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 spoke with Maria Seabright the Finance and HR Director of Greendale Construction to ask her a little bit about how she got into what she is doing now and how they are shaping the world of construction for young people in our area.

 

RISE: What is your name and what is your role at Greendale Construction?

Maria: My name is Maria Seabright and I am the Finance & HR Director.

RISE: How did you get into the construction industry? Did you work your way up to the role you are in today?

Maria: Previously to joining Greendale Construction I was working in the waste disposal industry which worked alongside the Construction industry.  I wanted to change careers and answered an advert in the Bournemouth Echo for an Admin Assistant / Receptionist (I still have the original advert in my personnel file!).  So on the 1st October 1997 I joined Greendale Construction.  My role was to answer the phone, and to provide admin and secretarial support.  When I joined the company their turnover was £1m.  As the company grew my role within the organisation grew.  I started doing the accounts (which were originally outsourced) so also became Accounts Manager.  In 2000 We moved into larger premises and engaged more staff so again my role changed to Office Manager.  In 2009 we moved to Old Generator House where we now have 19 admin/senior managers based in the office and the number of staff that we employ grew to 50.  On the 1st January 2013 I was promoted to Finance & HR Director at the same time Andy Musselwhite was promoted to Contracts Director.  This now meant that the company had 4 directors on the board.  I was so honoured and privileged to be asked to become a Director of this great company that I had seen go from strength to strength.  I have now been with the company 22 years this year.

RISE: As great sponsors (and believers!) of the Rock Star Awards, how do you make your workplace inclusive for young people starting out?

Maria: We strongly believe that we have a responsibility as an organisation to train for the future of the industry – this means that we are very active in recruiting apprentices.  Apprentices can be for various trades; site carpentry, bricklaying or Painting & Decorating.  We also engage Graduates where the company financially support any university fees, meaning that they can study for a degree without having to get into debt, and ensure that every apprentice / graduate has a 1-1 mentor that helps them with their training.  We also offer work experience placements for students (majority being of school age) – this gives them an insight into what actually happens on a construction site or within a construction office if it is a career that they wish to embark on.  We interview every student that applies for works experience as we believe that this gives them valuable experience in attending an interview with an employer.  It also allows us to see what the student wants to gain out of their works experience so we tailor their training to reflect this.   Because of the number of graduates / apprentices that have trained / qualified with us over the years we know that they make great mentors for the other young people coming through the company and we encourage ex apprentices and ex graduates to actually mentor some of these young employees.   In 2018 we won the Dorset Business Award for “Developing Talent”.  It was wonderful to be recognised for the great work that we do with developing talent within our organisation.

RISE: From what we know of you, you are a very charitable company and truly believe in giving back to your community – do you think that makes you all more effective as a workforce?

Maria: We do an awful lot of charity work and also working with schools & colleges to promote the industry.  Again we feel it is important to give something back to the community.  We have a nominated charity every year that we raise money for – this charity is voted for by the employees and this is really important as they are contributing / giving something back to who they have chosen to support.  We are also currently looking to introduce some volunteer days within the company – this will be where an employee can volunteer within the community one day a year.  This volunteer day encompasses  our mental health & wellbeing in the workplace policy.  By allowing our employees to give something back and volunteering to help other for a day makes them feel good.

RISE: Do you think the construction industry is slowly becoming more approachable for both men and women?

Maria: More women are becoming more interested in working within the construction industry.  This is very evident when I am attending careers events at schools & colleges as more young ladies approach me to ask about working in the industry, be it becoming an architect, or working on site, or learning a trade.  I do think that employers within the construction industry are now more open to engaging women within the industry.

RISE: What advice would you give to a young person looking to get into directorship one day?

Maria: Being a director to any company is a massive responsibility. It has its good days and its bad days however it is wonderful to be in a position where you can see the company grow and the people around you excel in their chosen profession.  It is hard work and requires total dedication to the business.  It can be stressful but it is how you manage that stress – it is essential to get your work life balance right.  Do things away from the office that help you re-charge your batteries so that you have the strength the tackle each day head on.  A business is only as good as the team around you to make sure that you employ the right people that will embrace the company ethos and who all work in the same direction to make the company bigger and better.  Be a director that is approachable – always have an open door policy for your staff to talk to you if they have any concerns or problems.  Share your business plan with all your staff, that way they all know what you are trying to achieve as a business and they will be working towards the same goal.

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 asked Justin Cohen, the Commercial Manager of Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa a little bit events and PR. We wanted to know a little bit about what he thought about it, and how he got into it!

 

 

RISE: PR has made a complete U-turn since the introduction of social media, do you think there is still room for the old methods that we used to use in PR?

