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Ellie & Neil's 10 Year Anniversaries

  • Publish Date: Posted about 2 months ago
  • Author:by MERJE

​We’re celebrating two more 10-year work anniversaries, with Neil Johns and Ellie Sykes both jumping on the MERJE train back in October 2012.

A lot has happened since then - marriage, babies, business expansion, team growth, and the rest - so we thought we’d catch up with them about their experience over the past decade.

Congratulations on 10 years at MERJE! How are you going to celebrate?

Ellie: I think a bottle of champagne would be a good idea! 🍾

Neil: Probably go somewhere nice for lunch with my wife. The plan will be to then go out for a few drinks after but what normally happens is she is too full and drunk after three drinks so we will be home by 8 watching TV. We live completely on the edge.

Your biggest achievement at MERJE / something you’re most proud of?

Ellie: Building a team from scratch. I have been passionate about recruiting in Credit Risk for a long time but only recently has my team grown into a true group of specialists working alongside me!

Neil: Probably watching Sally grow into her role, to be honest. It’s a lovely thing to watch someone develop when they have taken the leap to come and join you. Now she has a team of her own and is really flourishing 🚀

Who from MERJE would you have on your zombie apocalypse battle squad and why?

Ellie:Andy Hodson for size and strength, maybe Paul Clayton to sing them to death and, to be honest, I’d happily take on a few zombies!! Barry McDonald to have a drink with if it was the end of the world. Do zombies drink whiskey?

Neil: Andy because he’s an absolute beefcake and he can fight them off 💪, Rick in the hope that he can talk them to death about wherever he’s going on holiday next, and Beth so we can sit and listen to tunes in the background in the hope it just all goes away.

Funniest MERJE moment

Ellie: There are so many. During Covid we each sent out little TikTok-style videos to keep our spirits up and some of them were hilarious (bad dancing, impersonations, sketches). Or, ice-skating at our last Christmas party was very funny…

Neil: Ellie’s big reveal in Barcelona when she fell over was funny 🙈, and Clay when he first started thought that two-hour lunches whilst he went to the gym and THEN ate his lunch were good.

Biggest lesson you’ve learned

Ellie: To work hard and ride the rollercoaster. There are a lot of ups and downs in recruitment and a lot of things you can’t impact, so don’t lose sleep over things you can’t change. Also, be honest with candidates even if not delivering an easy message…

Neil: Be patient, value the people, and there is no such thing as a typical recruiter!

You’re entering a pub quiz with a team of 4. What’s your specialist subject and who else would you pick for the team?

Ellie: I am awful at quizzes! I would send in my Credit Risk & Analytics team instead as they all have good knowledge – Tom & Marcus for music, Nuhaa for general knowledge and David for sport and Jewish history 😋

Neil: My subject would be something around music. The team would be Paige (anything that is modern or for the youth I have no idea about, so she can cover that), Varty on general knowledge, Andy on sport and Bazza as you need someone to have a drink with whilst the rest answer all the questions.

Favourite MERJE social from your 10 years

Ellie: There have been some really great events but Barcelona has to top it – amazing food and the boat trip was perfect

Neil: Obvious one is Barcelona but I do love a spa, as everyone at MERJE knows, so Carden Park was lovely 🙌

Earliest MERJE memory

Ellie: When I initially came to our small first office and brought my daughter along who was only 6 months or so at the time. I actually had to change her nappy in the middle of the office! I can’t believe how far we have come since then and the fantastic offices we are in now!

Neil: Turning up to our old office and thinking what the f* is this. An uglier building it would be hard to find.

Who do you think will top the MERJE leaderboard this year?

Ellie: There are some real contenders this year but I’m sure it will be the Claytonator again!

Neil: Just to annoy Rick, I’ll say Clay 🏆

Be honest, who’s your favourite MD?

Ellie: I love them all equally of course! 😉 They all have very different personalities. I love Jonny for his humour, Rick for teaching me my craft and taking a chance on me so long ago, and Ed for his attention to detail and getting stuff done – we are on the same page!

Neil: Honestly couldn’t pick; they are all great people and that is why I left a comfortable job to come and work for them.

Huge congrats to Ellie and Neil, we're lucky to have you on board!