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After nearly six years as a receptionist at CooperBurnett, Joy Edwards is stepping down on 29 March to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

After nearly six years as a receptionist at CooperBurnett, Joy Edwards is stepping down on 29 March to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. For many people, the first interaction they have with the firm is via Joy or her colleague Brigitte, as they welcome visitors to the building or greet them on the telephone. 

“We offer that first ‘feel’ of what dealing with CooperBurnett will be like and that impact can’t be underestimated,” she says. “Over the years, it’s the aspect of my role that I’ve enjoyed the most; making people feel welcome and at ease.”

The role of the reception team is varied. 

“We are a proactive and responsive information hub, connecting people and facilitating solutions,” she explains. “Using a wide range of administrative procedures (and initiative!), we support visitors and colleagues alike.”

Her role involves pretty much ‘everything’ from an administrative point of view, except for client correspondence.

Joy joined the firm in 2013 as a part-time receptionist.

“At the time it was simply for three hours a day to provide cover over lunchtime,” says Joy. She very quickly became part of the CooperBurnett team and increased her hours to full time. Before applying for the role, Joy asked some of her contacts if they thought it was a good choice of place to work.

“The feedback I received was 100% positive and I was told that the firm had a very good reputation,” says Joy. “Some of my friends had used CooperBurnett and had nothing but good things to say. Since I’ve joined, I help to track where our new matters come from and it’s overwhelmingly either returning clients or people who have been referred to us. I think that speaks for itself.”

After leaving school, Joy completed a degree in English and French at Keele University, which saw her spend a year in France. 

“Some of my friends went to a French university during that time, but I wanted to live a real French life, so I took a role as a teaching assistant and lived with a local family. When I wasn’t working in the classroom, I joined in with some of the lessons – learning French grammar alongside year 10 students. I feel that France has enriched my life forever.”

On graduating, Joy looked at being a journalist and spent time with a publishing house, which was followed by a variety of roles including working in import and export, marketing, working as a translator and as the PA to the chief executive of a national charity. When her two daughters were small, she worked as a teaching assistant to fit in with their school hours and holidays, and also spent time in a support role at West Kent College.

She says that her biggest priority in life and what makes her the most proud is her family. One of her daughters lives in Mexico, where she teaches, and Joy is looking forward to seeing her daughter and young grandson when they visit England in the summer. Her other daughter is a sound recordist and film editor and lives in Bristol.

Retirement will also mean more time enjoying hobbies with her husband John. He is retiring the day before Joy from his role as an inhouse lawyer in London. 

“Retirement will give us more time to enjoy our life and the things we like to do together – particularly walking and bird-watching,” Joy says. “We’ve joined a choir and we are learning Spanish; the language will be useful when we visit Mexico.”

While Joy says she will miss everyone at CooperBurnett, she will particularly miss her colleague on reception, Brigitte, who is French.

“It’s been so lovely getting to know her over the past two years and particularly being able to enjoy some regular chats in French,” says Joy. “I will miss the whole team and I’ll also miss meeting our clients and finding out what they need from us. In those few short moments when they first arrive or call us, I hope they’ve felt our sincerity; that they feel safe and supported.”

She adds: “While we offer support to our clients, I’ve felt over the past six years that, as a team, we all feel supported too. Whatever we do here, we are all made to feel that we matter and that our contribution is important; we are all part of the same jigsaw puzzle.” 

During her last couple of weeks in the office, with support from Brigitte, Joy has been working alongside her replacement, Olivia Bobbett.

“I have no worries at all handing over the reins to Olivia,” says Joy. “She has a lovely way with people and I know she’ll be a fantastic asset to CooperBurnett.”

Finally, Joy says: “I would like to thank colleagues and visitors for their contribution towards making my time at CooperBurnett such a positive experience. I have enjoyed every minute; a person who enjoys their work is fortunate indeed!  I would also like to extend every good wish to the CooperBurnett team as the firm grows and invests in the future.”

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March 20, 2019
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