Tag Archives: Liverpool

The Platform – Commercial Property in Liverpool

When attending networking events, it can be difficult to find one that focuses on quality of networking. This month I attended The Platform, which is a unique business networking event, in that it not only allows professionals to network, develop quality connections, and listen to top-level speakers, but it also allows them to talk about their businesses. It is the latter that separates The Platform from other events that I have attended previously.

Held at Hill Dickinson in Liverpool, the event’s theme looked at Liverpool’s commercial property sector. This included what the Liverpool City Region (LCR) has achieved, along with some of the shortcomings that can be addressed for the region to do better commercially. Being interested in what is happening in Liverpool, with regards to commercial developments and how the local and national economic landscape is changing, I was keen to find out more for myself.

To discuss Liverpool’s commercial property sector in detail, the event included a panel discussion featuring interactive questions submitted by attendees. The panel featured Sue Wrightthe_platform1-2 who is Signature Living’s Managing Director, Mark Lawler who is the Managing Director of Baltic Creative CIC and Alex McCann of Hill Dickinson. Each speaker talked about their businesses, and their opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the LCR’s commercial property sector, which was interesting for me to learn about.

The discussion was a fascinating insight into the workings of the commercial sector of Liverpool. With the panel’s experience and knowledge, I discovered some interesting points about Liverpool’s commercial strengths and areas for improvement. These gave me plenty to ponder for myself, which I have included below.

  1. Despite economic uncertainty the commercial property sector in Liverpool is very buoyant.
  2. Investors are still coming from countries such as China and America to invest in the city region.
  3. Major successes include the growth of the Baltic Triangle, which has delivered 1500 jobs in the last five years.
  4. Liverpool has a fast developing digital and creative economy.
  5. 4% of economic growth comes from outside of Liverpool.
  6. Major infrastructure improvements in transport, telecommunications and others are needed.
  7. Getting the balance right between residential and commercial property is paramount.

From listening to the panel discussion, I gained a balanced understanding of Liverpool’s commercial property sector. What I have learned is the city region has a tremendous can-do attitude and massive appeal to global investors, evident from the development of the Baltic Triangle, and to the sight of massive cranes visible over the Liverpool skyline. Future developments such as the Ten Streets, Paddington Village and the Fabric District also bring many possibilities to transform the city region’s economy. Despite these currently difficult economic and political times, the city is looking ahead in an optimistic and positive mood.

I am also aware there is still plenty to improve upon for Liverpool and the surrounding boroughs e.g. Wirral, Sefton and Knowsley to realise their commercial potential. This means everyone in the city region need to not only come together, but to also have a single unifying purpose and vision that inspires, encourages and drives all to work together as one, for the greater good of the Liverpool City Region.

I enjoyed ethe_platform1-3verything about The Platform from start to finish. I loved the quality of the networking, the panel discussion, the conversations, and the plush surroundings. As a result, I am looking forward to attending the next Platform event, of which I recommend to any professional in business.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Garth Dallas, Steve Dickson, Amanda Follit and Mick Ord for organising the event, and to Sue Wright, Mark Lawler and Alex McCann for being such great and interesting speakers. My thanks also go to Hill Dickinson for hosting the event.

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Professional Liverpool – Networking Breakfast with Nicola Forshaw

By constantly dealing with the pressures of everyday life at breakneck pace, we put ourselves under plenty of stress. In these chaotic times of this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world that we live in today, the feelings of busyness, tiredness, as well as being distracted and overloaded can be overwhelming, to the detriment of our physical and mental health. This means we need to be non-judgementally aware and feel what is happening in the present moment all around and inside ourselves, which is also known as mindfulness.

Last month I attended a networking breakfast organised by Professional Liverpool. Held at the Cotton Exchange, this was delivered by Nicola Forshaw of Mindfit, which looked at mindfulness. I was curious to learn about how I could personally incorporate mindfulness into my everyday life. A second reason for attending, was I also saw this as an opportunity to develop a mindful approach to leading and helping others.pro_liverpool_networkingbreakfast3

Nicola was a superb speaker with a great passion for her business. From start to finish, Nicola delivered a talk that was succinct, easy to understand, clear, knowledgeable and reassuring for the entire audience. Indeed, I was impressed with how Nicola clearly showed her expertise with a smooth tone and flow, leaving myself and everyone mesmerised.

