Tag Archives: Professional Liverpool

Professional Liverpool – Creative, Digital & Tech Sector Group Launch

The city of Liverpool has a vibrant and fast growing creative, digital and technology sector. Across the entire Liverpool City Region (LCR), there are many businesses who utilise technology to collaborate and work with partners and clients. However there needs to be a single unifying voice, to represent the interests of Liverpool’s creative, digital and tech community.

I was delighted to recently attend the launch of Professional Liverpool’s Creative, Digital and Tech Sector Group, at Roxy Ballroom in Liverpool. The purpose of this group is to provide a representative voice to the sector, and to raise awareness and promote it to the LCR and beyond.

Collaboration was the theme for this event, including the importance to businesses. This featured guest speakers who provided an overview of the group’s purpose and aims, along with why businesses need to collaborate. Led by Paul Furlong of Opus Media, who is the group’s chairman, the other speakers were Kelly Forshaw of Laduma, and Neil Atkinson of The Anfield Wrap, who gave some interesting examples of successful collaboration from their experiences in business.

The launch had a feel-good vibe to the atmosphere. With a warm, informal and quirky touch, there was plenty of networking, and collaboration with a packed-out audience feeling at ease, leading to hearty laughs and conversation. This was helped by the drinks, pizzas and chicken wings provided, along with the indoor golf, bowling alleys and table tennis.

I certainly hope the Creative, Digital and Tech Group is successful for Professional Liverpool and the region. Judging by the success of this event, I have great hopes for this group to encourage Liverpool’s creative, digital and technology community, and to collaborate successfully with other businesses and organisations. In these tough and digitally connected times, businesses and industry sectors can no longer afford to work within silos.

This means collaboration is the way forward for businesses and organisations, regardless of public, private or charitable sector position. This can only be achieved through open and honest communication, teamwork, and a willingness to listen and work together.

I was glad to have attended, as I am looking forward to learning more from future events. It was a pleasant evening and I would like to thank all the speakers, and everyone at Professional Liverpool and Roxy Ballroom, for coming together and successfully collaborating on a successful group launch.

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Professional Liverpool – An Introduction to the Dark Web with Aabyss

The World Wide Web has transformed our world completely beyond recognition. From communicating via email, shopping and streaming videos, performing business transactions with clients online and more, the Internet and its associated technologies has given people and businesses so much to greatly benefit from.

There is also a disturbing side known as the Dark Web. This is the darker and mysterious side of the Internet, making it a dangerous and illegal haven for criminal activity, including hackers with the intent of causing cyber crimes, and even malicious attacks to businesses through viruses, trojans, ransomware and malware.

Attendess at this month’s Professional Liverpool Dark Web breakfast event at Avenue HQ.

Earlier this month, I attended a networking breakfast event organised by Professional Liverpool. Held at Avenue HQ in Liverpool and hosted by Aabyss Limited, the event featured a talk from Phil McGowan of Datto on what the Dark Web is, and of how it poses a threat to businesses. This also included a live demonstration of a simulated ransomware attack on a virtual system. Working in technology, I was intrigued by the topic as I found it to be mind-blowing, interesting, thought-provoking, and at times disturbing to learn about. I also sensed the other attendees felt similar too!

Phil gave a brief overview of the Dark Web, by describing how it can be used by hackers. Listening carefully, I gleamed several interesting facts about the Dark Web, of which I have included some below.

  1. With the Dark Web, this has seen the proliferation of ransomware.
  2. Over an estimated 6 million people use the Dark Web.
  3. As well as malware and ransomware, illicit services can be purchased for reasons of committing cyber and other crimes.
  4. No skills are required to be a hacker.
  5. Cyber attacks through malware and ransomware are rampant and is an increasing cause of downtime for businesses.
  6. £500 million in ransoms was paid by businesses affected by ransomware in 2018.
  7. Within the Dark Web, there are hacking companies who are getting more sophisticated with their techniques.
  8. In the UK, the average cost of downtime for businesses is £7000 per hour.
  9. Even though more data has moved to the cloud through SaaS (Software as a Service) it is still vulnerable.

From all the above, this paints a terrifying picture of the threats posed to businesses by ransomware. With personal and other sensitive data at risk from many security threats, this is also compounded by the fact that there are no simple solutions or silver bullets, that can easily address all these concerns. This means complex and detailed solutions are needed to minimise and manage risks effectively to maintain business continuity, and keeping services running through disruption. As I mentioned some time ago in a previous post, the responsibility for cyber and data security lies with everyone.

Overall, I was delighted and glad to have attended this event. This is because I appreciated Phil sharing his knowledge of cyber security, and of how ransomware and malware poses a real threat to businesses. With the proliferation of black-market services available on the Dark Web, I can honestly say what I learned was not only educational but has also reinforced my own beliefs, about why everyone must take cyber security seriously. I only hope the other attendees felt the same and to spread the message, as I heard one saying he was going to speak to his company’s IT department about the threat of ransomware.