 

Justin: I think that conventional PR has been accentuated by the addition of social channels. However, this is a double-edged sword. As a PR professional, your job is to manage the public reputation of your client’s business. If there are now 5-10 more channels available for your client to promote themselves, there are 5-10 sites for your client’s detractors to pan their products or services online. PR’s need to stay sharp and utilise up to date social listening tools to truly stay ahead of the game and maintain their client’s reputation. But it’s not all doom and gloom… PR is, and always has been, about relationships. The Editor of any given publication will still thank you for a good story – they’ll now just be able to share it online as well as in print/radio/tv.

 

RISE: As a business is having someone that takes charge of PR, events and marketing is key to the success and continuous positive change of a company?

 

Justin: It all depends of the allocation of company resources. There is often an argument that having an internal personal take the lead on PR, events and marketing will make for more consistent, cohesive communications. That may well be the case. However, from the opposite side of things, there is also the argument that company directors and employees are often so close to the subject that they’re trying to communicate, they may fail to see other opportunities or fresh angles. A “happy-medium” would be a strong internal coordinator (who genuinely gets “it”) who could liaise with equally strong external expert consultants.

 

RISE: The saying goes, ‘Any PR is good PR’, but is this really true?

 

Justin: I used to think this was true. I’m not so sure anymore. Some brands think that they are untouchable. I’m sure Miramax would argue the contrary now with the cloud over Harvey Weinstein and co…

But then again, look at what Nike have managed to accomplish with the Colin Kaepernick story. Some said it was a foolish move (resulting in customers burning their Nikes online, etc), but in real terms, they’ve capitalised massively on strong public empathy. That was a well-managed situation.

 

RISE: Events nowadays aren’t just about putting on some food and drink, it’s about providing an experience. Is there any tips or tricks you would tell companies that are thinking of hosting their own event?

 

Justin: I agree. People now need a reason to turn up. Gone are the days where a few vol Au vents and some bubbly would be a good enough reason to motivate guests to attend an event. Now it’s far more about the overall experience. For example when we hosted the launch of the Dorset Business Awards last year, we looked at the overall theme of the event, and tied the welcome cocktail and canape selection to that specific theme, which made the event much more memorable.

Another example… we recently launched our FOODIE club which, again, was about the experience. Yes, guests enjoyed eight courses of amazing food. Yes, every course was matched with superb wines and other drinks. Yes, the service was five star. But what guests will remember most of all was the element of theatre surrounding the evening. The al fresco setting in The Italian Garden; the Iberico ham being carved in front of them; the smell of the scallops being barbecued right in front of them; the floating candles on the pond; the expert guest speaker. I could go on. The point is that, when planning any event, you need to think “what is the REASON that I’m giving for my guests to want to turn up?”

RISE: As an individual trying to get into the industry of events and PR, do you have any words of advice? Do you think experience outweighs education in this case?

 

Justin: I studied marketing, but never even touched PR or events really. It was only later in my career, working for Darren Northeast PR, that I honed my PR and media skills. I’d always enjoyed writing (I still do!), so PR became another great outlet for that. I think that getting the right sort of experience will always trump educational qualifications. We always take on a number of work placement students from Bournemouth University’s Event Management programme, because we believe that the right experience will accelerate any classroom learning. Like they say: “Everything works in theory. Even communism.” It’s getting things to work in practice that is the kicker!

Only when you look back do you realise the development and hard work that goes into a completed year.

Let’s look at some lessons from 2018 that we have learnt at RISE.

The biggest lessons of 2018

By empowering the RISE team in 2018 and instilling belief in every single person in the company, we now act as one body.

Having a solid base to a business and connecting to each other on a human level changed the company around for the better. This is a valuable trait we will work harder on, year on year.

Angela Piromalli, our MD, sums this up perfectly; “This year is all about having the right team on board and then giving responsibility to others.”

Whilst it is great to be acknowledged for awards, it is the byproduct of hard work. We were nominated for seven awards this year and we won seven awards. From that perspective, it has been fantastic. We have progressed into our next phase as a company after deciding to really go for it in 2018.

2019 from a business angle

Not only do we want to empower our colleagues and work as one, we put this mentality towards each of our clients and candidates.

Rather than being outsiders to our family, we embraced everyone who came to us and treated them as our own.

