Get To Know Órlaith Donnelly

My name is…

Órlaith – pronounced Or-la, however, never to be shortened to ‘Orla’ in a text/email… my pet peeve! (*cue “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings). I will let you off with not using the fada on my ‘O’ though.

Fun fact: my name actually means ‘Golden Princess’ in Irish Gaelic.

Company Role

Assistant Event Manager. I’ve actually been at Mango Pie for almost a year now but have been a little social media shy. That’s all about to change!

Most used word/phrase

I must say the word grand about twenty times a day: “I’m grand”, “that’s grand”, “sure it’ll be grand”. I’ve even got Mandy caught onto saying it, but she really needs to work on her Irish accent…

Favourite quote: “Don’t call it a spade if it isn’t a spade”

The traditional phrase is “call a spade a spade”, but The 1975 are my all-time favourite band and “don’t call it a spade if it isn’t a spade” is their twist on the age-old expression, as heard in their song ‘The city’.

I interpret this as don’t say something you don’t mean or believe, and be upfront about your feelings no matter what. Honesty is the best policy always (well, 90% of the time). This outlook can be applied to all aspects of life, including my job as an Events Manager. For example, if you’re not happy with a service supplied to you then let the concerned party know, they will appreciate the constructive feedback.

Favourite podcasts/books

If I had to choose a favourite podcast it would probably be ‘On Our Plates’, a female empowerment themed lifestyle podcast dishing up juicy topics. But truthfully, I never read books and rarely listen to podcasts. I did try to listen to the audio book ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People” as I had read amazing reviews on it. However, I think I gave up three chapters in as I just found it so difficult to concentrate!

Favourite food

All the vegetables you can get your hands on, except celery (sorry celery). I have always loved vegetables but, since October 2018, I have switched to eating a plant-based diet and have discovered so many tasty dishes. Some of my most adored dishes are Thai red curry, cauliflower tacos and sticky teriyaki tofu salad… mmm! I’m also a sucker for a dessert. At the risk of sounding big-headed, I have recently mastered the perfect dairy-free, egg-free Victoria Sponge – see for yourself below.

When I took the job with Mango Pie, I didn’t really think about all the foods I’d be required to try at menu tastings etc. Initially I put my views aside and compromised by posing as pescatarian at tastings and events. However, in more recent times I have decided to stick to my belief of staying true to one’s self. It is so great to see all the caterers coming up with amazing vegan dishes though!

What I do at Mango Pie

It’s basically a matter of wearing many, many hats, which I love because it makes the role very exciting and diverse. In a nutshell:

I do everything from dealing with initial enquiries from clients, to putting together concept design boards and quotes. I communicate with the venue & suppliers and organise tastings and site visits ahead of the event. We create a lot of bespoke items for our events so you may even find me on my living room floor, up to my ears in ribbons figuring out how to make a ribbon wall! On the day of the event, I will be there with my event summary in hand, ensuring everyone is doing what they need to be doing in order to pull off a successful event.

In addition to this, I deal with the financial side of things such as invoicing, plus the social media and blogs. In 2020, I am pledging to commit more time and effort to creating blogs and other content for our social channels. Watch this space!

What I like about working at Mango Pie

I would say my favourite thing about working at Mango Pie is the amount of variety in the role. I get to work with so many different clients and suppliers in so many amazing venues.

During my third week of employment, I worked the registration desk at the National Portrait Gallery Gala. The star-studded guest list for this gala included David Beckham, Kate Moss, Christian Louboutin and The Duchess of Cambridge!  I also get invited as a guest to some pretty cool events across London with lots of free alcohol and food – what’s not to love?!

My credentials/past experience for working in my position

Randomly enough, I worked for two and a half years at one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms before I joined Mango Pie. I was training to become an accountant and had sat and passed my first six exams. But it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something more creative.

The advertisement for my job now specified that Mango Pie weren’t looking for anyone with particular qualifications, as long as they were creative, passionate and ready to hit the ground running. Thankfully, Mandy saw my potential and a few months after landing the job I upped and moved from Belfast to Essex!

I have to say though, the accountancy experience has definitely helped me, particularly when it comes to budgets and things. I absolutely love an Excel spreadsheet too – something so satisfying about creating formulas and reconciling numbers etc. Maybe I should become an accountant after all…

Which project I’m most excited about this year

It is only January so who knows what projects are coming our way this year! But without doubt, one of the most exciting events to work on at Mango Pie is the annual Key Client Dinner in March for Herbert Smith Freehills. In 2019, the event was so successful that the client decided to hold a second one later in the year. Both tablescape designs were so unique from anything I’ve seen before, and it was so fun to be involved in creating them. They each were inspired by the exhibition on show at the time: Only Human by Martin Parr at the National Portrait Gallery for the March dinner, and the Gaugin Portraits at the National Gallery for the November dinner. Keep your eyes peeled for the next wonderful and wacky design.

What I enjoy doing when I’m not working

As boring as it sounds, during the week, I love nothing more than snuggling up on the sofa with some tasty treats and Netflix. It’s hard to beat binging an entire season of some gripping crime drama in one evening. I recently watched every episode of ‘Luther’ and am now no longer able to sleep without checking under my bed and in my wardrobe… yay!

On the weekends I do prefer to be a bit more adventurous and would even consider myself a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Theme parks are my happy place and my ideal day out would be a race round a Formula One track. I have completed a tandem skydive for charity once before and, next week, I am going to the slopes of Bulgaria with my friends for a ski holiday. Next on my bucket list is definitely a scuba dive or bungee jump.

Other than that, I love socialising with my friends and family, be that over a sophisticated brunch or a night out on the town. Since moving to Essex and meeting my partner, I spend a lot of time at his house eating and drinking with his family. Thankfully, they have a little bit of Irish in their blood so are almost able to keep up with me in the boozing department!