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.

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.

Steele Raymond

 

 

We spoke to Lee Taylor the Business Development Director at Steele Raymond about how business development has changed and why Bournemouth is great.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and title?

 

Lee: Lee Taylor, Business Development Director at Steele Raymond LLP Solicitors

 

RISE: What does your day to day look like?

 

Lee: Like many people there are no one day the same. Every day is different. My role is to help implement the business strategy across firm. Every day I work with incredible legal teams who are all working exceptionally hard for their clients. Juggling client work and business development can be challenging, particularly when with much of the business development we do, timing is everything. After all clients do come first (quite rightly) so planning and communication is key in my role.

 

RISE: As someone that has worked in Business Development for a long time, do you think the way we ‘business develop’ has changed?

 

Lee: Very much so. I’ve been working in business development and marketing for nearly 20 years now and the change from when I started is incredible. When I first started in legal marketing it came at a time when the restrictions on what law firms could and couldn’t do were relaxed. In a positive way it was like starting with a blank canvas for law firms. That in itself had challenges as a lot of my time went in to encouraging legal teams to step outside of their comfort zone. But even back then people knew when they were being marketing to. I think everyone does. For me the biggest change has been advising lawyers what not to do rather than what to do.

Placing your trust in a law firm is a big decision and one not to be made lightly. The ability to market to the everyone is easier than ever with marketing tools at the end of everyone’s finger tips. But just because you can market to everyone, doesn’t mean you should. Far from it. I take a very responsible view on marketing and business development. Much of my work involves an audience of one. We are now at a time when the one-to-one relationships have never been more important and I actively work with my legal teams to help develop those relationships.

 

RISE: How would you say that Steele Raymond ‘do it differently’?

 

Lee: Our lawyers and legal teams give businesses more than just legal advice. We are an integral part of their business. We listen to our clients to understand their business and work to realise their ambitions. This all goes back to people and relationships. The people that I work with on a daily basis have developed such hard-earned relationships with their clients. Something that they have invested years and even decades in nurturing, getting to understand their client’s business inside and out. We are at heart a people business. And in that we believe that the law needs to have a human side too.

 

RISE: After working in other various places around the country, how does Bournemouth compare to them?

 

Lee: I’d flip the question the other way around and say how do other places I’ve worked compare to Bournemouth and Dorset. My answer is that they don’t compare. I’ve had an amazing start to my career and have worked in some of the UK’s largest cities; London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Cambridge and Norwich to name but a few. But the thing that makes Dorset stand out the most is the vibrant business community and the work-life balance. Dorset has such a vibrant and friendly business community that in some ways it doesn’t feel like work at all. Because it has such a close knit business community there is also no place to hide and business ethics goes a long way.

 

RISE: Within the industry of lawyers and solicitors do you see a lot of young people coming through? Do you think it’s on the rise?

 

Lee: We have some incredible young talent at Steele Raymond and we work very hard to attract the best legal talent from across the UK. Young professionals are the future of the business so attracting the key talent early on in their careers and nurturing them throughout the business, investing significant time in helping their achieve their career ambitions is one of our key goals.

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.

Gordon Fong – Co-Owner of Kimcell Ltd.

 

We spoke with Gordon Fong the Co-Owner of Kimcell Ltd about hosting, servicing and the security of your networks.

 

 

RISE: What is your name and your role?

Gordon: Gordon Fong and I’m a co-owner of Kimcell Ltd as well as director of other X-Net consultancy businesses.

 

RISE: Tell us more about Datacenta Hosting?

Gordon: Datacenta is a Managed Hosting Provider that works with local businesses and government agencies.

Whilst we provide most things when you think of a traditional Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as ADSL lines, domain name registration, email hosting and web hosting, we actually focus on businesses that want to work actively with a technical partner. Datacenta takes on the routine management of their servers and applications 24 hours a day, so they are freed up to work on their business.

 

RISE: What should someone look for in a web host i.e. reliability, speed, storage, clarity?

