At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

In aid of World Youth Skills Day on July 15th we caught up with Mike Ness the owner of MBN Arts to talk about the importance of Creative Learning and what skills kids need to learn in today’s world in order to progress.

 

RISE:  Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do at MBN Arts?

Mike: My background’s in Graphic design, but I’ve always loved the expressive nature of spray painting, so in 2015 I started MBN ARTS. I’ve been blessed to be able to work on a variety of briefs for a diverse range of clients.  I get to provide opportunities to up and coming new local artists and use my passion to support the artistic and emotional development of young people through our workshops. As well as this we do also provide corporate team building which offers companies something a bit different in that aspect.

We try and work within the community as much as we can, and offer opportunities for all that wish to be involved.

 

RISE:  So what made you start the company and want to teach kids these kind of skills?

Mike: Originally, I wanted to start this company to help support and provide an outlet for young (teenage) vulnerable males as I saw how receptive people were to the Urban Arts and Culture, more so than mainstream education.

The only struggle I’ve had with this is money, the people who might benefit the most from these workshops don’t necessarily come from the most affluent background so it’s been great to get these workshops out into the community and schools, and youth organisations, so that everyone can benefit from them.

 

RISE:  What kind of skills do you think kids learn through your workshops & why do you think they are important for their development?

Mike: We don’t necessarily focus on their artistic ability, not saying we don’t want to give them the best opportunity to learn art & design, but we see it as secondary.

I feel nowadays organisations are wanting children to tick certain boxes or have them achieving certain things by a certain time or else they have seen to have failed. We want to support kids to progress in their own way.

The beauty of what we do, especially with the spray painting, is teach receptive transferable skills. They may sound cliché but they really do build confidence, learn social skills, how to work as a team together on projects and how to analyse and reflect on what they have done.

I think it’s important to look at your own work and take criticism or give your point across, so we try to weave those skills into our workshops as in this type of environment they are less likely to jump back or become insular about it. We want to help them build resilience.                                                                                 

RISE: What do you think are important skills for our next generation to learn now?

Mike: I think the soft skills like what I touched upon are necessary.

The UK is very much achievement and progression focused. Maybe learning to remove the external pressure within yourself.  You can see we are under a lot nowadays, especially with the rise in mental health issues. But achievement isn’t always a qualification, sometimes achievement is someone simply turning up.

Giving yourself time to grow, prevent Burnout and be more productive by learning the skill to take a step back, enjoy, experiment, take risks and develop.

 

RISE: What skills do you wish you had been taught when you were a child?

Mike: It is important for us to remember that every kid has a different journey, we all have our own engines, some people are Ferrari’s- they can go really fast and have the control and it works for them, but some people have to plod along and go at their own pace , which is perfect for them, and that’s right. So that’s why we have to tailor these things for people. I’m not sure mainstream education necessarily does this.

I would have liked to be taught that it’s Ok to make mistakes sometimes, I think I would have taken more risks with my artwork and maybe at University.  But I have learnt from that. I’m still learning today!

There are definitely some things that I have had to “unlearn” that don’t align with me. But I guess it is different for everyone.

 

 

RISE: You have a very exciting exhibition coming up “Crossing the Drawbridge” at Highcliffe Castle starting on the 18th July!

Mike: Yes, they hold galleries throughout the year but they wanted to do something a bit different this year and they had seen my work within the community and the workshops I provide and really liked it. They have been great to work in partnership with.

I created the concept of “Historical Heritage meets Current Creatives”. It will show a complete mixture of work from graffiti, sculptures, graphic design and more.  We didn’t necessarily want to just show the stereotypical graffiti or street art, we wanted to showcase our styles that have been influenced by them.

People coming along will definitely see art they won’t have expected to see!

 

RISE: Is there anything else on the horizon at the moment?

Mike: I have just become an accredited provider by the Council, so now I can support a higher number of referred vulnerable young people, from different background and diversities for creative opportunities.

Also soon, I’ll be joining with an organisation to create a mixed medium Art form to offer a space that provides graffiti workshops, break-dancing and music tech classes. It’s all very exciting!

 

 “Crossing the Drawbridge” at Highcliffe Castle will be running from 18th July until the 28th August, and visitors will have the chance to meet the artists throughout the summer who will be working on various projects there. 

All photo’s are courtesy of the MBN Arts Website – www.mbnarts.co.uk

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

 

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you. 

We had a chat with Hayley O’Shea the Marketing Manager at Talbot Heath School, we picked up on a few things, about starting a career in a new industry and how the marketing world has changed in her eyes.

