WIBN Bournemouth & Christchurch - Au Revoir but Not Goodbye

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Au Revoir But Not Goodbye ... And Don't Forget The Cocktails! 

Dawn Palmer
opened July’s proceedings with a great introduction reminding us how we are a ‘living resource of contacts’. Dawn has kept every single lead sheet from every single WIBN meeting she has attended, which is a lot let me tell you, and she is always keen to link appropriate people up – it is one of her key strengths.

Dawn describes herself as the ‘Queen of Delegation’ and explained how her mantra frees her up to do the things she really enjoys in her business. This seemed to be a running theme at the meeting with Syma of Coastal VAs quoting - during her one-minute presentation - how using money to free up time is linked to increased happiness and indeed science says it’s a pretty good use of your money.

In addition to Dawn and Syma, present at this month’s meeting were myself – Julie Connery, Lynne Henderson, Sally Mackness, Emma Hamilton-Cole, Sarah Butler, Sue BenokeHannah Jeffery, Lyndsey Shepherd, and of course our chair Amanda Burger 

Our first five-minute spotlight was delivered by the lovely Emma Hamilton-Cole of Williams Thompson Solicitors. Emma explained succinctly the services that Williams Thompson offers including wills, estates, lasting power of attorney and everything to do with divorce cases. Fundamentally, she said she helps people to deal with change, whether they want to change, need to change or change is forced upon them. She added that conflict is the energy for change.

Emma described the steps she has to take to reach the resolutions needed when change happens for her clients: 

Listening – to find out what is actually happening. Find out what the change is and then involve the necessary people to move things forward whether that be a family therapist, counsellors, coaches or other team members.

Gather information – this will often mean lots of documents and practicalities – things that will ultimately affect the choices that are coming. When lots of choices are available there is a level of negotiation required – this may involve mediators and solicitors to get clients communicating effectively.

Resolution – the ultimate goal - at some point there will be a resolution and observing how clients deal with the change.  As Dawn said – Emma is helping people to cope with change. 

Emma also gave us an anecdote, as part of her presentation, which really helped to clarify how important listening is.

A mum is washing up and looking out the window to the garden where her two children – a son and a daughter - are arguing loudly over an orange.  Fed up with the noise mum marches outside and slices the orange in two. She goes back inside – pleased with herself that she has resolved the conflict. However, very soon she realises the children are still bickering – she goes out to find out what is going on – her daughter explains that she wanted to juice the orange for a drink while her son explains that he wanted the orange peel to put in his cake mix and thereby simply slicing the orange in two did not solve the issue – what was required was that mum should have taken a moment to listen and then she would have understood the issue correctly.

A great anecdote to remind us to listen and think before we act!

Our second presentation was a real treat from the says-it-like-it-is Sally Mackness who you can be sure will always speak from the heart. He opening line of introduction was ‘the hell of working for yourself’. Sally talked emotionally about the highs and lows of being self-employed and how ‘damn scary it is’ – particularly when it comes to paying the bills. She said the 27th of each month is particularly stressful for her – adding ‘Sometimes I think my heart is going to stop’. As a mother of three children with all the responsibilities of a mortgage and mouths to feed she feels it keenly. 

Sally’s presentation lead us to discuss how you measure success and as Amanda said – ‘look at how far you have come in the last two years Sally when you were just starting out’. Sally expressed the thought that she knows there are other artists out there as talented as she is but many of them don’t succeed. She has asked herself ‘what makes me different?’-  And the answer she has come up with is ‘courage or sheer bloody-mindedness’. It is so scary at times but Sally keeps going. We all encouraged her to keep going. I, for one, think Sally’s work is fabulous and she has an amazing brand.

 Sally compared us all to Cake Pops (she had brought some along to celebrate her birthday) and described how we have to look all ‘pretty and lovely and confident on the outside but inside we are often a sticky gooey mess’. I know exactly what she means. When you are struggling with your business it is difficult when you have to present a strong image but inside you are terrified whether you will survive.

We all agreed that it is pushing through the tough times (and as Amanda Burger said) knowing when to pull the parachute. Plant the seed but don keep digging up the seed you have planted – don’t give up just before you blossom.

As the meeting drew to a close it became clear that this was a historic one in the sense that Amanda announced it is her last WIBN! She has won a contract to be a physio with AFC Bournemouth – which is fantastic and a job that she loves but it means she cannot commit to the monthly meetings. We are so sad to lose Mandy as she is a really fantastic chair – however we have the good fortune of her leaving the group in the very capable hands of Sue Benoke. Mandy thanked Dawn Palmer for being her right-hand woman and for all the support she has received from everyone in the group.

We wish Mandy every success in her new venture and look forward to the cocktail evening she promised to organise very soon!

Julie Connery


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