Gordon: It comes down to getting the realistic level of service for what your business really needs. We are all different, but very few of us reading this are Amazon and have that level of budget. Nobody should be oversold to though. Are you happy to deal with a web portal, or do you want to talk to real people?

I know that was not a technical answer to the question, but service means a lot more. Competing in the commodity space is not for me.

 

RISE: What do you see as the main difference for a company that is driven purely by price i.e. happy to pay £50 a year on hosting, as opposed to company that is looking for a much more robust hosting solution?

Gordon: The value of the website and sales that it might bring has to be proportionate to the service spend.

If it is there to provide some contact details, then you don’t need to spend a lot as your Google Business listing will give that if all else fails. You’ve got your Google Business listing, right?

If it is a full e-commerce website that is pulling in tens of thousands of pounds per month, then even paying a few hundred pounds per year hosting doesn’t match the importance of it to the business.

Things fail. Google fails, Amazon fails, Facebook fails, there is a risk of failure no matter how large that business is. Microsoft’s Azure platform failed that then took out a load of high-profile websites.

With that in mind, be prepared, have options with different suppliers.

 

RISE: How do you look at website security today? Do you see the UK in a vulnerable space?

Gordon: I don’t see the UK as especially different to anywhere else. I will say that security is an on-going process and needs continual attention just like updates your desktop computer or your smartphone. Don’t assume when you have taken delivery of a website or have set it up yourself then that is it.

Installing an SSL Certificate so you get a nice green padlock when visiting your WordPress website makes it no more secure if you have left a load of old plugins around that you were trialling but decided not to use. That padlock counts for nothing if your admin password is weak or the software is out of date.

Someone has to spend the time to sign up to and read the alerts from the software suppliers that form part of your system. If there is an update, you need to take a backup, apply the update, test it and accept it or rollback if there is an issue. Either you do it, your website supplier does it, or your managed hosting provider does it but there is a time and cost associated with that.

A plain web hosting provider will rent out some infrastructure space but will not know what you do with it or care less, unless it impacts other customers.

 

RISE: If there is a website that is behaving slowly and loading takes a long time, how much could be down to where it is hosted?

Gordon: It could certainly be down to the hosting infrastructure. If you are on a shared server with tens or hundreds of other customers, then you take your chances and hope they don’t have busy websites at the same time.

It could be that you pay for a guaranteed level of network traffic and computing resources. Or, it could be something with your website application and plugins playing up.

I’ve had instances where one of our own websites was slow at returning pages. We rewrote a database query in a different way and that improved things massively. It’s easy to blame the hardware or throw more CPU at a problem but it’s just as common that developers make mistakes or have room for improvement.

 

RISE: What is your one tip you would give to a growing company who is looking at a hosting company that is more than just paying a monthly fee to a place they have no idea where they are being hosted?

Gordon: I would say consider what your increasing needs might be as you grow and consider who is going to manage that. It might be someone in-house who performs a pick-and-mix from the Internet every couple of years, or do you want to build a relationship with a supplier that you can have a conversation with, who will gain intimate knowledge of your business and systems, who can then propose more efficient and more cost effective approaches.

 

RISE: What would your advice be to anyone looking to get into the technology industry like you have?

Gordon: There are plenty of free online services that you can use to create websites and online services. Do it for a personal project or local community that you are part of. Learn some things along the way, no doubt you will make a few mistakes along the way. That all adds to your back story in your job interview.

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.

raina summerson CEO
Raina Summerson, Agincare Group CEO

 

 

We spoke with Raina Summerson the Group CEO at Agincare UK about the care industry, the highs, the lows and moving through the ranks.

 

 

 

 

RISE: What is your title and could you give us a short summary of what your day to day looks like at Agincare?

