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Dr Jo Heaton Marriott

The Coronavirus outbreak has had a profound impact on our university community and has seen sweeping changes to the way we live our lives. We are proud of how Team Teesside has responded and it is heartening to see the University community come together and support one another during these uncertain times. Here we speak to Dr Jo Heaton-Marriott, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Relations about their role in keeping staff and students informed and engaged.

Dr Jo Heaton Marriott

Director of Corporate Communications and Public Relations

I've been at Teesside University for a relatively short space of time and I can honestly say that the collaborative spirit at the University is quite unique. This is what I think is special about Team Teesside - there is a 'can-do' mentality and people are happy to pull together to make things happen.

Briefly outline your role at the University

Corporate Communications and Public Relations is responsible for all internal and external communications, reputation management and policy engagement, including the management of corporate events and social responsibility.

How has the Coronavirus altered the way you work?

Working in Communications is an 'always-on' sort of role, and I'm used to working odd hours, being responsive and linking up with my team remotely, so although the workload has increased significantly and the pace we're working at has dialled up, my day to day work feels quite similar.

What does a typical day look like now?

I'm home-schooling three kids aged 8, 13 and 15 and I've had to adjust to not having the luxury of focusing on my own work for long periods of time, instead having to jump between working through quadratic equations, to a Teams meeting and then PE with Joe Wicks.

What is the single most important element of your job at the moment?

Ensuring colleagues and students still feel part of the University community despite us all having to work remotely.

How are you managing personally during the current situation?

Making sure I take time each day to get away from the various screens and look at the world, either chatting to the chickens in the garden, walking the dog or just watching the sunset. We've also got a 'things to look forward to' plan, with regular family games nights, BBQs, movie nights and pizza evenings, to keep us all motivated.

What does it mean to you to be part of Team Teesside?

I've been at Teesside University for a relatively short space of time and I can honestly say that the collaborative spirit at the University is quite unique. This is what I think is special about Team Teesside - there is a 'can-do' mentality and people are happy to pull together to make things happen.

What do you think the response to the current situation says about the resilience and commitment of the Teesside University Community?

It is just admirable- so many people have stepped up with selflessness and compassion, not to mention the many examples of that 'can-do' attitude, with innovative approaches to just getting the job done.

Any advice for your fellow staff and students?

It seems like everyone is using the lockdown as an opportunity to learn a new skill or improve themselves; don't put yourself under that kind of pressure, take the time to do the things that make you happy and don't fall into the comparison trap.

What are you looking forward to most once we are able to resume to some sense of normality?

Going to the coast. I can see a tiny sliver of the sea if I stand on my tiptoes at the end of the garden and it isn't enough.