26 Jan Naomi King retires from the Lister Institute after 20 years
In December, Naomi King stepped down as Administrator of the Institute. Having joined in 2000, she was the longest-serving member of staff.
The previous Director, Kate Law (pictured left, with Naomi) worked very closely with Naomi for five years and retired shortly before her.
“Trustees come and go, chairmen come and go, but Naomi was the glue that held everyone together,” says Kate. “She was the person who had the major day-to-day contact with the Trustees and the Fellows. Her warm, consistent presence was so important.”
Kate describes Naomi as being “hands-on” and “determined to get the best deal” when it came to practical matters, such as sourcing new office space. But Kate is keen to emphasise what a good fit Naomi’s personality was for the Lister ‘family’.
“When we interviewed people for potential Fellowships – a nerve-wracking experience – Naomi was the person who waited with them and managed to find out everything about their life history in fifteen minutes. That bond became absolutely key. Fellows knew that they could call her, and so many of them told me how lovely that was and how that support wasn’t what they’d expected from a funding body.”
Naomi herself describes these relationships as one of the highlights of her role: “People said I used to calm interviewees down. Ringing the successful ones up afterwards to give them the good news was lovely, and you then saw them blossom. It was amazing to work with such eminent people at the top of their game.”
She recalls many other enjoyable elements of her job – such as interacting with committees and seeing decisions being made. “You never got bored and every week you did something different,” she says. “The job was so varied that the years went by quickly.”
Sally Burtles, current Director of the Institute, said: “With Naomi having been with us for so long, she knows everything about the organisation and the people. I really thank her for being so generous with her support and sharing her knowledge to ensure that the handover to the new team has been so smooth.”
After a gradual transition during 2020, Nicola King has now taken on Naomi’s role in full. She and everyone else here at the Lister wish Naomi an incredibly happy retirement and send best wishes on her plans to travel the world soon!