Jan O’Neill

Jan trained in Drama and worked for several years in theatre in Regional Rep, Childrens’ Theatre, tours and West End musicals. She concentrated on stage management with a view to becoming a director. She joined BBC Drama working on Play for Today, Z Cars and enjoyable “odd jobs” including Jackanory and The Two Ronnies.

Jan gained a Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma (Dip M) She took a junior role in publicity at English National Opera eventually becoming Joint Head of Department. As well as general publicity for productions Jan worked on promotions securing deals with the Savoy Group for discounted pre-performance meals, record companies for “see the show and get the record” deals and general outreach including backstage tours for school groups, opera for children, publicity and promotional events for tours. She also worked on the initial publicity for Opera North.

She next worked as Marketing Manager for a small theatre improving their publicity endeavours and media relations. Building audiences and encouraging donations through talks for a wide variety of groups. This was followed by an offer to work at Thurrock which, at that time, was a well-run and enterprising borough. Thurrock had lost its base industries – Tilbury Docks, a power station and the manufacture of cement so regeneration was major priority. She created an annual Industry Award and annual Dinner. Awards went to companies for good practice and enterprise irrespective of their size. Creating the infrastructure to enable the building of the Lakeside Shopping Centre proved very newsworthy and gradually the borough was put on the map. The main event was a three-day pageant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada – Kate O’Mara on a white horse at Tilbury etc, etc. This attracted wide Media coverage. Raising sponsorship for the event was also a priority.

Taking an irresistible job at the London Transport Museum Jan worked on the new Director’s ambition to transform the Museum from a “Dads and lads” exhibition to an entertaining museum of the social history of London’s public transport with wider appeal. The first major task was fundraising for a special exhibition to celebrate to the Tube’s Centenary. This was followed by developing banqueting at the museum and helping to establish a Corporate Friends association. Jan was then offered the post of Tourism Manager for London Transport and spent three years, much of it spent travelling, to manage and support our worldwide network of a agents and establish new agencies as well as producing promotional literature in 14 languages and attending international conferences and promotional events to spread the word. In three years she improved sales by almost 300%

Jan then spent seven years as Press Officer for London Underground fielding enquiries from print and broadcast media and writing releases, statements and briefings on subjects from politics and complex engineering projects to “Baby on Board” badges and the hotly contested Station Gardens Competition.

On retirement Jan Volunteered at Barts in the Macmillan Cancer Information Centre and as a Guild Trustee and subsequently as a coopted member of the MCM. Other pursuits include teaching English Conversation, music, reading anything she can get her hands on, the history of London and editing her first (and probably last) novel.