 

RISE: What is your name and your role?

Hayley: Hayley O’Shea, Marketing Manager of Talbot Heath School.

RISE: How has your role changed over the past five years? Has the marketing world changed?

Hayley: I’ve got busier! I’ve had to learn new skills to keep up with the digital trends in marketing. The marketing world has changed in the last 5 years but incrementally, the big changes happened 10 – 15 years ago when the internet took off and ‘traditional’ methods (although still worthy) were challenged.

RISE: Education can be a particularly challenging area to market in, what challenges have you faced in your role at Talbot?

Hayley: We are in a very fortunate and unusual position, with waiting lists in many years. The only tricky area is recruiting boarders from overseas, when you are looking at an international market – the rest of the UK is your competition – our budget is not big enough to keep up with all the the bigger boarding schools. Luckily we are a day school with boarding not solely a boarding school, so we don’t rely on it.

RISE: We want to inspire job seekers/those looking for something new that you can make your own path, can you explain a little bit about yours?

Hayley: You really can! If you work hard & are creative – people will notice and doors will open. My career started in graphic design at 16, I had no intention of working in education my career has evolved by being adaptable.

RISE: Looking to the future what does it hold for you?

Hayley: Who knows! The great thing about my role here at Talbot Heath is that I do so many different things in many areas, we could introduce something new & exciting next year and I will be working on that! I’d love my job so I think I will be here for the foreseeable.

RISE: If you were to give some advice to someone that wants to make the jump to a new career or carve their own what would you say?

Hayley: Do what you love, love what you do. That way positivity and enthusiasm comes easy! If you are going to work for someone else, make sure you believe in them and their company ethos.

 

Trying to be everything to everyone does not work anymore and sometimes the service and skill that we would normally deliver in our niche can be affected by the fact that we are trying to provide services that we do not have the expertise for.

 

Could having the right working culture influence the positive growth within businesses and encourage collaboration across the community? Surely that way everyone gets to play to their strengths, and everybody benefits? Most importantly the end users/customers/clients.

We had a chat with Marcus Wincott Marketing Manager at Media Lounge and Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth all about driving collaboration and where e-commerce fits into that concept.

We will delve into the ideas surrounding nurturing a company culture, owning your ‘own space’ in the market and how you then use the power of social media to back this all up.

The future is bright for collaboration and ecommerce, let’s delve into it with Marcus.

 

Culture – Let The Team Do The Talking

 

We see this word A LOT. As Marcus quite rightly says “I think some people think if you get a ping pong table and some funky wall graphics that’s all you need, that’s your culture nailed, you’ve smashed it.” Perceptions are short lived, your beer fridge isn’t going to help you when your staff are all overworked and unhappy and as a result, the work your agency does is suffering. Culture by definition means “a way of life” not a few fun gimmicks that you can throw in to appear to have an understanding of what people / employees nowadays are looking to get from the work they do.

Your Instagram stories may tell the world one thing, but the hours your staff work can paint an entirely different picture. This can be downfall a for your workforce, leaving them feeling exhausted. Marcus stresses that there can be a change, we just need to move away from rigidness and outdated ideals.  “There was this meritocracy [at a previous agency] applied to staying late, but at Media Lounge we actively encourage staff not to work late because ultimately you have to get the work life balance right and we’re probably not managing our workload properly if we feel we have to work late. Also, you just shouldn’t – it’s not healthy.”

This will look different in every company, but making a culture successful and a team work together is about playing to individual strengths  “When meeting with my team about direction and strategy, I’ll have my own ideas for content and advertising budget and stuff, but I won’t have it formulated because everything has to be discussed with my team because they have to deliver it. I don’t force ideas upon them, but instead let them steer the strategy, change the way they work and be flexible in order to achieve our goals.”

 

How Do We Want To Work, Really Though? 

 

More and more of us are now talking about a better work life balance and having a more Holistic approach to this. However is it really achievable to implement flexible working on a large scale and can every business achieve it?

Marcus sees some positives and negatives in this approach. “Some of the best work we do is when we are all in a room together talking about a project and chipping in which you can’t do if you’re all remote. But for some tech businesses, remote staff works better, some of which don’t even have a HQ.”

Or maybe it needs to be an overhaul about how we work and spend our hours working. “I get it, I think it could be more about bits of remote working, side hustles, and people generally working less hours in a normal job so they have time for all the rest.”

 

 

“I think people still want a baseline salary but increasingly, they also want the flexibility to run a side hustle or a meet up group or something else that they’re passionate about.”