There was plenty that I learned from Nicola. From using mindfulness personally in everyday life, as well as using mindful leadership to cultivate, nurture and support others, I learned and gained an understanding of mindfulness.

Below are some examples of what I learned about mindfulness:

  1. Mindfulness is a practice of living in the present moment without consciously passing judgement.
  2. If you worry or dwell on the past and future, you will miss out on the present.
  3. Drop into the present to get a sense of calm.
  4. The threat is in the mind most of the time through overthinking.
  5. Overthinking makes you ill.
  6. Meditation is clear seeing of the mind.
  7. Mindful listening involves being comfortable, connected and happy. This is required as you need to feel able to express yourself thorough your presence, clarity, focus and compassion to others.
  8. The quality of your presence has a diverse impact on another person’s thinking.
  9. Mindfulness is not a quick fix, as you must be committed to it for the long-term, and it requires patience and practice.
  10. Being a mindful leader not only improves your resilience, but also improves complexity, communication and collaboration with others.

From the above, I now understand that is important to make the most of the present, and not worry and overthink about the future. The latter is especially true with some things in life and business that you have no control over, as it is easy and understandable to feel concerned about what may or may not lie ahead.

To summarise my thoughts, I found the event to be a fascinating introduction to mindfulness. From this I have learned plenty of interesting points on mindfulness and mindful leadership, and how I can apply this to my own life and to assist others. I can pro_liverpool_networkingbreakfast2honestly say this has been extremely useful to me as part of my personal and professional development, and I have since been trying to apply mindfulness in my daily life, by applying a few minutes every day to practice.

Overall the event was excellent. From meeting Nicola who was delightful to speak and listen to, from networking and catching up with several familiar faces including Chris Burgess, David Wafer, Lee Parry and Leon McCowan, there was plenty of conversation and opportunities to strengthen networking relationships. The breakfast provided was also delicious with fresh fruit, bagels, cookies, croissants, meat, cheeses and plenty of tea and coffee, giving a cultured and continental taste.pro_liverpool_networkingbreakfast4

In conclusion, I would like to thank Nicola for being a wonderful speaker, and for opening my eyes and ears to the power of mindfulness. My thanks also go to Alex Clark, Emma Rittenberg and Keri Stanistreet of Professional Liverpool for putting together a fine networking event, and I certainly hope my fellow attendees got as much out of it as I did.

Thank you very much!

Future Boss Club – Who Are They?

Who are the Future Boss Club and what do they do?

For female professionals and entrepreneurs who work in Merseyside and browse their LinkedIn and Twitter feeds, the name may ring a few bells. This is because Future Boss Club is a networking group for females aged 18-35, which aims to boost and empower the next generation of women in business from all over the North West.

Since being formed in September 2016, Future Boss Club has grown considerably, with a diverse group of talented women representing several businesses. By focusing strongly on business-related issues from a female perspective, from networking and other events related to business, Future Boss Club is an interesting concept that aspires to help and support women in becoming the best they can be in business.

Future Boss Club is more than just about networking. It is also a support network and hub for women from various backgrounds including graduates, professionals and entrepreneurs, to support, help and learn from each other. In simple terms, they are a community of enthusiastic and positive like-minded individuals, with a shared passion for business.

Having read and learned about Future Boss Club, I cannot help but admire their work and ambition. Certainly with talk about gender pay gaps and other inequality issues in business and industry today, I consider the work of Future Boss Club to be very important in supporting and championing women to become future leaders in their chosen industries, from technology, manufacturing, engineering, science, marketing, finance, law and many more. Therefore I believe that Future Boss Club are an important part of the business community in Merseyside, and I certainly hope they continue their fine work and grow further.

To everyone at Future Boss Club, I shall finish with these words.

Keep smashing those barriers!

Weightmans Wednesday – ABS Solutions

Health and fitness is important to everyone. There are so many gyms and other fitness establishments that offer services to customers looking to exercise for various reasons, which is why the fitness industry is currently booming. Like any other business however, fitness establishments need to have their individual style or brand to attract customers.