The growth of our Rock Star Awards has also allowed different employees to take on bigger responsibilities in this sector. Instead of one person taking full responsibility for a project solo, we decided that more people should work together and create a product even better than the year before. Giving up and handing to others an idea that was conceived and delivered (the Rock Star Awards) may be for the benefit of you and those around you:

Angela says, “It’s important to give others responsibility, and prove you can trust your team. Giving people the freedom takes the pressure off of you, and brings new minds together.  For instance, Fleur Cook, our Marketing Manager, hosted the 2019 Rock Star Awards launch event at Bournemouth University and people recognised Fleur as a figurehead for this initiative.“

“Instilling new energy to revamp existing projects makes such a difference.”

The units we create as a company are equally as important as employing good people. If you want to progress as a company, everyone within a company needs to be invested. That core team is the company, not just the name on the logo.

What will next year hold?

Now we have the right energy together as a company, we look forward to what next year has in store.

As well as the responsibility, it is important to have the drive and passion to make 2019 a success. For all businesses, there has to be careful planning. It comes down to companies knowing the structure for the future and giving a bit of leeway to slip up occasionally without the world crashing down around them.

In 2019 we also plan to launch a new think tank programme. Angela explains this new introduction to the business:

“Our objective is to challenge the norms of the businesses in Dorset, by trialling the four day working week, using public transport to get into work, a six hour working day, and seeing the impact this has on mental health, work ability and also efficiency.”

We want people and businesses to get involved and participate with us on this project. Trialling is the only real way to understand the level of success and achievement. By working with partners we can present strong tangible data.

Discovering and unravelling these secrets of business that no one’s really delved into before is important for us. We want to know how you can increase productivity, how people can be happier and how you can attract the right talent and retain it.

As Angela states, “If the research reveals a positive impact on these factors, it will be landmark for us and the local economy.”

“Whether clients or candidates, the output for everyone has to be living a content and fulfilled life.”

Let’s Conclude

Reflecting and growing from the past is such an undervalued asset in the business world.

If we, as RISE, had not looked back at our continued journey and where we have come from, would not have allowed us to plan and initiate. We are continually thankful for the people around us, the clients we serve and the candidates we support as well as the community we have nurtured. It is a privilege to be a part of the business community we have been a part of for over 10 years.

Having a genuine excitement for the year ahead with new projects and fresh ideas is building our community and allowing us to be excited to go into work – trust your gut and listen to ideas that aren’t just your own.

Give 2019 all you’ve got.

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.

 

Clare Groombridge

Owner & Founder of South Coast Social 

 

 

We asked the fantastically knowledgeable Clare Groombridge a little bit about social media now, the freedom it’s given companies and what works best for who.

 

 

Rise: Social Media has grown exponentially over the past couple of years, what would you say have been the highlights and best things to come off the back of this?

 

Clare: I would say the opportunities for brands to engage and interact with their audience. As social media has evolved, so has the need for brands to become more clever with their social media marketing and ‘think outside the box’ to attract valuable followers.  Consumers are definitely increasingly social media savvy, so businesses need to follow suit or get left behind.

 

Rise: Being a part of social media has given companies more free reign on where, when and what they can post. Do you think this freedom has given smaller companies a chance that they wouldn’t have had if all marketing and advertising was still just in print?

 

Clare: Oh 100%!! We work with small businesses who exclusively market and sell through social media. It’s ALL about engagement and being part of a conversation – brands can’t just say ‘here we are! buy our stuff!’ in the same way they used to via print or TV – that just doesn’t cut it any more. It’s given incredible opportunities for those businesses who capitalised on the opportunities social media can offer.

 

Rise: In terms of job roles, there are lots of jobs that exist now because of social media that ten years ago did not exist. What do you think is next in terms of new jobs roles in the social media industry?

 

Clare: Definitely! (our business, for example!) We’ve seen a huge rise in Influencers (e.g. those who make their vlogging / blogging life their full time career – yes, it definitely is a thing!) However, with growing industry concern about authenticity, even this niche is constantly adapting. The huge rise of social media advertising, especially on Facebook has led to dedicated Social Media Advertising Specialist roles, often working hand in hand with a Content Creation Specialist and Data Analyst.

 

Rise: How as an individual can you prepare yourself for the future of the social media revolution, is there any training or platforms for useful information moving forwards?

 

Clare: I think if you’re using social media in your role, try and stay up to date with the latest developments by reading good social media blogs such as Hootsuite, Social Media Today (or, you know, our company blog!). Facebook offers free training for Business users including their advertising platform which could be invaluable if you haven’t had much experience.

 

Rise: What is the best social media platforms to use or does this depend on the sector you work in? For example if you run a creative agency what would be the best platform? Or as an insurance company where would be best to post?