 

 

If we’re going to take this collaborative approach to the next level, maybe this is where we turn to next, where our teams work less hours and pursue passions outside of their 9-5. Could this make for a happier more productive workforce despite less hours in the office? Marcus certainly feels the benefit of this mutual trust between him and his employer and is able to watch his side hustle grow. He is the Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth which is a series of events for local Entrepreneurs, “Our commitment to the global Startup Grind brand was that we would hold an event every month and since September 2018 we’ve done that. Our only goal is to educate inspire and connect entrepreneurs in our local area to make the startup journey, a less lonely and scary one.”

 

Collaboration In Our Communities 

 

As our community opens up more, and we nurture and support each other’s ideas and smaller business plans, our guards lower and ‘competition’ suddenly becomes less of a threat.

After a few years in London, Marcus reflected on his return to Bournemouth and his surprise at the change. “The extremely active and open meet up an event scene here, just would never have happened 10 years ago. I think the collaborative nature of the digital community here has grown, and it’s because everyone is less guarded now.”

“When I came back from London there was still some of those big names knocking about like BBD, Adido, RedWeb but they were very different, they looked different. They have got their niche and the thing they do and nobody these days claims to do everything.”

The term ‘jack of all trades’ comes to mind but people are not fooled by this anymore. There is a place for’ say yes and learn how to do it when you get there’ but as a strategy this has been proven to fail and these failures do not go unnoticed.

Marcus went on to say that often Media Lounge liaise with agencies that offer similar services, because they know what they’re good at and when a project comes up, if they know they can’t give their 100% they’ll pass it on to the right person or business that can.

“Now times gone on, there is somewhat of a karmic feel to things where kindness and support come back around.”

“The most important thing should be the outcome for the client. Holistically it creates a much better idea of trust.”

 

Online Community And Buying From Those You Trust

 

When we’re pitching to our clients, trust is a key factor in conversion. As we’ve seen the rise in Social Media, Instagram particularly, the term ‘influencers’ is now part of our everyday lingo.

A new feature is on the horizon which we believe could change the face of communities online, making them more authentic. It also opens up the spectrum for the side hustle that is micro influencing.

Individuals within these smaller online communities are now going to be able to purchase directly from their favoured micro influencers posts on Instagram “They are now taking it a step further, so you can now purchase in app. That’s powerful. I think it will make the whole influencer trend more accountable and so-called influencers will have the opportunity to prove the ‘influence’ they have over their communities. Or not.” It’s no surprise that one person having millions of followers and getting paid to post a picture of themselves with a dietary supplement milkshake was going to be short lived. Just like that of a business with a transparent culture, we can see straight through it.

We are hoping this will lead to the rise of powerful and influential micro influencers who are passionate about what they do and have niche, but loyal following. This in turn can be an individual’s side hustle and will help to grow collaboration within our online and offline communities.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

Trisha Lewis

 

 

We had a chat with Trisha Lewis who founded her own Communication Coaching business to discuss what it takes to be a leader and what the big fear of public speaking is all about.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and what is your ‘title’?

 

Trisha: Trisha Lewis – Communication Coach – my own business – just me!

 

RISE: A ‘Communication Coach’ can you describe to us what this entails and what a normal day in the life of Trisha looks like?

 

Trisha: I help people communicate better! That’s a bit simplistic I guess – but it is the ultimate goal.  That might mean communicating better with themselves, their team or their audience. Communication is a foundational skill and once you start unpacking what it involves, well – it’s a fascinating gift to unwrap!

There is no such thing as a normal day – which kind of suits me! I have developed good multi-tasking skills and I have a fair bit of energy – even at my age!  I am constantly curious and like the aspect of my work which involves meeting so many fascinating people as well as finding ways to communicate with and grow my network. I rarely say no to an opportunity to get to know someone or brainstorm a possible collaboration.  Oh – and I am also writing a book!  All this means my days have a pretty random quality to them.

However – I do try and put a little structure around the randomness.  If I have a day with no client coaching sessions or company workshops/talks etc… then I will often start early by walking down to my favourite coffee shop – laptop in bag.  I like to work with a little buzz around me rather than silence.  I will then make sure I do at least 30 minutes of business development before getting stuck into blog writing, social media engagement or book writing.

Then there will be days when I have clients coming to my home based office for coaching or I am going out to deliver talks or workshops to groups and organisations. Oh – and some days that mean a very early start or evening trip out for a networking event!

 

RISE: We’ve chatted in the past about this but can you outline what Imposter Syndrome is and how you begin to tackle this?

