Meet the Team – Nell Simmonds

What sparked your interest to explore the advertising, film and tv industry?

There are a lot of factors about the industry that appealed to me. Firstly, I like the concept of a team of people working together, to create something that can influence people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. Secondly, the industry’s reputation of being extremely social is something that appealed to me as I love being with people and also meeting new people. I also like that you don’t need any specific qualifications to work in the industry, I much prefer proving myself by working hard rather than my grades! Finally, I like how everyday you are doing something different and how there are so many different career paths within the industry. 

What do you like most about being a runner?

I enjoy going from room to room and having little conversations with the staff members and clients. I love meeting new people and having a chat so this is perfect for me. I also equally enjoy going on runs as I love walking around Central London with so much to see! I have found so many shortcuts, nice restaurants and pretty places to visit from running!

What are your day-to-day duties?

Every day is different but normally, I get to work, unload the dishwashers, set up rooms with water, glasses, tissues, notepads and pens, make staff members drinks when they arrive and then welcome clients. Normally by late morning, all the staff members and clients expected to be in for the day have arrived. Then it is time to take lunch orders which normally start around midday and tend to go on until mid-afternoon. In between lunches, I do regular sweeps of the building, make sure the dishwashers are either running or empty, empty the bins around the building and make more drinks for both staff and clients. I also check emails when I can so I also book staff’s holiday, put pencils in and tidy the book, reach out to freelancers and make spreadsheets and shots lists most days too. 

In the evenings, I sweep the building for any used cups or plates, clean the coffee machine, stock up the fridges and just generally tidy the building. 

What do you like most about working at UNIT?

Definitely the people! Everyone is super lovely and always up for teaching you. I really feel like everyone has made the time to explain to me what it is they do and how they have got there. The production team especially have been great as they are constantly teaching me and never make me feel like any of my many questions are ‘stupid questions’. 

The office is also a really nice environment to work in. It has a very welcoming atmosphere which is no surprise with all the lovely staff and the many dogs that come in! 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

In 5 years time, I would love to be a junior producer and living in London. 

How are you working towards your aspiring role?

I have really tried to utilise any quiet time I get by sitting with production. I have been doing this for a while now and have learnt so much that now I often just get given jobs as production know that I can do them. I am planning on continuing to do this as there is so much still to learn! 

What new skills have you learnt as a runner? 

I think I have learnt how to be more patient, confident and better at managing my time. I am a perfectionist so often spend a long time perfecting little details that people don’t even notice. Now I do everything properly but quickly without overthinking it as I know I’m better to use any free time I have to train instead. Patience, confidence and time management aren’t exactly skills but they are traits that I think any good producer has, so being a runner has been a good opportunity to improve myself. 

I have also learnt how to do (very basic) coffee art which has been cool!  

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy meeting friends, going for food and drinks, getting my nails done, going to the gym,  walking and cooking/baking. I also love going to festivals so always book a few each summer!

What’s the most important trait a runner should have?

I think the attitude of being willing to go above and beyond for anyone and also good attention to detail. 

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to join the industry?

  • Always put your all into everything you do, hard work doesn’t go unnoticed!
  • Always pay attention – Learn your colleagues and clients likes/dislikes and habits, this makes all the difference to their days. 
  • Always be friendly, approachable and helpful