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10 by 10 with Sally Ashdown-Phillips

We take 10 minutes out of Sally’s day to find out more about her through 10 quickfire questions:

Describe yourself in three words. 
Dedicated, approachable, plucky.

What do you do at the CMJ and how long have you worked there? 
I have worked for the CMJ since April 2010, first as a temp, but they must have liked me as 11 years later – I’m still here! I started out working on general admin and quickly progressed onto working on the Trade Events. During the pandemic I started working with Sam and Amber supporting our membership. I dealt mainly with our suppliers previously, but I got to know more about our lovely retailers, which gives me a more rounded knowledge on all of our membership. I’m currently the Group Events Manager, working on organising the CMJ’s events.

What experience led you to being in the role you are in now?
For many years I was admin based at a Research and Development company in the automotive industry. I worked closely with the directors, producing accurate scientific reports, where attention to detail was a must. I then moved into a HR role which gave me the opportunity to attend many courses and be a great communicator with people at all levels. At 40 I fancied a change (possibly a mid-life crisis as I also bought a motorbike) and worked in a male category B prison for a few years – you don’t make a much bigger change than that! That job gave me a deeper insight into behavioural issues and how to deal with them. This is a useful skill in difficult situations.

What do you like most about your job?
Starting with a blank stand plan and seeing it grow into an event, bringing the CMJ family together again. But also the variety of tasks that you get to do, no day is the same apart from being busy!  We are a small team, but a great team and supportive of each other both professionally and personally. Our membership gives us many great characters who keep us smiling and their industry knowledge and journey are fascinating.

What’s been your most memorable moment since working at the CMJ?
Over 11 years there have been many, all very memorable! The weirdest memory though is definitely being in London on Westminster Bridge the day before an event, and witnessing the naked bike ride, I’ll leave that to your imagination… What an eye opener!

What do you enjoy most about working in the jewellery industry?
There is always something going on in the industry, whether it be new members, new collections launching, new trends, different initiatives, and press releases. Even the pandemic, although no one has enjoyed that, has brought about new ways of communicating, increased ecommerce, hybrid working. Most importantly I love jewellery of course!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love to socialise with my husband Steve, family and friends, gardening, and walking with our Westie, Star.  I have just started volunteering with Pawprints Dog Rescue, a local charity that does fantastic work in the local area rescuing dogs often from death row, rehoming and showing mistreated dogs that there are kind humans out there.  

What was the last book you read?
The Serpent Pool by Martin Edwards – love a crime drama.

Who is your inspiration?
My mum was my inspiration, she kept me on the straight and narrow (mostly), teaching me good morals, to stay strong in adversity and be confident about my decisions. My older/only sister took over this role many years ago, after mum passed away very suddenly and we both always remember her wise words.

Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
My mum and dad, as they are no longer with me, and Daniel Craig – no explanation needed! 

Thank you for reading about Sally, keep your eyes peeled for the next member of our ECOM team.

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