Hidden Figures/Hidden Talent – Dawn Ellis

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Name:            Dawn Ellis

Business:      Instant Teamwork Ltd

Website link: www.instantteamwork.com

 

 

As speaker, performer, facilitator, coach and consultant, Dawn has been working in the organisational and public arenas since 1997. She specialises in Storytelling and has a mission to put dynamic storytelling skills into the hands of people who can make a difference. She co-founded Instant Teamwork with her partner Tom Morley.

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Dawn, what is the inspiration behind Instant Teamwork?  As an actor and performer, I had always been attuned to audience dynamics and knew how to change the mood of a group of people. I realised that I had transferrable skills that were necessary and valued in organisations and the world outside the theatre. Between us, Tom Morley (partner and musician – ex Scritti Politti) and I put our decades of knowledge and techniques to the service of engaging and motivating people. We are daily inspired to invite and encourage connection – one of our core values – and that means connection to oneself as well as to others.  Our shared passion and mission, to liberate the human spirit wherever we can and whatever the context.

What are the key foundations of your business?  By delivering unusual activities, often musical or rhythmic, we give permission for people to be themselves in all their enthusiasm and presence. They are surprised at themselves, they enjoy themselves whole-heartedly, achieve something unexpected, and find themselves in a  state of ‘flow’, in the ‘zone’. Now they are open to whatever else is going on – whether it’s a meeting, a seminar or a large conference.  Sometimes delegates even change their lives outside of work and introduce more creativity to their family life.  In practice, this means offering sessions that fall under the labels Team Building and Training. Ideally, we offer the big experience, which embeds memories and has an impact at the time and for a short while afterward – we then follow up with specific training designed to make all this lovely experience sustainable.

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How has your business grown since you first launched?  We launched in 2000 and grew steadily, although the recession of 2008  hit our type of business noticeably, we managed to dodge the worst of it – partly because we are agile and adaptable. Some of our competitors weren’t so lucky.  Since then we have focused on being light on our feet and responsive to the zeitgeist, the marketplace and above all to being creative in the face of challenges.  We keep our core values and offer and constantly re-invent events and ways to engage people, whether it’s Storytelling, Motivational Speaking, Drumming, Song-writing or Circus Powerpoint. We have no wish to become a massive organisation – we have a global reach and are small enough to keep our essence intact.

What have been your biggest struggles since launching?  The recession definitely produced our biggest struggle to date.

What have been your greatest achievements?  For me, our biggest achievements range from micro to macro. Small victories include, for example, working with a group of fairly cynical French bankers and leaving them beaming, loosening their ties and fully bonded as a group of human beings. Achievements on a bigger stage usually involve using our name and reputation to make a real difference to the causes we support. These might be writing anthems for the launch of UN Women, creating flash mobs in Trafalgar Square to provide a magnet for One Billion Rising and Peace Day; to taking drums on to Millennium Bridge to be the heart-beat for the ‘Bridges not Walls’ initiative. It’s all about unity, engagement, and connection, wherever we are.  Finally, in 17 years we have never had a bad review!  And I think that’s an achievement.

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Click on the image above to see Dawn Ellis spreading her wisdom and building communities.

What differentiates you from your competitors?  Our focus is completely on the groups we work with and not on our own cleverness and talent.  So we make sure that all our associates are great facilitators first and great performers second.

We don’t really do off the shelf sessions – we always tailor to whatever is needed.  We are able to de-brief the sessions where needed and offer in-depth training so that our events are fully integrated, not just a bolt-on “well that was the team building, now for the main bit”.

How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service?  I would say that our events are designed to be fully inclusive and uplifting.  There is no embarrassment, no solos, and that the metaphors to be drawn from a simple one-hour session are powerful.  And in answer to ‘that’s fine, but MY people wouldn’t do it’ I would say – ‘You’d be surprised, don’t under-estimate them, or our facilitation – try it.’

What are your goals for your business over the next few years?  We are building on our existing, strong Storytelling areas – partly because Storytelling seems crucial for us all right now – to understand what’s going on and to respond powerfully.  We are also developing our Interactive Motivational Talks more – paying particular attention to the release of talent that comes when you allow creativity out to play.

In 5 years we envision being acknowledged as architects of Collaboration, Trust, and Renewal in the private and public arenas.

What is your message to the reader?  People are at their best and able to make clear decisions and collaborate to the benefit of all when they understand how to get into and, crucially stay, in the Zone.  This is our area of expertise and we’d love to work alongside you to bring this about.  Contact us soon.