At last month’s Weightmans Wednesday bi-monthly event, I was delighted to listen to Connor O’Brien the founder of Absolute Body Solutions (ABS), talk about the story of his business. It was a very good story too, from opening the first gym in Speke, to the latest gyms in Liverpool City Centre, and also recently in Manchester. In addition, Connor also talked about the rigorous attention to detail involved with ensuring the business performs and delivers the highest quality personal fitness training to customers. Listening to Connor speak, I recognised the crucial qualities of relentless hard-work, a strong emphasis of quality and consistency of performance when delivering services to customers, as well as Connor’s own passion for fitness.

For myself, I had a particular interest in this event, and of what I could learn from it. The result from listening to Connor’s story, was that I learned of the difficulties of being a good personal trainer and business person, because there are so many responsibilities involved with running both the front and back-end functions of the business. From the personal training of clients, to looking after the finance, marketing, as well monitoring the performance and continual development of the 19 personal trainers employed by ABS, I can only imagine and admire the tremendous work and dedication of everyone involved, that goes into making the business successful. This is why a key takeaway for any business owner is to surround themselves with the right people.

Connor also talked about how the fitness industry is changing. This involved the growth of online platforms such as YouTube to deliver personal training online to a wider audience. In the long term, I believe it will be interesting to see how gyms and personal trainers make use of online platforms. However technology will need to be tailored to suit the needs of gyms, personal trainers and their clients.

Overall it was a very good event, with plenty for me to take away and ponder for myself. This is because I came away thinking about my own self-improvement in my work and personal life, learning new methods and consistently applying them to develop as a person and as a professional.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Connor for sharing his story, and also to everyone at Weightmans for coming together, to organise and deliver an interesting evening.

Ignite Liverpool 19th September – A Review

Liverpool is a city bursting with creativity. With storytellers of innovative and many creative minds, full of stories and interesting projects, there is so much Liverpool has to offer. Some local gems however lie beneath the surface like hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered.

I am saying this because I would like to share with you my thoughts on last month’s Ignite Liverpool event at Leaf on Bold Street, which I attended for the very first time. Similar to TED Talks, Ignite Liverpool is a bi-monthly event that allows creators, innovators, shakers, thinkers, dreamers, and other storytellers and doers, a five minute opportunity each to speak about a subject they are passionate about. As somebody who enjoys listening to stories, I was only too delighted to listen, and I was not disappointed by the content.

What impressed me greatly was the wide and eclectic mix of people who spoke about various subjects. Each talk was different and interesting, with topics ranging from the Kalman Filter, the Wapentake of Wirral, the hidden history of the Argentine Tango, and the connection between the 3’Ps (Palm Oil, Peanut Butter and Peat) and the loss of habitat for orangutans in the Tropics. Looking back, I found these to be enlightening and interesting enough to give me food for thought for some creative ideas, that I may even consider writing or talking about in the future.

I can honestly say that attending Ignite Liverpool was a worthwhile experience, which I gladly recommend to anyone. Just to hear so many stories from members of the community from all walks of life, who spoke about their subjects with passion and also emotion at times, is a wonderful reminder of why I love the city of Liverpool.

To conclude, I shall say that if you love watching TED Talks and being inspired by new ideas, then Ignite Liverpool is too good an opportunity to miss. For me personally, I am looking forward to attending more of these events, and to be creatively inspired.

You can even view a recording of the event on Ignite Liverpool’s official YouTube channel.

Enjoy and be inspired!

Weightmans Wednesday – Veeno

In Liverpool, there are so many cafes that serve tea, coffee and snacks. However there is also a cafe called Veeno on Castle Street, which serves Italian wine and spuntini, which means little snacks and appetisers in Italian.

At last week’s event at Weightmans LLP in Liverpool, I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation on the background story of Veeno. This was delivered by Nino Caruso, the CEO and co-founder of the business. Nino delivered a delightful presentation on Veeno’s origins from co-founding the company with Andrea Zecchino in 2013.

Listening to Nino’s presentation, I was entranced by his story. Nino talked about his background in wine, forged through four generations of his family’s vineyard in Sicily, providing pure naturally produced Italian wine to over 35 countries, and how Andrea and himself, founded, grew and nurtured the business. In addition, Nino also talked about the future of Veeno, including the challenge of developing a corporate structure that supports the business, whilst retaining its unique identity.