 

Clare: We have a mantra we always roll out to our clients – ‘pick your networks wisely and do them well’! Rather than specifically your sector, it depends where your audience is, and what you want to achieve from your social media networks – is it website traffic, brand awareness, follower growth…

We work with niche, luxury brands that simply have an Instagram profile and we ensure this is beautifully crafted with stunning, impactful imagery and carefully constructed captions. However, if you’re a B2B business, LinkedIn might be the perfect place to be to engage with supplier and potential clients. Whatever you choose, if you’re going to manage your social media profiles in-house, ensure you have the time to post frequent, relevant content.

Winning awards is not just about being in the moment, but providing the momentum for the future.

What happens after the cameraman has stopped taking photos and the occasion of a celebratory night outcomes to an end?

The Rock Star Awards return in Spring 2019 to celebrate young people who have reached out, succeeded on the path they are currently on and deserve to be recognised.

The awards have been in place since 2012. This means that the alumni of award winners grow every year. This now represents people who have taken the initiative on a personal and professional capacity and their own journeys taking them to new places and providing a framework for their own development.

We caught up with three former winners on how their lives changed after winning a Rock Star Award.

We spent some time with Nat Hawley, Kamron Arasteh and Molly Brown on where their lives are now and a chance to look back on when they won an award.

 

Nat’s Journey Afterwards

Nat is now based in London as the Partnership and Community Manager for Exceptional Individuals, which is the first employment partnership for neurodivergent people. He won the Inspirational Star of the Future in
2014 and his current position reflects that.

Nat’s progression has been significant, he explains, “I have a degree from Bournemouth University in Television Production. However, my calling was to use my life experience to support others. Having adversity in your life and overcoming it inspires you to empower and support others. I have Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and autism, and use this unique positive experience to make the world a more inclusive place, one person, one day at a time.”

“It was a huge step to move to the city from my familiar surroundings in Bournemouth. The recognition and championing from Rise gave me the encouragement to take my passion a step further and be a campaigner for others with learning differences on a global scale. I became a supervisor for The Princes Trust, training others from challenging backgrounds to become youth workers, I have taught people with disabilities in multiple countries and currently celebrating one year in my current role at Exceptional Individuals with the launch of my very own Academy for people with Dyslexia.”

Looking back on the award win in 2014, can Nat recall what it felt? Nat looks back as a sense of recognition. He says, “I had always been a spokesperson for charitable organisations. Winning a Rock Star Award was acknowledgement for me as an individual. It provided me with added credibility and the recognition allowed me to reach a bigger audience and dedicate myself to supporting even more people as my full time job.”

“I found that after the awards this presented the ‘foot in the door’ moment. It started a conversation with others. To have one person believe in you is an achievement but to have an entire county is empowerment for a life time.”

 

Kamron’s Progression

Kamron Arasteh was recognised as a Student Rock Star in 2013 whilst in his final year at Bournemouth University, studying IT. Kamron now works for Europe’s leading home improvement retailer, Kingfisher, as a programme manager.

Kamron started the process believing it was an internal award by the University. “I originally thought this was an award that had a focus on my faculty and run by the University. To be a winner means a lot. I can remember taking my mum to the awards evening and watching the nominee video from one of the other finalists who had created a fantastic piece of software and had completed their Masters. Degree. I thought, ‘there’s no way, I’m going to win this.’ It was great to be recognised.”

Since winning the student award, Kamron has progressed his IT career with a variety of roles within Kingfisher that began as part of the company graduate scheme. Kamron continues, “I started in an admin support role and that has quickly changed over the past few years. I have worked on a £250m project to replace all B&Q IT systems and some considerable European wide projects. My working week is between offices in Southampton and Yeovil. I am currently running six large projects for Screwfix in adapting their HR and finance function.”

Whilst Kamron’s professional development has seen a sharp rise, he still looks back to his Rock Star Award win as providing a foundation. “When many people come out of University, our CV’s are very sparse and many look the same as there is limited experience, let alone award accolades! Everyone needs a magnet to draw people to. Being a Rock Star Award winner did this.”

 

Molly’s Development

One of the most recent award winners Molly Brown saw her award win recognised on a much wider level within her company.

Molly won the Shooting Star of the Future award in 2017 and made her way to the stage on crutches whilst recovering from an injury. Molly said, “It was an amazing feeling to win the award. Whilst I would not consider myself someone with an academic background, to have this award makes you believe in yourself.”

Molly is now Team Manager at wealth management company, Old Mutual Wealth. “I started with a six-month contract as an administrator and then became team manager. Winning a Rock Star Award isn’t just about recognition on a personal level, but something to be celebrated with colleagues and those we love.”

“My company reveled in it with me. We all enjoyed it. When others recognise these types of achievements you understand the contribution you make. It gives you a sense of place within the companies that we are part of.”

