As part of our ongoing plan to communicate the stories of our staff, this month the spotlight falls on Danni Keenan, Business Operations assistant dealing with voyage bookings.
How did you first come across the JST?
I first heard about the JST through one of the Trust's medical officers. I spent my first working years from the age of 16 working as a carer looking after her daughter who has cerebral palsy. I was invited to sail on Lord Nelson in 2008 and took the opportunity with no hesitation. I had a life changing time on board; the experience of sailing a tall ship with a mix of able-bodied and disabled crew is a fantastic opportunity for absolutely anybody.
When I came across the job of an admin assistant for the Jubilee Sailing Trust I spent hours wondering how I was going to persuade them to let me work for them. I like to think that it wasn't just that I put at the bottom of my CV that I make a good cup of tea, or that I wore a bright yellow cardigan to interview, that were the deciding factors for the people I now work alongside.
Can you summarise your 'Life before JST’?
I dabbled in all sorts prior to working for the JST. I worked for 10 years in care, specialising in working with challenging behaviours and learning disabilities.
I attempted 2 drama schools, Rose Bruford and Circus Space, but left them both before a year was up. I couldn’t handle the lovies, darling!
I also trained to become a clinical sport and remedial massage therapist and still do this work alongside my job with the JST.
What is your sailing experience?
While I was growing up, my Father shared a yacht with a friend. Unfortunately I had an older brother who was taught how to pull the ropes! Consequently I spent a lot of time playing solitaire and sleeping and not learning a lot about sailing. If anyone is feeling particularly patient I would welcome a lesson in sailing if it means I get to go out on the water for a day…….
What do you like about working for JST?
The answer to this is easily the people. We work hard and we support each other and there is always someone to have a drink with at the end of the day. It really is that simple.
What do you like least about working for JST?
Sometimes my desk gets a bit dusty and the kettle in the office is too far away.
Can you describe a typical day in the life of JST voyage department?
As many have said before there is no such thing as a 'typical day’ in the JST voyage department. Every day is hugely varied, this comes with liaising between voyage crew, permanent crew and our medical officers to assure all voyage crew arrive onboard and all communications regarding any special needs or requests have been received and acted upon appropriately. I never know what I will see upon opening my emails or who I will be answering the telephone to, the possibilities are endless………..
What are your aspirations for the future?
To persuade the CEO of the JST to allow me a month off in October/November 2013 so I can head off to New Zealand and meet Lord Nelson for an in-Country voyage.
Can you tell us something about yourself that most people at JST wouldn’t know?
I once played Maria in the Sound of Music and now live with my Captain von Trapp.