Raina: Group Chief Executive – covering all businesses within the group of Agincare companies. Due to the number of and diversity of services we provide, no two days are the same really but essentially my days will cover: looking at current business, considering where we are against budgeted and planned performance and looking to future business development. This activity is all set in the context of our vision, mission and values that underpin the business plan and core objectives. All of it involves a lot of liaison with people inside the business and external partners, such as local authorities, the NHS, our teams and other partners. Also, due to our national presence and scope of business, linking in with regional and national policy work in the sector, for example with professional associations, other large providers and organisations such as the Department of Health and Social Care, Skills for Care, Association of Directors of Social Services and the Local Government Association.

RISE: What do you love most about your job?

Raina: The purpose, the people and the variety. Above all the fact that what Agincare and our teams do makes a real difference to peoples’ lives at critical times and the fact that I get to support and influence that and the wider sector in some way. Also, the feeling of satisfaction of being part of a fantastic team building an increasingly successful and sustainable business that gives employment, development, networks and a sense of place and friendship to around 4,000 people. Small moments of interaction with people who use our services or on talking with our teams are often the highlights of my week.

RISE: How did you get to where you are today?

Raina: I started as a frontline care worker when I was 19, working in a variety of roles covering hospitals, care homes and community. This led me to work for Social services where I was seconded to do my social work training, which I completed in 1997; following further development in this role and achievement of my MA in the evenings, I became a social care regulator for what is now the Care Quality Commission. In 2004, I had the opportunity to join a small but growing family business – Agincare – and the rest is history!

RISE: What is it like working within care? Are there highs and lows?

Raina: I have always been passionate about social care and supporting people, challenging injustice and it’s all I know as a career. There are certainly challenges and resilience is needed both in a personal and business capacity. There is a lot of frustration over the lack of understanding, funding and support of the workforce from government and therefore wider society. Fundamental issues that are causing critical shortfalls in care are simply not addressed and there are consequences that everyone in the sector – workforce and people receiving support services and their families alike – are feeling. That can be hard for people and off-putting. As a care provider or an individual within the sector (in any role), there is a great sense of responsibility. Feeling that you have let anyone down on a personal or professional level, even if not your ‘fault’ is the most difficult part of working in this sector. Offset though by those moments of interaction with people where you can see ‘I/we made a difference’ and the fun, camaraderie and commitment shared in daily work. You can always do something right, do what you do well and always make a difference even within such a difficult system. Overall, I feel amazingly lucky to love what I do and still have such an interest in it after all these years.

RISE: If you were going to give advice to someone that was thinking of starting a career in care, what would you say?

Raina: Go for it and don’t let people put you off! The world is your oyster. There are so many wonderful jobs in the sector, so many different paths for development and something for everyone – values, kindness, compassion and personality are key, the rest might be complex at times but can be learned. Some excel at frontline care work and want to remind providing an essential role there but others develop into team leader, manager roles, head office support roles, nurses, OTs, Social workers or into policy or Directorships. As the current Department of Health and Social Care campaign says ‘every day is different’. People don’t tend to come into it for the glamour or recognition or the money and working conditions, though despite what people believe there are actually many well paid career options in the sector.

So many people hate their jobs, it’s a chore and a way to earn a living. Most people in social care don’t feel that, even though their jobs are tough and they may be tired and want to work different hours or earn more money. If they are still there after a few weeks, they usually love what they do and feel rewarded by it. That’s a great charm of the sector!

RISE: When you made the decision to be a sponsor of the Rock Star Awards (our awards show that celebrates young people across Dorset and Hampshire) this year what was your main reason for this?

Raina: Having attended the last awards, I was blown away by the whole event and stories told. It was a brilliant concept, well organised and a great platform to showcase young people and celebrate what they do – sometimes despite very adverse conditions. This aligned with my own personal and professional experience and awareness of many young people in caring roles doing amazing work or personal caring, who simply get no recognition for this. So, Agincare sponsoring this new ‘Young Carer’ category felt right for us, for the Rock Star Awards and to help raise awareness of care and the stories of caring that are around us all every day.