I would like to thank several people for making this event possible. This includes Phil for giving a superb talk, Kelsey Lee Connors from Professional Liverpool and Andrew Allen, Greg Jones, Troy Midwood and Keith Smith from Aabyss, for putting together this successful and educational event. My thanks also go to Avenue HQ for providing the delicious breakfast of coffee, croissants, fruit and Danish pastries. On a final note, I am delighted that Phil’s talk and demonstration had a strong impact on everyone including myself. My only regret is the event and the topic deserved a bigger audience, but even still it was excellent and worth attending, and one that I have taken so much from.

Breakfast provided by Avenue HQ

Weightmans Wednesday – Professional Liverpool

I have mentioned plenty about Professional Liverpool, and of the events I have attended previously. Therefore it was a real pleasure to attend this month’s Weightmans Wednesday in Liverpool, where I was able to listen and learn about the work that Professional Liverpool does in promoting the business community in the Liverpool City Region (LCR).

The speaker for the event was John Hall who is the former Managing Partner of Bermans Solicitors, and since 2011 has been Chief Executive of Professional Liverpool. During that time, Professional Liverpool has grown successfully as a crucial voice in Liverpool’s business scene, which meant I was really looking forward to learning more about the organisation. This is because whilst I already knew that Professional Liverpool provides excellent networking opportunities for businesses, I knew little about the great work they do in providing a voice for businesses in Liverpool.

John talked eloquently about how the organisation’s membership base has significantly grown since 2011. In addition, John talked about how the organisation provides a voice to the professional business community in Liverpool, and how the events hosted provide a valuable and educational insight into how businesses and the economic landscape is constantly changing. As I listened, I came to understand that Professional Liverpool is more than just about networking and promoting the LCR, as it is also about educating, developing and supporting the business community.

I also learned some interesting facts about Professional Liverpool, which I have listed below:

  1. Professional Liverpool has over 500 members.
  2. Members are from many industry sectors including law, finance, marketing, digital and more.
  3. They hold up to 100 events a year from networking lunches, training seminars to the flagship Cannes Do event, which this year raised £13,874 for charity.
  4. By supporting and representing the professional business sector within the LCR, Professional Liverpool has supported an estimated 107,000 jobs in 12,000 companies.
  5. The above helps in generating more than £8billion per annum in gross value added (GVA).
  6. A new Creative, Digital and Technology specialist group to support Liverpool’s creative, digital and tech community is being launched.
  7. Professional Liverpool also has other specialist groups including Development & Regeneration, Healthcare, Private Client, Property, Marketing & Communications and Corporate Finance.

What I have learned is that Professional Liverpool plays a massive role in supporting businesses, and working with public and private sector partners for the benefit of the city. It is through continual collaboration and the willingness of everyone to raise Liverpool’s profile and brand, that will be a decisive factor in the future. This is why the organisation is a tremendous asset to the LCR, and also why John and everyone involved in the organisation, from the board, the membership, and those who work behind the scenes at Professional Liverpool, deserve the respect and appreciation of the entire professional business sector in the LCR.

My thanks goes to everyone at Weightmans for organising the event. I would also like to personally thank John for sharing the story of Professional Liverpool, which was delivered with heartfelt passion, experience and also humour. It was such an uplifting talk that reminded me of how proud I am to work in our wonderful city, and I shall continue to support John and Professional Liverpool in representing local businesses, and to promote the city of Liverpool.

Thanks for reading!

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!

Professional Liverpool – Networking Lunch with Dean Currall

Marketing is crucial for businesses in every industry. From law, digital, construction, technology, manufacturing, finance and others, it is a key role shared by everyone. However one of the common pitfalls encountered are professionals talking about themselves and their businesses first, rather than listening and learning about what potential customers want.

I had the pleasure of recently attending a networking lunch organised by Professional Liverpool, which looked at marketing. The speaker was Dean Currall of Verb Marketing, who gave a presentation about how professional services can utilise marketing techniques, to develop fruitful and productive trust-based relationships.

There was plenty that Dean talked about, that really fascinated me. From the importance of giving solutions to customers, in the form of services and structured content, I found Dean’s presentation to be tangible and relevant for businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals today. In this era of digital technology, companies need to use the capabilities provided to tailor their marketing approach, in order to attract clients and promote their services.

In addition, Dean also provided other useful nuggets of wisdom, which I have listed below.

  1. You need to have a marketing strategy and objectives that are relevant, achievable and measurable.
  2. Create and give free content that resonates with people.
  3. Promote and boost content created and shared by others (e.g. blog posts, published articles and presentations).
  4. To sell content to boost your brand, you need to offer solutions.
  5. Your content needs to include tangible information.
  6. Become a thought leader and develop a relationship of trust.
  7. Do more seminars and blogs!
  8. Sell stories, experiences, solutions and benefits.
  9. Segment your content using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database.

From the points listed above, I was able to relate this to my blogging work, and how I constantly strive to create relevant and useful content, that resonates with people. Listening to Dean speak about structuring content, providing relevant information and how it needs to capture the personal attention of others, was a defining moment for me.