From the event, I learned some interesting facts about Veeno, which I have listed below:

  1. Employs 150 people in the UK.
  2. As well as Liverpool and Manchester, they also have stores across the UK including Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester and Nottingham.
  3. 10 more cafes are due to open in the UK in 2018.
  4. Veeno made £4.3 million in total revenue in 2017.

The facts above show how Veeno has grown as a business. However it is more than just an Italian cafe that serves wines and spuntini. They also host wine tasting sessions for businesses and groups of people. Having attended the occasional past event at Veeno, they are a completely unique experience which I recommend to anyone.

Nino’s presentation was more than just talking about Veeno’s success as a business. It was delivered with a soft and heartfelt tone. As Nino spoke, I picked up on his passion for wine, life and family, encapsulated with a beautiful photo of Nino and his wife, married in his family’s vineyard in gorgeous Sicily sunshine and blue skies. Closing the presentation when talking about his grandfather, I heard Nino’s voice crackling gently with emotion, which I found rather moving. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful event.

I would like to thank Nino for an informative and touching presentation, as well as Ricky Heath and everyone at Veeno. My thanks also go to everyone at Weightmans for organising a lovely evening of networking.

MYP Networking Masterclass with Dougal Paver – Thursday 26th April 2018

When networking, one of the pleasures I get is learning from the experiences and stories of others more experienced than me.

Last month, I attended a networking seminar jointly hosted by Merseyside Young Professionals (MYP) and the Chartered Institute of Securities & Investments (CISI). Held in the lavish surroundings of Signature Living’s 30 James Street hotel, this was hosted by Dougal Paver of Merrion Strategy, regarded as one of the most networked people in Liverpool. I have heard several great testimonials about Dougal’s networking skills, so I was looking forward to learning from a master.myp_networking_masterclass1

From start to finish, Dougal delivered a first-class tour-de force seminar. Drawing on his vast experience with humour and wisdom, I was taken by the scope and breadth of Dougal’s networking knowledge, especially on the technical aspects, some of which I had never known previously. As a result, I not only found myself listening with great interest, but I also mentally related Dougal’s knowledge and understanding of networking to my own.

Along with consolidating my own knowledge, there were other useful techniques that I learned. Some of these were completely unique to me, as I had never thought about them, when attending past events and seminars.

These techniques included the following bellow:

  1. As the world changes you need to stay relevant, which is where networking helps.
  2. Small talk works as it helps to find common ground.
  3. Pay attention to what’s happening out there.
  4. Read the Economist and subscribe to your client’s trade magazines, and your industry’s newsletters.
  5. Networking won’t always deliver business, as it is about delivering long-term relationships, based on mutual trust and respect.
  6. Never dominate others, so remember to back off!
  7. Keep your social media activity professional.
  8. Plan what you can add to an event.
  9. Ask for the guest list.
  10. Evaluate what you got from an event and plan for the next.
  11. In theory, 150 is the maximum number of people you can maintain a relationship with.
  12. Demonstrate your capability and worth over time.
  13. Be reliable and always remember to follow-up.
  14. Your existing network must be nurtured with care.
  15. Remember to show your gratitude by saying thank you.

Dougal also explained about a key aspect of building and sustaining relationships. These include sending relevant articles, reports, and white papers, along with introducing clients to people who may help them, as well as inviting them to events. Another method to build relationships is to promote the work of your clients, e.g. blogs, articles and their businesses. Whilst I have applied some of the above, I have not always been consistent, meaning this is an area of personal development that I will need to address.myp_networking_masterclass3-crop

Overall I was very impressed with Dougal’s presentation of a true networking masterclass. From sharing his knowledge and experience, I was completely mesmerised by his performance, content delivery, humour and storytelling, which captured my attention throughout. In fact, I was so spellbound that I came out the seminar afterwards, feeling I had learned from a master networker. Such an experience is always a sign of a fine speaker, which is high praise indeed!

I would like to thank Dougal for presenting a magnificent seminar, MYP and CISI for organising a first-class opportunity for myself and everyone, and to the staff of 30 James Street for their hospitality. To conclude, I would like to end on the following point that encapsulates what networking is about.

Networking is what you make of who you know, and what use you let them make of you!