What do a former member of the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission and a woman who escaped from West to East Germany after the war have in common? Both of them have incredible life stories that Charlotte Glanville discovered when they got chatting as neighbours at Audley Village Stanbridge Earls. Inspired by the rich and varied experiences of the people around her, Charlotte created “The Interesting Lives Club” so that people could give talks and share their stories with others. In this article, we chat with Charlotte about bringing the exciting “Interesting Lives” talks to The Joy Club.
The Joy Club: Thank you for chatting to us today Charlotte, we can’t wait for your “Interesting Lives” talks to start at The Joy Club! You mention that what you have loved about creating this series is that it is a reminder that ‘we all have a story to tell’, so we were wondering if you could kick us off by telling us a little bit about yourself and your story?
Charlotte: I learned programming at the Ministry of Agriculture in Guildford and the rest of my career was in different business sectors within IT. I worked for Sun Alliance Insurance for some years, ending up as Deputy Audit Manager, working on fraud and identifying business risk. During my time at Sun Alliance I managed the team creating the central Claims database with the five other major insurers which is used to this day to identify multiple and fraudulent claims. Latterly I was a Business Consultant in Xansa. I led a team of consultants working on various projects over the years such as advising businesses including the Co-operative Society what they would need to do to their computer and manual systems if we went into the Euro. I also managed our graduate trainees, numbering over 100 at one time. They were destined to be systems analysts or programmers. One part of our business was concerned with outsourcing. Businesses would outsource their computer systems to us, with the staff also moving into the company. These included Thames Water and Whitbread. In 2002, 250 of us were made redundant, and I then “retired” from full time corporate life. I worked part time in the local GP surgery. Then for a small Management Consultancy where I worked in the backroom. Over the years I have worked on a self employed basis working for small businesses who need someone to sort out their computer systems and office processes while they get on with what they are good at! My most recent project was just a year ago.
The Joy Club: And you are an Audley Homeowner, perhaps you could tell us a bit about what it’s like living in Audley Village Stanbridge Earls? How has living there inspired the ‘Interesting Lives’ series?
Charlotte: I was inspired to start Interesting Lives here at Stanbridge Earls as we are all newly moving in and are a new community who want to get to know each other. I met so many interesting people, just chatting over a coffee or lunch, that I really wanted to share their stories with others. In addition, I didn’t want to miss out on stories I haven’t yet heard! It is arranged as a social event in a small informal venue to meet other owners, with tea and cake and a good chat after the talk.
The Joy Club: In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting moments you’ve had with the talks so far? Have there been any standout anecdotes or audience responses to the stories shared?
Charlotte: I can honestly say that the talks are all so different there are highlights in all of them. The excitement is having a glimpse of my neighbours’ lives behind the scenes. The subjects are varied – working life, holiday, hobbies etc (past or present). Several of the speakers have said they have really enjoyed putting their talk together – it’s brought back memories, puts things in time order and also creates something their family can enjoy.
The Joy Club: Your first “Interesting Lives” talk at The Joy Club is by Professor Peter Sonksen OBE (Thursday 17th February at 2.30pm). Peter has such a remarkable background in medicine and sport, what are you most looking forward to about his talk?
Charlotte: I have heard Peter’s talk at Stanbridge Earls before, but I am very happy to hear it again. I am really looking forward to learning how the Medical Commission works behind the scenes to find drug cheats at the Olympic Games.
The Joy Club: We know that lots of our members have had interesting lives – will there be opportunities for them to get involved in this event series?
Charlotte: I am always on the lookout for speakers. Some have kindly volunteered, and some have been “nominated”. I have a little list! I won’t twist anyone’s arm but use my best persuasive skills. I would really like to have equal men and women speakers. If anyone has an idea or would just like to chat through the possibilities, please get in touch.
The Joy Club: Last but not least, if you had one hope for this series, what do you wish that people get out of these “Interesting Lives” talks?
Charlotte: An enjoyable afternoon and getting to know others and what makes them tick a little better.
The Joy Club: Thank you Charlotte, we can’t wait for “Interesting Lives” to begin!
To find out more about our “Interesting Lives” talks and to book your place at any (or all!) of them, take a look at the series invitation here.