Bob Davies sat down with Terri Duncan to discuss the ins and outs of working in hospitality at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Terri Duncan has experienced living and working in various parts of the world, but she is in no doubt whatsoever that she “absolutely loves” her present role.
For the past ten years, Terri has been in charge of arrangements for events and corporate hospitality at Shrewsbury Town’s Montgomery Waters Meadow and relishes the fact that her job throws up a new challenge almost every day.
The daughter of two parents who served in the Royal Air Force, Terri was born in Germany but spent most of her childhood growing up in Singapore.
It was when her parents retired from the air force that the family moved back to this country and, having got married, Terri and her husband established a thriving property development company.
That lasted for 21 years and while Terri still has a small portfolio of rental properties, she tried her hand at a couple of jobs, but they didn’t work out.
“I wanted to work so went into security and trained to be a dental technician,” she said. “But neither of them worked out.”
But Terri, who described herself as a “people’s person” was able to leave her disappointment behind her when she found her ideal job and began working in the hospitality department of the football club.
“I am responsible for taking all the booking details for events, whether it is a funeral wake or a corporate event, so every day is different,” she explained.
“It is quite difficult at times because everyone wants different things, but I’m very much a people’s person and it is all about talking to people.
“Generally, we are very busy as every day there are corporate events going on in the boxes at the ground. Because I have been doing the job so long, it is now easy for me to speak with the chefs and the house management team to ensure we all work on the same page. It is really all about communication.”
However, one of Terri’s major problems is recruiting sufficient staff, mainly because of the “massive” impact covid has had on the hospitality industry.
“It is so difficult to get all of your staff back to work,” she said.
To be fair, she added, it had surprised her how few Christmas parties booked at the ground were cancelled but it was very disappointing that, due to the shortage of staff, they had to cancel lunch on Christmas day.
“Instead of giving everyone a lesser experience, we decided to call off Christmas day lunch, but it was a horrible decision to make,” said Terri.
Matchdays for Terri at the Montgomery Waters Meadow provide her with a very different experience – the opportunity to support the team.
“I do everything beforehand to prepare for the matchday internally, but on the day itself, I hand it over and become a fan. I come to as many matches as I can as I have my usual seat out there and it is nice on matchdays to come as a guest as opposed to a member of staff.”
During her ten years in the position, Terri has worked with 13 different managers, and to illustrate the demands of her role, as we chatted, she was called to speak to some potential customers.
“It is challenging at times, but I absolutely love it,” she declared.