 

Trisha: I will share with you the definition I give in the introduction of the book I am currently writing!

A nagging feeling of self-doubt that feels real but does not stand up to scrutiny. A feeling that you are on the outside looking in but ‘they’ all have the right to be there. A feeling that if you do not work very hard at being loved, clever and perfect – you will be thrown out into the wilderness by a jeering crowd of haters who have discovered just how useless, bad (or both) you ‘really’ are. A feeling that when people do praise you – they are going to regret it as soon as you leave the room or put the phone down.

 I could delve deep here – but hey – I want people to buy the book!  Having said which I do give a lot of free tips in the various blog posts and videos I share!

In brief – you tackle it by getting real! You equip yourself with a good dose of knowledge about what it is – and what the symptoms and consequences are – and then you use some tactics that involve pressing pause between feelings and actions, talking with others to reveal that you are not alone and ‘bigging yourself up’!

There is no cure – it is not an illness! What you do is become more aware of the signs and quicker at pressing pause!  Again – much more in the book – or for now on my YouTube channel (plug!)

 

RISE: Why do you think that public speaking is such a huge fear for so many of us?

 

Trisha: Ah – again I could go on! So I will try to keep this brief…

Actually I used to be very shy when I was younger – belief it or not!  They do say a lot of actors have a shy streak!

The fear is the same as any kind of fear – fear is a powerful force for all us humans! We are wired to see the negative – it is a survival tool that can get triggered off in an unhelpful way these days! There are rarely sabre-toothed tigers to watch out for.  It is a mind-body thing – and it is far worse when you keep sending signals to your brain that you are afraid – because then your body responds even more – and a viscous cycle is set up!

The main tactic involves getting ‘out of your head’! You need to be present – remember that it is about them not you – and they are not out to get you!

Our biggest fear is often fear of rejection and fear of judgement – again down to ancient wiring! If you acknowledge what is going on and get rational about the reality of the situation (no tigers) you calm you body and brain down!

I also think people get hung up on an idea that they must be like someone else – some version of a good speaker that they have in their head – but isn’t them! The more you try to be like someone else the worse the fear gets.

You also need to be at one with your content – plenty of preparation and a sense of excitement about what you are delivering.

Again – loads of tips on my YouTube channel (did I already mention this?!)

 

RISE: As a member of a community like YATM, do you think these ‘safe spaces’ give a platform for those that wouldn’t normally want to speak or share knowledge?

 

Trisha: Definitely!  I love spaces like YATM.  As the host of events like this it is crucial to create an atmosphere where people realise that no question is daft!

 

RISE: How useful is communication and the understanding of this in the marketing and PR world?

 

Trisha: Massively useful!  Maybe I would say that – but it is true. There are 2 particularly crucial aspects to good communication that are needed for marketing and PR – connection and clarity.  Connection involves resonating with your audience and building trust – and clarity involves the audience being able to ‘get’ your message and know what to do next!

 

RISE: What path have you taken to get you to where you are today? What advise would you give to someone else looking to do something similar?

 

Trisha: Wow! I am old! I won’t give you my life story!  In brief – I have embraced life – the good and the bad.  I have never stopped wanting to learn and I am curious!  When things felt wrong – I changed them and when things felt too comfortable – I took up new challenges!

Whilst I had a number of different mini careers and the job of bringing up a family – I had a constant passion for acting.  It was my career as a professional actor (theatre not TV!) that led me along a random path to various connected opportunities – all involving masses of communication and trust building skills!  I built a good reputation as a speaker on a ‘non-business’ circuit – but decided I wanted to rise to the challenge of using my combined skills and experience in the business world. Just under 3 years ago I took the plunge and up my coaching business. What a learning curve!

I had to be prepared to keep pushing myself over the obstacles and not retreat! I also had to rewire my brain a bit – blending the creative with the business/sales side of things – not easy!

The main constant throughout has been my instinct that offering value, listening and relationship building would be the most effective way to grow – and I am glad to say my instinct was correct.

Making others feel empowered is about fostering an environment of trust and recognition.

When you provide others with a platform to be recognised, it can help create new paths or just give others a sense of reward.

Our 2019 Rock Star Awards were held at the O2 Bournemouth during March, with an initiative to put the spotlight on a younger audience with incredible talent and resilience.

Let’s take a look at the experience, from the perspective of three of this years’ winners.

 

What It Truly Means To Be A Rock Star Winner

“It feels incredible to receive this recognition for the efforts I have put in,” says Oliver Cooper, this year’s Teaching Star winner. A 25 year old with a self-defined unwavering dedication to his pupils at Shaftsbury School, Oliver understands the importance of being a role model to others.

