotel Kappara and the marketing and further development of University merchandise. A year later, in March 2013, I took on the role of Manager – Entertainment & Merchandising.
While the Entertainment & Merchandising unit was also set up in March 2013, in the beginning it mostly consolidated business activities which already existed within MUHC and which were already very well managed, including publishing, the management of the University 5-a-side football pitches and organisation of leisure activities for the language school students.
Apart from these existing activities, by means of new synergies we were also able to set up our flagship event in 2013: the University Ring Road Races, which has grown to be extremely popular and through which funds are raised for charity each year. We also started organising other activities for University staff, students and the general public, such as quiz nights. The introduction of tailor-made team building activities has also proven to be very popular.
We opened up a merchandise shop on campus in 2014 and also introduced graduation merchandise. We constantly strive to develop the University merchandise further. The unit has grown over these three years and is very dynamic in nature, so things tend to evolve all the time – which is definitely part of what I love so much about my role. Apart from that, being part of a really great team is definitely a huge factor in this.
What do you do when you’re not busy answering emails and all the other job related tasks?
There aren’t too many of those moments 🙂 Joking aside, since the unit is made up of so many different business activities, it’s rare for me not to be busy answering emails or doing something else. In those rare quiet work moments, I usually try reorganising my to-do lists and organising other things which tend to constantly drop down on my priority list due to more urgent issues.
The things I enjoy most when I’m not working are relaxing with my husband, meeting family and friends, travelling, training and racing. The things I actually do have changed a bit over the past year due to my health condition. For example, I haven’t taken part in any races since September 2015, but hopefully I’ll be able to start again before too long. I also cook a lot more than I used to, since I now need to make most things from scratch. I’ve also started doing yoga and walking regularly.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would say to them?
My grandfather (paternal). I would tell him that I’ve heard a lot about him and thought about him a lot over the years even though I never got to meet him (he passed away before I was born). And that he did a great job raising his five children 🙂
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your cv?
Not sure if this is particularly interesting, but people I meet always ask how I manage to keep fit. But what they don’t usually realise is that the main scope of my training and racing has never been about keeping fit. I fell in love with swimming and running as a small child (in summer I would be in the sea as long as I possibly could and I always preferred running to shops rather than walking to them) and that never changed. I still love swimming and running and that’s how/why I keep fit 🙂
What song best describes your work ethic?
‘Whistle while you work’, especially the idea that “When hearts are high the time will fly so whistle while you work”. I believe that the most important thing is that you enjoy what you do. That makes even the most challenging days easier. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSnXNHUEodY)
Have you ever stolen a pen from work?
I wouldn’t say I ever intentionally stole a pen, but I wouldn’t say that a pen from work never mysteriously turned up in my handbag 😉
THANKS JO, THIS MAKES ME FEEL A LITTLE LESS GUILTY COMING FROM SOMEONE SO SENSIBLE…
How would you rate your memory?
I tend to work on many things at the same time, so at work my memory is very bad. As an example, on more than one occasion I’ve phoned someone, started doing something else while waiting for the person to answer and then had no idea who I had called by the time the person answered. Makes things a bit awkward as people don’t usually expect the person calling them to ask who they are! But I use a lot of reminders, checklists, notes etc and I think most people would agree that I don’t really let anything slip (to some people’s disappointment at times).
So in a nutshell, I would rate my memory as very bad (maybe say 3 out of 10), but with the help of technology it probably goes up to say 8 out of 10.
SHE’S LYING….JOHANNA IS ONE OF THE MOST ORGANISED PEOPLE I KNOW, SHE’S ALSO MY PERSONAL SPELLCHECKER (OR AS SHE LIKES TO CALL HERSELF A GRAMMAR NAZI)
If I had to describe Johanna myself she is a Mrs. Fix-it and always knows what to do. On a more personal note she has been someone who has always been there for me and guided me in the best way possible (in other words she is the sensible one who has stopped me from being so rash and continually reminds me about the importance of tact…).