A business is guided by its decisions and convictions. As it grows the values become a shining light.

 

Having values means an empowered workforce.

 

When it comes to instilling a belief in empowerment, this is echoed by packaging and design company Avec UK. A Dorset based business that has seen substantial growth since its origins in 2012 and led by owner Becks Beere and a team of nearly 40 people.

 

Rise MD, Angela Piromalli and Becks both discussed the importance of building and promoting a culture that is real and has the ability to attract new team members where everyone has a unified voice.

 

How Do You Build A Company Culture?

 

It is a well-used term when a company promotes the virtues of ‘building a culture,’ but how does a business leader instill this? Becks explained, “When it comes to recruitment, I want people to buy into the business. I genuinely research people and see if they are the right fit from the outset. I will never outsource the recruitment to someone else on the team. This is a company I have built with my own hands. It is my responsibility to nurture and grow this close-knit family.

 

“I have to sell the business to others, just as much as a candidate wants to work with Avec. I want people to buy into me and my company.

 

“Avec is about getting people on board this rocket ship that we are all building. I want people to be a part of it, not a cog in a faceless business.”

 

Angela highlighted the importance of both candidate and employer having a mutual understanding. “Companies find strong talent by not sitting on their laurels. Both sides have to sell themselves. When candidates and clients are both on the same side of the road, not heading in opposite directions, it comes down to one simple trait, open communication.”

 

The Charter That Everyone Dances To

 

The importance of communication is something that is part of Avec. They have a charter that each member of the company refers to and comes back to. Becks says, “Whilst we all know what the business feels like, can we put it into words?

 

“It is important to communicate what we will succeed in and what challenges lie ahead. The team all have an active role to play. As well as the grander vision, the smaller things matter too, such as no one is allowed to huff in the workplace and everyone puts their empty plates, bowls and cups in the dishwasher. It is something we expect from each other.

“Any company that is attracting new employees need to stand up and say, ‘this is us, is this you?’”

 

The Avec charter is used as a tool for performance measurement. It is there to inform decisions and for the entirety of the team to recognise what they signed up to.

 

Trust In The Employer

 

According to the Association of Accounting Technician’s (AAT), the average UK employee will spend 3,515 full days at work over the course of their lifetime. Angela stated, “People spend a huge proportion of their lives at work. Businesses having transparency means that everyone needs to know what they are signing up to. Having something such as the Avec charter means there is alignment between the business, its responsibility and its values.”

 

Building a base for development, support and growth is a key part of a business that has longevity. People are now looking more than ever at businesses to lead and create a sense of place.

 

According to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, this report looks at how much the public trust government, media and business. The latest 2019 report points to the vital role that companies play.

Within the study, people place more trust in their companies than in political leaders. There is a notable shift in trust to the relationships people have within their control, most notably UK employers.

When it comes to mutual trust, this is something that Avec has in abundance. Becks highlights, “Business owners need to put the emphasis on their team to discover and find their own answers. Perfection is not the only solution. I want people to succeed they need to be supported.

 

“We found out that people are not necessarily motivated by money. Every two years we profile the business and the team. From our own studies, we can see that people are motivated by security, a sense of validation and encouragement to be creative. It is the responsibility for a business owner to have a responsibility for others, this is how trust is earned. We also could see what demotivates the team. The majority do not like public recognition.”

 

What about the future of an expanding company? Becks concludes, “I will give everything away for others to provide direction. However, I will not give away the customer relationship and the most precious resource, finding the right people. The company culture is one that has to be protected and championed.

 

Conclusion

 

If a company has values, they truly have to live them. This is something that Avec UK truly believe in.

 

It all comes down to the behaviour of how a company presents itself to the outside world and the obligation it has to those who work within the business.

 

Having values is more than a buzzword and something that you shout loudly on LinkedIn. It is the groundwork for a robust company culture that stands the test of time and to remain continually relevant to those that have a continual touch point with a company.