It also made me think back to a past experience, when I wrote and published an article about learning from failure, back in June 2016. When I published and shared the article, I discovered later on to my amazement, that it was viewed 88 times that year, which I was not expecting. Therefore I was taken completely by surprise with how the article struck a chord, and resonated with many people. It still surprises me today!

I was greatly impressed with Dean as a speaker. I not only learned plenty from him, but he presented and delivered his content, with a knowledgeable yet easygoing tone, that I could easily relate to and understand. In addition, I was also impressed with his knowledge of the mechanics involved with successful marketing. This has given me a greater understanding of creating and marketing my blog content.

A delightful bonus of the event was networking with familiar and new faces. These included Paul Trickett of Bathgate Business Finance, Agnes Fitzgerald of Irish Business Enterprise, Elaine Courtney of Courtney Reid, Jon Davies of Jon Davies Accountants and Simon Robb of The Alternative Board, amongst many others. Overall it was a pleasurable event, and I sincerely hope that everyone who attended also enjoyed Dean’s presentation, and found it to be as interesting and useful as I did.

I would like to personally thank Dean for sharing his marketing wisdom, and also to Alex Clark and Emma Rittenberg of Professional Liverpool, for organising a top-notch networking lunch.

Professional Liverpool & LCC Annual Carol Service

Last week, I attended the annual Professional Liverpool & Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce Annual Carol Service. Held in the surroundings of St Nicholas Church, the service radiated a warm feeling of community and goodwill, heralding the start of the festive season.

When I arrived at the church after braving the freezing December weather, I immediately felt the warmth of the surroundings, followed by friendly greetings. This set the tone for a fine evening of Christmas carols and networking. In addition, I was visually struck by the architecture of St Nicholas Church, as it was beautifully pristine in appearance.

I had never attended a carol service before, so this was a new experience. Indeed I enjoyed the service, as it was rich in festive tone with carols and hymns sung in hearty voices. There were also readings from prominent Liverpool business speakers, including Julie Sankey, Bill Addy, Stephen Burrows, Paul Cherpeau and Laura Stuffins.

The service was topped off with a visit to Fazenda, for some delicious mulled wine, mince pies and the opportunity to network with new and familiar faces. It was a nice touch to end a lovely evening, which certainly helped to put me in the Christmas spirit.

Many thanks to everyone involved.

Professional Liverpool – Networking Lunch with Lawrence Kenwright

Liverpool is a city with a thriving visitor economy, that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Tourism is an extremely valuable asset, which is worth £4.3bn to the local economy, and employs over 51,000 people. The boom in tourism is reflected in the number of hotels, that have opened in Liverpool since 2008. A prime example is Signature Living, which is owned by Lawrence Kenwright. Signature Living owns four Liverpool hotels, including the Shankly Hotel and 30 James Street.

I was delighted to attend this week’s Professional Liverpool’s Networking Lunch event. Held on the sixth floor of the Shankly Hotel, I joined a packed audience in listening to Lawrence himself, talk about the story of Signature Living.

Lawrence gave an interesting insight into the origins of the business. From being broke in 2007, to building Signature Living into a successful business, is a remarkable and inspiring story. Whilst I was aware of Signature Living’s popularity, I learned that they use word-of-mouth, through harnessing the power of technology, to market and promote their brand. Having examined their social media footprint, I have since learned that Signature Living have over 280,000 Twitter followers, over 23,000 Facebook visits, and 14,700 Instagram followers. This is a powerful example of why businesses need to utilise and harness the power of the Internet, to develop their online presence and promote their services.

Lawrence also talked about how Signature’s brand is to be different from other hotel chains. This is through providing a unique feel and experience, from each of their hotels. An example is the Shankly Hotel itself, and its decorative feel and mementos that reflect Liverpool FC’s legendary manager. This helps to generate value for the customer and for the business, whilst providing a luxurious and down-to-earth feel.

In addition, Lawrence also talked about growing Signature Living as a business. This included plans to open new hotels in Belfast and a venue in the Cunard Building. Like any business, growth is required to keep ahead of the competition, but I found it refreshing to hear Lawrence speak about the importance of Signature Living growing as a business, whilst remaining true to its roots. Too often businesses become successful and grow too quickly, that their core customer base becomes neglected, causing an inevitable decline. Lawrence reiterated clearly that Signature Living must never fall into that trap.

My experience of the event was positive from start to finish. From listening to Lawrence sharing the story of Signature Living, to networking with fellow attendees, and tasting the delicious food provided, I was delighted to attend, learn and absorb the atmosphere of the afternoon. I also appreciated how Lawrence spoke briefly and concisely, before allowing the audience the opportunity to ask plenty of questions.

As well as the conversation, discussion, food and networking, I was amazed by the beautiful and stylish surroundings of the Shankly Hotel. When I arrived on the sixth floor, I marvelled at the spectacular view overlooking the city centre, the shiny white tiled floors and golden covered walls. Complimented with an excellent turnout of people (including several familiar faces), the atmosphere was ripe for a fine afternoon of networking and conversation.

Many thanks to Lawrence, the staff of the Shankly Hotel, and to Rosie Davis of Professional Liverpool for organising a first-class quality event.