Live mag launch party today and the magazine is looking hot. So proud of the current team, they’ve really found their groove and the true sense of pride, excitement and ownership came through in waves at the party this afternoon in a packed out room at Livity Towers. Celeste Houlker, the current Editor of Live never fails to impress me. She led today’s proceedings with such a great sense of leadership, celebrating the work of the whole team, choosing great words to give specific big ups to both new and longer-standing members of the team and their work. She is such an ambitious and talented young woman, and is just so determined to make the most out of life - her life and the lives of everyone else around her! She also has her own things going on as well, 12th Estate an evolving networking concept for young women entering the world of media and business. Celeste, I think you are wonderful, you inspire me and I’m so very very proud of you - even though you won the Bake Off and I didn’t ; )
pics of the mag and my cake to follow.
So, we’re nearly at the start of a 4 day working week. Whilst I’ve massively enjoyed my extra long weekend, it’s hard to let go of the constant business planning narrative that buzzes through my mind - especially here, in the first week of our new Financial Year. Whilst we’ve had a couple of great biz planning sessions, the reality is, we’re a bit behind ourselves.. again. I’m absolutely determined to make sure that NEXT year’s planning starts well in advance of the new year commencing. Always learning.
So, there it is publicly pledged - oh gawd another public pledge and challenge! But the truth is, I seem to work at my best with these oh so public promises and statements, not sure what that is about, but if it works, pledge on!
The next few weeks will be challenging as we attempt to find that crucial time to work ON the business and not IN the business. Luckily, this year, I know (as do the Livity team) that there is a clear return on time investment for the business’s success, growth and performance, so our starting point is so much easier.
Deep breath, here we go.
What Livity did next… And so we enter our twelfth year in Livity business. Sam and I allowed ourselves a rare moment of reflection and celebration last night and had dinner at The Ivy, I had the Shepherds Pie - there’s nothing I love more than Shepherds Pie at the Ivy (I’ve always wanted to write that) and Sam had sausage and mash, a fine bottle of red wine accompanied our dinner and we tried our very hardest not to gawp at Ricky Gervais too much and retain some semblance of maturity - it was so much fun. We’ve never been terribly good at giving ourselves a pat on the back. Maybe it’s because we think there is still so much to do and even more to achieve. The reality is that as we reach each significant milestone in the business’s growth we face a new set of challenges, whether it be considering how we best hold on to the great culture of the business, how we breakthrough to the next level and value of project opportunities, how we keep our amazing people feeling like they are continuously developing and that they have clear pathways within the business or just exactly how can we increase the number of young people’s lives we benefit, improve or celebrate this year? The ‘what next?’ and the ‘what more?’ always seems more important, and frankly more exciting than kicking back and congratulating ourselves. And then there’s our ongoing ambition to prove that ‘our way’ is the triple win way for clients and partners - to prove to more and more brands and businesses that we can create campaigns, concepts, strategies, projects and solutions that not only deliver brand and business benefits, but that deliver social benefit to young people too. We’ve only just scratched the surface, yep it’s a good start, maybe even a great start, but it honestly only feels like the start, despite having 11 years under our belt. It’s the next bit that’s going to be the really exciting bit! The primary years are done, we’re off to secondary school. Can’t wait, bring it on.
I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…(sorry) But I’m going to have to hide it for a little while longer… I had a whole host of exciting development meetings today and want to shout and share with my blog all the great campaigns and concepts we are working on… But it’s too soon. So I must calm down and keep quiet. Patience. What I can say is how lucky I am, to be able to draw great energy from such a wide and diverse bunch of people. In particular with a young man today whom I met for the first time, who embraced the funny old world of marketing and communications with such and openness and willingness to learn, and to share. Two such different people, swapping tips and techniques at the end of a three hour campaign kick off meeting. Me passing on tips for facilitating meetings, him teaching me how to tackle writing my first 16 bar rap…The genuine exchange that happens day in day out at Livity. Watch out for my 16 bars on this blog, just as soon as I can go public! Love my work, love Livity.