 

Time To Conclude

Winning a Rock Star Award is more than being part of an occasion. It is a way to encourage a conversation, celebrate on a wider scale and to have that first sense of recognition beyond studies and early years of full-time employment.

Spending time with those who have won an award in previous years gives perspective to consider what a long way they have come from.

From campaigning to managing wider teams to having qualities of leadership and drive, represents the whole ethos of what the awards wanted to be when it started in 2012. The journeys continue for all of us.

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

We asked Jake Moore cyber security expert from ESET Internet Security some questions about keeping informed and getting your company safe whether you are a big or small business.

 

Rise: What is your name, where do you work, and what do you do within your role?

 

Jake: Jake Moore, Security Specialist for ESET Internet Security. I am the spokesman for the company commenting in the national news on a daily occurrence in the field of cyber security.

 

Rise: Can you give me a brief description of Cyber Security?

 

Jake: Wow “brief”?! That’s tough. I would say it’s the imperative requirement to tighten defences on any internet connected device because of the increasing ways in which gremlins get in to try and either steal information, cause havoc, and extort you or all three.  Sadly there is no silver bullet that can do this but with a range of tools to combat it, this risk can be reduced.

 

Rise: Why has there been such a rise in the need for Cyber Security in the last few years?

 

Jake: More and more interaction and human activity now relies on the internet with the ever increasing need for speed when it comes to communications, services and transactions alike. This inevitably means that there will be more vulnerabilities for hackers to take advantage of and compromise. From companies storing confidential data which could potentially be hacked to people using the same passwords for all online accounts, people sadly still need to up their security to stay ahead of the game. It probably feels like there is a new scam or cyber risk in the press on a daily basis and this tends to be because the general public are still slightly behind on the educational requirement to mitigate the threats.

 

Rise: How can we start to take steps to make sure we are safe against safety breaches? Do you have some top tips?

 

Jake: There are some really simple steps we can all take to reduce the chance of getting our own devices or information hacked in to. These steps won’t take you long to set up and once you are used to them, they will actually make your online life easier. Firstly, download a password manager application on your phone and create unique strong passwords for all of your accounts keeping them stored in the manager app. This will save you from most simple hacking breaches. Secondly, implement 2 factor authentication on all applications that hold sensitive information such as your email and social media accounts. All this involves is inputting your mobile number to the application so that when you log in on a new device, it will text you a code to input quickly making it so much more secure as hackers will not have your mobile phone. Even safer is by downloading an authentication app such as Google Authenticator. These generate codes only you can see. And finally I suggest you backup all your data such as photos, music or videos that you could never ever live without. No one wants to experience that feeling of losing those precious moments such as your kids photos or a special holiday should the worst ever happen.  

 

Rise: Do news releases like this mean good news for the industry of Cyber Security? https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-universities-recognised-for-excellence-in-cyber-security-research

 

Jake: Of course good news is excellent when it comes to cyber security. If there is anything that tries to balance out the negative stories we hear and read on a daily basis, then that’s a good thing in my opinion. We are in desperate need to entice new people from all backgrounds (especially more women) into the industry as it has been documented that there still aren’t enough people in the cyber defence world to tackle the ever growing demand.

 

Rise: Are we well equipped for the future with the huge increase in technological advancements? Surely the more tech and digital platforms that are produced the more ways we can be hacked?

 

Jake: We are getting there but it has to be a combined effort and shift in culture to maximise the war on cybercrime. Companies need to understand their own risks and in some cases, employ more people equipped to reduce those threats. Moreover, the public need to understand that burying your head in the sand won’t make the problem go away and in fact, simple cyber security hygiene isn’t too difficult to implement. As soon as people allow computers and cyber awareness training be a part of life, you could potentially eradicate 80% of cybercrime.

 

Rise: What great advancements has there been in terms of security for businesses and your everyday individual?

 

Jake: Simple advancements such as a change in policy, education and verification techniques are the actually the most powerful. Due to the fact that hacking people is far easier than hacking systems, by simply upping staff and the general public in awareness will impact greatly on society. There is still a slight “technophobe” attitude which harpers our future but this is slowly eradicating.

 

Rise: Do you think there is enough public information around Cyber Security so people know how to be safe?

 

Jake: There is a plethora of public information on cyber security. Absolutely tons! However, the issue lies people wanting to access it. If we change the culture or even stigma around the subject then everything will fall into place and we will be a much stronger society when it comes to defending against cyber-attacks.

 

A huge thank you to Jake Moore for being a part of this series and answering all of our questions!

 

If you haven’t seen the first Q&A of this series click here to have a look.