My personal final thought
Deep in thought
Deep in thought

Dawn, what a trailblazer you are. You project the image of an empowered, confident woman, who aims to inspire others to realise their full potential.  Thank you for doing this interview.

My name is Nicola and this is my blog!

Nicola Loves Life: Songs that inspire me

 

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I have a love for music.  As a child, I enjoyed dancing and used to perform in concerts and plays. But my heart comes alive when I hear music.  Here are three tracks I want to share with you.

But before you see my selection, I want to ask you, if you were to name your fave genre of music, what would it be?

So here are three songs, I currently have on my playlist!

Bebe and Cece Winans

My first track is a Gospel track by Bebe and Cece Winans.  I remember the first time I heard Addictive Love, I was so mesmerised by the melody and lyrics.  I had no idea that it was a gospel track and I still love it to this very day.

Stevie Wonder

My second track is by my fave artist Stevie Wonder.  I can choose albums of music from him I can listen to day and night, but I am currently in love with the track A Time to Love.  The lyrics speak for itself.

Mary J Blige

My final track is by Mary J Blige called ‘Show Love’,   This is a hidden track on the album The Breakthrough.  I love the motivation the lyrics share.  The words in this song are powerful and inspire me to ignore negativity.

I hope you enjoy my selection and remember to share with me you musical genre in my poll or leave a comment below with your song selection!

Deep in thought
Deep in thought

Hi, my name is Nicola and this is my blog.  I hope you enjoy it!

Do you want to learn more about me go to ABOUT ME

Competition Time! #NicolaLovesLife

Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Feliz Navidad, Mele Kalikimaka and all that wonderful stuff!
I invite you to enter my
#NicolaLovesLife ChristmasGiveaway

 

As Christmas day approaches, I reflect on the wonderful year and great businesses I have had the privilege to meet, represent and encountered. I know that Christmas is not always, peace, happiness, and light for all.  So in the spirit of sharing the joy I have received throughout the year,  I have pulled together a few of the amazing emerging brands I have encountered and am running a bumper Christmas Giveaway.  Worth over £230 with some of the most amazing premium and growing independent businesses.

  • The competition runs from 11th December – 17th December 2016, midnight GMT
  • One prize, one winner
  • NB:  This competition is open to UK Residents only.
  • No cash substitution

THE COMPETITION IS CLOSED.  TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FUTURE CONTESTS, PLEASE FOLLOW AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG.

ARAPINA – GUILT FREE HAMPER

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The contents of the Arapina Guilt Free hamper includes:

  • 3 handmade & award winning Greek preserves
  • 2 varieties of free from or low in pasta from brands whom we share the same ethos and pathos with
  • 300g of organic whole coffee beans
  • 250g of our finest dried fruit and nuts
  • 300g in total of our decadent chocolates
  • A cute box of Organic Pink Himalayan Salt Rocks (Great for pinching into the fruit and nut mix!)
  • One re-usable jar of our crowd favourite pistachio protein ball mix (makes 2 and have fun making it by just adding coconut oil!)
  • One 750 ml bottle of Spartico sulphite free organic red wine

All encased  in a white metal cutout box totally re-usable and easy to lock!

 

Butterfly and the Bee

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A selection of manmade preserves.  Flavours include:

  • Rasberry, Apricot & Citrus Zest
  • Sweet Orange, Honey, and Vanilla
  • Pear & Vanilla seed

 

Etieno 

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Puriskin 

 

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Puriskin Gift Set includes:

 

Toulou Organics Skincare

 

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The Toulou Organics Skincare gift pack will include:

 

To enter the competition, complete the form below:
  • The competition runs from 11th December – 17th December 2016, midnight GMT
  • One prize, one winner
  • NB:  This competition is open to UK Residents only.
  • No cash substitution

THE COMPETITION IS CLOSED.  TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FUTURE CONTESTS, PLEASE FOLLOW AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG.

The reality about the relationship between Bloggers, Brands and Business

Well, today I did it, I attended my very first Blogger’s event and as a newbie to this environment and sector, I was both excited and nervous in equal measure.

Nicola and Charley Jai Copyright belongs to Charley Jai
Nicola and Charley Jai
Photo copyright belongs to Charley Jai

Although I have attended blogging events in the past (albeit representing brands), it was great to be on the other side of the table (so to speak).

My friend and blogging partner in blogging land, Charley Jai of The Real Talk UK Blog Site attended the #BloggerXmas event organised by SoeursdeLuxe

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Received from Journolink at #Bloggerxmas 2016

For me, the event was a wonderful introduction into the world of blogging. What was even nicer for me, I was able to meet a few of the bloggers/vloggers etc I have worked with in the past through my company and it was such a joy to put a physical body to the videos and words.