I am reflecting this evening after another busy and varied day at Livity Towers. Not sure if I’m about to ‘overshare’, but in the spirit of exploring what my blog is about lets see what happens :)
I kick started the day with our weekly business development meeting energetic and motivated I went straight into a short welcome speech to a group of visitors joining us for a days’ leadership and innovation work. I really wanted to add value to their experience and help get their day off to a good start… And so I tailored a short overview of the Livity story and our business model. To be honest it didn’t seem to land that well and it really wasn’t my best performance (which could explain why,) definitely not my worst, I just know I have been and I could have been better - it happens, when it does you have to quickly dig deep, and move on, otherwise the cloud of doom and the accompanying confidence dip has the potential to affect the rest of the day and the people around you.
Sometimes there feels an immense pressure to publicly live up to and *be* ‘the entrepreneur’ or ‘the business leader’, and with both of these tags, more often than not, comes an expectation that the person will be a magnificently charismatic, entertaining and engaging character … but it’s not always the case! I have just drawn great comfort and inspiration from Susan Cain’s TED Talk on The Power of Introverts, she has some great insights and challenges some of society’s attitudes towards how we should ‘be’. Have a read and see whether you recognise any aspects of yourself or maybe friends, family or colleagues, at all.
I’m going to find a way to find out how many extroverts, introverts and ambiverts (a bit intro and a bit extro!) we have in Livity and actively work with and explore the thought that - for some people solitude matters, that the best talkers don’t necessarily have the best ideas and that the more freedom we give introverts to come up with ideas by themselves the more likely they are to come up with their own unique solutions to problems. Thank you Susan Cain. Onwards!
I’ve lost most of of my morning to migraine. 8 million people in the UK suffer from migraine. I know that I’ve lost days, weeks, probably months to this debilitating condition. If the Guardian Weekend mag Q&A feature ever asked me ‘what single thing would improve the quality of your life?’ my answer would be ‘never having a migraine ever again’ - no question. It massively impacts on my ability to maintain the level of leadership I aim for, worse still is the impact it has on my ability to be a great parent and partner. I wish and dream for a solution and praise organisations like The Migraine Trust for the work they do to raise awareness and research solutions.
Out of something bad, comes something really inspiring. At the height of my migraine, whilst hiding under my duvet, with the soft background of Radio 4 providing a small distraction, I found myself listening to an amazing story of a social business in Uganda….
Millions of girls living in developing countries like Uganda skip up to 20% of the school year simply because they cannot afford to buy mainstream sanitary products when they menstruate. This deliberate absenteeism has enormous consequences on girls’ education and academic potential. Read more about Paul and Sonia’s social business AFRIpads.com - this is the kind of inspiring entrepreneurialism that gets me up and out of bed, migraine or no migraine.
Onwards! This afternoon is all about contracts for me - a commitment I made to the Livity leadership team at the beginning of the year - to ensure that the deals we make are mutually fair and balanced and reflect the decade of expertise and experience Livity puts into each and every project and campaign we produce. So far our clients and partners have been open to our slightly new approach, and I have been on a massive learning curve, some blips along the way, and important lessons learnt already… but another progression in making Livity a robust business to ensure we can continue with our purpose of creating as many campaigns, projects, ideas, platforms etc. that measurably improve and benefit all young people’s lives.
time to get back to that contract… over and out, Meeshy McBeal
it’s 5.40pm and the Livity offices are still completely full and chatter, tapping, debating, plotting and planning fills the room. Love this place.
A bit nervous of writing my first blog… but luckily that means I’m fulfilling my other daily challenge of trying to do something I’m nervous or scared of doing, every day (or as often as possible). Inspired by hearing Jim Lawless speak in Cape Town, South Africa last month.
I’m still working out what this blog is going to be about… I think mostly it’s going to my personal record of what daily life is like in my leadership role at Livity. A bit bonkers sometimes, but always amazing and never boring.
Today.. new biz win for very exciting project soon to be announced. Amazing update session with somewhereto_ team, updates with Head of People Caroline - on all things people, a quick hello with a potential new charity client (fingers crossed), learnt how to set up a blog with the help of the brilliant Raphael Blake - thank you! Leadership chit chat with my fab biz partner Sam Conniff and now outta here, to go to the Ron Muek launch and on to the Royal Academy of Arts for the launch of The London Original Print Fair - nice.