As someone who aims to overcome diversity, and has so far succeeded, Oliver became the mould of a perfect Rock Star Winner:

“I work hard like everyone else in this profession, but knowing what I am doing is being appreciated in the community is an amazing feeling. I gained a massive amount of respect after winning, making all the late nights and hours of work feel worthwhile.

“I don’t need applause for what I do, but the respect from those around me now is lovely.”

Tasha Clarke, winner of our Creative Star award, shares this strong mentality too.

From working a Saturday job in her mum’s Bridal shop, Tasha knew she wanted more, demonstrating the drive our Rock Star Winners all share:

“There is a lot of pressure for young people to figure out what they want in life, let alone do well. Winning this award was a lovely confirmation that things are heading in the right direction.

“Being noticed is a real honour, and representing Rock Star Awards was fantastic.”

Inspirational Star Tom Douris has a story nothing short of exceptional. Diagnosed with arthritis at the tender age of 8 in every joint in his body, life “sucked”. This predetermined disadvantage had affected his life for years, but at 8 years old the arthritis burned out. However it left lasting damage which resulted in two hip replacements before the age of 25. It’s fair to say that Tom has far succeeded his peer’s expectations in life:

“I feel like I have never been listened to or believed in throughout my life, but when I was nominated for this award it felt like I was given a voice.

“It’s given me hope in my future and the want to help others along the way. Even though I have had arthritis, there is still a massively bright light at the end of the tunnel.”

 

A Behind The Scenes Look At The Ceremony

The evening is always much more than a quick grab and dash. It is a celebration of success where all of our winners and nominees are treated with the upmost respect and given a star-studded reception they each deserve for their achievements:

“It is a really beautiful event in a wonderful venue. The atmosphere was full of energy too, and with everyone being in black tie it felt very professional,” explains Oliver.

“For someone who spends all their time working in a classroom, going to an event like that was so different. The efforts that had gone into it, especially with the vibrant and energetic community mural made the place look fantastic.”

Tom and Tasha agree: “It was an amazing experience getting to know everyone there, all the nominees and everyone’s stories about how they got where they are today. The evening couldn’t have gone any better, and winning the award couldn’t have meant more to me.

“Everything was fantastic, smiles lit up the room.”

 

Looking Into The Future

 Oliver has a clear vision of what it means to be a successful teacher, something he intends to push forward into his career: “To understand a pupil’s progression you need to understand the pupil. It’s about knowing what makes them tick.”

“As a newly qualified teacher I need to finish my induction period, but after that my main focus is to become a better teacher. There is still so much I can learn and I’m eager to enjoy those experiences.

“Having the award makes what I’m doing feel so worthwhile, and I am now in a position to push forward in my field. I am soon taking on older students, so I can teach the kids I’ve watched grow through school.”

“My life has become so much more than I ever imagined it could be at this age,” says Tasha.

“I’m making my first clients wedding dress which is an amazing thing to be able to say. By next year, I hope to be opening up my own store and taking it from there.”

For Tom, his obstacles have been anything but minor although this is no barrier for his mental strength. He’s storming through an Occupational Therapy degree at Bournemouth University:

“I want to network with people in the Bournemouth area and whizz through my business plan, to share ideas and support each other in the healthcare and therapy fields. I am looking to volunteer too, and help others with arthritis or similar muscular-skeletal conditions.”

 

Ensuring Success of Future Generations

 As someone who has produced exceptional work in their field of expertise, Oliver had some helpful words to offer to potential Rock Award nominees:

“If you’re thinking about these awards, I would encourage you to go for it. I was tentative about it at the start, but the guidance and support given to you by Rock Star Awards team throughout the process is priceless. It is an amazing thing for someone to do, no matter where you are in your career.”

Tasha wants to instil the self-belief she has in young Rock Star hopefuls:

“To feel the gratitude from someone else just by being recognised is such a special experience. You should give it a go. Ignore the doubt in your head and just go for it, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.”

Tom also has some important words for those who desire to be more than they are today. Amidst what seemed at times endless obstacles, he has powered through the other side, achieving greatness incomparable to the expectations of others:

“The whole process has been unforgettable. I felt like I’d won just being listened to, the award was the icing on the cake.

“This award has really given young people like me a better name, to show there are young people who want to make a difference in life.”

Being a Rock Star is not just in your actions professionally, but in the person you are.

Despite the challenges you face in life, it is the way you overcome them that counts. The progress they made in such a short amount of time is what makes these three people exceptional.