I also got the opportunity meet a few of the organisations I have communicated with via my job; including Camilla from Journolink  – who I have exchanged many emails with, as well as Blogosphere Magazine’s Albertine and Alice. It was a real joy to meet them all and see how engaged and attentive they were as they spoke to Charley and me.  It was also great to pick up Naturelly and other great products from Journolink and the last issue of Blogosphere Magazine from Alice and Albertine.

My novice move

As a newbie blogger, (but someone who should know better), there was one novice move that I made. I should have grabbed a quick pic with Georgie Minter-Brown. I have personally worked with Georgie in the past, and although we finally met in person today for the first time, I neglected to grab a quick picture for this post.

I do not have to tell what I think about her, because the fact that we have worked together on a number of occasions, should tell you that I fundamentally really like her energy and spirit, and nothing changed on meeting her.

 

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The event

However, with everything said, the main thing about this sector is the relationship between bloggers and brands. Here is my take on it.

The blogging/vlogging … space is a modern day eco-system of communication. Like with every system it has those who play by the rules, make and break the rules and of course just run ‘gun-shot’ through the rules. Whichever way you decide to play it, there is one absolute certainty; every link of the chain needs to be sustained, for the next link to survive.

If you are a blogger with the intention of attending events like this, with the expectation of receiving freebies and not giving anything in return; you have to recognise and accept the damage this mentality causes this sector. There are many emerging brands who see this as a viable way of marketing their business.  If within this blogging/vlogging economy, we can demonstrate that the value of working with bloggers goes beyond brand awareness and can help increase sales, we provide a healthier opportunity for brands to interact with us.

On the other side of the coin, Brands have to value and recognise the power of bloggers when it comes to increasing awareness to their brand. This means Brands need to get more involved with supporting bloggers’/vloggers’ … social media platforms, sharing and commenting on their content, being more proactive in supporting their growth too.

This sector, is definitely a circular economy – (A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life). It is reliant on each element to play its part for success to be complete.

 

My personal final thoughts:

 

Deep in thought
Deep in thought

I loved the event and was really happy to spend time meeting other bloggers. Although I am not a beauty blogger and do not have any intentions of ever reviewing products, I did receive a goodie bag. And even though I will not be reviewing the products I received, I will place a list of products below with links to their sites for you to visit, learn more about and hopefully support and purchase.  Enjoy!

 

 

List of products in the goodie bag:  

Order of  products listed from top left to right

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Staying healthy whilst building a business

To date, I would consider myself to be quite a healthy person. I have tried many sports; Karate, Dance and Yoga to name a few.  That said, I have never been a fan of group organised sports, and I am personally not a massive fan of the outdoors, (you will never catch me camping or backpacking).

However, in most recent years, I have discovered that there are tangible benefits to taking time out of my schedule and participating in activities, it has proven beneficial for my mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health.  For me, I love activities that allow me solitude and space to mentally reflect, yet at the same time require speed, and high levels of concentration.

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One of my many night rides

I love to cycle.  I am not a speed demon – YET, but I am working on it.  I love the wind in my face.

Since I was a child, I loved riding my little red bicycle up and down the quiet streets of East London.  My little red bike offered me a freedom I was unable to achieve without it. Whilst I was with my bike, I was given permission to cross streets and go around corners, without an adult in sight.  It was truly freeing.

Now as a busy, working adult and business owner, social cycling gives me the opportunity to mentally, physically and spiritually re-group.

I along with a small group of family and friends, sign up for a number of the organised charity rides across the country.  These night or day rides are great opportunities for me to centre myself and focus my attention on the task at hand, yet at the same time raising money for a great cause.  For me, it is also a great opportunity to meditate and pray.

On a physical level, it helps me gain great definition on my derriere (bottom, rear, backside), it helps build my stamina and also tones my legs.   Many of the rides we participate in have a diverse terrain and therefore, I have to mentally encounter many steep inclines and rough track, so it helps with my core muscles too.

But the greatest achievements and most rewarding parts of the ride for me are the moments I reach the top of an incline. These hills are tough, your legs want to often give up, but your mind says, you can do it.  I have been known to dismount and walk a few steps, but whichever way I make it happen, there is nothing more satisfying than reaching the top.  If the truth-be-known, I see these hills as issues I encounter at work, and when I conquer them and reach the top, it confirms to me that I can overcome any obstacle. There is nothing better than that!

QUESTION TIME

What do you do to relax and stay fit?

Participate in the poll below and let us see what activities are on trend at the moment for the busy working man or woman.